Column: Time to ride the Golden Gran Fondo

Avenue Flashes

John Akal
Posted 8/17/22

Sometimes I see some strange things in front of my house. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of people walking up the street dressed in swimsuits and carrying inner tubes or other floatation devices.

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Column: Time to ride the Golden Gran Fondo

Avenue Flashes

Posted

Sometimes I see some strange things in front of my house. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of people walking up the street dressed in swimsuits and carrying inner tubes or other floatation devices. Now, in downtown Golden, that’s not strange or unusual at all during the summer, people are tubing and swimming in Clear Creek. Lots of them. What makes this weird is that I live a mile away from the creek. I’m not sure if there is some kind of secret stream at the end of my street, but I haven’t seen anything like it. I guess I should just ask one of them where they are going, but I don’t want to seem nosey.

Then the other night, I walked out to my car to get something at about midnight and something moving across the street caught my eye. It was a weird, spooky figure lurking right next to my neighbor’s front deck, just below one of their windows and it was swaying back and forth, sort of silently taunting me from the shadows. I could see its face and arms moving up and down and I knew it was looking right at me. Then after a bit, my eyes adjusted to the darkness and I could see that it was just one of those giant sunflowers they like to grow that had reached about six feet in height. The wind was gently blowing it around a bit. Luckily, I discovered that before I called the police to report a burglar. I don’t want to end up on their list of senile old people to watch out for…yet.

But something I do see around here all the time that is not unusual at all is people riding bicycles, and I’m not just talking about kids in the neighborhood like it was when I was growing up. It’s loads of adults with awesome bikes that are serious about this. I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s worth noting again: Golden, Colorado is one of the cycling capitols of the world. We have more high-end bicycle shops than…Hmm, I was going to say beer breweries, but I think it’s kind of a tie there. Nevertheless, if you are into cycling, this is the place to be.

And if you like to participate in any kind of bicycle racing or huge group rides, then we have a world class event that suits that bill coming up right here in Golden.

It’s the 2022 Golden Gran Fondo. OK, in case your Italian is a little rusty, “Gran Fondo” loosely translates into English as “Big Ride” and is the international cycling designation for a type of long-distance cycling event that started in Italy back in 1970. Yeah, I look these things up for you so you don’t have to go Google crazy.

This event will be happening Aug. 28 and is a part of the Suarez Gran Fondo National Series that is run in various locations all over the country. The Golden version will be featuring three different routes of varying lengths and difficulty ratings that you can choose based on your experience and ability. They all start in Golden and run up through the foothills, then back to town for the finish line. They range from 20 miles to 91 miles in length with plenty of climbs and descents on each of them.

It’s sort of a combination race and fun ride. Some people will thrive on the timing elements, and they have several ways they do that, while others will just be happy with participating and completing the route. This is an extremely well-organized event with well-marked routes, safety and support stations all along the rides and smartly planned courses that have been designed by experienced people. 

The whole thing ends with a great post ride party in Parfet Park downtown where they will have a beer garden plus there will be a raffle for over $5000 worth of prizes too.

For more information and to register for this event, visit www.granfondonationalseries.com/gran-fondo-golden. 

OK, that’s the basic information for anyone who wants to participate. Now, here’s the info everyone else needs to know. It’s going to be a huge event with thousands of people as participants or spectators and there will be bicycles everywhere all day long. So, that means if you are driving anywhere in the area, particularly in the nearby mountains, be extra careful and watch out for them. This is an awesome event, so let’s keep everyone safe, OK? 

John Akal is a well-known jazz artist/drummer and leader of the 20-piece Ultraphonic Jazz Orchestra. He also is president of John Akal Imaging, professional commercial photography and multimedia production. He can be reached at jaimaging@aol.com.

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