CyclingWEST.com is on hiatus for the holiday season. New postings are suspended until the New Year.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all!
CyclingWEST.com is on hiatus for the holiday season. New postings are suspended until the New Year.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all!
CyclingWEST has completed its Fall 2014 update of the toughest medio fondos in the U.S.A. WEST and Canada WEST.
Middle distance mass endurance cycling events, called “mediofondos” by granfondo event organizers or “metric centuries” by century organizers, don’t always get the respect and attention they deserve from organizers or from the cycling media. Even riders are often overheard saying “I’m only riding the medio event” as if they were embarrassed not to be tackling the “more respectable” longer granfondo distance.
However, as our list demonstrates, there are medio fondos and metric centuries available that can be sufficiently challenging and exciting for riders of any ability. Read More→
This is part of an occasional series on winter training.
Short bursts of intense riding (or running or swimming or weight training) should be part of a winter training program (and should be continued year-round).
This is my conclusion after reviewing dozens of scientific studies and articles by professional trainers in the past few days, including this Canadian study. My objective was to determine how I can structure my winter program to balance the maximum training effect with the increased recovery time necessary as I age. Read More→
Every road cyclist knows that there are two fundamental things that determine cycling performance — fitness and aerodynamics. Mostly, we focus on fitness by improving our endurance and our strength-to-weight ratio and on aerodynamics by learning to reduce aero drag by as much as 50% by drafting behind other riders. Read More→
I spent a few enjoyable hours this week reading Rebecca Rusch’s “Rusch to Glory”, the story of this iron-willed athlete and her life of adventure. The book is a smooth read and a revealing and inspiring trip — and I recommend it to anyone who is pursuing or is pondering the pursuit of a fit and active life. Read More→
CyclingWEST has completed its Fall 2014 update of the toughest granfondos in the U.S.A. WEST and Canada WEST.
We maintain this list as a tribute to great cycling events with challenging and scenic terrain that inspires all levels of riders to train for and to conquer the courses.
Our list compares the relative difficulty of these events by their length and their elevation gain (metres of elevation gain per kilometre, or MEPK). Read More→
This is the first piece of an occasional series on winter training.
The frost will soon be on the pumpkin in my neck of the woods, so I am back into my annual routine of creating a winter training strategy that will make me fitter and faster than I was this year. Read More→
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? There are so many gran fondo events out there now that you could probably ride two each weekend plus an extra one on stat holidays. So, what is the right number and is there such a thing as too many?
A new granfondo with an innovative and transparent organizational model has achieved exceptional first-year success in the most competitive cycling endurance market in The WEST. I’m talking about the Tehachapi GranFondo, in Tehachapi, CA, which attracted nearly 700 riders to its inaugural event September 13. Read More→
Next’s year’s Levi’s King Ridge GranFondo, the largest granfondo event in The WEST that features three distance options, will change its “formula” to add more events over more days and to give riders more challenge.
Greg Fisher, Marketing Director for event organizer Bike Monkey LLC of Santa Rosa, CA, told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat newspaper at the conclusion of Saturday’s 2014 event: “This is the last year that we rest on the original formula.” Read More→
They call it the Montana Hell Ride, but the photos from the event held September 27 make it pretty clear that the “hellish” part comes from riding the 125 miles/200 kms with 7,917 feet/2,413 metres of climbing, not from the appearance of the rugged, surreal and beautiful terrain. Read More→
Exporting a granfondo cycling concept to Italy from the United States seems brash, impertinent and crazy. After all, granfondos originated in Italy generations ago and continue to thrive there, whereas the first granfondo was held in the U.S. only five years ago.
Nevertheless, Uli and Lidia Fluhme, founders of the Campagnolo GranFondo New York, attracted 450 riders to the GFNY Italia in Terracina, Italy on September 21– and showed that they are on track with their plan to export their GFNY concept to the world. GFNY World details. Read More→
One of the best things about living where I do is that I can jump on my bike at my doorstep, zip around a bunch of steep but low-traffic hills in my neighbourhood and bag 750 to 1,000 metres of climbing in an hour. Some days it’s high-intensity “inclined intervals” day, and others it’s low-intensity “squats on the saddle”. Read More→
In almost exactly two months from today (November 23 to be exact), you’ll be riding outside in the cold or inside on your infernal (☹$@☂%^#!) wind trainer — or you could be riding along Caribbean beaches past cheering spectators and Mariachi musicians in the inaugural GFNY Cozumel on Mexico’s Riviera Maya. Read More→
The 2nd annual Rebecca’s Private Idaho, a gravel grinder founded by mountain biker Rebecca Rusch on her hometown gravel roads, attracted 269 riders August 31 — 55% more than the 2013 inaugural event.
