20 of the Best Gran Fondos in the USA

Posted On February 24, 2022 / Lifestyle

By: Drew Hincapie

Start line at Gran Fondo Hincapie

Gran Fondos are a highlight of our year, and we are honored to be a part of the community with our four Gran Fondo Hincapie events. We love our cycling community, and a Gran Fondo is a ride that brings cyclists together and provides the opportunity to share our passion with local communities. Fondos aren’t exclusive to cyclists–they allow volunteers, sponsors, spectators, and families to participate in the excitement. Each Gran Fondo gives us the chance to challenge ourselves and celebrate the sport of cycling (and we’d do that every day if we could), so we’ve made a list of some of the most challenging and fun Gran Fondos in the USA. Get ready to mark your calendar with 20 of our favorite Gran Fondos to keep you riding year-round. 

What is a Gran Fondo?

Gran Fondo means “big ride” in Italian, and it’s exactly that–an endurance ride designed to bring the cycling community together from all over the world. A Gran Fondo is a ride, not a race, so it’s more relaxed than competitive. Traditionally, Fondos start en masse and extend over a course set around a beautiful landscape. Even though it’s not a race, a Gran Fondo may still be timed so you can set goals and challenge yourself. Some cyclists (ourselves included) love good, fun competition and choose to race a group of friends at a Fondo. Many Fondos will have a podium and prizes for segmented challenges throughout the course. 

Gran Fondos offer many other fun things to take advantage of in addition to the ride. Most include 

  • An after-party or meal
  • Food stations
  • Massages
  • Prizes
  • Free photos
  • A cycling jersey or T-shirt
  • A goodie bag
  • Bike repair

How far is a Gran Fondo?

There’s no distance requirement for a Gran Fondo, so you’ll notice that they all vary slightly in length. The original Fondos in Italy were 120 km or 75 mi. All Gran Fondos are long and take hours to complete. Most rides offer events in several different distances, the Gran being the longest. The length of most Gran Fondos falls between the 75 to 100 mile-mark, but there are also some that can extend as far as 120 miles. 

20 of the Best Gran Fondos 

1. Gran Fondo Hincapie–May-October, 2022

Gran Fondo Hincapie
Gran Fondo Hincapie – Greenville – 2019

Where? Greenville, SC; Chattanooga, TN; Lehigh Valley, PA; Bangor, ME

The Hincapie Gran Fondo is a top-ranked ride that’s filled with fun for the whole family. It’s such a great experience that we don’t think any cyclist should miss it, so we host the event in four locations throughout the year. Each of our races offer routes in three different distances, so cyclists of all skill levels can participate.

What?

All of the four Gran Fondo Hincapie events ride through breathtaking landscapes–the Tennessee River Valley and Sequatchie Mountains in TN, European-flavored countryside in PA, charming coastal areas and countryside in ME, and the Blue Ridge Mountains in SC. Each route in a Hincapie Fondo has been designed and tested by 17-time Tour de France rider George Hincapie, and our Gran Fondo Hincapie Greenville covers some of George’s favorite training routes. 

The rides include a confetti start, rocking rest stops with live music, and good food. Safety is always a top priority so we provide SAG cars, police escorts, bike marshals, volunteer course marshals, and abundant course signage to make sure you stay on track. The registration fee includes a cycling jersey, free food and family events, and discounts from our sponsors. We highly recommend bringing the entire family with you to enjoy the bouncy houses, cotton candy, spectator screens, FREE catered food…and did we mention FREE BEER?!

Each location also offers a Junior Challenge event to support young men and women cyclists in their love for the sport. Anyone from the ages of 10–18 can participate for the chance to win a cash purse with a combined total of $5,000 for Chattanooga, Lehigh Valley, and Bangor and $10,000 for the final Greenville event!

Keep an eye out for celebrities on our courses. Past guests have included Lance Armstrong, Mark Cavendish, Patrick Dempsey, and Sir Bradley Wiggins to name a few. You can join the VIP experience for the chance to enjoy breakfast with pro cyclists, a ticketed after-party, gourmet meals, and massages. A portion of your registration fee goes toward a local charity in your Fondo location. 

Cost & Distance

  • Gran: $215
  • Medio: $190
  • Piccolo: $95

 

Chattanooga: Gran–77 mi. | Medio–55 mi. | Piccolo–10 mi.

