Uruguay is now home to two special GFNY experiences. GFNY Punta del Este in March, and GFNY Colonia in November, racing at the opposite ends of the Uruguayan cycling season.
GFNY Colonia will be centered in the beautiful and historic town of Colonia del Sacramento in the Southwest of Uruguay at the border of the Rio de la Plata (River of Silver). The oldest city in Uruguay, Colonia has a spectacular history, European style and charm, and seaside flare. Convenient to Buenos Aires, via a 1 hour and fifteen minute ferry ride, it is an ideal destination for those that may wish to escape the confines of the city of Buenos Aires for a few days at a slower pace of living, and a faster pace of cycling.
Offering two distance options, GFNY Uruguay, Colonia will provide a competitive long route of 153.2 kilometers and a non-competitive medium route of 87.2 kilometers. Both courses will share the first 45 kilometers through beautiful olive groves, vineyard and cattle country.
Let’s explore the challenge that riders will need to conquer in this exceptional destination in Uruguay to bring home the GFNY Uruguay Medal.
GFNY Colonia will start at Rambla de las Americas along the River of Silver. The weather in November is perfect for cycling at 24-27 degrees Celsius, but can be windy, and this may be a big factor during the race. Riders will follow the Rio de la Plata for the first kilometer before turning inland. On this left turn it will be important to stay focused and watch out for the traffic island in the middle of the road. Staying to the right of the traffic island will keep the riders safe. After turning the road will rise for 500 meters which will make for a hard and fast start. Riders should try to get a proper warm up prior to the start time to ensure that they will be ready to go from the gun. At the upcoming roundabout, riders will take the third exit bringing them to Treinta y Tres Orientales and this will be the road riders will stay on until the turnaround.
Treinta Y Tres Orientales
The course will follow the Treinta y Tres Orientales for the majority of the race. and while there will not be many turns or corners, there will be some traffic obstacles that riders will need to pay careful attention to. At 18 kilometers into the race, riders will cross a narrow bridge, and riders will need to merge in from the wider roadway to cross. Riders that are in large groups will want to be at the front of the group to see the bridge as they approach and avoid any chance of a crash in merging with other riders.
While there are some rolling hills throughout the course, these will not be the biggest challenge that riders will face. The GFNY Colonia course will challenge the riders’ ability to manage their effort into the wind throughout the course. Reaching the 23 kilometer mark in the race, riders will find the first aid station and a chance to refill bottles, and grab sweet and salty snacks to replenish their energy.
28 kilometers into the race, riders will again need to stay focused and try to be on the front of their groups to cross another bridge. If arriving at the bridge in a big group, riders should stay alert, and find a good line to cross without interfering with other riders in the group. The rolling hills will come fast and frequently, so riders should build momentum on the descents to get up the next rolling hill without using too much of their energy.
The road will start to head slightly down at about 32 kilometers into the race, and will approach a roundabout. This roundabout will take riders to the left, where there will be another narrow bridge. Riders should stay focused on finding a good line, and if possible getting to the front of their groups. Many riders will be taking the roundabout at high speeds – riders should pay careful attention, hold their line, and stay safe.
The long and medium course will split after 43 kilometers of racing, the long course will continue to follow the road straight, while the medium course will keep left and will turn left twice at the next roundabouts and follow the same route back to Colonia. Riders will reach the next aid station after 60 kilometers of racing. It’s critical that riders stay hydrated in the warm temperatures of Uruguay, and with the hard and fast effort being put in on this course.
After 73 kilometers of racing the long course will turn around and return along the same route back to Colonia. Riders should remember the bridges and apply the same care and focus on all bridge crossings. Likewise, using the momentum from descents on the rolling hills will allow riders to save energy on the next hill. Working in groups will allow riders to share the burden of the wind as they work their way through the course, and back to Colonia for a well earned post race meal and celebration.