Gran Fondo cycling event set to support valley nonprofits


Viva Bike Vegas 2013, a long-distance cycling ride, has been recognized as one of the top 10 U.S. Gran Fondos by Outside magazine. In Las Vegas, the full name of the event is the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada’s Viva Bike Vegas 2013 Gran Fondo Pinarello, sponsored by Zappos.com.

The event is set to begin early Sept. 21 at Town Square Las Vegas, 6605 Las Vegas Blvd. South. By 6 a.m., the Strip will see total lane closures as riders make their way.

Online registration is set to close Sept. 9 or as soon as the ride is at capacity. Day-of-event registration will be available provided registration spots are still available.

The gran fondo phenomenon had its start in Italy. Gran fondo means long distance or great endurance. There are running and cross-country ski gran fondos, too.

Some cyclists ride for the personal satisfaction of crossing the finish line. Others involve friends and co-workers to form teams and make it a social event.

This year’s is slated to have a Tour de France participant — last year’s event saw five-time Tour de France champion and two-time Giro d’Italia winner, Miguel Indurain — though which rider will participate has not been announced.

“Each year, we continue to see success with this ride, including last year’s event, which attracted riders from all over the U.S. and internationally from countries like England, Spain and Canada,” said Tina Quigley, general manager for the RTC. “To be recognized as a top 10 Gran Fondo is a great honor and opportunity for us to help further promote the growth of cycling in Southern Nevada.”

In 2012, more than 2,500 cyclists from 30-plus states participated. This year is likely to be a repeat of those numbers, as an international biking conference, Interbike, which has roughly 24,000 attendees, is set to be in town the days preceding Viva Bike Vegas. Riders who register for gran fondo online at vivabikevegas.com can receive a discount to attend Interbike at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

Viva Bike Vegas Gran Fondo offers routes for all skill levels, including a 104-mile Gran Fondo, a 61-mile Metric Century and a 17-mile ride.

Everyone will ride to downtown, where they will branch off, depending on the route they’ve chosen. Relief stations are slated to provide water and assistance.

The event culminates with a festival at Town Square Las Vegas, where riders will get lunch and family-friendly entertainment is planned.

Timing chips will be provided free, but organizers remind entrants that Viva Bike Vegas Gran Fondo is a ride, not a race.

The biking event is in its sixth year. Some participants are part of a team. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training is this year’s largest team, numbering about 500. Last year, it used the event to raise $1.5 million for blood cancer research and patient services.

Jenny Lumpkins, a nursing student, has been a cyclist since May. As newlyweds, she and her husband, Joe, donated to the event last year.

This year, Jenny decided to join the society’s team and raise money by riding in the event.

“I don’t really have a lot of money, but I thought I could help in another way,” she said. “They have options where you can bike or hike or run. I know I can’t run, and there are not a lot of hiking options. So I decided to ride.”

Her goal is to raise $1,800. Visit her donation page at tinyurl.com/lumpkinstrain.

Proceeds from Viva Bike Vegas 2013 are set to be divided among the After-School All-Stars Las Vegas, Communities in Schools, the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, and Nevada Child Seekers.

For more information, visit tinyurl.com/vivabike.

Contact Summerlin/Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at jhogan@viewnews.com or 702-387-2949.

 

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