Lehigh Valley: Gran–81 mi. | Medio–55 mi. | Piccolo–14 mi. 

Bangor: Gran–83 mi. | Medio–53 mi. | Piccolo–14 mi.

Greenville: Gran–80 mi. | Medio–50 mi. | Piccolo–15 mi. 

Is this your first Gran Fondo? Check out our cycling training plan for beginners.

2. Mammoth Gran Fondo–September 10, 2022

Where? Mammoth Lakes, CA 

What?

The Mammoth Gran Fondo is full of challenging climbs (6,643 ft. elevation) and mountainous views. You ride past ancient volcanic craters and bubbling hot springs through the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range on the Eastern border of Yosemite National Park. Traffic is no concern on this ride with only one stoplight. Lunch is included in your registration fee, and each rest stop is stocked with food. 

Cost & Distance

  • Gran (102 mi.): $139
  • Medio (70 mi.): $129
  • Piccolo (42 mi.): $129

3. Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo–May 14–15, 2022

Where? Jacksonville, Alabama

What?

The Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo offers breathtaking views through mountains and valleys. This ride is known as the “toughest ride in the South” because of its 9,174-13,492 ft. of climbing on the ultra rides. The Ultra rides are for the experienced only and for those hoping to qualify for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championship. A King and Queen of the Mountain will be crowned for the steepest 3-mile climb. You can enjoy the pre-ride party for just $10, but every rider can enjoy breakfast and the post-ride party and will receive a T-shirt and medal. 

Cost & Distance

  • Ultra rides (62, 84, 100, and 126 mi.): $45
  • Shorter rides (24 and 44 mi.): $65

4. Cache Gran Fondo–July 9, 2022

Where? Cache Valley, Utah

What?

The Cache Gran Fondo is made for racing and recreation. It’s a UCI Gran Fondo World Championship Qualifier, but it’s also open to riders who don’t want to compete and just ride for fun. The ride will lead you through mountain valleys and desert landscapes. You’ll eat delicious food from local restaurants and snacks from sponsors like Fatboy Ice Cream, Pepsi, and Gatorade. 

Cost & Distance

The qualifier for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championship costs $95, and all non-competitive races cost $89. 

  • Gran (76/104 mi.)
  • Medio (50 mi.)
  • Piccolo (35 mi.)

5. Four Peaks Gran Fondo–August 13, 2022

Where? Pocatello, Idaho

What?

The Four Peaks is known as the “toughest ride in Idaho,” with 8,000 ft. of climbing within 80 miles. The ride is only timed on the uphill as you climb Crystal Summit, Scout Mountain, Pebble Creek, and Buckskin. An over King and Queen of the mountain will be crowned at the finish line, as well as a King and Queen for each peak. Expect to see wildlife and enjoy a delicious lunch at the end of your ride. 

Cost & Distance

  • Gran (80.7 mi.): $65

6. Steamboat Roubaix Gran Fondo–May 15, 2022

Where? Steamboat Springs, CO 

What?

The Steamboat Roubaix is a permitted road race that requires either an annual or 1-day membership to USA Cycling and CO Cycling to compete. But if you are not interested in racing for competition, you have the option to register as ‘just cruising.’ The rugged terrain that gives this fondo the name “Hell of the High Rockies” is 40% dirt and is a great physical and mental exercise. 

Cost & Distance

  • Gran (70 mi.): $65
  • Medio (53 mi.): $65
  • Piccolo (36 mi.): $65

7. Levi’s Gran Fondo–April 23, 2022

Where? Windsor, CA

What?

The Levi’s Gran Fondo shows off gorgeous mountain scenery and Sonoma County Wine Country. It follows the traditional Gran Fondo style with a mass start and hosts fun activities for the whole family. Your registration fee contributes toward raising money for organizations that help at-risk youth. 

Cost & Distance

  • Gran (88/122 mi.): $263
  • Medio (67 mi.): $230
  • Piccolo (32 mi.): $140

8. MSU Gran Fondo–official date unconfirmed (September)

Where? Grand Rapids, MI

What?

