Ahh good ole Gran Fondo Leavenworth. Once the sharpest rapier in Vicious Cycle’s scabbard it has been dulled somewhat in recent years by the exclusion of the Mud Creek and Navarre Coulee sections but it is still pointy enough to draw blood and extract sweat. Or drown you like a bilge rat as appeared to be the case this year when I was confronted with an absolute dark, dank, downpour upon cresting Blewett Pass at 6:15 a.m. en route to the Peshastin Elementary School start line. Continue reading “GFL With Brig”→
You already know what we’re going to say right, come ready for adventure. So here’s a few things that could potentially make Gran Fondo Leavenworth even more adventurous than it already is. Snow. Big surprise, but there’s still patches of snow atop the first climb. There may or may not be a short hike-a-bike similar to a few years ago, should be fairly minimal with that run of warm weather we just had. Rain. Forecast is calling for chances of rain on and off all week. Some rain would be nice, as things are already super dry. A lot of rain turns Swakane into a gumbo mess, to which we reroute. Parking. The Peshastin/Dryden Elementary School where we stage out of is under construction, and we only have about half the parking we usually have. Please see parking map for additional parking options. Otherwise everything is awesome, and shaping up to be epic!
Gran Fondo Ephrata Update:
Welcome to the 2019 edition of Gran Fondo Ephrata, one that is sure to go down it the history books! Over the years we’ve been through a lot here at GFE, sleet, wind, rain, but nothing quite like the winter we’ve just had/still having. Good news! The end is in sight! It is supposed to be warming up all week, with a high of 47 on Sunday. With that however, comes the thawing mess that has turned every one of our gravel roads into a quagmire. Fear not though, we have two all pavement rides that are clear of snow and just so happen to be pretty rad (pending permit approval). That’s right, these are our local go-to rides that we are actually pretty stoked to share with you.
2019 GFE Grande: 78.6 miles, 5296′ This route is a Vicious Cycle winter classic, it has epic scenery through Moses Coulee with an endless wheat land roller coaster on Whitehall Rd, and a lap on our 17 mile medio circuit to finish it proper. 2019 GFE Medio: 34 miles, 2450′ This hilly 17 mile circuit is our local favorite, that is often our Monday night group ride. Medio riders will do two 17 mile laps.
We realize this is not what everyone was expecting, us either, what little gravel is not buried in snow, is such a deep, muddy mess it’s unrideable (don’t ask how we know). You’ll thank us, as will your equipment. These rides are all about adapting, and rolling with what you get, whether it’s three feet of snow, rain all day, scorching heat, freshly graded roads, cattle drives… etc. In the end we’re in this together and we think that together it will be awesome! We appreciate you rolling with us, and look forward to seeing you all this Sunday in Ephrata for a very memorable edition of Gran Fondo Ephrata.
Vicious Cycle Gran Fondo Series p/b NW Tri & Bike is finally here and we can’t wait to kick things off with Gran Fondo Ephrata this Sunday. We’ll have early check in available Saturday evening at the Pita Pit from 7:00-8:00 pm. The ride begins at the Ephrata High School Performing Arts Center. Check in will be inside the PAC from 7:00-8:30 am where you’ll need to sign the waiver and pick up your number if you haven’t already. Grande ride starts at 9 am, Medio starts at 10:00. It is important that you start in the correct group. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the course (above). Better yet upload it to your device! Come prepared and ready for adventure. The weather is looking good but there is no telling with the crazy winter we’ve had. On course support is limited. Timing closes at 5:00 pm. Live results can be found on Webscorer. Please join us after the ride at the Ephrata Recreation Center for post ride meal. Need more gravel? Goldendale, Leavenworth, Ellensburg, and Winthrop, have your vitamin G fix.
While you’re in town here’s a couple of our favorites:
The Bookery -Coffee, breakfast, lunch
Pita Pit -Lunch
Uggieboo Bistro -Beer, food
12 Hawks -Beer, food –
Tequillas -Mexican food
Sleep – Best Western
Camping – Oasis Park
Tell them your in town for Gran Fondo!
