At the second edition of the USA Gran Fondo National Championships in Asheville, North Carolina on 17 July, 40+ year-old amateur racers Andrew Knight from Georgia and Jill Patteson from Virginia bested a field of over 200 participants to win coveted Stars and Stripes National Championship jerseys and the title of “USA’s Best Gran Fondo Rider.”
The USA Cycling national championship event was run on a 100 mile grand fondo route in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with riders competing in age/gender categories over four timed segments totaling 1 – 1.5 hrs of racing, rather than the entire route.
Winning with a razor-slim margin of less than six seconds, Andrew Knight, 45, defeated 32 year-old Felipe Aros from Florida by completing the segments in 1:07:52.9 versus 1:07:58.39 for Aros. 22 year-old Benjamin Wright of Virginia was third overall in 1:08:07.57.
Jill Patterson, 41, from Virginia won the women’s national gran fondo title with a time of 1:15:50.43. Fellow Virginia cyclist Rachel Jordan, 28, was second in 1:19:12.26 and local legendary rider Debbie Milne, 53, finished in third place with a time of 1:21:58.63.
National championship jerseys, as well as gold, silver and bronze medals, were also awarded based on age/gender categories. The largest category was men age 55-59 with 24 competitors, which Montana racer Mike Unrah won.
To participate in the USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championship, riders first had to earn a starting slot by qualifying at a Gran Fondo National Series® event.
Complete USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championship results HERE.
Photos: Gran Fondo National Series