Catalina Island MTB Gran Fondo
Where: Catalina Island, CA
How far: 14, 26, 41, or 55 miles
Price: around $105
Why it’s a must: You’ll calm race-day jitters with a soothing 30-minute boat ride to this small island off the coast of Orange County, CA. You’ll also get a glimpse at Hollywood history. Several films, many of them of the pirate variety, have been shot here. But what makes it alluring are the epic climbs (the 55-miler racks up 8,000 feet), fluid singletrack, pavement, gravel, and roaming herds of buffalo that stand out. The race drew huge crowds in 2016–17 when it was in its first years, and though it may be a bit harder to track down information about it now, bike enthusiasts should be able to find a Gran Fondo—or at least a killer triathalon—in one form or another on Catalina Island.
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