After a two year hiatus, this year we award and recognize rides in North America where organizers, sponsors, volunteers and communities have come together to go beyond the call of duty and CRUSH COVID
As a symbol of freedom and a heathly and sustainable lifestyle, there is no better icon than the bicycle, arguably one of the most efficient means of transportation ever invented. It's Eco credentials are a shining example in a world that is coming to terms with climate change, net zero-carbon, protecting the environment, sustainability and our health and wellbeing.
During the pandemic a huge number of people took up the sport of cycling to stay healthy and more importantly, protect their mental health and wellbeing. Post-pandemic, industry growth has returned and sky-rocketed.
The global Gran Fondo phenomenon continues. So, sit back, relax and grab your favorite drink as we recognize some of the best organized events out there.
Gran Fondo Guide has reached its 11th year of operation, the Worlds Leading Amateur Cycling Platform has reached a global audience of nearly 4 million unique users, over 185,000 visitors per month and over 1.61 million page impressions per month.
Make sure you add at least one of these outstanding events to your Bucket List this year.
#1 Tour de Big Bear
After a years hiatus due to the global pandemic in 2020, the Tour de Big Bear Gran Fondo arose from hibernation to growl even louder
Repeatedly hailed “Southern California’s Favorite Ride”, Big Bear Cycling Association (BBCA) announced the return of the Tour de Big Bear in August 2021 and 2,500 cyclists from North America and beyond returned Southern California’s four-season mountain lake escape situated in the San Bernardino National Forest at 6,752’ elevation, with a new Gravel ride and Expo.
Big Bear Lake in California is known as the “Cycling Capital of Southern California”. Named “#1 Weekend Getaway City” by Expedia Travel and has played host city to many world-class cycling events including four stages of the Amgen Tour of California and the Redlands Bicycle Classic to name a few.
The Big Bear Cycling Association (BBCA) hosted a two-day cycling Expo that included over 40 vendors, with complimentary bike valet for registered riders, entry into the Beer Garden, and participation in BBCA’s famous raffle, and entertainment during Saturday’s festivities.
Over 3,000 cyclists and their families escaped the west coast heat last weekend to enjoy a huge range of challenges including hilly road rides, gravel rides and a family ride with e-Bikes welcome at Big Bear Mountain, over 6,700 feet above sea level.
The festivities kicked-off with the ever popular Glow Ride on the Thursday night, riders dressed up their bikes with lights and paraded through the Big Bear Village.
On Friday, riders enjoyed the Poker Ride, a 16 mile ride around the resort where riders collected cards hoping to finish with the winning poker hand!
MTB National Champion Brian Scarbrough and Baily Hinz were fastest at the 100 mile Gran Fondo on Saturday, well-known ex-pro cyclist Phil Gaimon finishing in 5th place in the men’s results.
Gran Fondo winner Brian Scarbrough said afterwards, "Ouch that one hurt! I'm not the best climber, but I held it together just enough today. Who would have thought after 100 miles and 8,500 feet of climbing, it would come down to a 6 up sprint finish!"
The Gran Fondo included timed climb called Onyx Assault a climb of roughly 8.6 miles at 5% to the top of Onyx Summit at 8,443 feet above sea level.
The Bike Shop Temecula yelled, "We want to congratulate Georgeta Ungureanu for winning Tour de Big Bear 70 mile QOM this year! We are very proud of you Georgeta"
As well as the 100 mile Gran Fondo, there was the 70 mile Grand Tour, 50 mile Big Bear Valley Tour and the 25 mile Tour de Big Bear distances for all abilities of cyclists.
The 50 mile mixed surface Dirty Bear Gravel Ride, and NEW for 2022, the 25 mile Dirty Cub Gravel Ride catered for gravel fans whilst families enjoyed the Tour de Big Bear Family Fun Ride.
The Tour de Big Bear is known for its legendary aid stations and it did not disappoint. Ribs, avocado toast, bacon, just to name a few of the delicious treats riders enjoyed along the way. Plus, the usual hydration and nutrition products to fuel everyone’s ride!
Rana Kennedy rode the Dirty Bear Gravel race and said afterwards, "Dirty Bear Gravel race in Big Bear, CA was and is one of my favorite courses so far. All pain aside, which was plenty, I really dug the diversity in the terrain and the stunning views. I was 5th female overall and had at least 10 years on those gals whatever that means. For me it gives me the cred to keep this crazy gravel train going. I loved that my gravel “cycling peeps” crew in the pic and husband raced with me, and my son came up too! I was happy to stop and share some PR cream with a guy on his cramping hamstring. That stuff is magic!"
Tyler Wood rode the 70 mile road ride and said afterwards, "Tour de Big Bear is complete! I had a great time on the bike bike today, but I’m definitely looking forward to some much needed rest!"
Lisa Stelly was blown away saying, "Thank you Tour de Big Bear! It was another epic year of fun, laughs & miles of smiles. Thank you Black Gold Cabin for the most awesome unexpected aid station! Such a fun surprise at the best location. Bacon, Watermelon, Ribs, Oranges and soooo much more! The aid stations were on point!"
Special guests included Jupiter the Opossum and Cowboy the Great Horned Owl who delighted cycling fans at the Big Bear Cycling Expo and Beer Garden which included live entertainment for the entire family.
Riders from the age of 5 to 87 took part in the family ride!
Chris Barnes, President of the Big Bear Cycling Association said “We had a great weekend seeing all of the cyclists enjoy our town. The Tour is hosted by so many wonderful service groups around the Big Bear Valley that we are proud to support with donations for their effort. It truly is a community effort to host the Tour de Big Bear and we can't wait until next year!”
The 13th Annual Tour de Big Bear takes place August 5th 2023 and registration is now open.
Space is limited and it sells out every year so register now!
