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Virginia’s Blue Ridge Gran Fondo Announced

Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge announced a new inaugural bike ride/race will be coming to Botetourt County’s country roads on October 14

Virginia’s Blue Ridge Gran Fondo will offer three different routes – 30, 50 and 80 miles winding through the county and taking riders as far as Eagle Rock and Buchanan.

Each race will start and finish at Ballast Point Brewing Company in Daleville, where cyclists will finish their rides with a catered meal. The race is non-competitive, but each rider’s finishing time will be recorded.

Gran Fondo is Italian and means “big ride.” A Gran Fondo is a long-distance bicycle ride that typically takes riders through scenic locations on rural roads.

“Botetourt County really offers some of the best small, back road cycling in the U.S.,” said Pete Eshelman, director of outdoor branding for the Roanoke Regional Partnership. “And Virginia’s Blue Ridge Gran Fondo is really going to show that off to the world.” 

Eshelman worked with the race organizers to bring the event to the Roanoke Valley. He said the Roanoke Regional Partnership tries to look at what is missing in the community and the organization identified the need for a signature bike event in the area.

The Gran Fondo is scheduled to coincide with the GO Outside Festival from Oct. 12-14 in Roanoke and the Salem Half Marathon on Oct. 13. Organizers hope the events will bring outdoor enthusiasts from all over the country and eventually make the region a premiere outdoor destination.

“Our river and our trails are much more than just dirt and water,” Eshelman said. “And when given the right support, the right nurturing, they are economic drivers.”

The race will be on paved roads through the county and is open to riders of all levels. Organizers encourage residents of communities along the routes – including Fincastle, Troutville, Buchanan and Eagle Rock – to get involved by riding or by volunteering at the aid stations.

Registration is currently open at muddysquirrel.com/gran-fondo.html. Registration costs range from $50 to $100, depending on which route a rider chooses and when the registration is completed. Prices go up after June 15.

Registration includes a t-shirt and the meal following the race at Ballast Point.

Virginia’s Blue Ridge Gran Fondo Announced