After successful inaugural events in California and Oregon this year, the Echelon Gran Fondo Series is expanding for 2011, with Wilier Triestina USA coming on board as lead sponsors.
As well as revisiting Napa and Hood River, mass-start rides will also be held in Tucson, Arizona; Fort Collins, Colorado; and Palo Alto, California. At each venue there'll be a choice of 60- or 100-mile routes.
Alongside each main event, there'll also be an Echelon Challenge – a non-competitive family charity ride on a closed circuit. All the rides will raise money for Livestrong and local cancer charities.
Organizers say the events will have a “Tour de France-like frivolity”, with the aim being to give participants the experience of riding in a grand tour. There will apparently be "announcers, balloons, cheerleaders, helicopters, live music, marching bands, epicurean treats, and a cast of characters typically found on Alpe d’Huez".
Dates are below. For more information, visit www.echelongranfondo.org.
- 9 April: Tucson Challenge & Gran Fondo
- 21 May: Napa Challenge & Gran Fondo
- 21-22 August: Fort Collins Challenge & Gran Fondo
- 17 September: Palo Alto Challenge & Gran Fondo
- 24 September: Portland/Hood River Challenge & Gran Fondo