The event started and finished in Ketchum, ID and took riders over two routes through the foothill basins of the Pioneer Mountains. The riders and their struggles through these scenic backroads were captured by Vail, CO photographer Linda Guerrette — and CyclingWEST is pleased to share them with our readers. Read More→
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, MONTANA - Over the past two weeks, a friend has been sending me some amazing photos of his current adventure in the Alps and Dolomites of Italy. These rides are on my bucket list, but he’s there and I’m not, so I’ve been feeling a little sorry for my myself. Fortunately, I was able to do another ride from my bucket list closer to home on September 5 that helped me deal with my Italy blues.
My September 5 ride — actually, I should say “our” September ride since Marilyn did the ride with me — might be the most spectacular road bike ride in North America. We tag-teamed a 220-kilometre/137-mile loop (2,986 metres/9,800 feet of climbing) around Glacier National Park in Montana, including the “Going To The Sun” road over Logan Pass. Read More→
CRANBOOK, B.C. – Official posted results show that 332 riders completed last Sunday’s Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo, compared with 252 finishers for last year’s inaugural event: 68 in the Granfondo (56 men and 12 women); 150 in the Medio (82 and 67); and 114 in the Piccolo (69 and 45). Read More→
The Oregon Coast Gravel Epic, one of the toughest bike rides in The WEST, was held August 23 and was completed by 144 riders, according to the posted results. The event started and finished in Waldport, OR and featured a 70-mile course with 10,000 feet of climbing (Abomination/122 finishers) or a 35-mile course with 5,000 feet of climbing (Son of Abomination/22 finishers). Read More→
A total of 3,254 riders completed one of the four event options in the 5th RBC GranFondo Whistler held September 6, according to the official posted results. Organizers told CyclingWEST that an undetermined number of finishers riders did not properly attach their timing chips and, therefore, did not record times.
The event was held in glorious sunshine and took riders over roads cordoned off from traffic through a handful of British Columbia’s most famous and busiest tourist attractions. Attractions included Stanley Park, the Lions Gate Bridge, the climb up to Cypress Ski Resort and the Sea-to-Sky Highway. Riders finished in front of spectators lining the streets in the resort community of Whistler. Read More→
CRANBOOK, B.C. – Some 360 riders participated in Sunday’s 2014 Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo in glorious cloudless skies through the valley between the Purcell and Rocky Mountains known as the Rocky Mountain Trench starting and finishing near Cranbook, B.C., according to organizers here. Last year’s results show that 260 rides completed the 2013 inaugural event in much cooler temperatures under dark and threatening skies. Sundays official results are not yet posted. Read More→
WEST VANCOUVER, B.C. — It is a well-known fact that cyclists have a flaw in their DNA that compels them to see mountains as challenges to be conquered on their bikes. In the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, the dominating landmarks of the Northshore Mountains have long been favourite targets for cyclists — and the most seriously demented riders will tackle the three major ski resort access roads in one day.
It’s Labor Day Weekend and the summer of 2014 is getting a little long in the tooth, but there are still plenty of granfondo events ahead, including several brand new events and some old favorites which have important changes for this year.
New events ahead include:
A total of 864 riders (632 men and 232 women) completed one of the three distance options at the 4th annual Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria August 24 under sunny skies. This was the lowest number of finishers in the event’s four-year history.
The posted official results show that 383 men and 61 women completed the Harbour Air Sea Planes 145-kilometre event (with 1,615 metres of climbing), 150 and 82 women completed the 100-km distance (1,084 metres of climbing), and 99 men and 89 woman completed the Spud.com 45-km event (467 metres of climbing). Read More→
Some 1,305 riders (997 men and 308 women, according to the official posted results) braved cool but dry weather to complete the 2014 RBC GranFondo Banff August 23 through the Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies.
First finishers in the 150-kilometre event (1,440 metres of climbing) were Nic Hamilton, of Victoria, B.C., age group 19-29, and Trev Williams, age group 30-39, of Calgary, AB who crossed the finish line together in 3:55:20. Read More→
Three of the largest granfondo cycling events in the U.S. and Canada are experiencing declining ridership, according to CyclingWEST’s review of the published official results of these events. It is also apparent that these events have been largely unsuccessful throughout their histories at attracting all ages of women and young male riders.
The events are Levi’s King Ridge GranFondo in Sonoma, CA, the RBC GranFondo Whistler in Vancouver-Whistler, B.C.; and the Prospera GranFondo Axel Merckx in Penticton, B.C. Read More→
Scottsdale, AZ — Oct. 12 – A total of 1,386 riders completed the 2014 Tour de Scottsdale: 832 riders in the 70-mile event and 554 riders in the 30-mile distance.
