As the 2018 Granfondo Yunnan approaches, our technical crew is on location to doublecheck all the courses for this year's event. The extraordinarily heavy rain season this year - which has now ended - has caused significant damage to road infrastructure in some parts of the province. Tengchong has been hit the most.
The Along Gaoligong stage has had to be redesigned for nearly 50%. Most importantly, the finish of both long and short distance races has been moved away from the Volcano Park and will be at... Wenzi Square back at the start location in the city and opposite the event hotel, which happens to be an unexpected benefit. The rather unfortunate consequence of the forced redesign is that the long distance no longer measures the mythical 200 km, but 185 km. Elevation gain remains at 2700 hm, and the scenery remains outstanding also using the new course. In fact, the initial 84 km along the Gaoligong mountain range is largely unchanged. Afterwards, instead of going north via the main road, we will now go south for a few kilometeres before hitting a moderately long and not so-steep mountain climb to Mingguang . After the easy descent we come back on the old course, where riders will be required to stay on the right side of the road if you wish to avoid potholes. We will still enter the Volcano Park as well, but won't go up the mountain. We will ride through villages before hitting the main road back for a fast and easy 20km down to the city and the well-deserved finish line.
The short distance route has also undergone a lot of changes and is now a loop of 33 km. The loop actually contains better scenery than before, and also has a climb for those who wish to make a difference uphill.
Because of the slight shortening of the courses, we will adjust the starting time of both long and short distance, also with a view to sunrise and sunset in Tengchong on 7 November. The long distance starts at 7:45 am and closes at 18:45. The short distance starts at 8:15 am and closes at 10:45 am. Rider presentation begins at 6:45 am and the opening ceremony at 7:15 am.
Please make no mistake about it: Along Gaoligong will be the toughest stage for most participants and will require as much brain as legs. For those aiming to score a Gold Certificate in this year's Granfondo (for finishing all six long distance stages), prepare well and be aware of the cut-off times at various water stations. The first one will be at km 84 after five hours of riding.