Gran Fondo sounds like a pretty fancy word, but leave it to organizers of the annual Tour of Kansas City to translate the slogan into plain speak.
The cycling event is part of the 51st annual Tour of Kansas City, a two-day European-style cycling festival taking part in various areas of the metropolitan area including New Longview in Lee’s Summit.
The Tour will take place June 21-22 and feature a stop at New Longview in Lee’s Summit June 21. New Longview will host short-course criterium races, kids races, a bike expo and bike swap, the Real Ale Fest and the region’s first Gran Fondo.
Gran Fondo is an Italian term for a short- to long-distance, organized, mass-participation cycling event. It begins at 7:30 a.m. and features five distances of 15-, 25-, 46-, 70-, and 101-mile rides.
“Gran Fondo is a 10-cent word for a really fancy bike ride; a pleasure ride,” said New Longview developer David Gale of Gale Communities, Inc. “We have the competitive (criterium) races, which anybody can enter, but the first thing in the morning we will have the Gran Fondo. It will be Kansas City’s first Gran Fondo.”
Formerly the Rock Island Ramble, the Gran Fondo will travel the rural roads along the historic Rock Island Railroad route through eastern Jackson County and northern Cass County. It’s considered a challenging ride that combines the best elements of epic recreational rides, scenic touring rides, and road races.
“It swept the nation about five years ago,” Gale said of the popularity of the Gran Fondo ride. “It’s just a pleasure ride on steroids.”
Also included during the New Longview portion of the Tour is the Real Ale Festival. At least 15 casks from a variety of different brewers will be included and there will be a limited number of tickets sold for cask beer, with a larger variety of bottle-conditioned ales from a score of brewers. The event is for both ride participants and spectators.
“It’s basically a street party,” Gale said of events June 21 including local vendors and artisans selling their wares and live music throughout the day. “This is a very professional setting. We’re not talking about a drunken party here, this is pretty slick. We’ll probably have 20 bicycle vendors with pretty fancy stuff. It’s an all-inclusive bicycling event.”