GranGABLE2016 kicked off Monday morning with a few words of encouragement from the man the long-distance ride —or gran fondo —was named to honor.

“This is really not a national championship,” Dan Gable, former head coach of the University of Iowa’s wrestling team, told riders shortly before 7 a.m. “But I am out here watching, and I am looking, though. I’m looking for people that want to be the best. And that’s why you’re here.”

More than 730 riders signed up for either the60-mile or 100-mile route options for this year's GranGABLE —the longer of which taking them through all the cities in Johnson County. A few hundred riders, however, started cycling hours before the opening ceremony.

The ride, now in its fourth year, raisesfunds for the Iowa Bicycle Coalition and the Hawkeye Wrestling Club.Both routes begin at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, by the bronze statue honoring Gable, and endwith a lap around the concourse at Kinnick Stadium.





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