#2 Okanagan Granfondo in British Columbia
The Okanagan Granfondo in British Colombia was “hit two years in a row” due to the pandemic, it returned in 2022 to a SELL OUT 3,000 cyclists
The Okanagan Granfondo in British Colombia is one of North America’s premier cycling events that attracts recreational cyclists from across North America and beyond.
It was hit really hard by the pandemic, being cancelled in 2020 and then as restrictions tightened again in Canada, organizers were left distraught and the community heartbroken in having to cancel the ride again in 2021. Riders who registered in 2020 and 2021 had their entries “rolled over” to 2022.
Organizers and the community put on a brave face with their mantra "Ride Hard. Smile Often”. Owner and lead organizer behind the event is Jodi Cross, who has transformed the cycle challenge.
Like many small businesses during the pandemic, the ride took advantage of the “pause” to enhance many aspects of the event. “Going forward it was rebranded”, long time director of communications Jason Curran said, "it better honours the region where we conduct it. It's the same organizing team and the same experience," added Curran.
As restrictions lifted and the pandemic faded away, the 10th Annual Okanagan Granfondo in British Columbia returned on July 10th in the South Okanagan selling out in advance.
Cyclists of all skill levels take part in ride that takes them on a heart-thumping journey through the picturesque southern Okanagan region and have the option of challenging themselves with the full Granfondo (160 km), the Velocefondo (126 km), the Mediofondo (92 km), or the Cortofondo (55 km). All categories feature premier on-course support.
The event also moved to a wave start format, whereby fastest riders are in the first waves and that wave sizes will vary according to the position of each wave in the overall group. The smaller groups alleviated the congestion on the roads.
Also returning to the Penticton community, was the much anticipated Kids' Piccolofondo race on the Saturday on Lakeshore Drive and Martin Street, one of the best events of Granfondo Weekend.
With only 250 free spots available, kids from ages 2 to 10-years old received their very own race bike plate and a cool Finisher’s medal at the end. Families then enjoyed Penticton’s famous Farmers’ Market along nearby Main Street.
Joey Matyas enthused, “My kids had a blast! Thank you to all the volunteers that made it happen!”
Director of communications Jason Curran stated "We're extremely happy to return after a two-year pause due to the pandemic and precautions related to the pandemic, the positive outcome for Penticton and the whole South Okanagan is huge, both economically and socially, and we estimated there was over $5.1 million in local economic impact from the 2022 event alone.”
Robert Farmer who rode this year commented, “A BIG THANK YOU to all the organising committee and volunteers for an amazing fondo!”
Wayne Schell who rode said afterwards, “the Okanagan Granfondo in British Columbia this year was my first cycling event ever, and I was nervous as heck going into it, but as soon as I got there and saw participants of all ages, from beginners to pros, I felt like it was meant to be had so, much fun you guys put on a world-class event. I was so proud of myself when I crossed the finish line, something I have never felt before can’t wait to do it again!”
Owner and lead organizer Jodi Cross commented, “Thank you to all of our amazing volunteers, the Okanagan Granfondo in British Columbia has evolved into a must-do event on the North American cycling calendar.”
“Thank you to all of our amazing partners and sponsors too; Ramada Penticton Hotel & Suites, Cadex Cycling Canada, lululemon, Manning Elliott LLP, City of Penticton – Municipality, Visit Penticton, Cycling BC, Swagman Racks, Sherwood Brand Solutions, Kal Tire, F2C Nutrition, Bike Barn, velofix and Tim Hortons”
Cross continued, “A huge thank you to the City of Penticton and all their continued support!”
Mayor John Vassilaki stated, “on behalf of the City of Penticton, it was my pleasure to welcome all cyclists and supporters to the 10th edition of the Okanagan Granfondo in British Columbia”.
“Join us again this year on Sunday, July 9th, 2023 for the 11th edition of this epic event.”
Ride like a champion and be treated like a VIP. The Classe Speciale category is limited to only 150 riders and includes all the perks, swag and challenging courses, plus so much more.
Gran Fondo Maryland announced as USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championship for 2023
Gran Fondo National Series is proud to announce that the 2023 USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championships will be held in conjunction with Gran Fondo Maryland. The date for the Championships in Frederick, Maryland, will be September 17, 2023.
Photo: Andrew Knight from Georgia beat, Felipe Aros and Benjamin Wright in the men's race to pull on the coveted Stars and Stripes Gran Fondo National Championship jersey in 2022.
The SUAREZ Gran Fondo National Series introduced the time-segment competition format to cycling in the United States and has been organizing the Gran Fondo National Championship since 2012. As the result of a partnership with USA Cycling, the annual event became an official USA Cycling National Championship in 2020. The USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championship was held in conjunction with Gran Fondo Asheville in 2021 and 2022.
The format allows for participants to regroup and ride with friends between segments, and also eliminates racing on descents.
“For amateur and elite cyclists, a Gran Fondo is the best way to challenge yourself, experience an amazing day’s cycling, and also presents the opportunity to win Awards and prizes. While the format provides a competitive environment, it also provides opportunity for comradery among riders. Between the time sections riders can enjoy the amazing routes and chit chat with other riders to bond and celebrate the day. Cyclists who haven’t ridden a Gran Fondo really are missing out on an amazing experience.” said Kline
Gran Fondo Maryland has been part of the Gran Fondo National Series for 11 years. Participation in the September event has been consistently strong over the past several years, with approximately 600 racers, beginner to elite, expected for 2022. Organizers anticipate the National Championship to draw over 1,000 cyclists from across the nation in 2023, along with many family members and spectators.
“Gran Fondo Maryland, first held in 2012, was the founding event of the Gran Fondo National Series and the original Gran Fondo National Championship location. I’m proud to bring the Championship back to its place of inception.” said Gran Fondo National Series Founder and Director Reuben Kline. “I’ve been pushing to highlight the area as a world class cycling destination; along with other top-quality cycling events in the state such as the recent success of the Maryland Cycling Classic, and USA Cycling Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships, I’m proud to bring attention to the quality of all types of cycling in and around the state of Maryland.”
