Friday, June 25, 2010

Alleghany Gran Fondo - Saturday, July 10


Another gran fondo has just been announced, the Alleghany Gran Fondo for Saturday, July 10, set in the Alleghany Highlands of Virginia. From the press release and website:

"No need to cross the Atlantic for an Old World cycling experience - come to Virginia's scenic Alleghany Highlands region for the innaugural Alleghany Gran Fondo. Easily accessible from Interstate 64, and four hours' drive from both Washington, DC and Charlotte, the Alleghany Highlands' majestic peaks and picturesque valleys might be mistaken for a region of France or Germany. With electronic chip timing, a King of the Mountains competition, and an Italian-inspired post-ride feast, all the elements of the classic European Gran Fondo will be here stateside and served up with southern hospitality. No Michelin guide required!

Former pro cyclist and brain injury survivor Saul Raisin headlines the participants set to ride the inaugural Alleghany Gran Fondo cycling event in Virginia's Alleghany Highlands region. The event will take place on Saturday, July 10, and features three route options: a Piccolo Fondo of 35 mi., a Medio Fondo of 62 mi., and a full Gran Fondo of 88 mi. All three routes feature challenging courses, fully-stocked rest stops, neutral mechanical support and a post-ride party.

Gran Fondos, literally "big endurance" in Italian, are a growing trend in U.S. cycling. These competitive rides - often compared to marathons for cyclists - offer a place on the start line for everyone from professional cyclists to ambitious weekend warriors. The goal of all the participants is the same - to meet the challenge of a difficult route and fully embrace and celebrate the sport of cycling by doing so.

"We're excited by the beautiful and exciting routes on hand for the first annual Alleghany Gran Fondo," says Matthew Butterman, Event Director. "From the steep climb of Pitzer's Ridge that all three routes will encounter, to the challenge of Warm Springs Mountain and its sections of 17 percent grade, to the rolling roads of the Jackson River valley and the picturesque Humpback covered bridge on the home stretch, the Alleghany Gran Fondo provides a challenge and delight for the cycling enthusiast."

By hosting the inaugural Alleghany Gran Fondo, Virginia's Alleghany Highlands region continues its history as a venue for international-level cycling events like the Tour DuPont and Tour of Virginia, and reaffirms its status as a premier destination for outdoor sports lovers. "The friendly people, supportive communities and civic-minded sponsors of our event like Mead-Westvaco and Ntelos have all come together to make this great event a reality. Our collective goal is to make the Alleghany Gran Fondo and the visit to our beautiful region a highlight of the season for cyclists and their families from all over the Mid-Altantic and Southeast," says Teresa Hammond of the Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce.

Reflecting the enthusiasm of the event's venue hosts is former pro cyclist Saul Raisin,who will be appearing at the Alleghany Gran Fondo to speak to local youth, ride and raise awareness for the mission of his eponymous foundation. Just five years ago, the cyclist from Dalton GA who was once touted as "the next Lance Armstrong" was lying in a coma, nearly dead from a brain injury sustained in a crash during the closing kilometers of a French race. Now fully recovered, Raisin rides and speaks to give hope and inspiration to others. "I'm really excited to put my name and foundation's mission behind the Alleghany Gran Fondo," he says. "Events like this bring cyclists of all levels together, and its a model for the Raisin Hope Foundation, which unites people from all walks of life, with the common goal of providing hope and support for the victims of brain and spinal cord injuries and their families."

Registration for the event remains open through July 9., and AGF commemorative Jerseys are for sale at the Registration page, courtesy of clothing sponsor Capo. Online registration and full information is available at the event website, www.alleghanygranfondo.com."

For a full 2010 calendar of announced gran fondo events in North America go here.

Stories for the Italian Cycling Journal about rides, granfondos, having a good time cycling in Italy, Italian cycling history, etc. are very welcome. Contact me at veronaman@gmail.com. There are more than 1,400 stories in this blog. The search feature to the right works best for finding subjects in the blog and there is also a translate button at the bottom so you can translate each page.

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