Gran Fondo Hincapie – Greenville is an extremely popular and well-run event that travels through South Carolina’s beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. This is no ordinary cycling event—it’s a pilgrimage to the esteemed training grounds of George Hincapie, places he frequented in preparation for the Tour de France. Strambecco rates the event as one of the best road cycling events in the Southeast.
The Gran Fondo Hincapie – Greenville is a celebration of cycling in the serene and picturesque landscapes of South Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, renowned for their exquisite beauty and panoramic views. It’s a meticulously crafted experience, focusing on safety, the camaraderie of celebrity cyclists, and the timeless allure of Greenville, a place exuding Southern charm and hospitality. Receiving widespread acclaim, the event has positioned itself as a beacon of unparalleled cycling experiences. It is one of many events that make up the Hincapie Gran Fondo Series which is produced by Hincapie Events. The 2023 edition of Gran Fondo Hincapie – Greenville escalates the excitement with the introduction of age group awards for the Gran & Medio courses, bringing an added dimension to the vibrant competition.
Event & Course Info
The Gran Fondo Hincapie – Greenville base is Hotel Domestique which is 20 miles north of Greenville at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Cyclists on the Gran Route embark on an 80-mile journey with an 8,100 ft elevation gain. It is the embodiment of challenge with the notorious Skyuka Mountain KOM and intricate switchbacks on Green River Cove, mirroring George’s training rides for the Tour de France. Given the perilous descent down Skyuka, carbon clincher rim brake wheels are restricted, while disc brake carbon wheels have the green light. There are 4 strategic stops promise a rejuvenating pause for riders.
The Medio Route traverses 50 blissful miles with a 4,156 ft elevation gain, and offers a condensed yet equally mesmerizing experience with breath-taking views of the Blue Ridge Foothills. Three stops ensure well-deserved rest and refreshment.
Piccolo Family Fun Ride is a delightful 15 miles ride with a 1,245 ft elevation. Emerging from Hotel Domestique, this route is a charming introduction to the hills and scenic beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, suitable for families and beginners. Though devoid of awards, a raffle draws promise surprises for Piccolo finishers present at the Awards Ceremony.
Another detail making the Gran Fondo Hincapie – Greenville unique is the ability to opt for a VIP Experience which catapults participants into a world filled with gourmet meals, professional interactions, course recon, and premium apparel, embodying the essence of what Gran Fondo Hincapie has to offer, complemented by the unrivaled hospitality of Greenville.
The Gran Fondo Hincapie-Greenville symbolizes more than a race; it’s an encapsulation of passion, camaraderie, and the enchanting allure of Greenville, SC. Whether a professional cyclist, a cycling enthusiast, or a family seeking a joyful ride, the event extends a diverse palette of experiences, scenic richness, and challenges, all wrapped in the warmth of Southern hospitality.
Area Accommodations & Things to Do
Greenville and Travelers Rest offer a variety of options for accommodations for those traveling in for the Gran Fondo Hincapie – Greenville. Greenville is closer to the charming downtown and beautiful city parks, while Travelers Rest is closer to the start/finish. Recommended hotel options include Hotel Hartness, Courtyard Marriott, Hyatt Regency. There are also many vacation rentals in the area that will suit a variety of needs from gorgeous treehouses to downtown lofts. If you enjoy camping, the Travelers Rest KOA is a good option, or any one of the unique one of a kind camping locations in the area.
The culinary scene in Greenville, SC is a vibrant and eclectic mix, offering a plethora of options ranging from upscale eateries to quaint cafes, all serving a diverse array of cuisines. Known for its Southern hospitality, Greenville boasts a rich culinary heritage, with restaurants offering a blend of traditional Southern fare, innovative culinary creations, and international flavors, ensuring that every palate finds its delight in this charming city. Be sure to check out Eater’s list of must visit restaurants in Greenville.
Greenville, South Carolina, is not just renowned for its vibrant culinary scene and Southern charm but also stands out as a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, especially in October when the weather is remarkably pleasant, and the fall foliage is in its full glory. Paris Mountain State Park, located just a short drive from downtown Greenville, is a treasure trove for those who have a penchant for hiking. For a challenging endeavor, athletes can take the Sulphur Springs Trail, a 3.6-mile loop known for its rugged terrain and steep ascents. For those looking for a serene yet invigorating hike, the Lake Placid Trail offers a relatively flat 0.75-mile loop around a picturesque lake. Hikers can revel in the panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and vibrant fall colors reflecting in the lakes, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot some of the local wildlife.
The Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail is a multi-use greenway system that runs along the Reedy River connecting Greenville County with schools, parks, and local businesses, making it a top pick for cyclists visiting in October. Athletes can embark on a 22-mile one-way journey from Travelers Rest through the heart of Greenville. This well-maintained trail is relatively flat but long enough to offer a good workout, and there are plenty of spots along the way to rest, refuel, and enjoy the scenic beauty of the area.
Finally, Cleveland Park, with its state-of-the-art outdoor rock climbing facilities, is a must-visit for rock climbing enthusiasts. The climbing wall here is suitable for all levels, from beginners to experienced climbers. With well-marked routes and a variety of climbing surfaces, athletes can test their skills and push their limits in a safe and controlled environment. Beyond the climb, athletes can explore the expansive park, enjoy a picnic by the river, or even join a game at the volleyball courts, fully absorbing the vibrant atmosphere and picturesque surroundings of Cleveland Park in October.
Suppose you aren’t familiar with George Hincapie, a former American road bicycle racer who competed as a professional between 1994 and 2012. He is best known for completing the Tour de France 16 times, most often in a support role for Lance Armstrong. Since retiring, Hincapie has parlayed his cycling fame into a multi-faceted business career that includes: Hincapie Sports, a line of high-performance cycling ware; Hotel Domestique (Greenville County, SC), which caters to cyclists; and a growing national series of popular Gran Fondo events in Bangor ME, Chattanooga TN, Lehigh Valley PA, and the 2023 inaugural California, Merced gravel event, in addition to his signature event in Greenville, all produced by Hincapie Events.
The Gran Fondo Hincapie experience is not just a “big ride”–they are designed to be multi-day cycling celebrations, including scenic and challenging routes, live music, and a family festival with free fun, food, and brew. It’s a chance to join thousands of cycling pros, celebrities, weekend warriors, and first-time riders in the excitement of the Gran Fondo Hincapie hosted by George and the family. Typical routes included distance options of 15, 50, and 80-mile rides on the most bike-friendly routes mapped and tested by George himself. The events are chances to connect with other cycling enthusiasts and show off your passion, no matter your skill level.
For multi-sport endurance athletes looking for other events in the state of South Carolina and broader Southeast region, be sure to check out our full list of Strambecco Best in Class gravel, mountain biking, and trail running events. Some of the premier in-state events include The Assault on Mount Marion and The Assault of Mount Mitchell organized by Freewheelers Club, Race to Valhalla and Kershaw Gold Rush by Southeast Gravel and part of its broader series.