Life in Sonoma County can be somewhat insular. Sure, we’ve heard of things like “San Francisco,” “Hooters Restaurants,” and “debt ceilings.” We’ve even seen pictures of them on the internet, but, like most people, we usually are content to stay close to home, enjoying the sea breezes, taking daily hot stone massages, and quaffing the Cabernet that we all have piped into our faucets. It’s a simple, country life, but we’re proud of it.
For those of you beyond our borders, consider this newsletter a beacon of hope. Let the GranFondo represent the end to a summer of toil and drudgery; may these missives become wayfinding respites along the way, a light unto a path leading to a fine day out, one punctuated with soaring views, blissful exertion, and the most exhilarating cycling on our great blue orb.
Also there will be snacks. Which is cool.
Every Which Way:
Fondo Beyond Fondo–Your Weekend Dance Card
Shift The Way You Move–Welcome Back to Nissan
2011 Route Notes–Important Changes and Cutoff Info
The Other Stuff
No good athlete skips the warm up. Your dear friends at Levi’s GranFondo are no exception and we enjoy this, the one comparison we can make between ourselves and, you know, athletes. We’ve got scads of screamin’ social situations into which you can dip your toe during the lead up to the GranFondo. Here, for your convenience, is a wee crib sheet of the Fondo goings-on that aren’t precisely the Fondo:
Thursday evening, September 29th:
Festa del Fondo: Our fundraising dinner with Levi and his comrades makes the round again. It’s a grand gala befitting the scale of this ride, make no mistake, and we want you there. Tickets are here (link), but tuck that shirt in, hillbilly.
Friday morning, September 30th:
Fundraiser Ride with Levi: Top fundraisers get to ride with El Patron as well as Team RadioShack (and other) pros. Don’t know what we’re talking about? Check out our fundraising incentives here and get goin’.
Friday evening, September 30th:
RadioShack Downtown: Our presenting sponsor, RadioShack, is hosting a party in the streets of our fair city. Throughout downtown Santa Rosa, businesses are offering deals on food and drink for Fondo folks. We’ll throw a quick reference card into your registration packet.
Gran La Fonda: Sonoma County framebuilders, bike art types, and Napolean Dynamite fans threw a fete last year in an empty downtown lot. It ended up being hundreds of people partying in the street while 10-foot tall, flame-throwing penny farthings rode around in circles. They figured they’d try it again this year.
Sonoma County Museum: The good folks at the Sonoma County Museum are putting together a cycling exhibit for the fall and are hosting a keen fete in celebration. This will be happening suspiciously close to the Gran La Fonda ground zero.
D’Argenzio Mixer: Italo-philes and wine lovers will want to park your saddle parts at D’Argenzio Winery, right off downtown Santa Rosa, home of the GranFondo Pinot Noir. Ray D’Argenzio’s got a great patio, bocce, and will likely be trucking out enough food to blush a sumo lord.
Saturday afternoon, October 1st:
FondoSonoma Festival: Naturally, our finish-line festival is not to be missed. Easy to attend for all riders and open to our adoring (more or less) public, we’ll have food, cycling exhibits, beer from New Belgium , live music, bike valet, kids’ activities, and plenty of places for you to relax and drink in your best day on two wheels. Space is still available, but going fast.
Nissan and the Innovation For Endurance
Once again, we’re putting palm to palm in rapid succession for our pals at Nissan, who’ve graciously offered their support of the GranFondo in 2011. They’re keeping us rolling for the duration of this gig, making our on-course support way more impressive than us hitchhiking. A major sponsor of Team RadioShack as well, these guys also host the Innovation for Endurance training hub with blogs from Levi, yoga tips from Tara Stiles, and cycling bits from Chris Carmichael (amongst others). Check it out and you could enter to win the all new, 100% electric, zero tailpipe emissions Nissan LEAF. If you win, we’ll trade you the old Bike Monkey corporate car for it.
Look for them on the road and at the FondoSonoma Festival. They’re the ones on four wheels.
Course Changes for 2011, including Gran Route Cutoffs
With time comes change. 2011 is no different and, for those of you manically pre-riding the GranFondo routes optimizing lap split times, wattage outputs, and other fitness-y things, we offer the following bits of departure from previous years:
Cutoffs. Not Just For Jeans Anymore: In order to keep things safe, we’re instituting a mandatory, police-enforced cutoff for the gran route riders. Any gran route rider not able to make the right turn onto Cazadero Highway from River Road before 10:30 AM will be sent onto the medio route heading to the coast from that point. This intersection is about 25 miles from the 8:00 AM start. Even if staging takes you a half hour, you’ve still got 2 hours to get to this point. If you’re ready for the gran, we figure you can pull this off.
Landslide Tortures Me: The descent back on Coleman Valley Road has been shifted near its end in Occidental and replaced with a descent back on Bittner Road, thanks to a landslide caused by thousands of cyclists (kidding). Bittner’s still a gorgeous, ripping drop, just without a gaping 23 foot hole in one lane where the road used to be.
We’re Losing Moving our Lunch: In better keeping with the timing of the midday meal, we’re providing lunch 10 miles further down the road for those on the gran route. Tom Ritchey’s ranch will play host to the lunch stop and he’s stoked to be giving back to the very bike community that has kept a smile on his face for the last 40 years. Additionally, the views from this spot will ease digestion, as dropped jaws and bulging eyes allow for improved calorie consumption. Ask any boa constrictor. We’ll still have the rest stop on the top of King Ridge Road, but it won’t have extra food options there. For those of you really paying attention, this also makes the Fort Ross School stop redundant, so it’s been nixed.
Our Personal Favorite: Ladies and gents, it’s still technically unofficial, but we’re almost positive we’ll be offering a gravel option this year. Just about every epic ride in Sonoma County ends up traversing dirt at some point; it’s not fair to you out-of-towners that we not make that part of your GranFondo experience. Rest assured, we’ll be working on a way to reward those who don’t let a dirty bottom bracket and the lack of asphalt limit their opportunities to exalt. Curious? It’s called Willow Creek Road. Googling “stairway to heaven,” while appropriate, will result in inaccurate results.
Hey, Levi’s probably ruling the Tour of Utah time trial as you read this. He’s defending his title on this event over the next several days and we’re wishing him much success. He’d love the good vibes from you all, we’re sure of it.
Missed an issue? Previous newsletters are available here. No excuses!