Tehachapi's GranFondo will return for a sixth year in a row as one of California's favorite cycling events. Two days of festivities are planned for Friday and Saturday, Sept. 13 and 14.
With more than 100 Centuries and GranFondos held in the state each year, Tehachapi's GranFondo has been proven to be the "it" course after being voted Best Century by Cycle California! Magazine for three years in a row for 2014 through 2016.
The Tehachapi Valley Recreation & Park District has taken over management of the GranFondo, and attracts more than 1,000 tourists to downtown each year. The race is open to everyone, from professionals to those who just want to have fun and experience one of the five timed courses.
The event kicks off Friday, Sept. 13, in downtown Tehachapi at the Centennial Plaza on Green Street for the festival between 3 to 8 p.m. The festival will feature entertainment, a wide variety of food and other vendors and sports companies that will give out samples. During the festival Friday night, a Pasta Fest will be served from 6 to 9 p.m. Come meet other riders and load up on carbs in preparation for the big race the following morning. Tickets cost $22 per person, and include a menu of spaghetti with meat or vegetable sauce, garlic bread, Caesar salad, tiramisu and a beverage.
The festival will continue Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will include a beer and wine garden and kid-friendly activities.
The start time for the five courses designed with all levels of riders in mind will be at 7 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 14. Cyclists will line up at 125 E. F St.
According to Ashley Krempien, TVRPD recreation supervisor, approximately 800 riders have already registered.
"We usually get a couple more hundred the week of," Krempien said.
Corey Lockwood, the title holder of King of the Mountain since the inception of the local race, will not be participating in this year's event.
Said Krempien, "Corey is not racing, so there is a huge opportunity for a new racer to win."
According to Corey Costelloe, assistant to the city manager for Tehachapi, the GranFondo has a significant impact on tourism.
"The Mountain Festival brings a lot of Kern County visitors, but the GranFondo brings people, honestly, from all over the world that come and ride in this event," said Costelloe. "As far as a global impact, I think the GranFondo has a little bit more of that because the cycling community is a group of people that are really dedicated to riding in all sorts of rides like this."
Michelle Vance, the former TVRPD manager, continues to remain active in the production of the Tehachapi GranFondo as the ride consultant.
"We are excited to host this first-class event which brings in tourism and revenue to the community," said Vance.
Registration varies from $55 to $100, depending on the selected course. For more information, or to signup online, visit tehachapigranfondo.com.