By Dave Iltis
Following the demise of the Cycle Salt Lake Century in 2014, a new organizer has stepped in to create a new road touring event in mid-May in Salt Lake City. We asked Jared Eborn of Extra Mile Racing LLC to fill us in on the brand new Gran Fondo Salt Lake to be held in Salt Lake City on May 16, 2015.
C.U.: Tell us about the event. What will the course be like? What are the distances?
The course will be a little more challenging than the participants old event are used to seeing. We’re sticking to Salt Lake County and will ride from the Utah State Fairpark out to Saltair via the I-80 Frontage Road and then south into the valley through Magna, West Jordan, South Jordan and Herriman on the Mountain View Corridor Highway.
What are the highlights of the course?
UDOT’s Mountain View Corridor is no stranger to cyclists in the valley. So we’re happy to add that to our event. But we’re also tossing in an optional climb up one of Utah’s most notorious ascents – Butterfield Canyon. We believe that will be a highlight for all who decide they’re up for the challenge.
Tell us about the ‘Gran Fondo’ aspect of the ride. What parts will be timed? Do riders need to ‘race’ the event, or can they just come out and ride?
We will time the event, but it is not a competitive race – at least not this year. So riders will be required to observe all normal Utah traffic laws in regards to cycling. By timing the ride, we’ll still give people a chance to push themselves and have an unofficial race with their buddies, but we won’t be handing out awards for the first person to cross the finish line or the guy with the fastest overall time.
If there is a portion of Gran Fondo Salt Lake that might be considered a race, it will be our King of the Mountain and Queen of the Mountain challenge up Butterfield Canyon. We’ll keep track of times from the top to the bottom and have a few awards. The first man and women to the top will get a prize when they get there and the fastest man and woman will also get some prizes. This is because the first to the top might not necessarily be the fastest, depending on actual start time and the time it takes to get the mouth of the canyon.
What support will you have on course?
We will have fully staffed and supported aid stations. We’re allowing bike shops or other cycling events to ‘adopt an aid station’ where they’ll serve up snacks, fill up water bottles and fix flat tires as needed. Riders can expect water, First Endurance EFS drinks, fresh fruits, salty snacks, Swedish Fish and all the normal stuff. We also have several HAM Radio operators in vehicles and placed at the aid stations to keep an eye on the course and keep our communications system going.
Why did you decide to create this event?
I’ve always liked the Cycle Salt Lake Century, but felt Salt Lake City needed something a little bigger and better. So when that event collapsed, I knew there was a place in the calendar to create a truly great event. I believe a great cycling community deserves a great cycling event. I think Gran Fondo Salt Lake will be that event.
What other activities will be held in conjunction with the ride?
We’re having an expo and vendor fair at our packet pickup at the Utah State Fairgrounds and we are also going to hold a Classic and Custom Bike Show. Instead of finishing your ride, grabbing a bite to eat and heading for home, we want people to stick around for a while and look at some of the most beautiful and impressive bikes Utah has to offer. We’ll also have some fun activities for kids and youngsters who might want to spin around while mom or dad is riding.
May 16 — Gran Fondo Salt Lake, Salt Lake City, UT, A timed bicycle tour of the Salt Lake Valley. Fully supported aid stations, professional on-course support, and a finish line meal await. Optional KOM/QOM challenge ride for the climbers out there. Utah's first Classic & Custom Bike Show at the finish line. Benefits Bike Utah & Team Kid Courage, Jared Eborn, 801-599-9268, [email protected], GranFondoSaltLake.com