The Grand Fundo one-day bike ride through Western Massachusetts raised money to support young cyclists
Photo by Meg McMahon
About four hundred cyclists participated in the Grand Fundo on Saturday, pedaling elbow to elbow with U.S. National Cyclocross Champion Jeremy Powers. The large pack of riders-- some who came as far away as California-- rolled out of the Black Birch Vineyard in Southampton down Glendale Road and around the scenic Pioneer Valley. After pedaling their first 21-miles up and over challenging hills, riders reached the first rest stop in Chesterfield stocked with plenty of fruit and treats including peanut butter, blueberry, Fluffernutter and bacon sandwiches as well as refreshing drinks and iced towels for relief from the sunny day. From there, riders had the option of heading in one of three different distances of 38, 65 or 85 miles. Some chose to take the shorter route because of the heat, but everyone stayed well hydrated with the free Nuun Hydration drinks provided at all of the rest stops.
"I had a ball," said rider Art Goedeke of Albany, New York. "The support was awesome and road marking was perfect. Those frozen washcloths may have saved my life. I had a great time today."
Among the 376 cyclists were current and former cycling pros including U23 National Cyclocross Champion Ellen Noble, Stephen Hyde (Cannondale/CyclocrossWorld.com), U.S. National Criterium Champion Brad Huff (Rally), Anthony Clark (Squid) and former Olympian Lyne Bessette.
The ride went smoothly with the help of the Sram support vehicles that stopped to fix a few flat tires. The Grand Fundo included some gravel roads, which have become quite popular among cyclists these days.
After the ride, everyone was treated to a delicious meal with barbecued pork and tofu, herbed chicken, coleslaw, corn on the cob, corn cakes, watermelon, beer, and ice cream from the famous ice cream truck, which also was at one of the rest stops during the ride.
"I loved every second and will be back for sure," said rider Justin Costa of Providence, Rhode Island. "Thank you a million times over!"
The JAM Fund celebrated the day by awarding grants to thirteen young cyclists who applied in spring. JAM Fund co-founders Powers and Alec Donahue presented each grant recipient with a certificate and check for the purpose of helping offset competition costs.
"This is so helpful to me and all the others," said grant recipient Aiden Mapel. "I'm looking forward to this cross season, and thanks to all who make it happen."
"I had so much fun at the Fundo," said grant recipient Anna Savage. "Thanks JAM Fund Cycling for such a cool event."
The day ended with a raffle, where ticket holders had the chance to win Powers' Focus Mares cross bike. Curtiss Dosier from Irvine, California was the lucky bike winner. Several other people won prizes from Rapha, Kask, Crank Bros., Thule, WD-40 Bike, Clif Bar, Nuun Hydration, IceDot C-Bear and products from other JAM Fund partners.
The annual bike ride supports the JAM Fund non-profit organization in its mission to develop the next generation of cyclocross pros.