Jun. 16, 2011
by Mary Sincell McEwen
A unique biking event gaining international attention as one of the most challenging courses in the world will take place in Garrett County on June 25. The “Win the Fight” Garrett County Gran Fondo, organized by the Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation, producers of the acclaimed SavageMan Triathlon Festival, will get under way that day, and is bringing more than 500 participating bikers to the area.
This ride is not a race, organizers stress, but is a challenge offered to bikers well as an opportunity given to them to raise money to support the fight against skin cancer. The event offers four different routes for bikers of all levels, with the courses designed by SavageMan course architect Kyle Yost.
“The ‘Gran Fondo’ is a celebrated tradition in Italian cycling culture,” said Greg Safko, president of the Nicolay foundation. “A Gran Fondo is a long distance, mass-participation cycling event – not a race – that welcomes professional, amateur, and recreational cyclists of all abilities. The Garrett County Gran Fondo offers four supported ride options with staggered 7 a.m.+ starts and ending at the Adventure Sports Center International.”
The four rides are as follows, described by Yost and Safko:
“Diabolical Double.” At 125 miles and 16,500 feet of climbing, this ride is an extreme challenge on par with any single day ride in the world and already an epic North American ride.
“Savage Century.” A worthy epic ride in its own right at 102 miles and 12,700 feet of climbing, sharing the initial 59 and final 15 miles with the Diabolical Double.
“Masochistic Metric.” A beautiful 62-mile ride that highlights the beauty of rural Garrett County. It’s not nearly as extreme as the Double or Century, but does include 8,000 feet of climbing, and is “no walk in the park.”
“Garrett’s Greatest 25.” A beautiful 25-mile and 2,800-feet ride, through the rolling Garrett County farmland, with a sprinkling of modest climbs.
Cyclists may still register for the ride. The event’s web site, located at www.winthefight.org/granfondo, provides the information necessary to learn more regarding the actual courses, as well as for spectators to determine best viewing options. Cyclists are asked to raise funds for the Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation with the event, and those who bring in $300 or more will be awarded an exclusive Gran Fondo bike jersey; while participants raising $1,000 or more will be given the jersey as well as a Garmin Edge 500 GPS bike computer with the Gran Fondo routes pre-loaded and one ticket for the “Champion” fundraiser grand prize raffle. An additional raffle ticket is earned for every $100 raised above $1,000. The grand prize of the raffle is the use of a luxury Deep Creek Lake rental home for a future weekend, courtesy of Railey Mountain Lake Vacations.
This event was noted in the July issue of Triathlete magazine, inviting avid bikers to take part in a course that is far more than “your typical Saturday morning work-out.”
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