The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Jaryd Cline
Sports Editor 

Gran Fonda attracts riders from across state

 

April 12, 2017

Jaryd Cline

AND THEY'RE OFF: The field of 108 riders start their trek across Klickitat County on Sunday morning at Goldendale High School. The Gran Fonda Goldendale took riders across 90 miles of Klickitat County.

Vicious Cycle race coordinator Jake Maedke said he only participates in one of the eight bicycle races that he helps put on each year. After all, he and many others put in countless hours to make the event possible, and setting up Sunday's Gran Fondo Goldendale 90-mile race was nothing different than he's used to.

However, there's one exemption he makes each year, and that is to ride in his favorite course of the eight races he helps put on.

"I don't normally get to (ride). Once a year I make an exception and Goldendale is the one I choose to (ride in)," Maedke said.

Sunday's Gran Fondo Goldendale took 108 riders across 90 miles of Klickitat County, including 25 miles of riding in gravel with an elevation gain of 6,200 feet.

Starting at Goldendale and heading out North Columbus, the riders turned back and headed south after reaching Firwood. After arriving in Centerville, the field took Dalles Mountain Road before merging onto the Centerville Highway until they reached Lyle. They then took Highway 142 and rode through Klickitat and Wahkiacus and later turned on Horseshoe Bend Rode before finishing back at the high school after a few more twists and turns.

It's pretty obvious, Maedke said, why the Gran Fonda Goldendale is his favorite course over the likes of events in Ephrata, Ellensburg, Wenatchee and more.

"Such a great variety of terrain," he said. "The rolling hills and the twisty roads and the gravel backroads and rural roads with little traffic just makes for fantastic riding.

"And let alone if you can look up and look around once in a while to the views of Mount Adams and Mount Hood, all the other snow-caps out there on the horizon, it's just fantastic."

This year marked the fourth time Maedke has held a race in Goldendale, but started the series a few years before in his hometown of Ephrata. All of his races have grown so much in popularity since he started the series. He recalled having around 40 riders during his first few years of hosting the Gran Fondo Ephrata, but now, he said the event sells out at 200 riders the first day registration opens.

Jaryd Cline

AND THEY'RE OFF: The field of 108 riders start their trek across Klickitat County on Sunday morning at Goldendale High School. The Gran Fonda Goldendale took riders across 90 miles of Klickitat County.

The Gran Fonda Goldendale is just the second of eight Vicious Cycle events this year Maedke help put on throughout the state. Five of them are Grand Fonda events, which are road rides, while the three other events, the Beezley Burn, the Squilchuck Chainsmoker and the Bavarian Bike and Brews are mountain bike rides that are held in state parks and other scenic areas.

Sunday's race attracted riders from throughout the state, as well as a handful of participants from Oregon and California, as well as one rider from Vancouver, British Columbia.

For more information on Maedke and Vicious Cycling and to see a list of the events and dates, visit rideviciouscycle.com.

Although a year away, Maedke already is looking forward to the Gran Fonda Goldendale and soon will have it circled on his calendar.

"Goldendale is my personal favorite course," Maedke said. "It's just an appreciating area. I just feel very welcome and want to say thank you to everyone in the community for hosting us."

 

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