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08-11-2023 | Wouter Fioole

Hit and run: the perfect solution for the time-crunched gran fondo fan

The concept of a "hit and run" is not for everyone. Some found it absurd, while others opt for a quick ride without the luxury of a shower. I belong to the latter group and organized a few "hit and run weekends" last summer. This article is specifically tailored to those who don't have the luxury of endless vacation days or the ability to bring their family on extensive cycling trips but still yearn for more than the same old familiar routes. Here, you'll find some invaluable tips.

1. Search for multi-day events or stage races

The simplest way to do this is by enabling the relevant filters on our calendar. Additionally, if you use the map, you can quickly determine if these events are within driving distance for you. Another option for multi-day events is to explore UCI qualifiers that offer both a time trial and a gran fondo. However, please note that not every UCI qualifier provides both options.

Read also: The ultimate top ten: stage races for your bucket list

An excellent hidden gem is the RiderMan in Germany, offering three days of cycling in a single weekend and easy to reach by car.

2. Pay attention to side events

It's essential to carefully scrutinize events to check if there are any side events. These may not always be prominently displayed on the website, but more often than not, they are available. For instance, the day before the Gran Fondo Col de la Loze, there's a timed race called Pralognan-la-Vanoise, covering 25.8 kilometers with a challenging 1100 meters of elevation gain. This serves as an excellent and enjoyable warm-up for the subsequent climbing challenges, making the trip even more worthwhile. Such time trials are not uncommon. Prior to La Marmotte, there's a time trial on Alpe d'Huez known as the Grimpée.

Side events come in various forms, from sportives and gravel rides to friendly training rides where you can connect with fellow enthusiasts.

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3. Exploring the map

My typical approach is to set the desired weekend date with a two-day buffer in the filter and then consult the map to identify two gran fondos within a manageable driving distance of each other. Keep in mind that most of these events occur on Sundays, so you might find yourself venturing beyond Italy.

This season, I scheduled four hit-and-runs, with varying ride lengths, but they all yielded substantial bike miles. For instance, in the previous season, I participated in:

For the upcoming season, consider the following combination: L'Ardéchoise on June 15 and GFNY La Vaujany on June 16, with a tempting 50% discount.

4. Pairing with a col

If there's no second gran fondo available on the same weekend, you can always opt for an epic mountain pass ascent. Our editor-in-chief, Frank, famously conquered the Col de l'Iseran and the Col de la Loze ahead of the GFNY La Vaujany. Meanwhile, our colleague Herman tackled the legendary Grossglockner the day after the grueling Kitzbüheler Radmarathon. As for myself, I sneakily conquered the Puy de Dôme on my way back from 66 Degrés Sud.

Whatever combination you choose, the "two for the price of one" strategy certainly pays off!

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