The numbers are down from previous years: 2013 had 1,628 finishers; 2012 had 1,151; and 2011 had 1,438, according to the official results published on the event’s website.
The event benefits the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, a non-profit supporter of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, the largest urban preserve in the U.S., located within the city limits of Scottsdale. The Preserve encompasses more than 300,000 acres of upper Sonoran Desert, including large portions of the McDowell Mountains.
Beverly Hills, CA — Sept. 28 – A total of 584 riders finished the inaugural Gran Fondo Italia Beverly Hills, according to the official results posted on the event’s website. The course started on Rodeo Drive and included a stretch of the Pacific Highway and the Topanga Hills.
The 145-kilometre/90 mile distance had 220 men and 33 women finishers, while the 76-km/48-mile had 262 men and 71 women finishers. The long course had 2,602 metres/8,500 feet of climbing and the short course had 1,099 m/3,605 feet, according to the MapMyRide maps posted on the website.
This was the second event in the 2014 Gran Fondo Italia series. The first was held at Aspen-Snowmass, CO August 9-10. Future events in the series are Atlanta-Roswell, GA October 19; Miami-Coral Gables, FL November 9; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil November 16.
Berkeley, CA – Sept. 20 — The 2nd annual Fast Freddie Fondo had 135 riders Saturday through the hills and backroads of the East Bay starting and finishing in Berkeley, CA. The Lungo (70-miles/112 kms with 5,800 feet/1766 metres of climbing) had 120 riders and the Medio (30 miles/46 kilometres with 3,300 feet/ 1,000 metres of climbing) had 15 riders.
Bay area cyclist “Fast” Freddie Rodriguez, four-time U.S. road professional champion and a Giro d’Italia stage winner, is the patron of this event. Rodriguez now rides for the Jelly Belly Cycling Team.
Event organizer David Tom sent this report to CyclingWEST: “We did not use timing chips this year as we wanted it to be more social. Freddie and the other pros stayed in the grupetto to socialize with the participants.”
“The best story of the day was Freddie was leading a group that missed a turn because he was talking with folks….and he set the course markers himself on a pre-ride last Wednesday. ”
“The 135 riders was perfect as our location had a max of 150 people. Next year, we are moving back to the Claremont Hotel and increasing capacity back to 600. It will be Freddie’s retirement celebration ride.”
Tehachapi, CA — Sept. 13 – Some 563 riders completed one of the four distance options at the inaugural Tehachapi GranFondo.
Tehechapi is 35 miles southeast of Bakersfield in the Tehechapi Mountains (elevation 4,000) between the San Joaquin Valley and the Mojave Desert.
Mammoth Lakes, CA — Sept. 6 – Riders had two long and three shorter course options along the east side of the High Sierra. The Fall Century and Gran Fondo rides were 102-miles with 6,880 feet of climbing. Some 209 riders finished the timed Gran Fondo. Information
Solana Beach, CA — Sept. 7 – The AMain.com Giro di San Diego Gran Fondo offered three road bike options of 106, 65 or 35 miles, plus a 30-mile mountain bike event. A total of 403 riders completed the three road options, according to the posted results. In addition to the rides, the event features a unique restaurant walk called the Super Tasty 5K on September 6, featuring numerous Solana Beach eateries. Information.
Boulder, CO — Sept. 7 – The Buffalo Bicycle Classic offered five distance options, including the 110-mile Buff Epic, which was completed by 110 riders. A total of 48 riders completed the other distance options, according to the posted results. Information.
Toutle, WA — Sept. 13 – After years of rain and cold, this year’s event was held in glorious sunshine. The course follows the Spirit Lake Memorial Highway up the Toutle Valey to the Johnston Ridge Viewpoint, then back to Toutle, a total of 82 miles and 6,240 feet of climbing. Information.
Las Vegas, NV — Sept. 13 – The event offered three distance options of 101, 62 and 25 miles which had 186, 94 and 29 finishers respectively, according to the posted results. This event is the successor to the RTC Viva Bike Vegas 2013 Gran Fondo Pinarello that was launched in 2013 to concide with the final day of InterBike.
Perimeter Bicycling Association of America, Inc., the producer of El Tour de Tucson, is the new organizer of the Viva Bike Vegas in association with the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC), City of Las Vegas and City of Henderson. In addition, Zappos.com was the new title sponsor for 2014. Information.
For us, the Tour de France on television is as much a travelogue as it is an epic test of the world’s best road cyclists. So while most folks were watching the sweat pour off the brows of the pros today in Stage 18 of the 2014 Tour, we were remembering the days we spent on those roads a few years ago.
