Giro di San Diego Gran Fondo, aka the “Palomar Gran Fondo”, Returns for Fifth Year on Sunday, September 11, 2016

Local artist designs custom commemorative event jerseys

for ride known as the “Palomar Gran Fondo”

GranFondo Cycling Tours, the organizer of the Giro di San Diego Gran Fondo, thinks its event might be one of the toughest gran fondos in the United States. The longest distance option of its popular bike ride features 10,300 feet of climbing and takes place during September, one of San Diego’s hottest months.

Despite the toughness, the popular event, which also has two shorter route options, has increased in size every year.  In 2016, two additions to the event will hopefully increase the participation of women cyclists, in particular.

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“I’ve always loved doing the Pinarello GranFondo in Italy because it gives special incentive gifts to encourage women to participate,” said GranFondo Cycling Tours owner and local cyclist Carrie Ann Panek. “So this year, we are giving bike earrings to women participants, and we’ve commissioned a local artist, Diana Skaggs, to design the commemorative event jersey.”

She continued, “Cycling is such a male-dominated sport – both here and in Italy. I want to continue GranFondo tradition with our event, and encourage all the strong women in Southern California to join us at this challenging event.”

The Giro di San Diego features three road riding options: 38, 65, and 105 miles, which have 2,600, 4,500, and 10,300 feet of climbing, respectively.

The event is held in the tradition of Italian gran fondos, which are semi-competitive, long-distance bicycle rides. All rides begin in Solana Beach, about 20 miles north of downtown San Diego, and are supported with numerous aid stations and sag support.

The 105-mile “Gran Fondo” route of the Giro di San Diego, designed for riders who want a challenge, is the only local event to feature a timed climb up the South Grade of Mount Palomar. Often compared to France’s Alpe d’Huez, Palomar is a fabled climb that has been featured twice in the Tour of California bicycle race. The 105-mile route also climbs Lake Wohlford and Cole Grade Roads, capping out at 10,300 feet of total climbing.

Registration for this year’s event is open online at, and 100% of the event proceeds will benefit the Challenged Athletes Foundation Operation Rebound, a program that helps change the lives of physically challenged athletes by giving them the opportunity to live an active lifestyle through physical fitness and competitive athletics.

GranFondo Cycling Tours encourages athletes to donate to, and fundraise for, the program, and offers free registration to its event for anyone who raises $600 or more for CAF Operation Rebound.

For more information, please visit the event website,

About the Giro di San Diego Gran Fondo
The Giro di San Diego Gran Fondo began in 2012 in Solana Beach, California. It is a celebration of cycling and San Diego’s North Coast, with a choice of three road cycling routes of 38, 65, and 105 miles. Riders return year after year for the timed climb up Palomar Mountain, the superbly stocked aid stations, and the scenic routes. The 2016 event will be held on Saturday and Sunday, September 11 at Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach. For more information or to register, please visit

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