No need to cross the Atlantic for an Old World cycling experience! Visit Virginia’s scenic Alleghany Highlands region for the sixth annual Gran Fondo on Saturday, July 11th. Easily accessible from Interstate 64, 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 a mass start, all the elements of the classic European Gran Fondo will be here stateside and served up with southern hospitality. No Michelin guide required!
There are new courses this year but don’t worry, as many of the same elements will be there, including the GF Alleghany’s famous -or infamous – Warm Springs Mountain climb. Event organizers like to change things up a bit and expose the riders to all the beautiful roads and areas of the Alleghany Highlands Region.
The Gran Fondo will tackle the climb to Lake Moomaw and across the Gathright Dam first, before heading back through Covington, up Pitzer’s Ridge, Warm Springs Mtn., and then Pitzer’s Ridge a second time for a total distance of 105 miles and 10,000 ft. of climbing. The fee to ride this course is $75.
The Medio and Piccolo follow the Gran Fondo route west to Callahan and past Humpback Bridge, but avoid the Lake Moomaw climb and head east to Clifton Forge on the Frontage Road. The Piccolo finishes here, but the Medio Fondo tackles Warm Springs Mtn. before heading back to the finish. The Piccolo is 31 miles with under 2,000 ft. of climbing, and the Medio is 68 miles with almost exactly one mile (5,260 ft.) of vertical gain! The fee for Medio is $55 and the Piccolo is $35.
This year, organizers will again stagger the start times, with the Gran Fondo riders starting earliest, at 8am. The mountainous Medio sets off at 9am and the hilly Piccolo begins at 10am. Staggering the starting times keep the riders’ finish times more closely together thereby maintaining a party atmosphere at the finish in Clifton Forge, Virginia!
With registration you will receive: post-ride food and beverage; bike valet service in Covington, VA Friday night/Saturday morning; full service shuttle taking you from the finish line in Clifton Forge to the starting line in Covington; free technical/mechanical support; fully stocked food and water stops; electronic chip timing; and finishers’ medals.
Registration for the 2015 Gran Fondo is now open. Sign up at sport-vista.com/page/show/318264-gran-fondo-alleghany-course-info! For your convenience, all courses have been set and the maps are available at the link provided. You’ll see that the maps are embedded from the RideWithGPS website and are interactive, meaning you can click on the map and download GPS files or turn-by-turn route sheets from the RideWithGPS site. If you make it out to this year’s Alleghany Highlands’ cycling challenge, tell ‘em LBSPY sent you!
For more info, go to: visitalleghanyhighlands.com
– LBSPY June, 2015