Re-posted from by Patrick Brady


Every now and then a good idea gets washed out. The New Romantic movement of New Wave music in the ’80s started off great and then went post-apocalyptic Road Warrior-style. Everyone started wearing mullets and forgot how to write actual songs. Somehow, wearing a tux shirt, unbuttoned, started passing for artistry. Gran fondos have suffered in the same way. There have been more than a few lackluster centuries that got repackaged as gran fondos, as if a new name was the same thing as a product overhaul.

The funny thing is that a real fondo is easy to distinguish from the imposter. First is the mass start. With most centuries and other organized rides I’ve ever done, no matter how early you arrive—8:00, 7:00, 6:30—there are people already on the road, have been for the last hour. In the middle of the lane, riding 9 mph. The other notable difference is that a real fondo, a proper fondo, will control each and every intersection for the whole of its length. The upshot is that you only put a foot down and stop if you choose to. We’re not talking a closed course, just the freedom from having to stop at each intersection, so when I’ve had event organizers complain how expensive and difficult it is to secure controlled intersections, my answer is, “Well maybe you’re putting the fondo in the wrong place.” Of course, the alternative is that they haven’t secured enough sponsorship to do the job right.  Read more ....