Where is Hood River and what is a Gran Fondo? Are you wondering?
Well first off, Hood River is a town in the Columbia River Gorge on the Oregon and Washington border. It's a nice little town, popular with windsurfers and train enthusiasts.
A Gran Fondo derived its origin in Italy and is commonly translated as "big ride". In Europe these are mass start rides, often sponsored or supported by famous cyclists. European fondos are like races for the masses. They are events that make every rider feel like a pro for the day.
It is a concept that has begun to catch on in North America over the past few years. There are quite a few Gran Fondos, including Levi Leipheimers Gran Fondo in northern California, one of the biggest and most popular. Gran Fondos have become a way to help raise awareness, have fun and raise money for causes.
Today I registered for the Hood River Gran Fondo, to be held on Saturday September 24th 2011 in Hood River Oregon. The ride offers three distances to choose from - 30 miles, 80 miles or 100 miles. I chose the 30 mile route for my first Fondo. This Gran Fondo is a fundraiser for the Livestrong Foundation and the Knight Cancer Institute.
From the Echelon Gran Fondo site:
"Don’t expect any less for the Echelon series. Echelon makes every rider feel like a pro for a day. With a party atmosphere at the start, riders set out on a sporting challenge filled with the pageantry of a Grand Tour. While being timed on an epic climb, riders receive encouragement from the same cast of characters seen running alongside the riders at the Tour De France. Fundraising is optional but every rider’s efforts contribute to a much bigger battle against Cancer. As riders approach the finish line, they are treated to the roar of cheering fans and cowbells. After the ride, participants will enjoy a feast fit for kings while being entertained by rock stars!"
We have all been touched by cancer. They now say that everyone on the planet has been touched by cancer - whether its a family member, friend, collegue, fellow student, or whomever, most of us know someone who has battled cancer and either won or lost the battle.
I have set a very modest goal of raising $250 for the fight against cancer. I'd love to raise more! If you would like to help support my fundraising goal and if you hate cancer as much as I do, please donate toward a good cause. You can donate whatever you wish - $1 up to inifinity.
I will take photos of my ride and even some video from the seat of my bike. And, I'll keep you posted on my progress at the event draws near.
Fight cancer - support my riding of the Hood River Gran Fondo by clicking on the link:
Patricks Gran Fondo Ride