Avid cyclists from around the world will once again come together in Tehachapi this fall to ride and experience the beauty of the area as part of the GranFondo event.
The 2019 ride is set for Sept. 14, with courses ranging from 18 to 104 miles to serve all skill levels. Participants will wear a timing chip that will record how long it takes them to complete a course, although the GranFondo is not considered a race.
Courses will go through downtown Tehachapi into Bear Valley, Stallion Springs, Keene and the other surrounding communities, bringing views of the desert and mountains.
“The ride is almost like a tour of Tehachapi and goes into every community,” said Michelle Vance, the organizer for the event and manager of the Tehachapi Valley Recreation & Park District. “It’s a great way to show off the community and provide great hospitality.”
For those who just want to spectate, there will be various vantage areas for watching the cyclists ride, Vance said.
All courses start at 7 a.m. Check-in for the event is 3-8 p.m. Sept. 13 and 5-6:30 a.m. Sept. Sept. 14, both taking place at 125 E. F St.
In addition to the ride, the GranFondo Festival is at Centennial Plaza, 115 S. Robinson St. The two-day festival will run from 3-8 p.m. Sept. 14 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the 15th. The festival will include live music, food, information booths and more.
Vance said 1,200 people are allowed to participate in the GranFondo each year, about 300 of which are local riders.
“It’s about the quality of the race, not quantity,” she said of the rider limitation.
The King and Queen of the Mountain awards are given to one man and one woman rider who finish with the fastest time on a segment of a hill during the 104-mile ride. The location changes every year.
The winners receive $500 and a special jersey. Those awards are the only ones given out at the GranFondo. There is no award for fastest completion of a course, as Vance said it’s not meant to be a race.
Tehachapi’s GranFondo, one of more than 100 held across California, has been ranked 13th in the state for several years, Vance said. Tehachapi has also won the Best Century award from Cycle California! Magazine three times.
The cost to participate in the ride varies depending on the course. The price ranges from $65 for the 18-mile course to $130 for the GranFondo.
Money raised from the event supports community nonprofit organizations and public safety efforts. Vance said the GranFondo usually brings in about $22,000 a year.
Cyclists must register by July 7. To register or for more information, visit granfondo.com.