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Panama Gran Fondo

The Great ocean-to-ocean background or great Fondo Panama is an event that has gradually grown over the years, since its first edition in 2014, to become a date in one of the main events for cycling fans in Central and Latin America. In this year's version, it grew to about 4000 registered cyclists from 35 countries around the world, surprisingly the total 1800 were foreigners.

The attraction of this race is not only the route that goes from the Atlantic to the Pacific, but also the relevance of its guests, its excellent prizes and luxury organization. Let's take a look at at the event in 2018...


The event:

The event consists of three options for participation:

• The Grand Fondo race consists of 125 kilometres, where the fastest riders participate in the more than 50000 dollars in prizes, to be divided into prizes of the general classification and categories.
• The Great Fund; The same 125 kilometres but a personal challenge.
• Half a 90 kilometer background for those who are starting.


Cyclists on MTB bikes can participate but only in the great background or half-bottom mode.

Categories:

The Grand Fondo mode is exclusive for amateur cyclists, masters and recreational, so it prohibits the participation of active or elite professionals; however, they can participate in the Great Fund mode.

The award is made to the first three places in both women and men in each of the following categories of the race: from 18 to 30 years old, 31 to 40, 41 to 50 and 51 years from now. In the modality great fondo and half fondo, there is classification by age. However, it is only to have a reference time of participation, for the enjoyment and personal achievement.

Travel:

The tour began punctually in the city of Colon, heading then for 80 kms to Panama at 6.45 for the race, and at 7.30 for the rest of the participants, passing through localities such as: Lake Gatun – Madden – Sovereignty National Park – Puente Centenario – Burunga – West Land Ma ll – Nicolas Solano – Arraijan – Loma Coba – Bridge of the Americas to the Amador Causeway, a place where participants are greeted with the long-awaited finisher medal, hydration, food and a lot of good vibes.

Of the tour, I must highlight the following:

• Good layout, without long or heavy climbs and with few imperfections (holes), at least I did not see fallen on the route.
• Full supply: Lots of water, isotonics, fruits and cereal bars.
• Police shelter at Crossroads and key points
• On-road assistance for those who had a mechanical problem or who simply could not continue for some problem on the road.
• Photographers per heap with free and available photos at the end of the event on the Facebook page.

Awards:

I think it is one of the highest points of the organization. I at least, had not seen another race in my country that for non-professional cyclists gave such good prizes. The first three places of the general both female and male, they took spectacular bikes, and the first of each category although they did not win a bike, likewise received excellent prizes. Don't you believe me? Here I leave the list of prizes of 2018 to motivate them to participate next year

General:

Male first place: Pinarello Dogma F10 (ref. 11,170 USD)
Second men's Place: Wilier 10 Air Ramato (ref. 10,991 USD)
Men's third place: Giant TCR 2 (ref. 2,150 USD)
Female first place: Pinarello Dogma F8 (ref. 11,170 USD)
Female second place: Bianchi Oltre XR3 (ref. 4,865 USD)
Female third place: Liv Avail Advanced (ref. 2,500 USD)

Categories:

First place: Certificate of 500 USD in store Rali store + registration GF Panama with Jersey
Second place: Certificate of 300 USD in store Rali store + inscription GF Panama with Jersey
Third place: Certificate of 200 USD in store Rali store + inscription GF Panama with Jersey

Those who did not win in their categories, or those who simply did the GF as a challenge could also win big prizes in the raffle only with the fact of registering: such as rollers, Garmin devices, helmets, stays in hotel, cell phones and even bicycles These include a spectacular Pinarello special edition, which is backed by 10,000 USD.


Guests:

The Gran Fondo Panama is a brilliant event for the real possibility of knowing and pedaling with your idol. Throughout the years of the event, it has been characterized by leading cycling icons such as: Fernando Gaviria, Miguel Indurain, Mario Cipollini and Sebastian Henao. 2018 was no exception with the presence of Alberto Contador, winner of Big laps; The Italian Ivan Basso; Víctor Hugo Peña, from Colombia, winner of several stages in the Tour de France; Purito Rodríguez and Oscar Sevilla and also the participation of the charismatic Colombian actor Andres Parra, a simple man with the joy of skin.


Summary:

I have difficulty finding a negative point to the event. I think it is difficult to handle such a large volume of participants; however, I think the organization, led by Paola Carter, achieved it perfectly. Perhaps the date will not favor many parents due to childrens schoool terms, but if you plan and order everything in advance, it is a perfect excuse to finish the holiday in the best way. The hotel options are fantastic and at a fairly affordable price. At the hotels, the Americans Golden Tower even offered breakfast service from 4 am on the day of the race, so that all the guests participating in the event did not have to worry about it. It may have to do with the manager also pedaling, but I just found it great!

There are also companies that prepare everything for you: registration, airport transfers to hotel, transfers to departure point, guided tour in the city and Panama Canal, in my case, travel with RGE Style Travel and the service was excellent. I appreciated the friendliness of their workers, the punctuality of the service and the Internet in their cars, as when arriving at the airport there is not a very decent or free connection as in most of the airports in the world.

Personally, I felt very good and relaxed at the challenge, even as it came from a few months hard battle against a bad flu.  However, thankfully it was not an impediment, and I finished the day with the best of smiles and was thankful for the smiling and supportive people on the road, and an adventure for lufe on the bike. I am happy also to have known not only the great professional cyclists who attended, such as Contador, but also people who strive day by day to be better and bring joy to the bike for all sides. Peple like my friends: Ena Hernandez, Caro Ferrer, Sora Giraldo, Lu Aristazabal, Kathia Costa, Mariana Gomez, Cata Montoya, are an inspiration to many, and I hope to see you soon at some other event.

 

Susan smiley