Reuben Kline, Founder and CEO of the series was presented with a Certificate of Recognition by the City of Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor and City Council Member Kelly Russell, “The city of Frederick acknowledges and thanks Reuben Kline and the Gran Fondo National Series for selecting Frederick as the site to host the 2023 USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championships.”
“Thank you for this wonderful partnership and we wish you all the best on a successful race.”
Photo: Reuben Kline, Founder and CEO of the series was presented with a Certificate of Recognition by the City of Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor and City Council Member Kelly Russell
“The Maryland Sports Commission is excited to partner with the Gran Fondo National Series and Gran Fondo Maryland in the efforts to secure the 2023 USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championships in Frederick,” said Terry Hasseltine, Executive Director of Maryland Sports Commission. “Maryland Sports, along with TEAM Maryland partners like Visit Frederick, are constantly building out our portfolio of events to solidify the state as a sought after destination for cycling competition. We look forward to welcoming competitors and spectators to Frederick in 2023.”
“Our Bike trails are a cherished commodity in the city of Frederick and bring racers from all over the country. This event reaffirms our commitment to bring excellent spaces for bicyclists to recreate, and promotes our trails at the national level.”
The Maryland Sports Commission’s mission is to enhance Maryland’s economy, image and quality of life through the attraction, promotion, retention and development of regional, national and international sporting events.
Photo: Jill Patterson from Virginia beat Rachel Jordan and Debbie Milne to pull on the women's Stars and Stripes Gran Fondo National Championship jersey in 2022.
Gran Fondo National Championship
This is your opportunity to be crowned National Champion and pull on the coveted Stars and Stripes Gran Fondo National Championship jersey!
A USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championship title, complete with a national championship jersey and medal, will be awarded to the winner in each age-group category at the National Championships.
At each series event, riders have the opportunity to pace themselves and enjoy the view, professional or competitive cyclists can "show their strength" at every timed section. When you’re outside those timed sections, you have an opportunity to look around and enjoy the beautiful scenery, relax, stop at feed stations, regroup with your friends and connect with new friends.
Series events have three courses to suit all abilities of cyclists; a Gran Route (approx. 100 miles, 4 timed sections), a Medio Route (approx. 60 miles, 3 timed sections) and a Piccolo Route (approx. 35 miles, 2 timed sections).
More competitive riders can compete for overall victory and age group podiums for men and women. There is also a team competition, won by the combined time of a team’s fastest three riders. Bonus seconds are awarded for additional team members who finish, meaning there’s a benefit to bringing a larger team.
Custom “Race Winner” cycling kits by SUAREZ cycling are awarded to all Gran Route age group category winners.
Your best three results in Gran Fondo National Series events count toward the season-long Gran Fondo National Series Points Competition. At each event you earn points equal to your age group placing (1 for winning, 24 for finishing 24th, etc.) and the lowest sum of three events wins the Series Points Championship.
UCI Gran Fondo World Championship Qualification
Riders that win in their age group will automatically qualify to race in the 2023 UCI Gran Fondo and Time Trial World Championships that will take place in Glasgow, Scotland from 4th to 7th August 2023. This will only apply to age groups that will have a category at the World Championships.
Register for three or more 2023 Gran Fondo National Series events at the same time, and get the lowest-possible price. Can also be used anytime during the season, even after single-entry prices have increase
#4 Bluewater International Gran Fondo
820 cyclists celebrated the return of Ontario's premier bike ride after a two year hiatus
Voted #1 Granfondo in Ontario and #2 in Canada, the Bluewater International Granfondo in Sarnia-Lambton held off for two years, like many other cycling events amid complications due to Coronavirus.
In August 2022, the 6th Annual Bluewater International Granfondo returned to the roads around Sarnia along the shores of Lake Huron in Ontario.
Rated as one the Top Gran Fondos in North America, there are now four routes of 30, 50, 100, and 150 km available to suit all abilities of cyclists.
Over 800 eager cyclists from across the world converged on Mike Weir Park early in the morning along Old Lakeshore Road in Bright's Grove, Sarnia last August.
The entire day saw smiles, camaraderie, teamwork and celebration from all participants. Milestones were reached, personal bests achieved!
Ken MacAlpine, co-founder of the event said, “The riders were so happy to be back after a two year break!”
Corbin Lippert and Wilma Koopman, nurse practitioners at the London Health Sciences Centre, were riding together in a 100-km event, “It’s wonderful. Lots of fun people – the best place ever.” said Koopman, a triathlete who uses the gran fondo as a training ride.
It was Lippert's first time participating in a large group event, “It’s my first time ever having a number on a jersey,” Lippert said, “It’s a lot,” he added about the 100-km ride he expected would take four hours to complete.
The route covers beautiful countryside and it’s mostly flat with a couple of little hills in there.
Photo: Co-founders, Ken MacAlpine and Kathy Johnson (second and third from the right) along with Phil White Cervelo co-founder at the start of the 6th annual event!
Timed sections count towards your overall time, allowing your competitive juices to flow. You can take your time between the race sections, stop at the fuel stations, re-group and enjoy the ride with your friends and teammates, or ride at your own comfortable pace.
Afterwards, you can cool off with a refreshing swim in Lake Huron prior to relaxing to live music, while enjoying a well-deserved beer or soft drink along with some very tasty food.
Over $350,000 raised to support palliative care
Since 2016, organizers have raised over $350,000 to support palliative care education in the community.
B.I.G. supports two charities, St. Joseph’s Hospice and Bluewater Health Palliative Care with the emphasis being on further education of staff in the field of Palliative Care.
The granfondo organization sponsors Bluewater Palliative Care Retreat www.bpcr.ca for health-care providers and volunteers organized by Dr. Glen Maddison.
