Thousands of college age party goers were not he only ones heading to Florida this past weekend.  With no coronavirus restrictions, despite the state averaging over 4000 new virus cases per day, almost 600 cyclists made the springtime trip to San Antonio, Florida USA for Gran Fondo Florida – part of Haute Route’s North American Gran Fondo National Series.

© GRAN FONDO NATIONAL SERIES

Rather than follow Haute Route’s european gran fondo format of timing riders from start to finish, Gran Fondo Florida uses a uniquely American short-sector timing model, only timing riders over a few short sectors.

Riders hoping to win must excel at riding 5-10 minutes at 110% effort and then puke (just like Spring Breakers), recover for 10-15 miles and do it again.

Although Gran Fondo Florida’s long route is 100 miles in length, only four timed sectors are competitive, giving every participant a shot at winning.

The first sector was 3 miles in length and dead flat.  Sector two was 5.4 miles with 174 feet vertical gain.  Sector three was 3 miles and up 138 feet.  The penultimate sector included 147 feet of “climbing” over 4.9 miles.

That sums to only 16.3 competitive miles on a 100 mile route.

Sounds easy?

Ummm, only if you can ride all those miles at 30mph!

Justine Bold took home the “Fastest in Florida” title, completing all four sectors in 33:13.27 at an average speed just under 30mph (29.35mph to be exact).  Right behind was Ken Vida at 33:14.87 and Garret Reel at 33:15.37.

Silvia Galea won the Women’s competition with a total time of 37:32.85 at an average speed of 25.88mph.  Second and third place both finished within 1 second of Galea – Estefania Montoya at 37:33.36 and Debora Finger 37:33:53.

Complete Gran Fondo Florida results here.

The next race in Haute Route’s North American Gran Fondo National Series takes place in Helena, Georgia on 18 April.  It too will use the American short-sector competitive timing format.

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