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August 25, 2016

The Gem of New Jersey: Hell of Hunterdon Gran Fondo

New Jersey has long been the brunt of bad jokes, the industrial pipeline of the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike providing far too easy a punch line for late night television, out of staters, business travelers, New Yorkers and foreign visitors.  The Port of Elizabeth, the Arthur Kill and Kill van Kull waterways are historically notorious for being the filthiest on the eastern seaboard, and provide a rather gritty view of the state upon arrival at Newark Airport, the dinosaur cranes of the Port littering the skyline that abuts the Turnpike.  And while I possess every bit of cynicism and impatience that defines a New Yorker, I’m proud to say I’m a Jersey boy, born and bred by New Jersey parents, who were raised by my New Jersey grandparents who emigrated from Scotland and Italy.  And while their lives were defined by the Great Depression, World War II and the urban streets of Jersey City and Elizabeth, I was fortunate to live in an area of the state, though only 20 minutes west of Newark, which begins to define why the state is called the Garden State.  And while non-New Jerseyans may raise an eyebrow or cast a dismissive glance when cycling in New Jersey is mentioned, riding in the western Counties of Hunterdon, Morris, Mercer and Somerset provides classic geography for the type of cycling that breeds tough legs and a finer appreciation for life from two wheels- rolling roads through farmland punctuated with steep climbs, magnificent hilltop vistas, abundant farm stands and charming villages that wreak of the very identity that speaks of small town America.  Toss in some gravel roads and if there is one event that has come to define and defend this notion and proudly display cycling in New Jersey, its Kermesse Sports annual Hell of Hunterdon Gran Fondo. Read More 

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