GFNY World Events presents GFNY Rockford, a race in Illinois' second largest city, Rockford, located one hour from Chicago. Chosen as one of our best road cycling events in the Midwest, this thrilling race takes place amidst the picturesque landscapes of northern Illinois, promising participants an unforgettable experience of speed, endurance, and natural beauty. This GFNY Global Series event offers two courses on a unique loop through Winnebago County, where medium-distance athletes (non-competitive) complete one loop, while those seeking the extra challenge race through it twice.
Event & Course Info
Both courses start and finish at the Venetian Club with the competitive long course option featuring a total of 94 miles with ~3,600 feet of climbing, and the medium non-competitive option a distance of 60 miles with 2,326 feet of climbing. On course, riders will embark on a journey through the picturesque Midwest terrain and ride by an array of scenic attractions along the way, such as the Nygren Wetland Preserve, Williams Tree Farm, The Pavilion at Orchard Ridge Farms, Colors Sands Bluff Nature Preserve, and the serene Pecatonica, Sugar, and Rock Rivers.
The initial stretch of the course boasts long and straight roads, offering an ideal opportunity for riders to cover ground swiftly while riding in groups. However, the relatively flat sections will likely lead to strategic attacks as cyclists jostle for optimal positions in the peloton. Staying close to the front will be crucial to quickly respond to and cover any attacks, ensuring you maintain a competitive edge and companionship for recovery.
As the loop progresses, the terrain changes, and riders will face rolling hills and winding roads, making peloton positioning a vital aspect of their race strategy. This is where the attacks become more decisive, leading to the potential fragmentation of groups.
For those seeking a competitive edge, the long course is where the competition truly heats up. Only finishers of the long course are eligible for category rankings, as well as Overall and Podium awards. If you're aiming to make your mark in your category, completing the long course is a must. The top 10% of finishers in each age group even earn the honor of qualifying for the prestigious Qualifier Corral at all GFNY World events, a testament to your cycling prowess.
All registrants receive an official GFNY Rockford jersey, course support, a chip for timing, a goodie bag, and a post-race meal. Finishers of the long course are eligible for Overall and Podium awards, distributed at the dedicated Awards ceremony before the end of race festivities. These awards include individual, Team, and competition category winners. Select a category as part of the Long course registration. GFNY Rockford events begin Friday and last through the weekend. The expo, awards, and festivities all take place conveniently at the Venetian Club.
Training for the event 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
Official hotel partners for the event include Riverview Inn & Suites, Residence Inn by Marriott, and Hampton Inn Rockford which all allow bikes in room, 4am breakfast on race day, and are conveniently located for the event. However, there are plenty of other lodging options including vacation rentals like this downtown loft or beautiful home, Dafodil House.
Rockford, Illinois, has many parks, bike paths, and activities to enjoy during the weekend like Searls Park and Anna Page Preserve nearby, and the Burpee Museum of Natural History and Discover Center Museum are open with activities for travelers. There are several restaurant options along the Rock River including Prairie St Brewing Co, Lima Mar Peruvian Restaurant, and The Top Lounge & Rooftop Deck.
There are plenty of other outdoor activities to enjoy while in town for the event. Participants and supporters can enjoy leisurely riding along the Rock River Recreation Path which is a delightful way to explore Rockford's outdoor beauty. This paved trail stretches for over 10 miles along the scenic Rock River, providing a safe and enjoyable route for bikers of all ages. The path weaves through parks, wooded areas, and alongside the river, offering a serene escape from urban life. Rock climbers in the group will appreciate the Garden of the Gods, located within the Shawnee National Forest, a stunning natural area offering an array of sandstone cliffs and rock formations. Finally, Rock River that flows through the city offers a fantastic opportunity for kayaking or canoeing enthusiasts to explore.
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 every May 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 include GFNY Rockford, GFNY Florida Sebring, GFNY Maryland, and GFNY Pennsylvania York, in addition to the GFNY World Championship every May in New York. You can see the full list of global events here.