GFNY is Your Race Through American History by Armand Minassian

At the start of GFNY in 2019, I found myself on my bike, suspended above the Hudson River on the lower deck of the George Washington Bridge, surrounded by 5,000 fellow racers from over 90 different countries. Even though this was my third consecutive GFNY, I stood there, shaking my head in disbelief thinking, “WOW, a bicycle race has shut down the busiest bridge in the world!” The bridge remains open through snowstorms, high winds, repairs, maintenance, and accidents. And all of this in a country where cycling is certainly not a national pastime. It seemed to me that the magnitude of this bridge being closed just for the sake of our bicycle race was being lost or not fully comprehended by most of us.

It also occurred to me that since a great majority of GFNY racers are either from another state or another country, theres a pretty good chance that most of the riders around me on the bridge would enjoy some insight to where they were, what they were looking at, where the racecourse would be taking them, and the significance of it all.

We compiled this “Points of Interest Guide” to help you get to know the GFNY racecourse from a slightly different perspective. It’s so much more than just rolling hills, quaint towns and Bear Mountain. This guide will make your race experience and trip to New York more fulfilling.

MILE 0 / START:

Between Two Forts.

At the start line, we are suspended above the Hudson River, between where once two American Revolutionary War forts defended the river. Fort Lee was just south of the bridge in New Jersey, and Fort Washington was just north of the bridge on the New York side of the river. Cannon fire passed right through where we are lined up for the race start, as Colonial Americans fired down upon British ships sailing up the river. On November 16, 1776, British forces overwhelmed and captured Fort Washington. After the battle surviving Americans fled across the river to the safety of Fort Lee. Margaret Corbin was a patriot nurse at that battle who remained beside her husband operating a cannon. When her husband was fatally wounded and unable to operate the cannon, she immediately took his place, efficiently loaded and accurately fired the cannon, until her left arm was nearly severed. Margaret never fully recovered from her wounds, yet her bravery and devotion did not go unnoticed on the battlefield. A few years later, her valiant service was recognized by the newly formed US government as she became the first female recipient of a lifelong pension.

Highly Recommended:  Visit Fort Lee Historic Park before or after the race.  It is located on the racecourse and is less than 1 mile from the GFNY Welcome Zone.

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