The upcoming conference is expected to host about 150 participants in September, MacAlpine continued, “He’ll have world-renowned experts speaking at it, passing along what the latest techniques are in palliative care.
"Riders came from across Canada and a few spots from around the world to participate in Sunday’s cycling event", MacAlpine added.
“They’re just blown away when they see the starting line on Old Lakeshore Road overlooking Lake Huron", he said, “It’s a location second to none.”
When they held the first Granfondo in 2016, MacAlpine thought they might be able to attract 100 cyclists, never thinking it would grow into what it is today.
The Gran Fondo wasn’t held during the pandemic in 2021 and switched to a virtual format that still attracted more than 500 participants and raised over $40,000.
Last August 2022 marked its safe return to the roads around Lake Huron.
Ontario First Responder Road Cycling Championships
BIG was proud to again host the Ontario First Responders Road Cycling Championship (OFRRCC). The OFRRCC gave First Responders an opportunity to showcase their dedication to the sport of cycling, while taking part in a terrific community event. The OFRRCC is open to active and retired sworn and civilian members of the police, fire and paramedic communities.
The unique format of the Championship allowed the riders to enjoy a casual ride or “ride to win”. Within the 100km route, there were three timed sections which can be raced for the championship. The winners were the riders who finished the 100km route and posted the fastest cumulative time in the three sections. Only the sections were timed, so riders could re-group, ride together, and enjoy the support of the Bluewater International Granfondo.
1st B.I.G. Slow Roll a Big Success
The night before the Granfondo the streets of Sarnia were a 'Sea of Orange'. The B.I.G. Slow Roll was a smashing success, over 500 cyclists participated and thoroughly enjoyed the route through Sarnia.
MacAlpine said, "Thank you to our two main sponsors Kel-Gor Limited and nuSarnia Foundation and everyone else that contributed and joined in the fun to support BIG Brothers Big Sisters Sarnia and palliative care initiatives in Sarnia Lambton. A $10,000 donation was given to BBBSS from this brand new community event!"
Co founder Kathy Johnson added , "We say thank you to all of you who joined us on the shores of Lake Huron! To the dozens of dedicated volunteers who put in hundreds of hours getting ready for B.I.G., this event was not possible without every single one of you! A round of applause for all of our incredible sponsors! Congrats to the award winners!"
2023 Midweek Training Rides
Midweek Training Rides for 12 weeks prior to B.I.G. training/educational rides will be held on Monday and Wednesday evenings (starting May 9th and May 11th 2023). The emphasis on Monday is assisting newer riders and Wednesday being for more advanced riders. Due to their popularity registration will be limited to 240 participants. Each participant receives a sponsored T-shirt, week free trial membership at Ironworks Gym, 15% discount on cycling parts at Blackwell Cycle, 10% discount on new bikes at Blackwell Cycle, A 12 week training program supported by experienced cycling guides.
2023 Registration Now Open
Register now to secure an entry for the 7th edition on August 6th, 2023.
Places are limited and will sell out in advance, to avoid disappointment, register now before prices increase.
For more information, please visit: http://bigf.ca or click the button below to register.
#5 Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo
Over 1,200 cyclists and their families took part in the 29th edition in Alabama last May
The 2020 event was unfortunately cancelled due to the pandemic. The ride decided to offer all registered participants the options of a full refund, defer to 2021 or donate their entry to charity. Overwhelmingly 74% of participants deferred their entry from 2020 to 2021 when around 1,100 cyclists took part after a year’s hiatus.
May 2022 saw the running of the 29th Annual "Toughest ride in the South," in Jacksonville, Alabama. Since 1992, the annual cycling event has challenged riders over Mount Cheaha, the highest point in Alabama.
Organized by the Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association (NEABA), it’s a huge event for the City of Jacksonville and fully supported by Jacksonville State University with many prominent sponsors! The CCC+ is famous for being extremely well organized and supported by local volunteers and businesses.
Over 1,000 cyclists gathered at the Coliseum at Jacksonville State University on the Sunday morning for "The toughest ride in the South. Cyclists welcomed the cool early morning start for the first 30 miles as the sun rose into beautiful cloudless skies across sunny Alabama.
There were several distances on offer to suit all abilities 24, 44, 62, 84, the 100 mile Gran Fondo, the qualifier for the UCI and USA cycling championships and for the toughest, the 126 mile ULTRA distance!
The 100 mile route, as well as the 84 and 126 mile ULTRA route took riders through scenic Cheaha State Park and the into the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, with breath-taking vistas of the beautiful mountains and valleys in the region.
The century ride included 9,714 feet of climbing including the highest point in Alabama, and the ULTRA encompassed all major climbs in the area including the hardest Category 2 climb in Alabama – Lake Chinnabee to the top of Mount Cheaha, for a total of 13,492 feet of climbing. The ride took cyclists along the scenic and rugged terrain of the Talladega Mountains, and included nine rest stop locations for the century and 12 rest stop locations for the ULTRA.
ULTRA FINISHERS received a coveted Finishers T-Shirt and were allowed to order the coveted ULTRA FINISHER JERSEY the day after the event. All ULTRA registrants who didn't finish, had their FINISHER T-Shirt burned and the ashes mailed to them! If you don't earn it, they’ll will burn it!
The Chief Ladiga Cruise is kinder, gentler family style ride that offers distances of 12, 25 or 50 miles on the Chief Ladiga rails-to-trail. There will be Rest Stops on the course, which is all on the paved bike path through Alabama's countryside with Dugger Mountain as the backdrop.
All participants celebrated and enjoyed a Post-Ride Buffet back at Pete Mathews Coliseum in Jacksonville afterwards.
All rides start and finish on campus at Jacksonville State University and the event anticipates breaking the registration record of 1,200 set in 2022.
