What is a gran fondo? A gran fondo is a long-distance timed event for cyclists. Riders must complete the entire course, however, their “time” for the event is based on their cumulative time through a number of segments, or portions of the course. As with many things cycling related a gran fondo can trace its origins to Italy. See more information on the Wikipedia page at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gran_Fondo. The Star City Gran Fondo follows the traditional format and offers various route options ranging from 28 to 100 miles.
Who/What is Blue Ridge New Generations? Blue Ridge New Generations is a chapter of Rotary International. Our chapter is made up of young professionals from the Roanoke Valley. Read more about what we’ve done recentlyhere. And be sure to follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/roanokerotarynewgenerations.
Details Details Details
When does this ride take place? August 19, 2017.
Where does it start and where do I park? The start is at River’s Edge Sports Complex- North. Use 200 Reserve Ave SW, Roanoke, VA 24016 to get yourself to the right spot. This is directly across from the VT Carilion research campus and is the same location used by the GO Outside Festival in the fall. You can park right at the start/finish line in the gravel parking lot. We will have folks there in the morning to point you towards a spot.
When and where is packet pickup? You can pick up your registration packet at the Cambria Suites on Friday night between 5:00pm and 8:00pm. The address is 301 Reserve Ave SW, Roanoke, VA 24016. This is basically across the street from the start/finish and it’s also our host hotel. Very convenient!
How are you going to track my time through the segments? We will have chip timing from Event Mercenaries. They use the Chronotrack timing system. Your chip will be in your registration packet. The chip is disposable so don’t worry about giving it back to us. Look for instructions in your registration packet about how to attach the chip to your bike.
Are any prizes available for the fastest riders? Yes, keep an eye on our Facebook page (facebook.com/starcitygranfondo) to find out exactly what the prizes are.
How are the winners decided? The winners will be the riders with the lowest cumulative time through the three segments of the Gran Fondo course. Other rules apply. Check out the KOM/QOM page for further information.
What kind of bike do I need for this ride? You will be best served by a road bike. The Medio and Piccolo routes are 100% paved (not always smooth, but they are paved). The Gran Fondo features a 1.6 mile gravel climb up Adney Gap.
What gearing should my bike have? All routes include the very steep but short hills such as those on Pitzers Road. There are also extended climbs on the Gran and Medio routes. Low gearing is recommended but it ultimately it depends on your ability level. Even the seasoned riders from this area often use compact chain rings in the front (34 or 36 teeth) and large cassettes in the back (28 teeth).
What should I wear? Well this will depend on the weather. We recommend that you check the weather in the days before the ride. It’s usually hot in Roanoke in August. Bring sun-screen!
Do I need to bring food and water? We recommend that you start with two full water bottles and whatever particular things you like to eat when you ride. There will be aid stations with food and water on the Gran and Medio courses. Check out the route details for more information about where they are.
Is it a difficult course? The race director says yes, it’s a difficult course. You can see the exact details of elevation gain on the route details On average all of the courses climb ~1,000ft per 10 miles. The road is basically never flat. Remember, if this was easy, it wouldn’t be worth doing. To learn more about getting ready for the event check out the information and training plans provided by Peaks Coaching Group.
Where will the aid stations be? The ridewithgps.com data has all the info you need. Check out the route details for links.
Is the course marked? Of course it is. We will be placing RouteArrows on the road to let you know which way to go. All courses will be marked with green arrows. When courses diverge they will be appropriately marked. The start and finish of each timed segment will also be marked.
Do I really have to climb Mill Mountain to get to the finish line? No, you don’t. The finish of the 2017 event is in the same exact place as the start. The climb up Mill Mountain at the end of your ride is optional. If you are feeling strong go ahead and climb up. If not, feel free to go back to go to the finish and enjoy some food and beverage. We will be there waiting either way! You don’t have to tell us if you will make the climb or not. We will have a volunteer at the decision point to help you pick which way to go.
Will the roads be open? Yes, the roads are open. Only for the first 3 miles of the Gran and Medio rides will be controlled with the help of the Roanoke City Police Department. After this the roads are fully open and it is the responsibility of each rider to follow all traffic laws. Your personal safety is best managed by you. Remember, you can’t ‘win’ this ride by going fast downhill or by blowing through an intersection.
Are there any time cut-offs for this event? Yes, there are some time cut-offs. All aid stations are manned by volunteers that have agreed to spend their Saturday supporting this event. We can’t keep them out on the course forever. Further details coming soon.