Former professional cyclist Robbie Ventura is spearheading the inaugural Robbie Ventura's Gran Fondo—a daylong cycling event that also raises money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research—on Sunday, July 31, at Wisconsin's Blue Mound State Park, located approximately 25 miles west of the state's capital of Madison.
WHAT'S A 'GRAN FONDO'? >Gran Fondo means "Big Ride" in Italian. Gran Fondos are long distance, mass-participation cycling events--not races--that are immensely popular in Italy. Participation is open to both recreational and competitive amateur cyclists. Gran Fondos are often named after famous cyclists or after companies with a long heritage in the world of cycling.
THE DRIVING DISTANCE to the park from Chicago is approximately 175 miles. From Milwaukee it's approximately 105 miles. And about 235 miles from the Twin Cities.
Start time is 7:00 a.m. and participants have the option to ride up to five times over the 22.9 mile looped course route through the scenic--yet challenging--
►Rider registration cost is $95 on or before Wednesday, June 1, and $125 between June 2 and Friday, July 29. Teams are also encouraged.
There will be several water and aid stations along the course route. Riders will also be given a timing chip to track their (non-competitive)
►To sign-up for Robbie Ventura's Gran Fondo or learn more visit www.robbieventurasgranfondo.com.
All donations and fundraising pledges benefit Parkinson's disease research for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. To learn more visit www.michaeljfox.org.
►About Robbie Ventura: A native of Chicago's North Shore, Ventura was a professional cyclist for 12 years with his last four years as a member of the U.S. Postal Service Cycling Team alongside Lance Armstrong and his U.S. Postal teammates. A competitive racer on the dirt, road and track since the age of seven, Ventura amassed over 70 victories during his professional career, was a member of the U.S. World Team and rode the Track World Championships in Hamar, Norway, placing 5th in the elimination.
In 2000, Robbie started Vision Quest Coaching (www.visionquestcoaching.com)