Tips for Your First Gran Fondo Hincapie

Gran Fondo Hincapie Greenville

It’s the weekend many cyclists have called “the best weekend of the year,” and what Gran Fondo Guide ranked the #1 Gran Fondo in the United States in 2018. If this is your first Gran Fondo Hincapie, you may be wondering how to make the most of it. Hear from riders who have a few fondos under their belts, and check out their tips for maximizing the fun during your own Fondo experience.

Prep for the Ride

Hincapie Ambassador at Gran Fondo Hincapie
“Stick to your routine the night before the ride. Eat your ‘night before a big ride’ meal and get to bed early. In all the excitement it will be hard to fall asleep. With breakfast, eat like you normally would for a big ride, but don’t overeat! Nothing worse than GI trouble in the mountains. Moderation is the key. Do the same things that gave you the confidence to sign up for this tough ride.”
Joey Heard, Lawrenceville, GA

“Don’t forget to pack the essentials—deodorant, a comb/brush. These things are just as important as your Nuun bar and your GU.”
Jillian Martinek, Grand Rapids, MI

“Don’t forget the key to your bike rack lock!”
AnnieLloyd Nesbitt, Raleigh, NC

Recruit your team

Hincapie Ambassadors with George Hincapie

“Bring your squad!! The Fondo is so fun, and it’s even more fun with your favorite cycling buddies!!”
Kari LaRocco, South Tampa, FL

“Encourage and support your fellow riders! It makes them feel good, and it makes you feel good too.”
Daniel Halliman, Clemson, SC

Enjoy the ride

Starting line at Gran Fondo Hincapie

“Don’t fear the mass start. If you want to take it easy at the start, consider lining up farther back in the chute. When riders roll out, keep right and hold your line. If you’re a speedster, line up early and up front. If you want to pass, be courteous and announce your intentions. Sure, the clock is running, but Gran Fondo Hincapie is a fun ride. Take your time and enjoy it.”
Jeff Stacklin, Cleveland, OH

“It’s not a race! That’s why it’s called a ride. Talk to people, make friends, and enjoy the rest stop food and banter!”
Amy Wise, Chapin, SC

“Ride your own ride at whatever pace is comfortable for you. It’s not a race—the goal is to finish. Enjoy the company, as there are so many cool people to meet and socialize with. I’ve found talking with someone while going up a tough climb helps take my mind off my legs. Finish. Then enjoy the post-ride celebration and after party. You’ve earned it!”
Rich Cohen, New Haven, CT

And remember: It’s more than a ride

Family Festival and Expo at Gran Fondo Hincapie-Greenville

“Spend some time seeing all of the sponsors and their products and services.”
Keith Wipprecht, Mason, OH

“For first timers: Take it all in.

“All of the ride amenities: The day starts early so get there early. Listen to the volunteers, ambassadors, and staff. We are there to make everyone’s experience as enjoyable as possible. If you want to be at the front, line up early. Don’t get there 10 minutes before the start and expect to slip in at the front. This leads to congestion and makes the start less safe for those around you. Since it’s your first time, stop at the rest stops. The music, snacks, and camaraderie of your fellow riders will make it worth it. Save a little in the tank to make it up the red carpet with a smile. This is the moment that will be captured by your family and friends. Finally, after you finish, grab a beer and some paella and enjoy the time with your friends and new #hincapiefamily.”
Rob Snyder, Ypsilanti, MI

“It’s not just about the Fondo; it’s the city, community, and time with friends.”
David Winckler, Ontario, Canada