Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chris Horner to headline Cascade GranFondo

RadioShack’s Chris Horner will headline a first year mass-start group ride called Cascade Gran Fondo. The ride is set to depart from Bend, OR, Horner’s hometown, on 20 August.

The ride proceeds will benefit a trio of causes, including: the LIVESTRONG Foundation, World Bicycle Relief and the local Mt Bachelor Ski Education Foundation.

“I have done a few Gran Fondos before and I thought that Bend would be a fantastic place to have one,” Horner said. “I knew that the town of Bend would get right behind it.”

The Cascade Gran Fondo will travel a, single, 85-mile mountainous course around Mt Bachelor Ski Resort, which boasts nearly 5,000ft of climbing and descending. The ride is set to start and finish in the Old Mill District of downtown Bend, which hosted the 2009 and 2010 US national cyclo-cross championships, and head out along the Deschutes River straight into the Cascade Mountains.

“We will be riding on a gorgeous loop around Mt Bachelor,” Horner said. “The climb out of town is about 20 miles long. We’ll ride out to the Sun River Cut Off and drop down to the Sun River. We will loop around the mountain, climb back up to the top of it and then drop back down into town.”

Sponsors of the Cascade Gran Fondo include VisitBend and CamelBak, while the ride is courting Horner’s team, RadioShack, and The Bend Bulletin local newspaper for additional support.

Registration for the Cascade Gran Fondo is US$120 for adults and $30 for juniors under the age of 18. Prizes will be awarded to the top fundraisers.

“Anyone who registers for the ride can also donate to the event and they can also raise their own donations prior to the ride,” Horner said. “All of those funds will go back to each of the charities.”

A series of pre-ride events include ‘An Evening with Chris Horner — Stories from the Road’ held on 18 August in Bend’s Tower Theatre and a VIP dinner to be held on 19 August.

Horner has participated in several similar events including the Portland Echelon Gran Fondo last year. He will arrive to the Cascade Gran Fondo following the bulk of his racing season including the Tour de France, where he is aiming for a top-five placing.

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