Fourth annual Gran Fondo returns to Santa Clarita

Avery Boyle and his aunt Desiree Johnson participants in the 2019 Gran Fondo's Family Race. Avery was promised $20 by his aunt for completing the 20 mile loop. September 28, 2019. Bobby Block / The Signal.
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By Kimberly Silverio-Bautista 

Rainy conditions didn’t stop local residents from participating in the fourth annual Gran Fondo event on Saturday.

The event took place at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex where barbecue, local bike shop booths and a family-friendly environment were all available for attendees to visit or enjoy. 

Greg Flanagan, MC for the event, announced the start of the 20 mile family race at the 2019 Gran Fondo Saturday morning. September 28, 2019. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Greg Flanagan, 52, the master of ceremonies of the event, said it benefits a charity for fallen law enforcement and their families.

“It’s just a good way to unite the community and support a local charity, which is really good,” Flanagan said.

According to the Gran Fondo Santa Clarita website, there were different mileage levels for participants to ride. It ranged from 20 to 60 or 100 miles, with levels from beginner to pro. 

Bicyclists prepare for the 20 mile family race at the 2019 Gran Fondo Saturday morning. September 28, 2019. Bobby Block / The Signal.

About 300 cyclists participated at the event on a rainy Saturday morning, with the youngest participant being 10 years old, Flanagan said.

“We support cycling in the community,” said Don Ludwuig, a local bike rider for the last 25 years.

Ludwuig, 51, said cyclists take advantage of the event for many different reasons.  Families come to spend quality time with each other, while there are also race teams that come out to train and simulate a race.

Bicyclists Avery Boyle and his aunt Desiree Johnson begin their 20-mile journey as part of the Family Race at the 2019 Gran Fondo Saturday morning. September 28, 2019. Bobby Block / The Signal.

“Some people are actually here to train for racing which is really, really fabulous,” said Ludwuig.

As participants crossed the finish line, people would be cheering the cyclist.  

Cyclist participant Kari Mercer, 37, said she had heard about the event through a friend, who then signed Mercer up for the 60-miler.

“Everybody just has a great positive attitude and everybody is super supportive,” Mercer said. 

Morning rain did not prevent bicyclists from coming out to participate in the family race at the 2019 Gran Fondo Saturday. September 28, 2019. Bobby Block / The Signal.

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