GFNS Georgia Gran Fondo Timed Sections
Starting and finishing in downtown Helen under the shadow of the mountains made famous by the Tour de Georgia
Each rider is provided an electronic timing-chip to keep track of their progress throughout the course and to allow riders to compete for best time through highlighted sections of the course.
Nestled in the Bavarian Alpine village of Helen, GA the ride starts in the heart of the North Georgia Mountains. After rolling out of Helen the route hits the first timed segment at mile 2.5, where any riders with intentions of an overall podium finish and cash pay-out will need to put their cards on the table from the start.
The first time section immediately enters the mountainous area made famous by the 2003-2008 Tour de Georgia.
In 2008, Unicoi Gap was the second to last climb on the approach to the race-deciding ascent up Brasstown Bald where Kanstantin Suitsou got the jump on Trent Lowe and Levi Leipheimer to win the event. As riders tackle this timed section they cover over 7 miles and climb 1500ft to the top of Unicoi Gap. The climb is very gradual for several miles, before turning into a real alpine ascent. Enjoy the vistas of the Chattahoochee National Forest on the descent before turning left and climbing up and over Jack’s Gap.
David Bartley from Madison, MS holds the current KOM in a time of 27m 40s.
Pro cyclist Nina Laughlin again holds the current QOM in a time of 29m 50s.
After 6.5 miles, a left turn on Richard Russell Scenic Hwy will put riders face to face with the 2nd timed section, Hogpen Gap. Within 6.5 miles and another 1,500ft, riders will reach the highest point on the course at 3, 470ft with ramps of 12%. The views at the top of the surrounding peaks are breath-taking. Check your speed and be careful on the descent as there are many sharp turns. Enjoy the ride through the forest knowing that the hardest riding is behind you.
Jimmy Schurman holds the current KOM in a time of 28m 56s.
Pro cyclist Nina Laughlin again holds the current QOM in a time of 35m 18s.
After tackling the two biggest climbs of the day riders will head east from Helen through Unicoi State Park. The route then hits the 3rd timed section at mile 47, comprised of rolling terrain for a 4 mile section. The section rises 329 feet over 3 miles with gradient of no more than 5%. The section includes the 1.5 mile descent so riders looking for the fastest time need to be able to descend as well as climb.
Joshua Servi holds the current KOM in a time of 10m 51s.
Jane Tullis holds the current QOM in a time of 10m 55s.
Riders then get to enjoy a non-timed section of the route for the next 31 miles as the route explore the area round Lake Burton and Seed Lake.
Be sure to save a bit of energy for the final timed section, it only last just over 2.5 miles but at over 80 miles into the day you'll need to find some power.
The section climbs for 1.7 miles with around 250 feet of gain, it descends for half a mile and then climbs 100 feet for around 300 yards.
Rick Waterhouse holds the current KOM in a time of 3m 10s.
Judah Sencenbaugh holds the current QOM in a time of 9m 15s.
The route finishes back into the landmark town of Helen where, in 1969, local business owners collaborated to create what is now called “Bavaria in the Appalachians.” On the route just outside of Helen is the Nacoochee Indian Mound, the center of the ancient Cherokee town of Gauxule, visited by Desoto in his search for gold.
Be sure to plan to stick around for beers, food and music served up at the finish line.
The Gran Fondo is 100 miles, the Medio 64 miles and the Piccolo 25 miles - to suit all abilities.
The Gran Fondo includes the 4 timed sections as mentioned, whilst the Medio includes 3 timed sections, that of Unicoi Gap, Hogpen Gap and Snake Branch. The Piccolo includes the 1 timed section of Snake Branch.
For the Gran Fondo Route there is the team prize. *Four or more riders to qualify.
Team riders are still eligible for individual awards.
Best Combined Time Wins on each route for age groups
Custom “Race Winner” jerseys for all Gran Route age group winners
Awards and Prizes for Gran Route winners
There are full stocked feed stations on all routes to keep you fed and hydrated, complimentary event T-shirt, Goody Bag with various swag items, a finishers Medal for completing the Gran Fondo route, awards for age placement, a raffle and of course the chance to win cash and prizes for placement in the overall timed climbs,
Yes the raffle, directly following 100 mile awards, there will be a raffle from our sponsors including prizes such as: Industry Nine hubset, Feedback Sports bike stand, SeaSucker vacuum mount bike rack, Swiftwick socks, Polar Bottles, Rudy Project glasses and helmet, Shimano components, Jittery Joe's Coffee, Crotch Guard, CycleStar nanotech lubricant, a holiday at Garda Bike Hotel in Italy, as well as other prizes). Yes, it’s worth sticking around for!
Registration is open - but with only 2 weeks to go you'll need to hurry to secure a place on this epic challenge across north Georgia's Appalachian Mountains - www.granfondonationalseries.com