San Francisco, CA (WiredPRNews.com) – The Echelon Gran Fondo Cycling Series by PlanetZ/Echelon, a non-profit organization that benefits cancer research and survivor support, has announced intentions to increase their program to additional markets in 2011 and beyond. Echelon, a unique series designed for cyclists of all levels, combines riding, racing, and fundraising, along with what the organizers call a “Tour de France-like frivolity” to offset the serious nature of fundraising. Echelon has produced smaller charitable events since 2005 with cycling celebrities Eddy Merckx, Bob Roll, and Frankie Andreu, and this past May produced its first Gran Fondo in Napa, CA.
Based on the success of the Napa event and strong participation levels at the forthcoming September Hood River, OR event featuring Chris Horner of Team RadioShack®, the Echelon Gran Fondo will enter Arizona, the Rocky Mountain Region, Washington DC, Manhattan/Southern Connecticut, and the Stanford/Palo Alto markets. According to David Cochran, Director of Operations for Echelon, “Not only have certain cycling-oriented communities come forward and asked us to create a Gran Fondo for them such as groups from the New York Tri-states area, but we also have pursued locations such as Tucson and Palo Alto both of which have tremendous health oriented demographics and highly specialized cancer research universities. Specific to Colorado, with the recent introduction of the 2011 Quiznos® Pro Challenge cycling tour in Colorado, there is a logical fit for us to give fans their own challenge and support the local community.” The Echelon team also anticipates partnering with a key events operator for a Washington DC Gran Fondo; this would occur in conjunction with the Prologue stage of the Giro slated to start in the Capitol city in 2012.
What makes the Echelon event distinct from other charity-based cycling rides is the ride itself, or what Echelon’s Executive Director Hunter Ziesing calls “theater on the roads” –where cyclists are treated to an experience of riding in a grand tour for the day. At an Echelon event, a rider can expect announcers, balloons, cheerleaders, helicopters, live music, marching bands, epicurean treats, and a cast of characters typically found on Alpe d’Huez. Additionally, and fundamental to the both the fundraising efforts and the ride is the integration of sponsor partners. (Sponsors for the 2010 series are Capo, Skins, Garmin, Hammer Nutrition and Bicycling Magazine). According to Ziesing, “Activation of our sponsor partners is a critical ingredient of offering an outstanding experience, fundraiser awards, as well as lowering our cost ratios. We are now in dialogue with potential national partners who recognize the platform we have created for brand immersion in the worlds of health, healing and fitness.”
Echelon’s national beneficiary is LIVESTRONG® but unique to the Echelon model is their heavy focus on partnerships with local hospitals that have cancer specific clinics or foundations. “Fundraising is not for everyone and it is optional, but we offer all levels of cyclists the opportunity to raise money for the fight against cancer, reap rewards from their efforts, and have an unbelievable day on some of the most beautiful roads in this country,” commented Ziesing.
For more information, please visit www.echelongranfondo.org
PlanetZ is a non-profit global member organization that promotes human affairs including health, environment, and community, and is greatly committed to the cycling community at large by creating events and fitness challenges that are designed to raise money to local and national cancer focused institutions.
Media Contact: Rebecca Kotch
Email: [email protected]