Gran Fondo of Golden - alternative competitve outlet for cyclists

By Katie Macarelli

The Gran Fondo National Championship Series encourages the progression of cycling as a communal sport that promotes personal challenges and a competitive outlet for a wide variety of riders.

You might be wondering, "How does this so-called 'Fondo' thing work?" And you wouldn't be alone in not really knowing. So. We'll allow the GFNC to break it down for you a bit:

"Road cycling enthusiasts in the United States now have the opportunity to participate in races evoking the European tradition of scenic riding competitions with the Gran Fondo National Championship Series (GFNCS).The GFNCS, launched and managed by former professional mountain bike rider Reuben Kline, consists of six unique and exciting routes in cities along the Eastern Seaboard and in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. A Gran Fondo is a cycling challenge that takes bicycle racing to the next level. Gran Fondos are a hybrid of competitive road racing and casual century rides.

The Gran Fondo National Championship Series courses lead riders through country roads with challenging climbs and incredible scenery. Courses are offered in different
lengths from 30 to 100 miles so participants can find the distance to match their goals. Each rider is assigned 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. Whether riding for a cause, a personal goal or in competition, the Gran Fondo National Champion Series courses offer some of the
most beautiful rides in the US."

- February 20, 2013 Press Release, Frederick, MD.

Sounds fantastic, right? It will be. This year, Colorado has been lucky enough to be one of only six states chosen for the GNCS (Gran Fondo National Championship Series). And it will start and end in Golden. "Where the West Lives"...and apparently pedals uphill. Fast.

Based out of beautiful downtown Golden, CO, the Golden Gran Fondo will take racers on a historic circuit through the Rocky Mountains.  Beginning with an ascent up Lookout Mountain, the start of the event traces the route of the inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

Lookout Mountain, offers spectacular views across the Front Range Mountains, down on the city of Golden and the Coors Beer brewery.  The course then continues it tracing of historical bicycle racing with a long climb towards the continental divide and some of the same roads used in the Coors Classic and featured in the movie American Flyers (Kevin Costner’s classic cycling film that was set in Golden).  

Upon reaching the scenic Peak to Peak Highway, racers will be treated to high alpine vistas, lung busting ascents, a taste of hard pack dirt road, and a total of 14,000 feet of climbing before returning to downtown Golden where riders can replenish their exhausted bodies but full souls.  This course is sure to test your climbing prowess while treating you to some of the most "ruggedly beautiful landscapes anywhere! 

What people are saying about the series:

“I see Gran Fondo bicycle racing becoming the next endurance sports discipline,” Kline said. “Whereas the sport of cycling has experienced strong growth here in the States, the racing industry has not reacted to provide a competitive outlet for people entering the sport or racing independently. In general, one could say the sport of bicycle racing has not been user friendly in the States. Gran fondo bike racing eliminates  the ‘peloton dependency’ of traditional bicycle racing. The rider is timed against the clock then compared to the other competitors to determine placement.”  
-Founder of the GFNS, Ruben Kline

"The Gran Fondo National Championship Series runs a tight ship and has put together some awesome rides. Check them out and believe in the bike!”
- Pro Racer Cheryl Sornson after the 2012 Gran Fondo National Championship.

"We're also going to have big-wheel races and a cruiser crit...did you hear me?!? BIG wheel races!"
-Marty Quinn, Golden, CO Race Director and visionary extraordinaire.

So, Coloradoans: get out there and "Ride with your friends, race with your friends and come challenge YOURSELF!"

Facebook Event Page:
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Velo News Fondo article: 
Golden Route Maps:

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