However, the LCC is looking to change that as we launch WNY’s first fondo with The Rock Criterium Gran Fondo in Mount Morris, NY on July 19.
I love this event because it represents the heart of the LCC: it’s inclusive, challenging, grassroots and, most of all, a party on two wheels.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of the fondo, the goal is to create a non-competitive, festive atmosphere, similar to a charity tour, but with the courses that are typically a bit more challenging, no fundraising goals, and some support options that are only seen at races.
Ultimately, the fondo is about mastering a challenging, beautiful course with like-minded people while being part of a big race day atmosphere. Off the bike, the post-ride party focuses not on place finishes and podiums but on the enjoyment of the ride while celebrating with great food and drink.
At The Rock Gran Fondo, you will get all of that. We will offer three distances so that riders of all abilities can find the right ride with the right people. For our beginners we have a 30-mile ride (the Piccolo Fondo) for our intermediate riders a 56-mile ride (the Medio Fondo) and for our expert riders we have a 103-mile course (the Gran Fondo).
Each course offers excellent scenery as well as challenging climbs that are relative to the distance. The Piccolo course has approximately 2,600 feet of elevation. The Medio Course has approximately 3,600 feet of elevation while the Gran Fondo Course offers a whopping 8,300 feet of elevation, making it one of the most difficult fondo courses on the East Coast.
Although challenging, the climbing is an important part of the fondo culture and not to be overlooked. The hills give riders something to pit themselves against by offering a training goal and a sense of satisfaction. These types of climbs are often not a part of charity tours as promoters typically look for flat courses with the hopes of raising the most money as possible. Conversely, although many race events tout difficult climbs, the mentality is often focused on beating the next guy rather than beating the course, and we hope racers will find this type of event a refreshing change in mindset, at least for one day in July.
With that understanding, the rules of the fondo require all riders to follow the traffic laws. Riders are not permitted to race through intersections or block traffic. The rules also require that there are no podium awards for top finishers.
However, that doesn’t mean we cannot have a little friendly competition within the scope of the rules. Therefore, we will offer professional timing so riders can see where they matched up to their friends, the rest of the field, or their own finishing goals (all while understanding that they are not permitted to break any traffic laws to improve their times), providing yet another caveat of the fondo culture.
Additionally, we will have professional support from Bike Loft East Neutral Support on staff who will help with any mechanical needs before and during the ride.
With the challenges and support this event provides on course, it comes with great rewards off the bike too.
After the ride, all riders will receive a gourmet Italian dinner from Questa Lasagna of Mount Morris as part of their entry fee. The menu will include a lasagna with vegetable or beef options, a garden salad (with choice of 2 homemade dressings), bread and butter, Italian style cookies, soft drinks, iced tea, or lemonade with beer and wine for sale.
If this doesn’t immediately wet your pallet, you clearly have not tried Chef Tim’s legendary cuisine, and I strongly suggest you head to Questa Lasagna and see what you’re missing.
All riders will also have the opportunity to win door prizes and raffles at the post-ride meal, all courses will be supported with water and food stations, and all riders who enter before July 1 will receive an event tee-shirt.
So what’s stopping you?
Get signed up today and add The Rock Gran Fondo to your riding calendar. It’s the perfect summer training goal for any riders and a great way for you racers to avoid that mid-season burnout while reminding yourselves of what the bike is all about.