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Hundreds to pedal White Mountains to keep Manchester students in school

LINCOLN — This summer, hundreds of bicyclists will gather here in the heart of the White Mountains to cumulatively pedal thousands of miles to help struggling Queen City students stay in school.

Presented by Bank of New Hampshire, the second annual White Mountain Gran Fondo — a gran fondo is a mass-participation biking event popular in Europe and becoming increasingly so in the United States — will be held Aug. 23.

Proceeds will benefit City Year New Hampshire, which worked in six Manchester elementary schools in 2013.

The inaugural White Mountain Gran Fondo attracted nearly 400 riders, 21 sponsors, 112 volunteers and several times as many spectators. It raised $78,000 for CYNH.

Cyclists can register at www.whitemountaingranfondo.com and can choose one of three distance options: a 100-mile “Gran” Fondo from Loon Mountain; a 50-mile “Medio” Fondo from Bretton Woods Ski Resort; or a 25-mile Piccolo” Fondo originating in Franconia.

All three fondos will finish at Loon.

As of Wednesday, some 800 riders had signed up, said Allie Holms, CYNH’s development director.

“With one in four Manchester children currently living in poverty and one in seven dropping out of high school, thousands more students at the middle and high school level are in need of similar assistance,” said CYNH Executive Director Pawn Nitichan. “The White Mountain Gran Fondo is critical in helping City Year raise the funds to expand and help meet the needs of all students.”

Tony Ilacqua, who manages Bank of New Hampshire’s Lincoln office, said he was proud of his company’s partnership with CYNH.

Paul McCormack, who is an Irish Olympic cyclist and the official event technician, said, “City Year members bring an amazing level of spirit and organization that make the White Mountain Gran Fondo an incredible success — one of the best events I’ve been to in recent years.”

jkoziol@newstote.com



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