For road cycling aficionados searching for their next thrill, the GFNY Florida Sebring event in the delightful Sebring, Florida beckons with its beautiful landscapes, clear lakes, and serene citrus groves. Situated centrally, Sebring is a mosaic of ‘old Florida’ charm, tranquil lifestyle, genial warmth, and delightful eateries, promising a cycling experience wrapped in relaxation and fun. It is part of the GFNY Global Series and is rated by Strambecco as one of the best road cycling events in the Southeast.
GFNY Florida Sebring is an exploration of the picturesque and the pristine, a journey through protected habitats, cattle ranches, and orange groves, showcasing Florida’s sublime beauty. The area’s gentle hills, panoramic vistas, and low-traffic roads make it a prime late-season race and an ideal cycling vacation destination, offering participants a unique blend of competition, nature, and leisure.
Event & Course Info
The highly scenic “old” Florida route at GFNY Florida Sebring starts in historic Downtown Sebring, where this 100+-year-old city was built uniquely around a circle park. The Sebring Civic Center, the host location, sits directly on beautiful Lake Jackson, boasting some of the best sunsets in Florida.
The upper loop towards Avon Park has scenic rolling hills through miles of Florida’s iconic orange groves on low-traffic and well-paved roads. The Arbuckle Creek Road leg showcases thousands of acres of pristine cattle ranch land, most of which is preserved by the state of Florida under conservation easements, as well as taking riders over picturesque Arbuckle Creek itself. The Long Route riders will repeat the upper loop to Avon Park.
The Long Course is a challenging 95-mile race, with police-moderated intersections to ensure safety. The course unfolds the serene beauty of Central Florida, traveling on rural roads and transitioning onto the traffic-controlled Route 66, before delving into a 35-mile scenic loop through tranquil and pristine landscapes, repeating the loop once more for long course riders before concluding at The Barn at Paso Fino. This route is a competition, with category rankings and awards for finishers, offering a chance to earn a spot in the Qualifier Corral at every GFNY World event for the top 10% of finishers in each age group. Strategically located aid stations at miles 24, 44, 60, and 80 and at the finish line, provide hydration, soda, and basic food. Mechanical support is available at the start line, at each aid station, and there will be one rolling mechanic.
The Medium Course offers a more casual pace 59-mile course, ideal for those looking to experience the beauty without the extreme challenge. It shares the same scenic route but does not involve a second loop, making it ideal for those seeking a less intensive ride. Although not a competition, riders will receive their start-to-finish time. Regular stations ensure riders are well-hydrated and fueled.
The timing finish will be 2km from the Sebring Civic Center. The celebratory finish line will be at the Sebring Civic Center, where you will be awaiting festivities, post-race meals, and awards ceremonies.
All GFNY Florida Sebring race and expo activities are set at the elegant and rustic Barn at Paso Fino, where participants pick up race packets and enjoy post-race festivities, music, and awards, making race day planning smooth. The post-race meal, held at The Barn at Paso Fino, is a culinary delight prepared by their highly-rated chef, and each rider receives a complimentary meal, while the awards ceremony promises to be a vibrant event at 12:30 pm.
Supporters and family members are welcomed throughout the event, with specific locations recommended for supporters wishing to cheer the riders along the course, ensuring a communal and supportive atmosphere.
Training for the GFNY Florida Sebring is recommended either directly through the GFNY coaching staff, or with premier training partner, TrainingPeaks. Also, be sure to check out the official 2023 Race Guide for all pertinent details.
Area Accommodations & Things to Do
The official host hotels in Sebring are Inn on the Lakes, the Residence Inn, and Tru – these hotels are perfect for participants because they are convenient to the race, they allow bikes inside, and they will have 4am breakfast available on race day. For those looking for a more home-like stay, explore the plethora of vacation rentals available to suit a variety of needs from lake houses to townhomes in the historic district. There are also some unique camping locations in the surrounding area for those looking to sleep under the stars.
The culinary scene in Sebring, FL, is a delightful blend of diverse flavors, offering a range of eateries from cozy cafes to upscale restaurants, each presenting a unique taste experience. Whether it’s the locally-sourced seafood, traditional Southern fare, or innovative international cuisine, the restaurants in Sebring promise a gastronomical journey amidst the town’s relaxed and charming atmosphere. Check out local favorites Cowpoke’s Watering Hole, Nutmeg’s Cafe and Chicane’s.
In addition to further exploring Sebring’s scenic routes by bike at GFNY Florida Sebring, athletes will enjoy exploring Highlands Hammock State Park, one of Florida’s oldest, as it is a haven for those who find solace and thrill in nature’s embrace. This park offers a multitude of trails, allowing outdoor athletes to traverse through diverse ecosystems via a series of hiking trails, each unveiling distinct aspects of Florida’s native flora and fauna. The Cypress Swamp Trail, a favorite amongst visitors, is a raised boardwalk offering enchanting views of the swamp’s ecosystem and its inhabitants, such as alligators and various bird species.
Also, Lake Jackson, with its crystal-clear waters, offers a plethora of water sports, making it a must-visit for athletes looking for aquatic adventures. Athletes can explore a variety of activities, such as stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and jet-skiing. Each of these activities provides a unique way to explore the lake and its surroundings, offering both adrenaline rushes and tranquil moments amidst the lake’s serene setting. Lake Jackson is also a fantastic location for fishing, with its abundant fish population including largemouth bass, promising both relaxation and excitement for angling enthusiasts.
GFNY events are personal endurance challenges where you compete against others, the clock, and yourself. GFNY Global Series events provide you with that same challenge in locations worldwide. Additionally, you can qualify for a front corral start at the GFNY World Championship in NYC. For every event, each athlete has a timing chip, which starts right after you cross the start line and stops when you cross the finish line. Timing results for all riders will be provided at the finish area on race day and online after the race. Only the finishers of the events-long course are eligible for category rankings and Overall Podium awards. You must complete the long course to race and be ranked in your category. The top 10% of finishers in each age group qualify for the Racer Corral at every GFNY World event. All GFNY events have the bonus of closed roads and police-moderated traffic that ensures added safety, and you don’t have to stop during the race. Also, look for VIP ticket options, including a VIP registration suite, Private shopping service, VIP Corral start, 30-min post-race massage, and access to a Post-race hospitality suite.
GFNY Worldwide events series in the US includes GFNY Rockford, GFNY Florida Sebring, GFNY Maryland, and GFNY Pennsylvania York, in addition to the GFNY World Championship every May in New York and in August, in the French Alps . You can see the full list of global events here.
Another top tier road cycling event that takes place in Florida is the Gran Fondo Florida which is part of the Gran Fondo National Series. For multi-sport endurance athletes looking for other events in the state of Florida and broader Southeast region, be sure to check out our full list of Strambecco Best in Class trail running, gravel and mountain biking events.