You have many to pick from if you're looking for an excellent Gran Fondo in the Florida area, but one that stands out for us is the Tour de Melon. The community around this ride is incredible, and the atmosphere is very welcoming, which really makes it a special ride to be a part of. Not only that, but if you are a fan of watermelon, you will pretty much have unlimited access to it. The Tour de Melon is an excellent Gran Fondo and is run every year with different options for distances for you to challenge yourself on.
The Tour de Melon challenges you to ride around the Trenton area of Florida. Typically it is run in June, which is a perfect time for great sunshine and the roads they select are smooth and fast and generally wide enough to accommodate for cars and bikes in harmony. The region is beautiful and full of gorgeous Florida greenery, and Chiefland itself is known for the variety of springs around the Suwannee River. They don’t call it the Gem of the Suwannee Valley for no reason, and it’s well worth a visit even without your bike.
They offer two road routes, one at 50 miles and one at 100 miles, and also 20, 40, and 60 miles of rail to trail routes to choose from if you want to avoid traffic. This region is very flat, and even on the longest course, you only take 750ft of elevation in total. That isn’t a bad thing, and because of this, it makes it a perfect ride to tackle the century distance of 100 miles, which is a milestone for many cyclists and can be a tremendous challenge to undertake. Though one thing you can find riding the flats is the wind can be more challenging to tackle, and you will typically be pedaling more than if you were on hilly routes.
The ride is a Gran Fondo, and these are not a race.
As with many events like this, you all start
at the same time of 7.30 and set off in a big group. Route files are provided, but if you don't have a GPS, it's signposted excellently. What makes it really special is as you start ticking the miles off, you naturally fall into groups of people of a similar ability to yourself. If you do want to challenge yourself and have a competitive side to you, there are plenty of people trying to beat their own personal bests, which you can have some fun with.
On the Tour de Melon, there’s an excellent SAG service, and this means support and gear. So that if you have any issues, you have people on hand to help and also shepard the ride properly. You will also find many stops for refueling while going round, which is excellent for a little break and to ensure proper hydration and calories to keep you at full speed. Typically each about 15 to 20 miles apart. We highly recommend taking this Gran Fondo on, and our top tips are to stay well hydrated, be prepared for some slow miles in the headwind, and also wear sunscreen to avoid getting burnt.
Event Location: Chiefland, Fl