From our hotel in Saint Savin (just south of Argeles Gazost which is south is Lourdes), we rode up the ski station at Hautacom, then back down for lunch, then back to our hotel. The climb is 13.6 km at 7.8% average gradient with about 1,200 metres of climbing.
Another day we drove to Luz Saint Sauveur and tackled the west side of the Tourmalet (19 kms at 7.4% with 1,404 metres of climbing), then descended down the east side until the fog forced us to climb back to the summit. Then lunch, then back to Luz Saint Sauveur. (The Tour today climbed up the east side from Campan, 17.1 km at 7.3% with 1,268 metres of climbing.)
On other days, from Saint Savin we rode the adjoining climbs of Col du Soulor and Col d’Aubisque one day, then the climb to the Luz Ardiden ski station another day — none of which were climbed by the Tour this year.
A total of 2,600 riders participated in the 2014 Santa Fe Century held May 18 in Santa Fe, NM. About half of the entrants rode the 103-mile non-time century, 40% rode the half century and 10% rode the 20-mile loop.
Another 75 riders entered and 54 (including four women) finished the granfondo timed race of the 103 mile course.
Riders were from 37 states, ages six through 87. The event was possible with the help of 103 volunteers.
A sell-out field of riders participated April 27 in the 42nd annual Primavera Century, starting and finishing in Freemont, CA. The event featured course options of 100 miles (5,500 feet of climbing), 85 miles (4,300 feet), 100 kilometres (3,800 feet), 65 kilometres (2,100 feet)and 25 miles (flat), with scenery including the Calaveras Reservoir, Palomares Canyon, Coyote Hills Regional Park, and the Altamont Pass Wind Farm. (Photos: Primavera Century).
TV celebrity chef Michael Chiarella hosted his Bottega Gran Fondo April 12 in Yountville, CA in the Napa Valley. The event was billed as a “rally of like-minded riders” with food, wine and celebrities featured along with two riding options.
Both rides started and ended at Chiarella’s Bottega Ristorante in Yountville — one 75 miles in length with 4,500 feet of climbing, including the notorious Oakville Grade from both the east and west sides, or the other, a 41-mile course (bypassing the Oakville Grade loop) with 2,120 feet of climbing.
Some 53 women and 332 men completed the 2014 L’Etape du California April 7 at Thousand Oaks, CA., according to the event’s online results. The course 83-mile/133-km course with 8,800 feet/2,682 metres of climbing replicated the final stage (Stage 8) of the 2014 Amgen Tour of California professional stage race which will be held May 11-18.
L’Etape (and the Thousand Oaks stage May 18) featured four ascents of the Rock Store climb on Mulholland Drive.
Organizers have announced that the Mt. Lemmon Gran Fondo, originally scheduled for April 27, 2014, will be cancelled. If all plans and approvals are approved, the event will be held in April 2015. Mt. Lemmon is a 9,157 foot mountain located near Tucson, Arizona. Information.
A total of 311 riders completed one of the four distance options at the March 15 Malibu 7 Canyon Classic. Three of the courses through the canyons of Southern California were among the toughest in The WEST: 100 miles (with 9,000 feet of climbing); 100 kilometres (6,673 feet); and 50 miles (5,118 feet). The fourth route was a flat 50 miles along the Pacific Coast Highway.
Registration opens January 31 for the June 21,2014 Victoria Gran Fondo Doppio, a 270-km ride with 3,500 metres of climbing through the rainforest and along the ocean shore of Vancouver Island, B.C. The event begins and ends in downtown Victoria, B.C.
Previously known as the Victoria Gran Fondo, organizer David Sudbury says he changed the name to reflect to the distance of the endurance challenge. “Doppio is double in Italian. The VGS is double the distance of most other North American Gran Fondos,” he says. (Previous CyclingWEST story.)
The Joe Lookingbill Denver-to-Aspen Classic June 14, 2014 is a 180-mile epic with 13,500 feet of climbing through the highest mountain pass roads in the U.S., including Independence Pass (12,095 feet). The course begins in Denver and loops around to Aspen. Riders must finish in less than 17 hours to receive an official finishing time.
This is the first of five events on the ultra marathon Colorado Triple Crown calender for 2014 organized by the Rocky Mountain Cycling Club. Other events are:
The Cycle to Saturn event is a a reincarnation of the course used during the Saturn Cycling Classic pro bike race from 2000 to 2002. The Double Century includes 200+ miles, 20,000 feet of climbing, nine categorized climbs (including three climbs over 11,000 feet), and 10 miles of gravel roads (mostly downhill) from Golden to Breckenridge and back to Golden. The Epic Century begins in Golden and finishes 140 miles and 14,000 feet later in Breckenridge.