In coming weeks Solobike will be participating in one of Italy’s most prestigious road bike events – (Gran Fondo) Maratona dles Dolomites. In Italy the Gran Fondo has become something of a cycling phenomenon. Abstracting the best of road racing and sportive rides Gran Fondo events provide opportunity for both the competitive and non-competitive rider. Like an artisan Italian Gelato shop these events provide a wide variety of flavours for varying tastes. Individual differences aside, the real excitement is the opportunity of getting out and doing it yourself in one of professional cycling’s most impressive theatres.

Riders yet to experience the atmosphere of a major Gran Fondo can expect to be overwhelmed. Indeed the whole experience has the feel of a professional bike race without the competitive intensity. Whilst riders can be more relaxed in this sense, the corsa provides a genuine challenge as well as showcasing the best of the Italy’s most famous mountains. Not surprising then than 30,000 Italian road cycling enthusiasts go into a lottery each year for a place in the capped field of 9,000 participants. Seriously.

Our Down Under representation will be one of the many International teams entered into the event. The notoriety of the event now makes it one of the worlds ‘must-ride sportives’, with the vast international presence a further indication of the global popularity of the sport of road cycling. Being able to share the experience, a collective experience as much as individual, is something I am very much looking forward to.

I can’t wait.