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NH cyclists fare well in mountains

Nearly 400 cyclists participated in Saturday's inaugural White Mountain Gran Fondo, a 100-mile, timed challenge through New Hampshire's White Mountains. The event raised $75,000 for City Year New Hampshire, an education focused AmeriCorps program working to increase the local and national high school graduation rate.

Gran Fondos are long distance, mass participation cycling events that are popular in Europe, and gaining popularity in the United States. The White Mountain Gran Fondo featured three ride options: a 100-mile Gran Fondo starting at Loon Mountain; a 50-mile Medio Fondo starting at Bretton Woods Ski Resort; and a 25-mile Piccolo Fondo starting in Franconia.

Portsmouth's Eric Follen was the first cyclist to cross the finish line in the Gran Fondo. He completed the 103-mile event in 4 minutes, 56.21 seconds. Christine Bengtson of St. Johnsbury, Vt., was the first female finisher. She finished the course in 5:57.18.

Manchester's Keith Beausoleil won the Medio Fondo in 2:49.09. Hudson's Michelle Bajdek completed the race in 3:24.09 and was the Medio Fondo's first female finisher.

New York City's Stephanie Beebe won the Piccolo Fondo in 1:36.18.

Boston's Andrew Brewster completed the race in 1:37:15 was the Piccolo Fondo's first male finisher.

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