The Whiskey Tango Fondo, affectionately known as WTF, is not your typical cycling event; it's an extraordinary fusion of two passions—cycling and fine spirits. And it is what the organizer calls a Frontier Gravel Fondo. This annual gathering has become a must-attend for cyclists seeking a unique and spirited experience that goes beyond the thrill of the ride. Unique starts with the setting, The Alabama Hills, nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada just west of Lone Pine, is one of old Hollywood’s favorite filming locations. The beautiful rock formations of the hills bordered by a vast open plain rising majestically to the snow-capped mountains beyond has been a prime filming location for westerns since the early 1900s. Strambecco rates WTF Whiskey Tango Fondo as one of the Best Gravel Events in California and the Southwest.
There are three route options in WTF Whiskey Tango Fondo, which include challenging but not overly technical gravel terrain and up to 11,750+ feet of elevation gain. Options are friendly enough for first-timers but epic enough for even the most seasoned athlete. The signature climb of the events is End to End; Whitney Portal Rd is 13 miles (22 km), topping out at an elevation of 8,374 feet (2,552 m). Whitney Portal is the gateway to Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States. Also, the trailhead for mountaineering routes such as the East Face (Mount Whitney), first climbed in 1931, and the Mountaineer's Route, first climbed by John Muir in 1873.
Nestled in the shadows of the Eastern Sierra Nevada, Independence, and Lone Pine, California, provide a gateway to the stunning outdoor playground of the Inyo National Forest. A mere three hours from Los Angeles, four hours from Las Vegas, and five hours from the Bay Area, this region beckons outdoor enthusiasts for a weekend of adventure and natural beauty. The Inyo National Forest, spanning over two million acres, hosts iconic natural wonders such as Mt. Whitney, Mono Lake, Mammoth Lakes Basin, and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Seven Congressionally designated Wilderness areas, including the renowned John Muir Wilderness, cover over 650,000 acres of pristine land.
For the outdoor athlete, the Inyo National Forest offers a diverse range of activities amidst clean air, crystal blue skies, and breathtaking views. Challenging trails, high mountain peaks, and mountain lakes and streams cater to hikers, climbers, cyclists, and water sports enthusiasts alike. The name "Inyo," derived from a Native American word meaning "dwelling place of the great spirit," perfectly captures the spiritual and natural essence of the local mountains, known today as the White/Inyo Range.
Whether you choose to explore the trails, ascend Mt. Whitney, or relax by the tranquil Mono Lake, the Inyo National Forest promises an unforgettable outdoor experience. Hotel and camping options abound, providing a comfortable base for your adventures in this haven for nature lovers. Embark on a journey to the Inyo National Forest, where every step is a communion with the great spirit of the Eastern Sierra.
Independence & Lone Pine, California, are located about 3hrs from Los Angeles, 4hrs from Las Vegas, 5hrs from the Bay Area. Nestled in the shadows of the Eastern Sierra Nevada, the Lone Pine and Independence area of California is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts seeking adventure, natural beauty, and a respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. For the outdoor athlete, this region offers a weekend getaway that seamlessly blends challenging activities with breathtaking scenery. Hotel and camping options abound in the area.
In Summary, The Whiskey Tango Fondo is more than just a cycling event; it's a celebration of the joy of riding, the beauty of diverse landscapes, and the pleasure of sharing a well-deserved toast with fellow cyclists. With its unique blend of challenging routes, scenic beauty, and the conviviality of whiskey, WTF has firmly established itself as a standout event that attracts those who seek adventure, camaraderie, and a touch of spirits in their cycling journey.
Whiskey Tango is produced by the same producers as the Phil's Cookie Fondo, a popular Fondo in the Malibu; CA area held each fall. Big Boss behind Whiskey Tango and Phil's Cookie is the irreverent pro cyclist, author, and entertainer Phil Gaimon. Phil is one of the fastest hill climbers in the world. Since retiring from the pro peloton, Phil has been attempting to beat the "kind-of-the-mountain" (KOM) records on the Strava digital App. To memorialize his efforts, he has created a video series called "Worst Retirement Ever" of his KOM attempts on YouTube.