Well the race lived up to expectations. I rode the Gran Fondo New York which took place on Sunday, May 18, with 3,000 plus riders who came from all over the world. The 100 mile route included 8,000 feet of climbing. Fortunately, I was prepared - meaning I put in some long miles and rode hills to prepare myself for the race. It is hard to get in 8,000 feet of climbing in Austin. Best I could do without going to extraordinary lengths was 4,300 feet on a single ride.
This year's Gran Fondo New York winner, Gabriel Corredor from Columbia, completed the race in 4 hours 21 minutes. By comparison, I did it in 5 hours 45 minutes, which put me 325th overall and 19th out of 162 riders in my age category.
The race started on the George Washington Bridge in NYC. Racers rode into New Jersey and then headed north through Palisades Park on a route that included part of the Hudson River Valley. Turnaround point was the top of Bear Mountain which was 4 miles of climbing at an average grade of 6% to get there.
It is a beautiful area of the country and Sunday's weather was perfect for the race. My wife and I were staying in the East Village in NYC. I was up early on the subway with my bike heading to the start of the race along with a number of other cyclists doing the same. The worst of the race was waiting for the start on the bridge. It was windy with temperatures in the 50s. In spite of the pre-race chill and all of the climbing, I loved the challenge, the large field, the international mix of the riders, and the orchestration of the event. It was well-supported. I would recommend Gran Fondo New York to anyone, especially climbers. Here's a link to race results and this one is to the course map. You will find the overall event information here.