The MSU Gran Fondo is a fundraiser for medical research toward melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. Since its founding more than $1 million dollars have contributed toward revolutionary research for a new drug to treat melanoma. Not only will your participation assist this worthy cause, but it also includes a festival with live music and locally sourced food. You’ll ride across many different landscapes, including farms, small towns, bayous, lakes, and vineyards. 

Cost & Distance

Cost unconfirmed. 

  • Gran (80 mi.)
  • Medio (40 mi.)
  • Piccolo (25 mi.) 

9. Gran Fondo Asheville–July 17, 2022

Where? Asheville, NC

What?

The Gran Fondo Asheville is presented by Applewood Manor Bed & Breakfast and partners with other local small businesses who support the race. It gives you the opportunity to compete in timed segments and to win raffle prizes. After your ride, you can relax in hammocks and enjoy the beer garden and post-ride party. 

Cost & Distance

  • Gran (96.4 mi.): $130 
  • Medio (59.5 mi.): $110 
  • Piccolo (30 mi.): $75

10. Gran Fondo Texas–April 10, 2022 

Where? Montgomery, TX

What?

The Gran Fondo Texas is a charity ride for Texas Medical Center Orchestra, the National MS Society, and the Montgomery County Foodbank. The ride will take you through the woods of Sam Houston National Forest and cattle pastures in the town of Richards with plenty of rest stops along the way. A post-ride lunch will be waiting for you when you cross the finish line. 

Cost & Distance

All distances have a starting registration fee of $40.

  • Gran (88 mi.)
  • Medio (67 mi.)
  • Piccolo (31 mi.) 

11. Giro di San Diego Gran Fondo–June 11, 2022 

Where? Escondido, CA

What?

The Giro di San Diego has partnered with the Challenged Athletes Foundation to support veterans and former first responders on the road to recovery in this Italian-esque fondo. This ride is known for its delicious Italian post-ride meal, and you’ll deserve it after climbing Palomar Mountain. You’ll also receive goodies, merchandise, and a massage at the end of your ride. 

Cost & Distance

  • Gran (95 mi.): $118
  • Gran (56 mi.): $104
  • Medio (32 mi.): $104
  • Piccolo (20 mi.): $50

12. Gran Fondo Florida–March 20, 2022

Where? San Antonio, FL

What?

The Gran Fondo Florida is a great ride to help you shake off the winter chill. It showcases a peaceful landscape of quiet country roads, hills, horse farms, and orange groves. It’s part of the Gran Fondo National Series with four timed sections. Winners have the best combined times. The Fondo includes an after-party and is only 90 minutes from Orlando, where you can continue the fun at Disney World. 

Cost & Distance

$23 for any rider under 23. 

  • Gran (100 mi.): $130
  • Medio (55 mi.): $110
  • Piccolo (35 mi.): $75

13. Jensie Gran Fondo–September 25, 2022

Where? Marin County, CA 

What?

The Jensie Gran Fondo is free to all riders–simply download the route onto your GPS tracker and go! The route will lead you through the beach and redwood forest. After you finish the fondo, you’ll upload your ride to ridewithgps.com for credit and the chance to win prizes. You’ll also receive a recovery meal and goodies at the finish line. The route is mapped near local rest points, but there are no aid stations, and the ride is almost all self-supported. 

Cost & Distance

  • The Shut Up Legs (100 mi.): No entry fee!
  • The Presidential (70 mi.): No entry fee! 
  • The Break Away (40 mi.): No entry fee! 

14. Alpine Loop Gran Fondo–September 26, 2022

Where? Harrisonburg, VA

What?

The Alpine Loop Gran Fondo covers extreme terrain with sustained, steep climbs and 11 miles of dirt roads. But you get a full meal to replenish your energy at the finish line. The rest stops also include great recovery drinks–chocolate milk, tea, lemonade, and beer. This Gran Fondo supports charities that fight for prostate cancer awareness. 

Cost & Distance

Cost not yet disclosed. 

  • Gran (110 mi.)

15. BWR (Belgian Waffle Ride)–April–October, 2022 

Where?

What?

The Belgian Waffle Ride is gnarly, rough, and rugged. You’ll ride over 135 miles of harsh terrain, including rocks, water, sand, and gravel. Gravel bikes are recommended for this ride. To get you through the 16-17 hours of cycling you may endure, you’ll enjoy a breakfast of coffee and waffles the morning of your ride. 

