So you were training and planning to ride an Italian gran fondo this summer, but there’s a global pandemic on, so now you can’t. Well, yes you can, thanks to a brilliantly simple idea from Formulabici.
The idea is that you do the gran fondo that you’ve always wanted to ride but on your home roads. There are finisher’s certificates, and you can tick off a few fondos if you’re feeling super keen.
The ‘entry fee’ for each event that you do is a €10 donation to the Italian Civil Protection, the national body that deals with the management of emergencies.
Formulabici would like you to try your best to stick to the distance and climbing totals of the grand fondo you choose. A discrepancy of +/- 10% for the distance and +/- 5% for total altitude is allowed. Gravel rides should include dirt road distance of within +/- 10%.
Once you’ve done your grand fondo, upload the gpx file along with a photo of yourself from the day. Formulabici says that there will be detailed instructions on how to do so in the registration email. Once your data is verified, you’ll receive your finisher certificate via email.
Formulabici run some of the biggest gran fondos in Italy including the Maratona delle Dolomiti, Eroica, Granfondo Campagnolo Roma and many more so there is a massive range of rides to replicate.
The more we think about this idea the more compelling it gets. Getting the obvious downside out of the way first – you don’t get to go to Italy to ride the real thing, but there’s always next year. You’ll also have to provide your own Italian cuisine experience, so only the freshest of pasta and the best mozzarella will do.
After that, it’s all positives. If you’ve never attempted a big ride like this before, this will give you a good idea of the physical challenge involved. In fact, it would be brilliant training – because there’s every chance it might be harder.
While you’ve got the advantage of doing it on familiar roads, you’re not going to have the adrenaline rush of doing it as part of a huge field of other riders - this is just you and the road. You’ll also have to plan your own socially-distanced food stops. And, the biggie for those of us in flatter areas, while devising a route that gives you distance for some of the big-name gran fondos should be straightforward enough – getting the distance AND the climbing done together in one day might be more of a challenge.
Depending on where you live and the events you choose to ride, it should be doable and of course, you can now travel to take your daily exercise. But British hills aren’t the Alps, the Apennines or the dolomites so you’re going to need to pack a few in to get the 3840m climbing of the Nove Colli or the 4230m of the Maratona dles Dolomite.
If you were planning on doing Strade Bianche, you’ll have to find some chalky roads to ride. Might we suggest Salisbury Plain?
Most pros will tell you that going up and down a lot is harder than just going up a lot. Many short climbs followed by technical descents can be particularly wearing, so you’ll need to plan your route carefully.
There are loads to choose from and the ‘entry fee’ is going to a very good cause, so give it a go if you can. We’re looking forward to seeing the creative routes that you come up with.
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. After joining the road.cc staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.