New Cycling Event is Vermont’s First Gran Fondo-style RideBy Sue Hoxie
Challenging course features three distances with either two or four mountain climbs
Middlebury, Vermont – February 3, 2014 – The Vermont Gran Fondo is the Green Mountain state’s first stand-alone fondo-style cycling event. The inaugural ride will be held on Saturday, June 14, 2014 with the start and finish at the Middlebury College Snow Bowl located in Hancock, Vermont. The Vermont Gran Fondo features three different routes (103, 75, 46 miles; two or four mountain climbs) and begins at 9 a.m.
Gran Fondo is an Italian term for long distance or great endurance. Fondos are long distance, mass-participation events (cycling, running, XC skiing) that have become immensely popular in Italy and the rest of Europe and are a fast growing phenomenon in the United States. Participation is open to both recreational and competitive amateur athletes of all abilities.
The Vermont Gran Fondo is a variation of Vermont’s famed L.A.M.B. ride. L.A.M.B. is an acronym for the Lincoln, Appalachian, Middlebury and Brandon Gaps—“gaps” being what Vermonters call mountain passes. The three distances—gran, medio, piccolo—traverse two or four gaps with up to 7,600’ of climbing back and forth across the spine of the Green Mountains. The Lincoln Gap features the steepest (24%) paved mile in the U.S. and Bicycling Magazine lists the L.A.M.B. ride as the best ride in Vermont. The route distances and ascents are:
- Gran Fondo distance/ascent is 103 miles/7,600’(all four gaps)
- Medio Fondo distance/ascent is 75 miles/6,100’ (Lincoln & App gaps)
- Piccolo Fondo distance/ascent is 46 miles/3,000’ (Brandon & Middlebury gaps)
Ted King, a professional road racing cyclist, Tour de France veteran and Middlebury College graduate, knows the L.A.M.B. ride well. “As a freshman at Middlebury College, I watched my brother win a collegiate national championship finishing atop the App Gap. Middlebury is the epicenter of where I found and fell in love with cycling—for obvious reasons. The riding there in the heart of the Green Mountains is some of the most amazing as you'll find anywhere on the planet. The spectacularly sinuous roads, the iconic New England scenery, the rolling hills with just the right mix of pavement and dirt, as well as the notorious gap climbs all leave me pining for Vermont's riding when I'm riding the world over,” said King.
Event organizers anticipate several hundred riders for the first year and, depending on their level of fitness and aggression, riders should expect to be in the saddle 4 to 10 hours. Refueling stops will be available every 25-30 miles and mechanical/sag support is provided by two Vermont-based tour providers, VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations and Discovery Bicycle Tours.
- Max elevation of 2,428 feet
- Sustained grades of 20% to 24% on Lincoln Gap
- All but a few miles are paved (approximately 10% of Gran and Medio routes)
- Loop routes for Gran and Medio routes; first/last 5 miles out/back for Piccolo route
- Start/finish in Hancock, VT
- Rest stops every 25 miles
- Mechanical and “sag” support vans
Complete event details can be found on the event website at www.VermontGranFondo.com. Cost to participate is $75-100 and participants can register via BikeReg.com.
Event organizers are working closely with the Vermont Agency of Transportation and Public Safety Department to host a safe event for participants, residents, and motorists.
Pre- and Post-Ride Events
Addison County and the town of Middlebury will fill the days around the Vermont Gran Fondo with Cyclefest '14, a series of cultural events centered on all things bicycling. Events include an authors’ panel discussion, a film screening of “The Armstrong Lie,” and an exhibition of posters commemorating and visually translating each day of the 2013 Tour de France. Post-ride, participants and their family and friends will be invited to an après ride event.
The Vermont Gran Fondo wouldn’t be possible without founding sponsors VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations and the Addison Independent; and event sponsors bMighty2, Discovery Bicycle Tours, Middlebury Fitness, The Vermont Book Shop and the Addison County Chamber of Commerce. Sponsorship opportunities are still available.
About the Vermont Gran Fondo Organizers
The Vermont Gran Fondo is produced by Cycle Addison County, Inc. Addison County, Vermont was named “Best Road Biking” by Yankee Magazine in 2011. We are a non-profit organization and are applying for 501(c)3 designation. The organizing committee is made up of cycling enthusiasts and athletically-inclined tourism and business development representatives. Event proceeds will be distributed via grants to municipalities and non-profit organizations with the purpose of enhancing bicycling in Addison County through programs, education, infrastructure and/or equipment. The event website is www.VermontGranFondo.com.