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  1. #1
    Descends Like Avalanche HigherGround's Avatar
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    Gran Fondo New York 2013

    Who is in? I'm already signed up!
    The rider in my avatar is David Etxebarria, not me.

  2. #2
    Senior Member lennyparis's Avatar
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    Did it in 2012 but doubt will do in 2013
    Not run very well
    Too crowded and rest stops were horrible (waited 20-30 minutes to go to bathroom)
    Need to limit number of riders
    LiveStrong Ride in Philly run much better

  3. #3
    Descends Like Avalanche HigherGround's Avatar
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    lennyparis, I agree that the 2012 event had some growing pains. I did not do the inaugural event, but I believe they went from 1,700 riders the first year, to 5,000 this year. I agree that some of the early rest stops were more crowded than they should have been.

    The first few miles were congested, but that is to be expected with so many riders heading out together. The LiveStrong Challenge is like that too. One problem at GFNY was that someone had broken glass on the road about 10 miles (?) in to the course. When people began to walk and carry their bikes across the glass, it really backed up behind them. I can't really fault the organizers; in a 110 mile event, plus a 65 mile one, they can't sweep the whole course. I chalked that up to bad luck and the moron who broke the glass.

    However, I think the overall atmosphere of the GFNY was very cool. I heard as much French, Italian, and Portuguese as I heard English during the event! I spoke with riders from Canada, Brazil, Germany, the Philippines, and of course Italy while riding. It definitely had the most international feel of any event that I have done in the last 30 years. (I got in to cycling in 1983... hard to believe it was that long ago!) It was also a tough course, and very satisfying to finish.

    Having said that, I have gotten to know the event organizers a bit by talking with them at the event, and through e-mail / facebook. Uli and Lidia are people who really truly love the sport, and genuinely care about the event and the participants.

    This past February I had some questions about logistics, and I left a voice mail on the phone number on their web site. About a day later I got a message from Uli via facebook. He said that he and Lidia were in Italy at the time, but if I sent them an e-mail with my questions, he would get back to me. The follow up was a very thorough, personalized response, rather than a generic form letter. Considering that very basic e-mails to a different gran fondo event were never acknowledged or responded to, I was impressed.

    I think they were a bit surprised or overwhelmed by the participation tripling in size, and by running a medio and gran fondo event simultaneously. This year they have capped the field at 7,000 riders, so they're looking at 40% growth at most, compared to almost 300% growth from the first year event. They have also eliminated the medio fondo. I had enough faith in them working out the kinks (and I had a good enough time any way), that I signed up for the 2013 event about a week after the 2012 one.

    As a side note, I agree that the Philly LiveStrong Challenge is outstandingly organized and supported. It's one of the best rides I have ever done. However I think they have a much bigger crew organizing it, and I think 2012 was their 7th or 8th year. I have done five LiveStrong Challenges and the Gran Fondo New York, so we may have ridden together at some point along the way! If you change your mind about GFNY, or you do the LSC next year, let me know.

    Last edited by HigherGround; 12-30-12 at 11:27 PM.
    The rider in my avatar is David Etxebarria, not me.

  4. #4
    Senior Member lennyparis's Avatar
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    I have done ever Philly LiveStrong Challenge in Philly. They are all very well run. Not sure I will continue as there are other charities to support that don't carry the baggage Lance has added to this organization.

    Gran Fondo will have more riders next year?? That is nuts. They should cutoff at less riders than last year. The rest stops and the Bear Mountain bottleneck up and down on the narrow roads will be worse than ever. Feels like they are just trying to make as much money as possible

    There are other Gran Fondos to do that are much better run then this one

  5. #5
    Descends Like Avalanche HigherGround's Avatar
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    I asked Uli about plans for improving the rest stops at this year's event, and this was his response:

    Our nutrition stops are three times the size of Gran Fondos in Italy that have the same amount of participants. However, Italians try to avoid stopping as much as possible because it costs time. We're working on improving the distribution as well as the perception of what a Gran Fondo is about. A Gran Fondo is a personal challenge where every rider does his best, whether that means 5 or 10 hours.

    The three main steps we will take:

    1. More hoses to distribute water faster.

    2. Aid station managers who organize distribution more efficiently.

    3. Start-to-Finish timing to avoid having people using a nutrition stop as a picnic site.
    The rider in my avatar is David Etxebarria, not me.

  6. #6
    Senior Member lennyparis's Avatar
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    Water from a hose is disgusting; how about bottled or filtered water?
    Rest stops are for quick pick up of liquids
    I was dehydrated last year because of the stupid rest stops
    Over $200 for what?
    Another jersey I don't need
    I can do the route myself and stop to fill up water bottles where I want
    May do Gran Fondo again but need assurances it will be better
    His explanation and more participants are not going to do it

  7. #7
    Descends Like Avalanche HigherGround's Avatar
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    To each his own. I'm going to go and have a great time!
    The rider in my avatar is David Etxebarria, not me.

