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Gran Fondo

A world-class course for hardy cyclists

Golden Gran Fondo takes place Aug. 27

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Brian Baker, a cyclist from Vail, races recreationally all over the state throughout the summer.

“I like having something to train for,” he said.

So for Baker, the Golden Gran Fondo is an ideal way to spend a Sunday.

A cycling road race that takes place beginning at 8 a.m. Aug. 27, the Golden Gran Fondo starts under the arch in downtown Golden. The race welcomes pros and amateurs, and offers three different course lengths. Racers also compete in timed sections set up along the course.

“I really like the format,” said Baker, who will be racing in the Golden Gran Fondo this year for the second time. “For me, it’s more interesting than the typical charity race.”

Last year, because of the Linking Lookout road construction project at Sixth Avenue and 19th Street, Lookout Mountain was not included on the race route. But this year, the Golden Gran Fondo will be the first event permitted to use the bridge that spans Sixth Avenue at the base of Lookout Mountain.

“Not having Golden’s iconic road-cycling climb in last year’s edition was a big loss for the event,” said Marty Quinn, one of the event organizers. “We are super excited to be able to use Lookout Mountain Road again.”

Baker has ridden Lookout Mountain a number of times, he said, and is especially looking forward to it being included in the Gran Fondo.

“It’s one of the best climbs in the Front Range,” he said, “because of its beauty and proximity to Denver.”

In addition to Lookout Mountain, Jefferson County has completed all of its flood recovery road work along the race route this year, Quinn said, so “some of the less-than-ideal gravel road sections” have been eliminated from this year’s route.

“All-in-all, the course should be the best it’s ever been,” Quinn said. “We’re looking forward to hosting the area’s most hardy cyclists to tackle this world-class course.”

The Golden Gran Fondo provides a participant with probably one of the highest levels of self-accomplishment than any other race, said Todd Thomford, a cyclist from Englewood.

“One thing I like about the Gran Fondo is that it just keeps throwing it at you,” he said. “The climbs are steep and tough, and the descents are curvy and fast. If you’re a glutton for punishment, then this is the race for you.”

But the challenge is all part of the fun, Thomford said.

“And at the end, you get an overall group sense of camaraderie,” he said. “It gives all cyclists, novice to advanced, an opportunity to participate and have fun.”

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