Fresh on the heels of the announcement of a Sea Otter Classic Gran Fondo comes news of a similar event, this one set for May 1, 2010 in Moab, Utah, a mountain biking mecca in the southern Rocky Mountains.
According to organisers, the Gran Fondo Moab (GFM) will be a challenging 60-mile loop that features 5,000 feet of climbing, with a staggered start with riders starting in groups depending on their ability level and age. The timed event will use the La Sal Mountain Loop, featuring amazing scenery from red rock canyons along the Colorado River to high mountains in the La Sal range. The GFM will feature fully-stocked rest stops, a well-marked route and post-event activities including a full meal, bike demos and exhibits.
The inaugural Levi Leipheimer King Ridge Gran Fondo drew 3,500 riders to Sonoma County, California on October 3, with plans to expand to 5,000 in 2010. The second annual Gran Fondo Colnago San Diego takes place March 7, 2010.
Title sponsor of the GFM is Poison Spider Bicycles, a popular Moab bike shop. Owner Scott Newton and his wife Karen participated in a Gran Fondo in Europe and wanted to bring the same experience to their hometown.
"We have the limit set at 1,000 riders, but found out from the Department of Transportation we could add more," Newton told BikeRadar Friday. "We're thinking 1,000 would be a good number to put on a quality event for the first year."
Moab is best known worldwide as a mountain bike mecca so it’s not surprising that the region's road riding has been largely overlooked.
"Living here in Moab, I've been so impressed with the road riding and want to share it with other cyclists," Newton added. "The GFM lets the fast guys race their hearts out and the casual rider can enjoy the scenery and the rest stops."
Newton was quick to point out limited hotel space in Moab, so he recommended that interested riders make reservations soon.
Newton plans to choose a charity to support with proceeds from the event, but hasn't finalised anything yet.
"We're narrowing it down right now," he said. "We're looking at Utah Foster Care Kids, Utah Special Olympics and World Bicycle Relief. We want to have something for the kids.
"We're now also looking at Rahsaan Bahati's new foundation. We'll be making our final decision soon."
For more information, visit www.granfondomoab.com.