An Epic End-Of-Summer Bike Ride
Share an amazing ride experience between two iconic northern towns - a historic lumbering town surrounded with beautifully clear inland lakes and a historic fishing village on the beautiful shores of the largest fresh-water lake in North America, with a purpose to benefit healthy lifestyle through clean sport and cycling.
The Gitche Gumee Gran Fondo is a mass-start cycling event in the spirit and tradition of the great Italian cyclosportives. Launched in 2017, riders gathered at the start in one of the Midwest's most popular vacation destination towns of Hayward, Wisconsin to embark on an adventure route through the northern Wisconsin forests to the historic fishing village of Bayfield, Wisconsin.
The ride will start in Hayward, Cable or Drummond depending on your ride route and wind along 100, 80 or 60 miles of scenic, paved Wisconsin back-country roads, several river crossings, and traverses the Continental Divide. The ride starts at 8 am in Hayward and finishes on Bayfield’s Lake Superior shoreline. Return-Transportation provided; Cyclists of all abilities/ages welcome!
This year's event has teamed up with The Steve Tilford Memorial Fund, as our official charity, with a portion of the proceeds going to support the fund's partnership with USA Cycling’s anti-doping efforts. Programs which encourage juniors to appreciate and respect the benefits and ideals of fair competition, and fully understand the risks and downsides to doping, will be a key area of focus. This fund will honor Steve’s passion for clean sport and be part of his lasting legacy.
- - ROUTE UPDATE - -
Due to unforeseen road construction, we have had to modify the last 10 miles of the route and are still solidifying route details. We’ve been spending a lot of time researching alternative routing options given the road construction with a goal to bring you the safest and most scenic route possible. Updated route maps and cue sheet can be found HERE.
- - STARTING LOCATIONS & TIMES - -
The starting location for both the 80 and 100-mile distances will be in Cable at Rivers Eatery / Tilly’s Pie at 8 am sharp.
The 60-mile distance will start in Drummond at the Drummond Library and Town Park at 9 am.
Get there early to sign your waiver and receive your water bottle, check your equipment, grab a bite to eat (our sponsors Rivers Eatery / Tilly’s Pie will have breakfast items and coffee available for purchase), drop off your bags for transportation to Bayfield, and hear about the route details and other important ride information which Tommy will announce between 7:45 and 8 am.
- - REST STOPS / FUEL - -
As mentioned, Rivers Eatery / Tilly’s Pie will have breakfast items/coffee available for purchase at the start for the 80 and 100-mile participants.
The 60-mile participants will have food available (provided by our sponsor, New Moon Ski & Bike) at the 60-mile start in Drummond, which is also a Food/Fuel stop for the 80 and 100-mile participants.
There will be another Food/Fuel Station in Ino at about the 45-mile mark for the 100-milers, the 35-mile mark for the 80-milers, and the 18-mile mark for the 60-milers.
The final Food/Fuel Station is at the top of 236. This is at the 66-mile mark for the 100-milers, the 56-mile mark for the 80-milers and at the 40-mile mark for the 60-milers.
If folks are needing further Food or Fuel, there is a convenience store in Cornucopia for the 80 and 100-milers and Washburn for the 60-milers. Additionally, Artesian water is available from a free-flowing well at the public beach in Cornucopia.
- - FINISH STAGING AREA - -
The Finish Staging Area is located at the Bayfield Pavillion in downtown Bayfield, at the marina entrance/dock.
There will be brats, chips, watermelon, and beer provided by South Shore Brewery. Water will also be available.
- - BUSING - -
Buses will be departing Bayfield between 5-6pm, subject to change. The timing of the buses will depend on the timing of when people are completing the Gran Fondo. We know that some of the faster people will finish by 1 pm and have plenty of time to explore the amazing town of Bayfield and all the wonderful shops, bars, dining establishments, beach, etc…others will finish the ‘fondo closer to 4 or 5 pm.
There are showers available at the Bayfield Recreation Center for $2.00 if you like. Otherwise, there is a great big lake you can jump in, right out the Bayfield Pavillion door.
We’ll have more details on the exact times the buses will be leaving Bayfield to bring riders back to Cable.
- - GRAN FONDO FINISH PARTY - -
Rivers Eatery / Tilly’s Pie is hosting a Gitche Gumee GranFondo Finish Party, Raffle, and Awards, to celebrate the event.
We encourage people to stick around for great food, adult bevvy’s, music. and commeraderie, as well as the Raffle Drawings featuring SWAG from Grand Performance, New Moon Ski & Bike, Gear West, Riverbrook Bike and Ski, Tilly’s Pies, Rivers Eatery, HOWL, Salomon, Floyds of Leadville, and Bonk Breaker.
Additionally, we want to give a big shout-out to our sponsors: BikeLaw, PBM – People’s Bank Midwest, The Steakhouse & Lodge, Timber Ford of Hayward, and Hidden Bay Sports.
There will also be a small awards ceremony, so – we hope you all stay for the fun and excitement!
Keep in touch – and stay tuned for more details coming up this week….
The route features beautifully paved winding roads that roll over hills through the woods, and over meandering rivers, streams, and tiny brooks. The rolling terrain will test your limits until cresting the final climb where you will be treated to the panoramic view of the great Gitche Gumee as you coast to the finish.
Ready to take the next step? Join us on one of our three training rides leading up to the Gitche Gumee Gran Fondo, or come to all three. Each training ride will be hosted at one of our sponsors across the different sections of the route. Rides will be led by Tommy, and all abilities are welcome as we have a "no-drop" policy.