How about an autumn Granfondo? Just as the road cycling season appears to be waning, we learn about a mouth-watering ride around Rome. The ride also bears one of the most legendary names in cycling, Campagnolo, and comprises 120km on closed roads with 2,000m of elevation gain. 

Mouth-watering

It’s a mouth-watering prospect! As anyone who has cycled in Italy will know, the enthusiasm for bikes and riders among many layers of the Italian population is a real and passionate. And when they organise an event, they make sure that everything is picco bello. In case you’re wondering, Wikipedia defines a Granfondo as “a long-distance road cycling event in which a large number of participants ride a marked route.”

King and Queen of Rome

This particular ride also offers some very decent challenges. There are also prizes for the riders who ascend the four hill-climb time trials in the shortest overall time. The winning woman receives the title Queen of Rome, and the fastest man is dubbed King. The winners receive coveted Campagnolo jerseys and a prominent starting position on the following year’s starting grid.

For us mere mortals, who simply are not going to win any prizes, the four timed climbs promise to be quite tough: Panoramica is 2.3km long with an average gradient of 5.9% and a maximum of 8%.

That’s doable, I hear you say, but it gets worse. Murus (a.k.a. Rocca de Papa) is only 1.1km long, but has an average gradient of 10.53% and a maximum of 16%, and that’s followed by Rocca Priora, which is a 6km ascent averaging a gradient 6.3% and maxing out at 13%.

The final beast is known as Rostrum (a.k.a. Montecompatri) it’s a mere 720m long—but with an average gradient of 12% and a maximum of 18% right at the top. So be sure to fit your bike with ultra-low climbing gears!

You don’t have to race

But you don’t have to treat the Granfondo Campagnolo Roma as a race. If you’re relatively fit, you can ride it and enjoy the beauty of Italy, the autumnal sunlight, and be among the passionate cycling fans of Italy during a Granfondo in the area surrounding Albano Lake (location of the Pope’s summer residence, no less). The fact that the local authorities close off the roads for the riders is a testament to the respect which Italians have for cycling, and it means real peace of mind for the riders.

So if you’re itching for an autumn break, there may still be some places left for the Granfondo Campagnolo Roma (the 2018 edition is on the 14th of October) and you may be able enjoy a cycling day out that you certainly won’t forget in a hurry. Arrivederci!