Ear to the ground: The best road events to attend this spring
By Jeffrey Stern
Although definitely not the heart of the Fondo season, the spring is a good time to get out to test your fitness while exploring a new and possibly warmer part of the country. Even though gravel is blowing up, some of us enjoy easing into the summer riding months with some classic road riding. Check out these road events, both big and small, new and old, to whet your appetite and get stoked for the summer ahead…it’s just around the corner, so now is the time to get riding!
Is the winter weather putting you in the dumps? Are you getting antsy to get out and ride your bike somewhere warm? Ride Southern Utah is organizing the first annual Mesquite Madness in sunny Mesquite, Nevada. Located just one hour north of Las Vegas and 4.5 hours south of Salt Lake City, Mesquite is a popular destination for those looking to escape the cold of winter and maybe play a few hands of blackjack, but well off the Strip. The desert sun may be pretty hot, but not in March as average high temps are a comfortable 73 degrees in Mesquite. With roving sag support, fully stocked rest stops, a generous lunch spread, and moderate terrain with rolling climbs this is the perfect way to kick off the year and escape the cold in the sunny Southwest. Start off your road cycling season with three different length ride options (35, 65, and 90) on March 17th in Mesquite!
In the heart of Napa Valley, the second-year event CampoVelo will perfectly pair world-class cycling with mouth-watering cuisine and libations, guaranteeing an undeniably unique and memorable weekend hosted by cycling chef Chris Cosentino. Each day will feature a multitude of riding options whether you brought your mountain bike to get dirty, your climbing wheels to hit the hills, or your steel rig to cruise through the vineyards in style. And what’s more, CampoVelo supports good causes. With the mantra to “do good, one pedal stroke at a time,” CampoVelo will benefit Chefs Cycle, a No Kid Hungry program, the Napa County Bicycle Coalition, the Napa Valley Vine Trail and World Bicycle Relief. Enjoy a long weekend riding, dining, and wine tasting in Napa April 27-29th.
Feeling a bit competitive? Check out the Gran Fondo World Championship in New York City on May 20th. Part of a 16 event series featuring fondos across the world, the New York version is touted as the granddaddy of them all. This 8th annual event features participants from an astounding 90 countries. Starting on the infamous George Washington Bridge, the 100-mile route (there is also a 50-mile ride called the Bear) follows along the shores of the Hudson River to Bear Mountain before turning back and taking a less direct and more difficult route back into the city. All in all, the ride features 8,000 feet of climbing, closed roads, a GFNY cycling jersey, plus awards and prizes across a range of male and female age categories. Overall men and women champions will even walk away with a custom De Rosa Protos carbon fiber road bike.
The Assault on the Carolinas is the annual fundraiser for the Pisgah Forest Rotary Club offering 40, 60 & 100k rides through the North and South Carolina mountains and valleys. A fully supported ride with four well-stocked rest stops and a challenging, yet reasonable 6-mile climb up the 3,215-foot Caesars Head mountain in Greenville will test your spring legs on April 7th. The two shorter routes stay mostly in the stunning river valleys of scenic Transylvania County. At only $60, including an event shirt, post-ride massage, live music, plus a meal this may be the best bargain fondo on the calendar all year!
What road event are you excited to attend this spring? Let us know in the comments.