We are delighted to announce this year’s Grass Routes Gran Fondo route. Our aim for 2021 is to make GRGF bigger and better, so we’ve a stack of announcements to make over the coming weeks announcing partnerships, sponsorships, festival villages and event ambassadors, but that’s all “business”, the most important thing is the route, the “grass routes”.. ahem..
This year the route will take in 165km of rural roads and boreens with 19 denoted “sectors” along the way. For 2021 we’ve rated our sectors from 1 star scenic boreens to 5 star full on hell fests. Link and descriptions available here. The vast majority of sectors are paved boreens which are in mixed repair (see our ratings) but notably to the Fondo is the addition of two new 5star sectors “Roubaix” and “Strade Bianche” which will join the popular “Lime stone road”. These new challenges will take GRGF through the Mooresfort estate in Kilross Co. Tipperary, a first for the Grass Routes. Roubaix in a nearly forgotten road which cyclist will navigate to enter the estate and link s to the main avenue, its barely more than a cow path but was once an important cobbled farm entrance. Next up, Strade Bianche continues on compacted gravel through Mooresfort and crosses onto a dirt road passage belonging to a local farmer, can’t wait for the dust/mud!
On the climbing side of things, this year we have 15 categorised KOMs/QOMs. Link and description available here. Some classics appear here again, our pleasant leg opener “The Water Tanks” which we’ve followed up this year with a ascent of Christ the King, a first for us but this has been a staple in Irish Cycling, take a look here at the 2015 Ras Tailteann to get a picture of what this climb can do. Notable new KOMs are the Concrete Berg and Concrete KOM, when tar just won’t do reinforced 45newton concrete is the only option, if its raining keep the ass on the saddle and grind!
As always the Grass Routes Gran Fondo route is designed to be road bike “passable” like a classics style cyclo. The Grass Routes takes place mostly on paved rural roads and boreen (grass routes) which have pretty good surfaces, the boreens can be in mixed repair. How-ever some people will prefer a CX/Gravel bike, its rider’s preference, there’s definitely a whole different article on what bike/tyre set up is best.
Pre-entry is open now through https://www.grassroutesgranfondo.ie/pre-registeration.
GPX files will be available 1 week prior to event to avoid anyone spoiling the surprise for themselves.
Liam, James, Simon