Although the GFNY worldwide gran fondo series is hugely popular in Latin America, it has yet to catch on in America. Two of GFNY’s newest events, GFNY Ann Arbor and GFNY Waco, took place in June with hopes of attracting hundreds of participants each, yet both gran fondo rides failed to reach even 100 riders.
GFNY Waco, Texas USA on 26 June offered gran fondo riders two laps on an 35 mile loop in the Texas Hill Country. In typical summertime temperatures of 100F only 92 riders completed the ride, with Leon Santamaria finishing first in 3:15:35 for the men and Erika Sanchez first for the women in 4:02:59.
GFNY Ann Arbor, Michigan USA, fared even worse on 12 June. The gran fondo promised and delivered a flat, fast and furious 100 mile double-loop route through beautiful southern Michigan, but for only 69 gran fondo riders. Ben Gorodetsky won the event in 4:11:59, with Natascha Picaga crossing the finish line in 4:53:56 as the first women.
GFNY Santa Fe, New Mexico USA struggled to reach 100 gran fondo riders for the first and second editions (2019 and 2021) and will not return for a third edition in 2022 according to the City of Santa Fe, which, like the cities above, paid a $25,000 GFNY franchise fee for rights to host the event.
GFNY Sebring, Florida USA on the other hand has enjoyed success and found a loyal following. 500 riders participated in 2020 and then 400 riders returned in 2021 for the second edition. The third edition is scheduled 23 October 2022.
In 2023 the first edition of GFNY Rockford, Illinois USA is planned for 06 August, with the City of Rockford expecting 750 cyclists to spend $250 to register for the event and then fill more than 1000 hotel room nights.
As world renowned cycling commentator Phil Ligget would say, ”That’s a big ask.”