By Matt de Simone
Mountain bike riders gathered in Fincastle on Sunday morning to compete in the 2021 Blue Ridge Gran Fondo. The race was part of the Gran Fondo National Series. There isn’t a start-to-finish time as in traditional races. Only timed sections count toward a rider’s competition time. Riders can take all the time they need between the legs of the race.
About 70 riders competed in the first portion of the race that started outside Courthouse Square on West Main Street in Fincastle to compete in the first of three legs. Tim Miller of Muddy Squirrel spoke a few words to the riders, giving encouragement and suggestions before the bell sounded and the event officially began.
The first leg of the Blue Ridge Gran Fondo was the “Mountain Ride”—the most challenging portion of the event. More climbing. During this leg, riders climbed Caldwell Mountain. They twisted and turned down the descent into Craig County. Along Craig Creek, bikers pedaled their way through Oriskany and Eagle Rock. Then, back to Buchanan, down Bike 76, and finishing up at 1772 Rooftop on Main in Fincastle.
Gordon Wadsworth of Shawsville won the overall “Mountain Ride” portion of the race, clocking in a finish time of 25:32.24.
The “River Ride” leg contained a bit of climbing. Riders traveled north toward Eagle Rock before twisting back over the Timber Ridge portion of the ride. Competitors crossed the James River and headed back into Buchanan. From there, they hopped back on Bike 76 before heading back to Fincastle.
Bobby Mountcastle of Roanoke took the “River Ride” portion of the event with a winning time of 29:10.14.
The “Valley” leg took the riders through scenic back roads along the James River into Buchanan. Then, riders turned their bikes toward Troutville on the Bike 76 route and then back towards Fincastle for the leg’s finishing stretch.
Matthew Joy of Roanoke won the “Valley” stretch finishing with a time of 21:38.08.
For more information about the Gran Fondo National Series and to read the full results of Sunday’s event, visit www.muddysquirrel.com/gran-fondo.