Guest Writer – Whitney Allison, Foco Fondo Owner, organizer, the glue, wrangler of Zacks, dreamer.
Back in the early days of FoCo Fondo, it wasn’t much more than a glorified group ride created out of self-interest and curiosity of discovering new routes. Seven years later, as gravel has absolutely exploded, so has the number of riders looking for a place to belong in the gravelsphere.
One thing that has always kept me growing roots in Fort Collins is the community here. People are always looking out for one another and are very friendly. This also creates an environment to be able to give valuable feedback to one another and all be lifted together. This very principle has allowed FoCo Fondo to grow with the gravel community and evolve to be reflective of Fort Collins.
It initially started with a partnership with Safe Routes to School, an FC Moves program, implemented by Bike Fort Collins. FoCo Fondo provided free kids entries to FoCo Fondo and funded after school bike clubs around the city, focused on lower income schools. It’s initiatives has since expanded to include a 10-rider BIPOC entry program in 2021 and a non-binary category. For riders with financial hardships, FoCo Fondo’s Volunteer program is set up to help riders get to the start line.
2022 sees a continued trajectory with a 20-rider BIPOC program partnered with Ride for Racial Justice with housing thanks to Fat Tire and community members. The non-binary program, with the help of local non-binary athlete Bethel Steele includes a first-year entry and housing program partnered with Stamina Racing Collective and Fat Tire. The Safe Routes Partnership, free kids entries, and earn-an-entry volunteer program continues. To increase women’s, particularly mother’s and single parent’s, ridership, a new partnership with Sunshine House at CSU offers childcare during FoCo Fondo, thanks to much help from Anna Kelso.
FoCo Fondo will never claim to be the most inclusive event, but has and will continue to evolve and see that riders who want to push their limits and have an insanely fun time feel that FoCo Fondo is the place they can do that. There will be plenty of high fives and Fat Tire at the finish, just for them.