Thank you for your entry into the 2019 Gran Fondo Ephrata, we really appreciate you rolling with us, see you Sunday!
We always like to say “come ready for adventure” aka when given lemons you make lemonade (or in our case snowcones). There are many moving parts to a ride like this and some of them we have zero control over. Like when you get pounded with two years worth of winter in two weeks. As we currently sit at two weeks out from Gran Fondo Ephrata we have parts of both courses impassible and under 4-6′ of snow. There’s also roads that are “passable” but not necessarily ridable. So what is the answer to all of this? Postpone? (Highly unlikely) Cancel? (Even more unlikely) Roll with it and make the best of it because gravel riding folk aren’t exactly ones to shy away from a little adversity? We’re liking that option. The 2019 edition of GFE will probably not look like any other one we’ve had. We even have a special issue GFE tshirt to commemorate (commiserate?) the whole spectacle. In the end we’re in this together and we think that together it will be awesome! Stay tuned, and come ready for adventure!!!
EDIT: A lot can change in two weeks and we have a number of course options available, but if I were to take a guess right now I would say it’s looking like a Palisades out and back (which is currently clear of snow). That would land us approx 75 miles with 3500′ of climbing. We will edit as conditions permit.
We were so close! December was great, January was still nice, no winter, then February came along and boom, full on winter. It’s not even so much the snow that was bad, it was the wind (and snow). Currently we have about 6-8 inches with drifts. Baird is closed which is not uncommon for this time of year, however the extended forecast of cold weather is a bit concerning. You knew that it was too nice last year, there was going to be a price to be paid. Gran Fondo Ephrata has a reputation for being epic and this year promises to deliver!
This time of year there are many hazards putting on an event; fires, snow, sleet, torrential rain, cyclocross… so as you can imagine it’s always a relief to find our course in such good condition. That is of course assuming you’re idea of good, is a heinous amount of climbing over 90 miles of north cascade gnar. We are still one week out, so no promises as things can change fast in the high country, but so far things are shaping up for a great weekend, no smoke, highs around 70, and a splash of fall colors. We’ll be sending out an email to all registered riders with need to know last minute details, but a few freebies in the meantime: ride starts at 8:00am Saturday, it’s going to be colder than you think at 8am in Winthrop. It’s going to be even colder at 7000’. You will wish you had bigger tire.
We are in the final count down to Gran Fondo Ephrata, and the number one thing that can transform gfe from a nice Sunday ride into one that will go down in infamy is the weather. Continue reading “Bonus GFE info”→
Nothing gets you more stoked about riding than getting a new bike. If that is not a true statement you should probably take up frisbee golf or something. So when Cannondale/NWTB signed on as presenting sponsor of the Gravel Fondo Series you can bet my wheels where turning (pun intended). The Slate would appear to be designed by a disgruntled GFW participant sick of having the wrong bike. Monster truck tires and a Lefty fork make for a bomber package. Then you have the totally redesigned Synapse. A light, racy endurance road bike with disc brakes, thru axles, and clearance for 32’s. This bike screams GFE and GFG. I’ve been riding one for the last few weeks and I’m loving it. I’ll be sharing some of my adventures with it on here, you can also follow along on Strava. Better yet get some of that new bike buzz for yourself! Our friends at NWTB are giving a 10% discount to all Gran Fondo participants!
It has been a crazy fire season once again and that is always a concern at a late season event in the mountains such as Gran Fondo Winthrop. To the best of my knowledge the only fire in the area is the Diamond Creek fire located well north of the course. After a moto preview on Sept 10 I was relieved to find clear blue skies with just the faintest hint of smoke for a brief moment on the far side of Freeze out pass. While I would still not make any promises yet as a lot can happen in two weeks, at this moment I have no reason to believe there would be any reroutes or cancellations. All that leaves you to worry about is the 11,000′ of climbing and the jagged gnar that the Forest Service refers to as “roads.”