Today's Date: February 20, 2018

Latest Posts From the 'Fondo:

2018 Alpine Loop Route Announcement -

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

2018 Host Hotel -

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Registration Opens Feb. 1 -

Friday, January 26, 2018

Experience the Valley -

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Climb Shenandoah Mountain -

Monday, January 1, 2018

2018 Alpine Loop Route Announcement

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The Alpine Loop – Going Back to its Roots

In 2018, the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo will see its namesake route, the Alpine Loop, return to it’s original path up and over Shenandoah Mountain on Reddish Knob Road from Sugar Grove, West Virginia. The course adjustment will remove Forest Road 85, otherwise known as the Dark Side Climb, from the route after five years of use. Organizers cite degrading conditions on the Forest Road and a desire to respond to participant feedback as the primary motivator for the change. Anticipating higher interest in the changed route, the field limit of the event has been increased.

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In 2018, cyclists taking on the Alpine Loop will see the route return to Reddish Knob Road – an 8-mile serpentine climb that presents a spectacular challenge.

“When we first started the Gran Fondo in 2011, the Alpine Loop climbed back into Virginia on Reddish Knob Road – which at the time was an unpaved state-maintained road,” explains event director Erin Bishop. “Eventually that road was paved; and with the intention of preserving the allure of the experience of riding an unpaved mountain climb, we looked at the map and chose to reroute the Alpine Loop route to include Forest Road 85.”

Five years later, the forest road has experienced significant weathering and degradation. “It’s arrived at the point where the road’s condition is no longer a reasonable challenge to present to road cyclists while expecting them to have an outstandingly positive experience,” says Bishop.

For those cyclists who come for the challenge of steep unpaved mountain climbs, Bishop says not to worry. “We’ve always intended the event to be a challenging one, and that isn’t going to change with this revision. The climb up Fultz Gap is just as mean as ever.” There, cyclists will encounter 14-percent grades on a gritty dirt road, leading to the Alpine Loop’s iconic mountain top meadow.

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In 2018, cyclists attempting the Alpine Loop route will be tested by the classic challenge of Fultz Gap – an unpaved climb serving up the course’s steepest pitches at 14 percent grades.

Jeremiah Bishop says, “I personally am excited to get back to the classic route! It will mean less flats, and just as much dirt, with the same amount of climbing.”

The adjustment will see the introduction of a new timing segment added to all three of the event’s mountain routes.

Returning the Alpine Loop to its original route will bring the Gran Fondo back to its roots, says Bishop. “I really look forward to sharing this route, focusing on the camaraderie of the event, and seeing the excitement of a new challenge inspire our riders.” Based on her conversations with participants, Bishop says, “I’m confident that the time is right and that we’re going to have an amazing adventure this year.”

In coming weeks, 2018 route maps including the locations of all timing points will be updated at www.AlpineLoopGranFondo.com. Registration for the 2018 Alpine Loop Gran Fondo opens on February 1, at 10 a.m. at www.BikeReg.com/GranFondo.

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