Friday, May 16, 2014

Gran Fondo New York: Pre-Event

You are greeted by this when you walk in the Expo at Gran Fondo New York!

Uli and Lidia Fluhme are the driving, or should I say, riding forces behind Gran Fondo New York. In four short years they have taken their event from a start-up, to a 7000 entrant, cycling race and event, that has entrants from 70 countries and 48 of the U.S. states.

That it happens in New York City is a help - anything associated with NYC tends to be a big deal, but Gran Fondo New York has really set the standard, for what a Grand Fondo event should be!

Today was the  Press Conference and the opening day of the Expo. One thing you notice right away with Gran Fondo New York is the attention to detail - from the branding, to the quality of the volunteer help. Other event and race directors should take note. Some don't understand this, but in a competitive market for both, participants and for sponsors, you need to think more like a business, and your brand has to be at the forefront of everything you do.

The really good endurance sports events get this. Events such as the Ironman triathlons, The New York City Marathon, the Boston Marathon,  and others get it that, their event brand my shine bigger and brighter than the event itself. How else to explain, why people will tattoo the Ironman logo on their bodies,  or spend years trying to qualify for Boston.

Gran Fondo New York has risen quickly to this same level of brand prestige and profile in the world of large mass participation cycling events, and perhaps all of endurance sports. The Fluhme's have gone out of their way to not only ensure that they run a very high quality event, but have taken the extra steps, to make sure that the GFNY brand is always at the forefront of everything they do. See picture at the top! My wife, Paolina Allan posing. It was a popular spot for pictures!

At the press conference today, kept moving along by the great endurance sports MC & Announcer Whit Raymond, there were speeches from New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, and other dignitaries. The Fluhme's as were everyone else there, dressed impeccably! This is a classy event . . . after all it is New York City! The event has strong support from the City, with a formal proclamation, from the City Council, being presented, and from great support from key business leaders.
Also on hand, were the great Stephen Roche, who in 1987, won the Tour de France, the Giro, and the World Road Championships, and U.S. Olympic track sprinter, and Olympic Medalist, Nelson Vails - both Roche and Vails plan on doing the full 100 miles on Sunday!

The Gran Fondo New York is now part of an international series that the Fluhme's are overseeing, with new events in the next year planned in, Italy, Mexico, Pueto Rico, Spain, Columbia and Brazil.  Ride on!

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