Stuart Lamp who took over the reins of the largest cycling event last year said, ““The Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association (NEABA) is honoured to host the only qualifier in the United States for the 2023 UCI Gran Fondo and Time Trial World Championship. Participants of the Century ride and/or Time Trial on May 20 and 21, 2023 will earn qualification to enter the World Championship if they place 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in their respective age group and/or if they are in the top 20% of their age group.”
Lamp, continued, “We are thrilled the UCI has chosen our ride again. NEABA, and all of our partners look forward to again inviting cyclists from all over the world to visit our little corner of the world on the weekend of May 20th & 21st, 2023.”
The Cheaha Challenge Time Trial is a flat and fast 12 mile point-to-point course all on the Chief Ladiga paved rails-to-trail. Start is at Eubanks Welcome Center in Piedmont, Alabama and finishes at Pete Mathews Coliseum at Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, Alabama.
USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championships
The Cheaha Challenge is an official 2023 Gran Fondo National Series event. This includes an opportunity for riders who participate in the Cheaha Challenge to earn Series Points and qualify for the 2023 USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championship, which will be held in 2023 in Maryland.
Scoring for Gran Fondo National Series points at Cheaha Challenge will be determined by adding each riders’ overall Start-to-Finish time with their segment-times. Age-groups for scoring will be matched to Gran Fondo National Series age-groups and may not follow the same primary age-groupings used at Cheaha Challenge.
Specificity calculation for GFNS Gran, Medio, and Piccolo placement and points will be calculated in the following way:
Gran Route = Cheaha Century Route (Start-to-Finish time) + (3 Mile Climb segment time) + (Adam’s Gap segment time) = (competitive time for GFNS Gran Route placement and points)
Medio Route = Cheaha 84mi Route (Start-to-Finish time) + (3 Mile Climb segment time) = (competitive time for GFNS Medio Route placement and points)
Piccolo Route = Cheaha 62mi Route (Start-to-Finish time) = (competitive time for GFNS Piccolo Route placement and points)
Individual and Team Awards
As well as the opportunity to qualify for the USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Series and UCI Gran Fondo World Series, there is $3,250 of prize money on offer!
KOM/QOM Competitions - winners are eligible to receive awards for Overall or Age Group Awards. A cyclist can win all KOM/QOM competitions:
- 3 Mile Climb
- Lake Chinnabee to the Top
- Chimney Peak
Challenge Century Overall Fastest Time – Winners are eligible to win KOM/QOM (3 Mile Climb).
A Team is comprised of all members registering under the team name, no matter which distance they choose to ride (Cruise – ULTRA). The award is based solely on the number of riders on each team. Team with most number of riders wins! Winners receive a check to the cycling initiative non-profit of their choice.
The 2023 Bike Expo will exhibit a mixture of cycling merchandise, services, vendors, etc. And since it takes place on Saturday, May 20th, too, you will have the ultimate exposure as cyclists compete in the Time Trial and others arrive to pick up packets/merchandise for the Sunday events.
Chip timing allows the Cheaha Challenge to crown a "King/Queen of the Mountain" (KOM/QOM) rider on the famously steep "3 Mile Climb" leading to the top of Alabama at Cheaha State Park, and allows us to post accurate timing. Also for the ULTRA, they have a KOM/QOM from Chinnabee Recreation Area to the Top of Alabama inside Cheaha State Park. There will be third a KOM/QOM on the ULTRA course on the route up Chimney Peak (1.6 miles), that includes a 22% grade. Yes, THREE KOM/QOMs!
2023 Cheaha Challenge Kit!
Hincapie Velocity Short Sleeve Jersey Bibshorts, Shorts and Cap are available to purchase in the online store.
Register NOW and SAVE!
Register now and save before prices rise on January 2nd 2023!
Additional tickets for the Pre-Ride Dinner buffet are $15/each (discounted pricing) for both riders and non-riders, and is catered by Effina’s on Saturday, May 20, 2023 from 5-8 p.m. at Pete Mathews Coliseum, Jacksonville, AL. Buffet includes a pasta bar with multi-options of pasta, sauces, protein, vegetarian and gluten-free options, salad, bread, and dessert.
Post-Ride Buffet is FREE for all registered riders as it is included in your registration fee on Sunday, May 21, 2023 from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. at Pete Mathews Coliseum, Jacksonville, AL. DO NOT purchase a ticket for yourself if you’re a registered rider, but do purchase for your guests at $15 for non-riders (discounted pricing). Buffet is catered by Cooter Brown's Rib Shack, and will include barbeque, salad, veggies, vegetarian and gluten-free options, bread and dessert.
Where do you order these? Go to the store page and scroll down below the 2023 Cheaha Challenge Kit.
Benefiting the Local Cycling Community
Proceeds from the Cheaha Challenge & ULTRA go to maintaining local trails – Chief Ladiga Trail, Black Creek Trails, Coldwater Mountain Trail, and to fund a grant program for the local High School Mountain Bike Teams.
It also funds a grant program for local High School Mountain Bike Teams.
These trails became a lifesaver for local community during the pandemic when staying local, socially distant and maintaining your mental health.
#6 The Vermont Gran Fondo
The Green Mountain’s infamous Gaps offers up one of the toughest Fondos in North America. Challenge yourself and check it off your bucket list!
Like so many events worldwide the Vermont Gran Fondo had to be postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic. With participants’ entries rolled over, the SELL OUT ride successfully returned in August 2021 - much to the delight of cyclists who love a real challenge!
The Gran route is arguably one of the toughest Gran Fondos in North America. Such is its reputation, it attracts hundreds of cyclists from all over the USA, Canada and internationally.
The 9th Edition of the Vermont Gran Fondo (VTGF) on Saturday June 24th 2023, challenges riders to take on the infamous 4-gap ride, known by locals as the LAMB ride. The name comes from the four gaps: Lincoln Gap, Appalachian Gap, Middlebury Gap, and the Brandon Gap.
VTGF showcases the Green Mountain’s quiet, challenging climbs and breath-taking views, hailed as the best road biking in New England, it has earned the status of the state with the most climbing on Strava.
