Pedal trip to Italy at the Gran Fondo in New York

Pedal trip to Italy at the Gran Fondo in New York

One hundred and thirty-seven kilometers from the Big Apple to the hills overlooking the Hudson River and back. The creature of Lidia and Uli Flhume moved the wheels for the first time in 2011. This year it was won by Mattia Gaffuri Chiara Doni

New York. Now it is the race of the Italians. Gran Fondo New York, also considered the Gran Fondo world championship: not all those in the world, but those organized by the couple Lidia and Uli Flhume since 2011. Today it has become a format spread everywhere, especially in the United States and South America. They can be recognized because they are characterized by the questionable bright green color: to participate it is mandatory to wear the official shirt.

The Italians have dominated the rankings for two years, last year Luca Vergallito and Samantha Arnaudo won. This year in first place overall, in three hours and twenty seven, we find Mattia Gaffuri (second in 2022), third Francesco De Candido. Among the women all blue podium with Chiara Doni, Annalisa Prato and Samantha Arnaudo. The largest group with twenty-seven cyclists at the finish line is also Italian: the Colavita New York Racing Team which brings together over sixty enthusiasts who live in the Big Apple and meet every weekend to ride together.

Lidia and Uli Flhunme naturally imported the idea by coming to race in Italy and seeing the success of participation. The idea from which they started would be to replicate the success of the New York Marathon with the bicycle. Participants have grown steadily since 2011, even if this year, thanks to the increase in prices due to inflation, there has been an evident setback: from three thousand four hundred to one thousand four hundred and ninety-two. Of course it is much more complicated to come by bike than with a simple pair of running shoes. The secret of the Marathon lies in crossing the city, while the GFNY departs from Harlem on the George Washington Bridge, considered the busiest bridge in the world, and closed for the occasion. It spills into New Jersey and along the Hudson Valley. These are New York cyclists' favorite roads for weekend outings: wide, safe roads.

There is in New York, actually, a cycling event that crosses the city, the Five Boroughts bike tour, but it is a 40-mile (65-kilometer) stroll through the city without any competitive ambitions and in fact it gathers thirty thousand people of all ages. The Gran Fondo on Sunday 21, on the other hand, is a race that even aspired to be included in the UCI calendar, which is why the original 100-mile route (with the possibility of a finish line of 50 for those who didn't feel like covering the whole distance) was shortened to 85 (137 kilometres) and the short one cancelled.Unfortunately for the organizers an articulated truck was stopped at the finish line when there was the sprint for second place, some have written that the truck finished third. The overall difference in height is two thousand meters which add up with many short but nervous climbs, even with tears over fifteen percent. The most famous are Alpine Hill, immediately after the start, one and a half kilometers, average gradient 7.4%, maximum 9, then Gate Hill, three kilometers and three hundred meters, average 4.9, maximum 12, finally Cheescote, one kilometer and seven hundred meters , average 4.6, with a maximum of 18. The guide that is given to all competitors explains how to tackle Cheesecote according to their competitive aspirations: if you want to win, if you still want to achieve your personal best or if the goal is simply get to the finish line: those who don't have competitive ambitions are allowed to cry, but advising to stay on the pedals and not push the bike down, "it's a climb not a beauty contest" is clearly written.

Gaffuri sprinted halfway through the course, just before Hill Gate, and no one was able to keep up with him. Disguised among the participants, as evidenced by a photo on the site, the mayor of Milan Beppe Sala took partwho arrived in the city on Friday and left again on Sunday, dragged along by the group of friends with whom he rides every weekend.

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