WHAT IS GRAN FONDO?
According to Bicycling Magazine, the concept of a Gran Fondo, which began as a ‘party of wheels’ in Italy, has caught fire in the United States so fast that everyone from casual cyclists to the more serious “century crowd” are starting to embrace them. In Italy, entire towns shut down, wine flows, and thousands of riders pedal over classic mountain passes, through vineyards, and along famous race routes.
The magazine notes the shocking nature in which Fondo Fever has spread in the United States. This year, nearly every major North American city from San Diego to New York will host one including Coeur d’Alene. Our local organizers have been careful to import the fondo’s most appealing attributes: well-stocked aid stations, amazing views on the Scenic Byway to Harrison, challenging climbs for the two longer distances, sumptuous post events tied to the Downtown Coeur d’Alene Oktoberfest celebration, and a chance for riders of all abilities to participate.
Todd Dunfield, Executive Director of the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation, envisions a large turnout with five unique Coeur d’Alene routes for both competitive and non-competitive cyclists. The Gran Fondo is a classic 108 mile route around Lake Coeur d’Alene through Harrison and St.Maries before turning north back to Coeur d’Alene. The Medio is an 84 mile route, taking riders across the lake just south of Harrison over a one-of-a-kind bridge that is part of The Trail of The Coeur d’Alenes before merging with the Gran route back to Coeur d’Alene. The Piccolo is a 37 mile ride to Harrison, where participants will then board the Lake Coeur d’Alene Mish-an-Nock cruise boat for the return trip to Coeur d’Alene. Finally, Coeur d’Fondo features a 15 mile family fun ride for all ages and abilities out to Higgins Point and back along the Centennial Trail. Riders will be rewarded for their efforts at the Oktoberfest celebration.
For more information and to register, visit www.cdagranfondo.com.