The Gran course traverses the four gaps with 11,000+ feet of climbing back and forth across the spine of the Green Mountains including the Lincoln Gap with an average grade of 17% with a max of 24%; named the steepest paved mile in the US featured by Global Cycling Network as one of the steepest climbs on the planet.
There are distances to suit all abilities of cyclists, why not try the 85 mile Medio with 7,000+ feet of climbing (2 gaps) or enjoy the 42 mile Piccolo (no gaps).
The routes include stretches of iconic Vermont dirt roads, which are hard packed and easily ridden on road bikes.
The ride is so iconic, Outside Magazine named the Vermont Gran Fondo one of the 25 Best Bike Rides in the World.
Challenge yourself and check this one off your bucket list!
Part of the SUAREZ Gran Fondo National Series
The Vermont Gran Fondo is part of the 2023 SUAREZ Gran Fondo National Series (GFNS), which creates the opportunity for riders at Vermont Gran Fondo to earn Series points and qualify for the 2023 USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championships in Maryland.
As part of the Series, points will be awarded based on timed sections on each of the four gaps.
VTGF’s Green Mountain Gap Challenge trophies will be awarded to the top three men and women rider times on the Lincoln Gap, as has been done in the past.
The 40 mile Piccolo Fondo has no gaps to climb and 9 miles of hard packed gravel. The Piccolo will be a great ride for those who want an easier ride and soak up the atmosphere and still includes a healthy 2,700 feet of climbing.
For those looking for something a bit more challenging, the 85 mile Medio Fondo includes climbs of the Middlebury and Brandon Gaps, 9 miles of hard packed gravel and around 7,000+ feet of climbing; it represents a real challenge in its own right!
From the very beginning, the Vermont Gran Fondo has always had a special emphasis on rider experience, testament by its sell-out status since it started!
There are fully stocked rest stops and toilets with the foods you expect at an endurance cycling event (PBJ, Hammer Fuels and Fluids, an assortment of fresh fruits), plus a variety of specialty treats.
The three amazingly scenic, challenging, and well-marked routes are signed marking every turn, with cue sheets, route maps at each rest stop, and course marshals to help guide you.
Typical support with rest stops at 20-25 mile intervals and Mechanical and sag support.
Afterwards you can enjoy the much-loved après ride after-party with local food and brews while swapping stories and enjoying the sunset, all at the Bristol Recreation Club in Bristol, VT.
Enjoy local food, locally-produced beverages (beer of course!) all in the massive party tent.
Entry into the party included in your registration fee.
For those travelling from afar, there is a comprehensive list of local lodging options here for you to enjoy your experience and time in the Green Mountains of Vermont.
Every cyclist should add the Vermont Gran Fondo ride to their Bucket List at least once, and once it’s checked off, do it again!
If the stunning views of the Green Mountains don’t take your breath away, the climbs will!
RIDE IT IF YOU CAN!
Register NOW to Secure a Place
There are only 750 places are available for the 2023 edition so early registration is advised to secure a place well in advance, registration closes early in June 1st.
The event will SELL-OUT in advance so register early to secure a place.
Register before the discounted fee deadline: Tuesday January 3rd, 2023
#7 Mammoth Gran Fondo
1,700 cyclists celebrated the return of the 27th edition in September 2022 after a two year hiatus
The event was postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic. Hoping to make a return in 2021, the ride was affected by the Inyo National Forest fires. Organizers at the Mammoth Foundation made the difficult decision to postpone the event for a second year for safety reasons.
In 2022, the psyche was high for the Mammoth Gran Fondo with nearly 1,700 riders signing up for the jaw-dropping vistas, the challenge, the closed roads, and the bragging rights that come with completing this epic Californian bike ride!
One of California's most popular cycling events returned to the roads and Mammoth Lakes once again hosted the annual event that features three distances for all abilities through the Sierra Nevada, past Mono Lake and the White Mountains in California's majestic Eastern Sierra's.
The event is one of the most unique Gran Fondo's in North America, with a pro start and world class support, with e-Bikes welcome across all three distances, with 75 miles of closed roads, on-course SAG support, fully stocked rest stops, and free event photos.
Mammoth Mountain in Mammoth Lakes is California’s highest all year round resort. The name speaks to the size of the mountains, the expanse of the valleys, the incredible number of crystal clear mountain lakes. In summer, it represents some of the best cycling in California, arguably the ultimate cyclist’s playground.
You’ll get views of high Sierra peaks as you ride past ancient volcanic craters, alongside an ancient alkaline sea and bubbling geothermal hot springs, “there’s no other ride like it in the USA”.
For over a quarter of a century the Mammoth Gran Fondo has taken riders on one of the most scenic rides in North America. Views of high sierra peaks, past ancient volcanic craters, alongside an ancient alkaline sea and bubbling geothermal hot springs - there's no other ride like it!
There are three distances available to suit all abilities of cyclists, ranging from the easier 42 mile Piccolo Fondo to the more challenging 70 mile Medio Fondo.
The 102 mile Gran Fondo contains 6,643 feet of total climbing at elevation, and up to six feed stations with full SAG and technical aid that provide the level of support you’d expect of any world-class bike ride!
Light on-course lunch for Medio and Gran Fondo riders and a clothing drop at rest stops.
There’s also free photos of you after your ride, plus a Signature Gran Fondo Finisher Gift to remind you of your ride.
All three distances are electronically timed adding that competitive element should you want to go for the fastest time. There’s also a team prize too, minimum of 3 riders per team and tandems are welcome.
The Mammoth Mountain Community Foundation enthused at the 2022 finish line, "Woot! Congratulations to all the Mammoth Gran Fondo riders!"
After the ride, everyone enjoyed the event party in The Village at Mammoth including a complimentary post ride meal, Mammoth Brewing Company beer, dessert, expo, and entertainment!
