The 165km Grass Routes Gran Fondo cycle race

grass roots at tipperary town

A homegrown sportive cycle created by three locals to Tipperary in 2019 has quickly gained notoriety in the cycling community due to the format, scenery and outright craziness of the route. The Grass Routes Gran Fondo follows none of the conventional rules; there is no cover fee, no marshals and you will take your road bike off road with gravel/dirt and limestone sectors. 

Sunday the 19th of September 2021 will see over 300 cyclists from all over Ireland flock to Tipperary Town to partake in the third edition of the Grass Routes Gran Fondo.

The cycle runs on a “self guided with benefits” system where participants can rely on .GPX/Strava, road markings and signage to navigate a 165km route weaving through a network of boreen road and “sectors” throughout the Glen of Aherlow and East Limerick. The route itself is all within  a 20km radius of Tipperary Town so home is never far away. Support vehicles, first aid and feed zones ensure riders and bike are kept in top condition for the day.

This year the cycle starts with the famous water tanks hill in Cordangan Tipperary, and sees the return of some classic sectors from 2020,  notably the “famine road” or more commonly known as “the lime stone sector”. There are also some surprises with two new sectors travelling through local farm paths dubbed “Roubaix” and “Strade Bianche”. It’s not all hardship though, in between the sectors partcipants can relax and enjoy the stunning Glen of Aherlow with a backdrop of the Galtee Mountains for the entire day. 

A new addition for 2021 is the creation of a “pop up” cycling village at the finish line hosted by Cannon Hayes Recreation Centre. The GRGF Team have experienced this Village atmosphere from attending international Gran Fondo’s abroad. “We wanted to bring this idea back to Ireland and incorporate it into our own event as no other Irish event is like this.”

Tired cyclist will be welcomed back to a market style village which will offer local food stands and barista coffee such as: Doco Pizza, Casa Street Kitchen, Gems Coffee & Crepes, Bansha Bakes, Rawe Frozen Yoghurt, Marion Bourke Cakes and High Nelly Ice Cream. For all things bicycle related, stalls from some of Ireland finest cycling apparel will also be there on the day to showcase their products: Cigala Cycling, The Bike Place, JRC Components, The Bikefit Physio, NADURA clinic, FX Supplements, Greenmount Cycling Academy, The Hub Bike for Life and Verge Clothing. For full detail of what each stall will be offering please see the GRGF Facebook and Instagram pages @Grass Routes Gran Fondo.

Organisers are welcoming guests to Cannon Hayes Recreation Centre from 13:00 – 18:00 to experience the village, have a coffee and cheer on the wryer cyclist as they return home from a gruelling epic adventure.

For those looking for a challenge, entries are open via: https://eventmaster.ie/event/mMQktyVFM8

We would like to thank this year’s Grass Routes Gran Fondo partners and sponsors, in no particular order, CIGALA CYCLING, THE BIKE PLACE, HINCHYS, TIPPERARY TOWN PLAZA, THE BIKE FIT PHYSIO, THE NADURA CLINIC, FX SUPPLEMENTS, CANNON HAYES RECREATION CENTRE, TIPPERARY COUNTY COUNCIL, TIPPERARY CO OP HARDWARE STORE

We would also like to thank event ambassadors Fiona Mangan (Costa Brava Mediterranean Foods) and Stephen Clancy (Team Novo Nordisk) for helping promote and build the 2021 event.

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