There has been some talk lately about gran fondos. Levi Leipheimer put on a gran fondo this fall and it was a huge success with over 3,000 participants.
What is a gran fondo?
A Gran Fondo is a celebrated tradition in Italian cycling culture. A Gran Fondo is a long distance, mass-participation cycling event – not a race – that welcomes professional, amateur, and recreational cyclists of all abilities . While not strictly competitive, these rides are timed to ensure cyclists complete the entire course and provide some scoring for quick completion of unique sections of the route.
There is even a GranFondoUSA.com website. Are gran fondos the next big thing in cycling? It looks like they may become the equivalent to a marathon for runners.
*** Updated ***
One of our readers let us know there is a gran fondo starting in Lyons in July. They do not call it a gran fondo but centurion cycling. From their site:
Centurion Cycling is North America’s most exciting, new bike adventure. It’s based on the European concept of gran fondos but with a distinctive twist unique to this side of the Atlantic.
In Europe, you can ride a gran fondo almost every weekend from March through September. They come in all shapes and sizes and attract riders of all abilities. Often, they are named for celebrated cyclists such as Gran Fondo Eddy Merckx, in Belgium, or for famous courses like the Nove Colli, or “nine hills”, in Italy.