The Mammoth Gran Fondo is a fundraising event to support Mammoth Mountain Community Foundation (MMCF). MMCF works to provide inclusive academic and athletic opportunities for children across the Eastern Sierra.
2023 Registration Now Open
The next Mammoth Gran Fondo is on Saturday, September 9, 2023.
Registration is already open, take advantage of the lowest pricing and commit to joining up in 2023!
A season highlight for thousands of amateur cyclists and celebrity guests in the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains
More than 2,500 cyclists took part in the 11th edition of the Gran Fondo Hincapie that started from Hotel Domestique, Greenville, South Carolina. The event focuses on recreation and fun with a competitive spirit.
When Hincapie retired from racing in 2012, he started the event that takes cyclists on a challenging route through the Blue Ridge Mountains and foothills. The routes were inspired by George’s favourite rides training for the Tour de France and include plenty of epic climbs and challenging descents.
Entrants chose between 15, 50, or 80-mile routes that show off the Upstate's fall colors, scenic views and challenging climbs.
Riders are rewarded for all their efforts with amazing views, especially at the top of the timed KOM climb of Skyuka Mountain after 20 miles.
The event got its name from former world-renowned racing cyclist George Hincapie, who competed professionally between 1994 and 2012, Hincapie was also a domestique for Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador and for Cadel Evans, who all went on to win the Tour de France.
George Hincapie road to seventeen Tour de France finishes, spring classic wins, and 3 national championships’. George Hincapie is one of the greatest American classics riders of all time with a second-place finish at the gruelling Paris-Roubaix.
Kicking off the ride are always celebrities, professional cyclists, and retired pros.
Celebrities this year included; AG2R Citroën Team pro Bob Jungels. Sir Bradley Wiggins and his son, Ben Wiggins. French racing IndyCar Driver for Meyer Shank Racing Simon Pagenaud, American Motorsports Racing Driver, Dane Cameron. American football running back DeAngelo Williams and former wide receiver for the New York Giants Amani Toomer to name just a few!
“A chilly morning led to a beautiful sunny day for our Junior Challenge Racers and Fondo riders, and we loved every moment riding and celebrating with them all,” said Hincapie whose rides the Gran route every year. Ex-professional riders and team mates Bobby Julich and Christian Vande Velde also rode.
The 11th edition included a more serious $10,000 Junior Challenge, 14 year-old Enzo Hincapie, George’s son and winner of two Junior National Championship titles, had a great ride finishing third behind Artem Shmidt and Jonah Walton.
The junior challenge awarded young riders from the ages of 10 to 18 years old, with cash prizes for the first five places and first three on the KOM/QOM for both boys and girls.
Surrounding the ride is a pre-ride VIP Celebrity Chef Dinner, an After Party, and a family festival with free food, beer, and kids activities and entertainment for all the family.
Essential to the Gran Fondo Hincapie is safety, backed up by neutral vehicle support, police, first aid and motorcade support, and fabulous food stops on route with live music. The ride is live-streamed on the internet and on huge screens at the start/finish and around the route.
In the 80 mile gran fondo UCI Gran Fondo World Champion Bruce Bird solo’d to victory in a time 3h 55m, ahead of Matthew Amano in second 8 minutes behind and Jeff Case in third.
In the women’s race, Valentina Cuellar Zuluaga was fastest 4h 24m, ahead of Debbie Milne in second 5 minutes behind and Devon Clarke in third six minutes behind.
Carley Sweeney won the women’s 50 mile Medio Fondo in a time of 2h 31m and Mitch Hopkins won the men’s Medio Fondo in a time of 2h 13m.
Some of proceeds from the event benefit Greenville’s Meals on Wheels, a non-profit organization that delivers hot meals to the homebound in the community.
Ten years after the first Gran Fondo, there are now similar annual rides in Chattanooga, Lehigh Valley, Bangor and Merced.
2023 Gran Fondo Hincapie Series
Gran Fondo Hincapie Merced, CA - March 18th 2023
Gran Fondo Hincapie Chattanooga, TN May 6th 2023
Gran Fondo Hincapie Lehigh Valley, PA June 3rd 2023
Gran Fondo Hincapie Greeville, SC October 21st 2023
Western Oregon has some of quietest roads that cyclists will ever encounter – a well-kept secret, a cyclist’s paradise
Every year, over 400 cyclists take part in the Oregon Gran Fondo p/b Co-Motion Cycles. The ride features the legendary roads and climbs of the ancient Western Oregon Coast Range and showcases some of the Willamette Valley's prettiest scenery and rural communities, with low-traffic rural and forest roads. Hills, rivers, vistas, more hills, good eats and more.
At the Oregon Gran Fondo you will find ex-pro’s lined up side by side with amateur cyclists and families - anyone wishing to celebrate a glorious, challenging day on the bike.
Join Rolf Prima and Co-Motion Cycles for the 11th edition on Saturday June 3rd, 2023.
Cottage Grove is a sleepy hamlet, just south of Eugene, is a two time “All-American” award winning town. This year entry is capped at 400 riders to keep it intimate. It very likely to sell out in advance, such is the demand to ride on the quiet roads, challenging climbs with the chance to compete for prizes and the kudos/bragging rights of completing the timed ride.
One big day on the bike, no matter your level, with two all-road routes, the 71 Medio Fondo and the Classic 117 mile Gran Fondo and two mixed-surface routes, the 25 Mini Gravel and the tougher 134 mile Adventure Route which features 3 sections gravel and 9000 ft of climbing.
All Routes except Mini Gravel Ride are timed with awards and prizes, e-Bikes allowed on the Mini Gravel Ride.
This is the Gran Daddy of all Oregon Cycling days at the Oregon Gran Fondo in Cottage Grove, Oregon!
The Gran Fondo is mass start, designed to draw the community together and give everyone a chance to enjoy the fun of riding a bike. It is truly a ride for everyone, with the community, friends and family cheering everyone on!
