Gran Fondo Hincapie Bentonville, September 7th - Register Now!
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Why Gran Fondo Hincapie is much more than just a bike ride

What started out as a challenge to Pat Navin and his group of flatland cyclists from the Chicago area turned into something more. Much more.

Why Gran Fondo Hincapie is much more than just a bike ride

A friend and fellow cyclist who had relocated to the Charlotte area called me in October 2013 after riding the Gran Fondo Hincapie in Greenville, SC, and demanded, “You guys have to come down here next year for this event!”

In October 2014, eight of us loaded up our bikes and drove down to Travelers Rest, SC, home of George Hincapie’s Hotel Domestique, to ride the third annual Gran Fondo Hincapie. We were not disappointed. It was the best cycling event any of us had ever attended, and we were hooked.

This year will mark our tenth Gran Fondo Hincapie – Greenville. (We missed one during COVID.) Eighteen of us now make this annual pilgrimage to one of America’s premier cycling events. It’s an extended weekend of riding in beautiful country, enjoying incredible food, and meeting up again with the friends we’ve made among the crew who put these wonderful events together.

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The event itself is peerless, from packet pick-up/check-in (and Hincapie Warehouse Sale with great deals!) through the post-ride party with superb food, music, and fun. And the ride? Amazing! You’d think you’re in Europe with folks lining the road clanging cowbells and cheering riders up the climbs. Well-stocked rest stops, SAG vehicles and SAG riders in special jerseys, and the kindest and nicest group of volunteers you’ll ever meet simply want to ensure that every rider, whether cruising the Piccolo or taking on the challenge of the Gran, has a perfect – and safe – day. And it’s always a pleasure to meet George and other cycling legends before, during or after the ride. 

The event holds a special place in my heart. In late 2011, I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer. Over the years, my cancer has receded and reappeared. In 2016 after metastasis was discovered in my ribs, a friend in our group made special jerseys for all of us with “F cancer” across the front. I was concerned that the jerseys may not be appropriate for the ride, because a Gran Fondo Hincapie is truly an all-day family event. 

I had gotten to know race organizer par excellence and Director of Operations, Drew Hincapie, during our previous visits. So I emailed Drew a note along with a photo of us in our new jerseys, asking if she thought these jerseys would be appropriate for such a family event. Drew’s response came quickly: “Absolutely, Pat! That’s how most people feel about cancer!” And we’ve been sporting the jerseys ever since.

On the road and at the post-ride celebration, we get many positive comments from folks who have been touched by cancer in some way. Many people want to know where they can get a jersey or ask to pose for a photo with our group for a friend or family member dealing with the disease. The ride has become more than simply a cycling event for me and our group. It marks an important passage of time. It’s a statement of existence and strength. “I’m still here. I’m still riding.”

I am grateful for the many kindnesses shown to me and our group by Drew and Rich Hincapie over the years. Their commitment to ensuring riders and their families enjoy an unforgettable experience is whole-hearted and heartfelt. Like George, they love cycling, and they know the folks who attend their events love cycling, too.

As my cancer has advanced, my joy in making the annual journey to Travelers Rest remains undiminished. Spending time with friends and renewing our friendships with the Hincapie crew are all moments to cherish. My days of riding the Gran are probably over. Last year, I managed to ride the Piccolo. This year? Who knows? I joked to my friends that I was transitioning from rider to volunteer. 

Regardless, I wouldn’t miss it for the world. - by Pat Navin

Gran Fondo Hincapie Bentonville: Registration now OPEN!

Bentonville joins locations such as Chattanooga, Tenn., and Greenville, S.C. in welcoming Gran Fondo Hincapie. But why did the well-known event series place roots in Bentonville? 

“This community continues to amaze me every time I come here,” George Hincapie said. “I’m very excited to bring my son here this time to show him around. I love seeing families on bicycles, I love seeing people of all walks of life on bicycles. There are people in full kits riding, there are people in sweatpants, there are people with trailers attached to their bikes. There’s all kinds of cycling here. We’re honored that the City of Bentonville invited us to promote our series and promote the town, and the surrounding towns as well.” 

George continued: “The road cycling around Bentonville is truly amazing. Ups and downs, curvy, it has a little bit of everything ideal for the types of events we like to put together.” 

“This community continues to amaze me every time I come here,” George Hincapie said.

The Bentonville courses have been finalized! On day one, riders will experience an abundance of rolling hills with a course that heads north out of Bentonville, through Bella Vista, Ark., and then makes an eastern loop into Missouri. On Sunday,  riders are treated to a different set of scenic road courses. First, riders will head north out of Bentonville, ride through Bella Vista, Ark., and then make a western loop through Missouri.  Below are links to the full routes. 

Saturday Courses 

- Gran - 86.5 Miles | 4,848 feet of elevation gain | 3 Timed Climbs | 3 Rest Stops (view the full route here)
- Medio - 55 Miles | 3,428 feet of elevation gain | 3 Timed Climbs, 2 Rest Stops (view the full route here)
- Piccolo - 18.1 Miles | 1,136 feet of elevation gain | 1 Timed Climb (view the full route here

Sunday Courses 

- Gran - 84.3 Miles | 4,893 feet of elevation gain | 3 Timed Climbs | 4 Rest Stops (view the full route here)
- Medio - 43.7 Miles | 2,788 feet of elevation gain | 2 Timed Climbs, 2 Rest Stops (view the full route here)
- Piccolo - 18 Miles | 1,136 feet of elevation gain | 1 Timed Climb (view the full route here)

 
The event offers two days of riding (with three distance options each day) as well as food, drink, and post-ride entertainment. Gran Fondo Hincapie is known for its safe courses with police escorts and closed intersections so cyclists don’t have to worry about dangerous roads. 
 
Find out more at: https://hincapie.com/pages/bentonville of click the button below to register now.