Is this a race or a tour?
Neither, it’s a Gran Fondo. A gran fondo is a mass participation cycling event that got its start in Italy in the early 1900’s. Loosely translated, it means everything from “great foundation”, “great distance” or “great endurance.” Some cyclists ride for the satisfaction and pride of just making it to the finish line. Others want to improve upon their previous times and to challenge themselves, their friends, their teammates. Some ride to win.
Mass start where riders are required to stage according to their ability to ride in a large group. All riders depart the start line at one time, requiring less experienced riders to position themselves toward the back of the mass start group. All route timing is relative to when the riders cross the line, so no time penalty will be incurred by starting further back in the group.
When is the Black Bear Gran Fondo scheduled for 2017?
Saturday, July 8, 2017
Where is the event?
The start and finish lines are at Hanson Hills Recreation Area (HHRA) 7601 Old Lake Road, Grayling, MI 49738.
When does the Gran Fondo start?
100 Mile Loop = 8:00 AM
62 Mile Loop = 8:30 AM
45 Mile Loop = 9:00 AM
How are the riders started?
The Black Bear will be a gran fondo start, that is a mass start where riders are required to stage according to their ability to ride in a large group. All riders depart the starting line at one time, requiring less experienced riders to position themselves toward the back of the mass start group. If any rider is in doubt of their ability to securely hold an even line at high speed with riders in close proximity, it is vital that you line up toward the back of the starting line group in the appropriate corral. All route timing is relative to when the riders cross the line, so no time penalty will be incurred by starting further back in the group.
We will organize cyclists based on the following rider speed. We are asking cyclists to self-select your starting position based on your speed and training program. Please take a look at the guidelines below, then make an honest assessment of your abilities/objectives for the event and choose the appropriate corral during the line-up process:
1st corral: Speed: 22-25MPH/35-40KMH Training: At least 10 hours per week
2nd corral: Speed: 18-21MPH/29-34KMH Training: 8-10 hours per week
3rd corral: Speed: 14-17MPH/23-28KMH Training: 3-6 hours per week
How do I register?
Pre-registration is easy and can be done on-line at Active.com (search on Black Bear Gran Fondo 2017) or the old fashioned way by downloading the PDF from our website:
- Paper registrations must be postmarked no later than June 30 to receive the $45 rate.
- The Active.com site will turn off on Sunday, July 2.
On-site registration/packet pick-up is available on Friday, July 7 between 5:00PM and 7:30PM and Saturday, July 8, between 6:30AM and 8:30AM in the Main Lodge of Hanson Hills Recreation Area.
Is there a rider limit?
We have not technically set a limit on number of riders; we welcome that challenge!
Is on-site registration available?
Yes, all routes can register on-site at Hanson Hills Recreation Area (HHRA) in the Main Lodge on Friday, July 7 between 5:00PM and 7:30PM and on Saturday, July 8 between 6:30AM and 8:30AM (please note, the 100 mile route starts at 8:00 AM, the 62 mile route starts at 8:30 AM, the 45 mile route starts at 9:00). Black Bear registration fees are $50 during on-site registration of event weekend.
When is packet pick-up?
Friday, July 7, 2017 between 5:00PM and 7:30PM
Saturday, July 8, between 6:30AM and 8:30AM
Where is packet pick-up?
Hanson Hills Recreation Area (HHRA) Main Lodge
Can I have someone pick up my packet for me?
Are helmets required?
How can we say this so there is no confusion: Absolutely, positively, without any doubt: YES!!! Helmets are definitely required for all three loops for rider safety. if you don’t have a helmet, you will not be allowed to start your ride.
How good are the riding surfaces?
Overall, most are very good; there will be very few areas that require you to mind your wheels and there will be variation in the shoulder width, some nice and wide and others that are skinnier. We’ve done our very best to provide you with the best roads possible in combination with features that make the routes interesting and fun and the road construction we worked around in 2016 is now complete in 2017 – Yahoo!
What kind of bikes are allowed?
Road, tandem and recumbent bicycles are allowed. Mountain bikes are discouraged.
Safety is our highest priority and we ask all cyclers to abide by the known Rules of the Road for bicyclists. If you are not familiar with them, the League of Michigan Bicyclists has great information that will help you out.
Rules of the Road
- Please, obey the rules of the road at all times
- Riders must obey the stop signs and traffic light signals along the route
- Helmets must be worn for all Black Bear Gran Fondo rides
- All Black Bear Gran Fondo routes are open to traffic
- Ride in single file and as far to the right as possible at all times.
- Do not cross the yellow or center line.
- When passing another rider, please make sure the rider you are passing knows you are there and call out “on your left!”. Never pass on the right
- No headphones or ear buds
Course workers will be at all of the corners and the course workers will work with you to get you quickly and safely on your way.
SAG (Support and Gear) vehicles
Our SAG vehicles are clearly marked and SAG cell phone numbers will be provided to all registered riders.
For those of you with personal SAGs, since safety of all of our riders is THE highest priority, we require the following:
- Personal SAG vehicles MUST pull off the road for your party (in a spot that is not in the way of others) and beyond rest stations to avoid congestion
- NO throwing of water bottles into the windows of moving vehicles – that endangers other riders if you miss the window
- Absolutely NO assisting riders from moving vehicles
Are there directional signs along the route?
Yes, there are directional signs, we attempt to have corner marshals with flags at each corner where a turn is made.
What about shirt availability?
The best way to assure you will get your shirt is to order one in pre-registration. This year we will have two options:
- the Gildan Softstyle (100% cotton) $15
- the A4 Performance T-shirt (100% wicking polyester). $20
We will have very few shirts with limited sizes available for purchase during packet pickup/on-site registration and those will be available on a first come, first served basis.
What is the refund policy?
There are no refunds. You can transfer your entry to another rider for a $5 fee on Active.com or via the contact email on this site.
Can I switch routes after I have registered?
Yes, please let the registrar know via email or during packet pick-up/on-site registration times during event weekend. If you end up changing your mind while experiencing the route, please let the timers know that you have switched routes.
Where can I park?
Parking areas will be designated at Hanson Hills Recreation Area and there should be plenty of parking available.
Where are the bathrooms located?
HHRA (Hanson Hills Recreation Area) bathroom facilities are available in the Main Lodge during packet pickup and on-site registration on Friday evening, July 7 between 5:00PM and 7:30PM and Saturday, July 8 from 6AM until 8:30AM.. Additional porta-potties will be available near the camping area at HHRA. Free camping will be available Friday evening only; we only ask that you break camp no later than 5PM on Saturday after your ride. For those of looking to camp for the entire weekend, we suggest Hartwick Pines, North or South Higgins Lake State Parks or various private campgrounds in the area (reservations recommended).
In addition, we will have porta potties at all of our rest stations along all routes.
Is camping available on the HHRA (Hanson Hills Recreation Area) grounds?
Yes, free rustic camping will be available on the Hanson Hills Recreation Area (HHRA) grounds on Friday night, July 7, 2017; we only ask that you break camp no later than 5PM on Saturday after your ride.. Rustic camping only: no water and no electricity; porta-potties will be available for Friday night campers. For those who want to make a weekend of it, we suggest you make reservations at one of the nearby state parks (Hartwick Pines, North Higgins Lake, South Higgins Lake) or any of the private campgrounds in the area.
What are the cut-off times?
Rest stations, SAG mechanics, timers and rest stop volunteers all have cut-off times on for their availability to our riders and we will adhere to these limits so please make a plan if you are still on the course after these times and you require any type of support. If you finish your loop after 4:00 PM, you may self-report to Gault Race Management if you would like your time included in the official results.
The following are posted cut-off times: