Gran Fondo draws nearly 700 to bike event

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Clear skies and warm temps greeted nearly 700 riders who came out to participate in the second annual Catalina Island MTB Gran Fondo, last Saturday, May 11.

With three different routes to choose from, there was a ride to challenge everyone, from the 14 Mile Ridgeline Route, the 41 mile Middle Island Route, and the Two Harbors 50 mile route for those riders really looking for a true test of their abilities and fitness.

Clear skies and warm temps greeted nearly 700 riders who came out to participate in the second annual Catalina Island MTB Gran Fondo, last Saturday, May 11.

With three different routes to choose from, there was a ride to challenge everyone, from the 14 Mile Ridgeline Route, the 41 mile Middle Island Route, and the Two Harbors 50 mile route for those riders really looking for a true test of their abilities and fitness.

Sho-Air/Cannondale legend, Tinker Juarez, a two-time US Olympian and multi time national champion set the male open fastest time for the two harbors route in a scorching 3:28:53, over 10 minutes ahead of the second place finisher.  Juarez, who turned 52 in March, still continues to ride and impress.

“This event is just awesome.  I brought my wife, son and mother-in-law over for the weekend.  It’s so neat to have an event that is more than just a bike ride.  Catalina offers so many neat things to do, and the riding, and views were just spectacular today, commented Juarez.

It was another Sho-Air/Cannondale rider, Monique Mata who set the women’s fastest time for the Two Harbor route.  Mata did the 50 mile ride in 4:13:39.  Mata is one of the country’s top long distance mountain bike riders with several national titles to her credit.

“For me the ride and the island was a great way to get back on the bike, after my injury in March.  It’s a fun, low pressure event, with great views of the island, and so many cool people to ride with.  It was a blast, and I will be back next year.”

The second annual Catalina Gran Fondo also raised over $2700 from generous donations from participants that were donated to the John Wayne Cancer Foundation in Newport Beach, CA.

US Cup marketing director Ty Kady was pleased with the event.  “Our rider turnout was up nearly 8%, so we were happy to see some growth.  Also, we were honored and grateful to all those who made donations to the John Wayne Cancer foundation.  We raised over $2700 in the fight against cancer, so I would say the event was a huge success on many levels.”

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