10 U.S. Gran Fondos That’ll Get You Rolling

Somewhere between aggressive road racing and relaxing centuries there’s the gran fondo.

gran fondo cycling liesure how to leisure

    Photo: Jenny Sturm/Shuttestock.com

If you take your cycling pretty seriously but don't care to risk life and limb banging elbows in high-speed bike races, the gran fondo could be what you've been looking for. Often translated from Italian as “long distance” or “great endurance,” the gran fondo is a mass-start, long-distance event. Typically, everyone gets a timing chip and a custom jersey, and there are prizes for the top finishers across several categories.

The best fondos are well organized, with closed roads, mechanical support, and food-and-drink refueling stations along the route—not to mention a well-earned, delicious meal at the finish. Fondos are competitive, yes, but not the way bike races are. They're more like tough but fun group rides; more challenging than centuries, where you can noodle along for a hundred miles, stopping randomly for no particular reason (more Instagrams!).

Not that you can't do those things during a fondo; some do. But fondos are ridden at a much more challenging clip and require solid all-around fitness to finish within the given time cut, if any, or in your personal-best time.

Here are ten of the best from across the country. They vary in distance, difficulty, popularity, and price, but each is well worth considering.

More at Outside

Elsewhere on the Web