Gran Fondo bike event coming to Morristown

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No, Gran Fondo is not a sinful dessert.

That comes afterward.

The term means “big ride” in Italian, and that’s exactly what Marty Epstein of Marty’s Reliable Cycle is planning for next Aug. 28 in Morristown.

Gran Fondos are long-distance bike races that include hill-climb challenges. Popular in Europe, where they often are named for famous racers, Gran Fondos attract hammerheads and casual cyclists alike.

“I’ve been thinking about this all fall,” said Marty, who also organizes mountain bike treks and cyclocross races. He discovered Gran Fondos in a trade magazine. “I wanted a new event.”

More details will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 2, from 7 pm to 9 pm at the Hyatt Morristown, which will be the start- and finish line of next year’s Gran Fondo.

Light refreshments will be served, along with video presentations of the Oxford Olympic distance triathlon and the Hunterdon Half Iron Triathlon, courtesy of Clinton-based PACE Racing, a nonprofit that is partnering with Marty on the Gran Fondo.

marty epstein
Marty Epstein of Marty's Reliable Cycle, at a November cyclocross that he organized in Morris Plains. Photo by Jake Byk.

A series of New Jersey multisport events and New York road races, produced by PACE and sponsored by JackRabbit Sports of New York, also will be announced.

Marty envisions the Gran Fondo as a three-day extravaganza with local rides, music and food spinoffs that will attract between 1,000 and 3,000 riders to Morristown.

“There will be a big party” and a still-to-be-determined charity component, Marty said.

Sustainability will be the theme. Marty anticipates a green products expo at the Hyatt and participation by local restaurants preparing locally grown food.

“We’re trying to get people to stay the weekend,” Marty said. The Hyatt may offer special rates, he said.

For the Gran Fondo, expect race-and-tour combos of 100 miles, 60 miles and 35 miles, rolling from Morristown through Hunterdon County. Hill climb champs will be crowned the King and Queen of Morristown.

“There will be a lot of hoopla,” Marty said. “And something for everyone.”

gran fondo philly
The Gran Fondo Colnago Philadelphia. Image: GrandFondoPhiladelphia.com
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