Cost & Distance

  • Waffle (135 mi.): $250
  • Wafer (70 mi.): $175
  • Wanna (35 mi.): $175 

16. Gran Fondo Ephrata–March 20, 2022

Gran Fondo Ephrata
Gran Fondo Ephrata – image courtesy of Vicious Cycle Events

Where? Ephrata, WA 

What?

Gran Fondo Ephrata states that its course is for experienced cyclists only, with 4,900 ft. of steep climbing on rugged and difficult backroads. For those who are willing to brave the course over remote roads, a hot meal will be provided post-ride, and well-stocked aid stations are placed throughout the course. 

Cost & Distance

  • Gran (80 mi.): $85
  • Medio (50 mi.): $65

17. Vermont Gran Fondo–June 25, 2022

Vermont Gran Fondo
Vermont Gran Fondo – used with Permission

Where? Bristol, VT

What?

If you love challenging climbs, the Vermont Gran Fondo is for you. The 10,000 feet of climbing is not for everyone but perfect for cyclists who love to feel the burn. You’ll ride through the stunning Appalachian, Lincoln, Brandon, and Middlebury Gaps. And afterward, you get to enjoy the free after-party. Your registration fee includes the party and custom-designed merchandise. The course has one Gap hill timed challenge where cyclists can compete for prizes. 

Cost & Distance

  • Gran (109 mi.): $150
  • Medio (80 mi.): $130

18. Tour of Georgia Gran Fondo–April 16, 2022

Where? Helen, GA

What?

The Tour of Georgia Gran Fondo claims to be one of the most challenging courses in the Gran Fondo National Series. It’s located in Helen, GA, a quaint town structured to resemble a Bavarian Alpine Village to commemorate the German heritage of the people who settled there. The roads are remote and not typically cyclist-friendly, but they’re great for riding and will be equipped with nutritional aid stations and extra safety measures on the day of the ride so you don’t have to worry about cars around the corners of windy roads. At the after party, you’ll be served North Georgia BBQ and have the chance to win prizes. Your registration fee helps contribute toward medical expenses for those with diabetes.  

Cost & Distance

  • Gran (90 mi.): $120
  • Medio (60 mi.): $100
  • Piccolo (25 mi.): $65

19. Campagnolo Gran Fondo–April 3, 2022

Campagnolo Gran Fondo San Diego
Campagnolo Gran Fondo San Diego – Credit Endurance Sports Photography

Where? San Diego, CA 

What?

The Campagnolo Gran Fondo is an Italy-inspired ride through the backcountry of East County in Southern California. You’ll experience elevation gains of 6,600 feet. The Fondo includes live music, guest speakers, massages, and an Italian Pasta Fest and beer garden. All participants receive a jersey, medal, and goodie bag. The course includes challenges at different milestones, and cyclists can earn prizes for completing a 30-day cycling challenge. $10 of each registration fee goes to Life Sport Foundation, supporting athletes overcoming challenges. If you raise $600 for charity, you get to ride for free. 

Cost & Distance & Distance 

  • Gran (100 mi.): $135
  • Medio (60 mi.): $118
  • Piccolo (35 mi.): $68

20. Phil’s Cookie Fondo–September, 2022 (date unconfirmed)

Phil's Cookie Fondo
Phil’s Cookie Fondo – image courtesy of Phil Gaimon

Where? Los Angeles, CA

What?

Phil’s Cookie Fondo was founded by pro-cyclist Phil Gaimon, who combined his love of cycling, Los Angeles, and cookies into one event. Phil’s love of cookies is so well-known that fans would bring him cookies at his cycling competitions. Riding this Fondo includes rider swag, a gourmet lunch, bike stickers, and, of course, lots of cookies. By participating, you also help sponsor No Kid Hungry to feed hungry kids in America. 

Cost & Distance

Right now you have the opportunity to join the waitlist, but no costs are disclosed. 

  • Double Fudge (118 mi.) 
  • Chocolate Chip (87 mi.)
  • Sugar Cookie (46 mi.) 

 

Note: Some costs listed reflect starting registration fees. Many Fondos increase registration prices after certain deadlines. These price increases are not reflected here. 

 

Let us help you gear up for your next Gran Fondo! Shop cycling gear designed and tested by cycling pros. 

 

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