Gran Fondo cycling event set for Michelin Proving Grounds
More than 100 cyclists are expected to visit Laurens County Saturday for the 2nd Annual Gimme 3 Gran Fondo.
Laurens Police Department Officer Jody Thibodeau said around 120 cyclists have registered online for the event, which begins at 9 a.m. at the Michelin Proving Grounds
“We’re doing more options this year,” Thibodeau said. “We’re doing the 104-mile ride, and that’s the longest option. We’ve added a metric century, which is 62 miles (100 kilometers). We’ve replaced the 45-mile race with a 33-mile option, and we have a fun ride.”
Awards will be given for the top three finishers in the men’s and women’s divisions in each race, excluding the fun ride. Participants in the fun ride will still receive timing chips to record how far and how fast they ride.
This is the fourth cycling event the LPD Bike Unit has hosted at Michelin, but is the second timed Gran Fondo.
The Gran Fondo was pushed back to mid-November this year in an effort to attract more cyclists due to less competition across the region from other events.
So far, it’s worked.
Thibodeau said they are hoping to have more than 140 riders to set a new record for events hosted at Michelin. The inaugural Gran Fondu drew around 50 rider last year, but a more casual event two years ago drew 140 cyclists.
The event is a fundraiser for the LPD Bike Unit. Thibodeau said money raised will go to help equip the unit and support its educational and safety programs throughout the year.
Online pre-registration has closed, but cyclists can still register at day-of prices online or prior to the event Saturday morning.
Race packets can be picked up Friday from 4-7 p.m. at the Coffee Roost in downtown Laurens. Registration and packet pickup will begin at 7:30 a.m. Saturday at Michelin.
Spectators are encouraged and admission for the event is free. A children’s ride will also be held along the interior track near the aid station, timing and race headquarters. Children must be accompanied by an adult, but there is no charge for them to ride.