On course there are 2-6 aid stations with delicious food and treats backed up with SAG support. You’ll be supplied with Hammer Nutrition products HEED and a Gel and other items prior to the start. In 2023 there will be Gluten Free Bread at each aid station.
Everyone receives a timing chip (expect for the Mini Gravel route), and for the more competitive there are 11 age categories (from 15 years old to 75+) and podium awards, with Custom Glassware for top 3 across the 5 year age groups for both men and women.
Registration includes Food Trucks, Massage and Live Music with post-race beverage with 10 Barrel Brewing! Included is a $12 Meal voucher towards 2-3 restaurants in the downtown Cottage Grove area too.
Register Now and Save!
Custom Oregon Gran Fondo Socks for all who register!
Register before prices go up on January 2nd 2023 and May 22nd, 2023.
Use the special code granfondoguide2023 and save 10% anytime with this code.
Only 400 places available, sign up early before it sells out.
Over 850 cyclists enjoyed riding a stage of the Tour de France Canadian style at the INAUGURAL L’Étape Canada by Tour de France in Edmonton, Alberta
Being part of the global L'Étape by Tour de France series, the team at MB Events did an incredible job organizing the event. So well in fact, 850 cyclists joined Tour de France champions Alberto Contador and Alex Stieda, who led out the huge peloton last August of 850 cyclists. For an inaugural event after the pandemic, that is really impressive.
Photo: Alberto Contador and Alex Stieda out on a social warm up ride with everyone. @alexstieda
The 40, 80 and 160km routes were on closed and semi-closed roads with professional timing to allow participants to experience the ultimate Tour de France feeling. This was a unique chance for ambitious and fanatic cyclists to ride a real Tour de France stage and compete against others on a challenging course with the same regulations that apply to the pros.
At the finish line, just like in a professional race, the same rules apply—whoever crossed the line first, won the coveted Yellow Jersey. After the finish, the different Tour de France jerseys will be handed out to the best riders.
The weekend celebration of cycling kick-started with an informal ride organised by United Sport & Cycle around beautiful and bike friendly Edmonton in Alberta, with both Tour de France champions in attendance.
In the evening, a VIP gala dinner hosted around 100 cyclists at the Matrix Hotel with Alberto Contador and Alex Stieda as special guests.
Photo: Jessie Bertolo and Bestie rated Etape Edmonton 11 out of 10! Must do Again!
“The Tour de France has been running events linked to the famous stage race since the ‘90s, but never here in Canada,” said Edmonton’s Alex Stieda, the first North American to win a stage at the Tour de France and an ambassador for the L’Etape by Tour de France.
Alberto Contador, is one of the most successful riders of his era, two-time Tour de France and Giro d’Italia winner, and three-time Vuelta a España champion. He chatted with VIP guests about his racing days, “You need to concentrate 100 per cent when you’re racing. Remember, if your legs are feeling very tired, so are the legs of those around you too.”
On Sunday, Tour de France Champions Alberto Contador and Alex Stieda led out a huge peloton of around 850 cyclists from the depart village in Edmonton to discover some of the best riding it has to offer.
The whole peloton was directed out from the start line in true Tour de France style, with lead cars and motorcycles on fully closed roads with local police assistance and marshals.
In perfect weather, the peloton headed south west, winding through gorgeous countryside with fully and partially closed roads towards Devon. There were three fully signed routes of 40, 80 and 130km to cater for all abilities of cyclists, with full support - for that authentic Tour de France experience.
The world class event featured aid stations every 20km or so, stocked with lots of nutrition and hydration products to keep the hundreds of participants pedalling towards their goal.
Back at the Depart Village and Expo, families were centre stage with a special family ride and a special kid’s ride, so that everyone could enjoy a really special day of cycling and celebration.
Photo: The next generation of Tour de France champions at the Depart Village
Below are a just handful of the dozens of participants who tagged their experience on social media.
Emily had a fabulous day with her family and said afterwards, “I rode the 80km ride with my boys cheering me on at the finish line! Now relaxing in the race village with my family and a beer in my hand of course! What an amazing day! Thank you so much!”
Photo: Emily and family enjoyed a great weekend in Edmonton.
Kenna Meilicke and partner Mark from Calgary both rode the 80km and were stoked to complete the distance and grab their finishing medals! Mark and Kenna worked together throughout the ride. What a team!
Photo: Kenna Meilicke and partner Mark worked as a team to complete the 80km course
Apart from experiencing riding a stage of the Tour de France, one of the most unique aspects of riding a world class event by L’Etape du Tour de France is the chance to pull on Official Tour de France Race Winner’s jersey by Santini!
The winners of these jerseys have a memento for their achievements for life, with maximum bragging rights wherever they go! Chapeau!
Official Tour de France Jerseys Awarded
Yellow Jerseys were awarded for the fastest overall time for both men and women across all three distances. Just like the Pro’s in the overall general classification.
Green Jerseys were awarded to the fastest riders in a short timed sprint zone for both men and women across three distances. Just like the Pro’s in the sprinters points’ competition.
Polka Dot Jerseys were awarded for the fastest riders in the timed hill climb of Pemberton for both men and women. Just like the Pro’s in the King and Queen of the Mountains competition.
Michael Brown, director at MB Events commented, “From the bottom of our hearts, Thank-you. Without our incredible volunteers, partners and the excitement of the athletes on course this would not have been the incredible experience it was.”
“Thank-you to our Tour de France legends Alberto Contador and Alex Stieda for riding with our athletes and sharing their experiences in the Tour de France.”
Register NOW and SAVE!
Want to feel what it’s like to ride an official stage of the Tour de France, the world’s biggest bike race, maybe come away with an Official Tour de France Race Winner’s jersey by Santini?
The second edition takes place on August 13, 2023 in Sherwood Park, Strathcona County, Alberta in Canada.
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