West Elk Bicycle Classic
The West Elk Gran Fondo is a demanding 135 mile timed road tour from Gunnison to Crested Butte. Climbing 9,500ft (209 km, 2700m) from Gunnison to Crested Butte, CO circumnavigating the West Elk Mountains held Sunday of Labor Day weekend. The crux of the ride is a 25 mile 5000' climb over the dirt Kebler pass to Crested Butte starting at the 100 mile mark. The top of Kebler is where your time will stop for this timed event. You then will coast neutrally down to Crested Butte for the official finish and party.
The roads around Gunnison and Crested Butte have been home to many races in the past. Much of our route was used in road racing in the 1970s and 80s and more recently with the US Pro Challenge stage race. We feel that our route rivals all other bicycle events in scenery, difficulty, quiet roads, and awesomeness. Check out some pictures and the course here! Also the West Elk Bicycle Classic has no left turns or stop lights and only two stop signs!
Is this a race or tour? The answer is yes. A gran fondo is literally a “big ride” that originated in Italy. In the gran fondo style, you will leave in a mass start from Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, Colorado with cyclists ranging from professional racers to recreational cyclists. You can sign up individually or bring your friends and ride as a team. Racing or seeing how fast you can go is a great way to challenge yourself. Of course just riding as a tour and trying to finish is a challenge. It's your option. A gran fondo is what you make it. Do you want to race others on a demanding course? Do you want to just tour and try to finish a demanding course? Or you can start racing and then just try to finish. We are open to all abilities, however you should train hard for this event. It is not easy.
Six aid stations with GU products and other goodies and several SAG vehicles will ensure that you are well fed, hydrated and make the ride enjoyable if you need a little help on your way to Crested Butte, Colorado. However, the course is on remote mountain roads at high altitudes. Be PREPARED. It may rain or become very cold quickly. You should be able to survive if you get stuck in the rain and we can not get to you quickly.
After the ride, you will be treated to a great meal by Donita's Cantina, New Belgium beer, Camp 4 coffee, a raffle and catch some of the great Crested Butte vibe. What else is included? With registration you will receive a water bottle, great Primal full zip West Elk cycling jersey and socks for bragging rights. We will also have a great raffle and prizes for top finishers.