A Gran Fondo is a type of long-distance road cycling ride originating in Italy in 1970, and roughly translates into English as "Big Ride". Italian Gran Fondos are officially defined and certified by the Italian Cycling Federation as a bicycle event at least 120 kilometres (75 mi) long, and are individually chip-timed (start to finish) races with prizes for the fastest riders in each category. The starts are done en masse, and the format allows for riders of every level to participate, much like a marathon, where most participants are competing against the clock instead of other participants. Traditionally a large meal is served to the participants at the end of the event, and roads are shut down.
Nowadays only a handful of the largest Italian Gran Fondos have full road closures, but laws requiring riders to obey all traffic signals are more lax in Italy compared to other western countries.
The first few Gran Fondo events in the United States were organized in 2009, and as of 2017 there were over 200 events in North America. There is no official authority to certify US Grand Fondos. As a result, they come in many different varieties with some adhering very strictly to the traditional definition (often going as far as to have a full road closure), and others treating it more like a century ride where riders only compete in short timed sections and enjoy a large elaborate banquet at the finish.
The Mule Power Fondo website is provided by Online Registration Enterprises and Computer Link Northwest LLC.