  8. #8
    Senior Member lennyparis's Avatar
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    I may do the Fondo
    Just not sure yet
    I was certainly not wowed by how it was run
    Not very professional
    Almost every other ride I have done was run better than this Fondo
    Was a challenging route and felt good to do it in good time
    The last few miles from park to finish was super dangerous
    May not be the best location for a ride like this

  9. #9
    cks
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    I did the first two GFNY's but last year's experience was a total turn off. They were either totally out of or short of food and sports drinks at all but one of the rest stops and the lines for the bathroom were too long. In all, i think i spent about two hours standing in line for the port a potty or for water at the rest stops. I noticed that the for-profit organizers' response has been to blame the riders. This year, they've eliminated the timed hill climbs and are only going to time you from start to finish probably hoping that the doped up riders bypass some of the rest stops to ease the congestion. I also received an email berating the participants for taking too long to finish the ride with a stern warning that if you fall behind their schedule, they will divert you off the course.

    These are people who seriously need to get a clue. They need to study how NYCC runs their "Escape NY" event and learn how to run a proper mass cycling event through Northern NJ and Rockland County. NYCC's entrance fee is $40 v GFNY's $280. You'll be much better fed and hydrated at the NYCC event and the organizers won't blame you for "riding too slow" or "lingering at the rest stops". God forbid you try to relax and have a good time at a mass cycling event.

  10. #10
    Senior Member lennyparis's Avatar
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    I agree
    Plus with the whole ride being timed it will be even more dangerous
    Rest stops will be more a free for all
    See no indication it will be better
    Plenty of other rides to try instead

  11. #11
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    Is there a separate thread for the training? I live on Long Island and would love to do a Gran Fondo next year but I'm afraid I might not be able to train enough with the higher elevation and climb. I would appreciate feedback! thanks

  12. #12
    cks
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjco04 View Post
    Is there a separate thread for the training? I live on Long Island and would love to do a Gran Fondo next year but I'm afraid I might not be able to train enough with the higher elevation and climb. I would appreciate feedback! thanks
    They offer training rides that start from Ft Lee, NJ:

    http://gfnygroupride.eventbrite.com/

    Though if you're going to drive to Ft. Lee, you can just ride up 9W yourself. My understanding is that the the north shore of LI is pretty hilly. You may want to sign up for the northfork century and see how you do:

    http://www.northforkcentury.com/North_Fork_13/Home.html

    Finally, you can do NYCC's escape NY as a dry run in the fall:

    http://nycc.org/

    For $40, you are basically doing the same route as GFNY minus the bear mountain climb. Bear mountain is long but not steep.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by cks View Post
    They offer training rides that start from Ft Lee, NJ:

    http://gfnygroupride.eventbrite.com/

    Though if you're going to drive to Ft. Lee, you can just ride up 9W yourself. My understanding is that the the north shore of LI is pretty hilly. You may want to sign up for the northfork century and see how you do:

    http://www.northforkcentury.com/North_Fork_13/Home.html

    Finally, you can do NYCC's escape NY as a dry run in the fall:

    http://nycc.org/

    For $40, you are basically doing the same route as GFNY minus the bear mountain climb. Bear mountain is long but not steep.
    Thanks CKS! I signed up for the Montauk Century on June 1st just to get my first century out of the way. It is also organized by the same operator. It is a flat course so it's great for beginners. I've been riding on the certain parts of the North Shore of LI but I don't think there's anything that's pretty close to total climb the Gran Fondo course has.

    Been using mapmyride to search for rides and typical total climb is around 1000-1800 ft in North Shore. I will look into that Fall ride.

  14. #14
    cks
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    Ok so after railing about the ride and organizers earlier, I did the ride yesterday- it's like a bad habit. Overall, the experience was much better than last year (except for the fact that it rained the entire 100 miles).

    The lines for food and water were virtually nonexistent except for the first stop at Pierrmont- where the line for the porta potty was less than 5 minutes. The rest stations were much better stocked except for the top of Bear Mountain where inexplicably only foods that were offered were bannanas or plain bagels with jelly(they were out of peanut butter).

    The good part about this ride was that at some points, it felt like there were more foreigners than Americans- lots and lots of Italians with South Americans a close second- very cool. I felt bad for them because the weather didn't cooperate and they didn't get to soak up the scenery- especially from the top of Bear Mountain- but one thing that kept me going was that the weather didn't seem to faze them at all- leave it to Italians to find a way to have a good time through 100 miles of rain.

    Congratulations to the organizers- they seemed to have found a way to fix most of last year's problems. I still miss the medio riders though- if for nothing except to make me feel a little bit better about my slow riding- maybe they can bring them back next year with a limit on the number of riders.

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