Top 10 Best Gran Fondos in the USA
If you haven’t heard, cycling is one of the most popular leisure activities in the US these days. More than 160 million Americans participated in a cycling event last year. And with so many new and returning Fondos taking place in the US this year, that number is sure to keep on growing.
Cycling enthusiasts are always looking for the next best thing to the Tour de France. That’s why we compiled our top 10 biggest and best Gran Fondo races and rides in the country.
Searching for your next cycling competition? Look no further than this ultimate guide to the top 10 cycling events in the USA.
1. Emmitt Smith Gran Fondo
- Location: Parker, Texas
- Date: September 14th, 2019
- Course: Ride the Piccolo (41 miles), Medio (58 miles), or the traditional Gran Fondo (94 miles)
Hosted by a former Dallas Cowboys running back, the Emmitt Smith Gran Fondo is the premiere cycling race in Southwest Texas. We might be a tiny bit biased, but we think this Fondo deserves the #1 spot on our list because the race doubles as a fundraising event for Pat and Emmitt Smith Charities. If that’s not enough to get you interested, maybe the $10,000 grand prize will.
2. Cache Gran Fondo
- Location: Logan, Utah
- Date: July 13th, 2019
- Course: 38-, 50-, 70-, and 100-mile rides.
On the second Saturday of every July, more than 1000 cyclists head to Logan, Utah for the Cache Gran Fondo. Cache offers a hill challenge for competitive riders, but the course is relatively flat and leads cyclists through scenic Cache Valley, Utah. This year, Cache Gran Fondo’s 100-mile ride is also a part of the UCI Gran Fondo World Series.
3. Farm to Fork Fondo – Champlain Islands
- Location: South Hero, Vermont
- Date: July 20th, 2019
- Course: 90-, 55-, and 30-mile Fondos. Adults and children can sign up for the 8-mile ride.
The third in a series of 7 East Coast Farm to Fork Fondos, the Champlain Island edition is arguably the most beautiful. Lake and mountain views, quaint villages, and quiet backroads set the scene for a ride meant for cyclists and foodies alike. Cyclists can stop along their preferred course for local chef-prepared snacks.
4. Tour de Big Bear
- Location: Big Bear Lake, California
- Date: August 3rd, 2019
- Course: 6-, 25-, 50-, 70, 106-, and 109-mile courses.
This year California is hosting the 10th Anniversary Edition of the annual Tour de Big Bear. Big Bear Lake has been called the Cycling Capital of SoCal so expect some beautiful scenery and serious fans to cheer you on. The top 3 finishing cyclists from each course are auto-entered into the “King/Queen of the Mountain” race with a 7-mile climb to the top of Onyx Summit. The winner gets cash and prizes. For those who don’t want to enter the 7-mile climb, there are other awards for timed climbs and more.
5. The Boone
- Location: Boone, North Carolina
- Date: August 4th, 2019
- Course: 20-, 55-, and 100-mile rides.
The Boone is the second to last race of the 6 Gran Fondo National Championship Series rides. Starting and ending in a small town abutting the Appalachian Mountains, this scenic route takes you past landmarks like Appalachian State University and Winkler’s Creek. Boone, North Carolina is also known for its 80-degree summer weather so you’re sure to stay cool on your ride.
6. Garden State Fondo
- Location: Moristown, New Jersey
- Date: September 8th, 2019
- Course: 18-, 42-, 62-, 75-, 107-, and 125-mile routes.
Formerly known as the Gran Fondo NJ, Garden State Fondo is perfect for participants of all difficulty levels. Ride the Estremo (125 miles with 6 timed hill climbs), the traditional Gran Fondo (107 miles and four timed climbs), the Migraine (75 miles and 3 timed climbs), the Medio (62 miles and no timed climbs), the Piccolo (42 miles and 1 timed climb), or the Breve (18 miles and no timed climbs). With so many course options, it’s no wonder this event attracts 2500 or more cyclists every year.
7. Levi’s Gran Fondo
- Location: Santa Rosa, California
- Date: October 5th, 2019
- Course: 30-, 35-, 58-, 61-, 98-, 102-, and 116-mile courses.
One of the largest events on our list, Levi’s Gran Fondo California attracts more than 5000 people every year and features the most course options of any other ride in the US. Shorter courses take you through beautiful Santa Rosa and drop you at the finish line in historic Courthouse Square. Longer rides travel along the Pacific Coast, offering gorgeous ocean views and challenging elevations. Be sure to plan ahead, though, because this is a point-to-point Gran Fondo, meaning the course has different start and finish locales.
8. Gran Fondo Hincapie
- Location: Greenville, South Carolina
- Date: October 19th, 2019
- Course: 15-, 50-, and 80-mile courses.
Gran Fondo Hincapie in Greenville, South Carolina was named after George Hincapie, America’s Tour de France darling. It’s no wonder then that this event attracts up to 5000 cyclists from across the country and around the world. While you take in the rolling hills and struggle up the sustained climbs of the Blue Ridge Mountains, be on the lookout for the celebrity cyclists who are known to frequent this Fondo.
9. Campagnolo Gran Fondo New York World Championship
- Location: New York City, New York
- Date: May 17th, 2020
- Course: 100-mile competitive Championship or 50-mile non-competitive ride.
The Campagnolo GFNY World Championship in New York City is the final race in the GFNY series of Gran Fondos held in different locations across the globe. The race begins on George Washington Bridge before taking cyclists to beautiful Bear Mountain just north of Harriman State Park. While only qualifying cyclists get to lead the mass start in NYC, anyone can participate in the non-competitive ride held at the same time as the Championship race.
10. MSU Gran Fondo Grand Rapids
- Location: Lansing, Michigan
- Date: June 27th, 2020 (Registration opens January 2020)
- Course: 12-, 25-, 40-, and 80-mile Fondos.
Hosted by Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, the MSU Gran Fondo Michigan is coming back for its 8th year in 2020. The competitive races and untimed, non-competitive rides take you through scenic Grand Rapids just east of Lake Michigan. Choose from an 80-, 40-, or 25- mile course for adult cyclists or join the 12-mile Family Ride and bring the kids. Regardless of which course you choose, everyone can join in on the tiered mass start.