Three Paths, One GranFondo
In an effort to make Levi’s GranFondo a ride in which almost any cyclist can participate, riders in the GranFondo have the choice of three separate routes. Regardless of what type of riding appeals to you or what fitness level you’re currently enjoying, we’ve got a route that works for you.
Willow Creek Option
We introduced this gravel option in 2011. Just about every ride in Sonoma County worth bragging about 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, those who don’t let a dirty bottom bracket and the lack of asphalt limit their opportunities to exalt will be rewarded for taking the road less traveled. It’s called Willow Creek Road and you’ll pick it up from the coast on either the Medio or Gran routes after crossing the Russian River near its mouth at Jenner. Googling “stairway to heaven,” while appropriate, will result in inaccurate results.
For Medio and Gran Routes only.
Gran + Willow Creek Option – [map]
The Gran route is a 103-mile journey of grandeur through the towering and enchanted forests, bare ridgetops, and pucker-worthy descents. The route climbs out of the depths of the town of Cazadero into one of the most breathtakingly beautiful expanses of terrain with incredible skytop views of nearby mountains, ridges, valleys and, of course, the vast Pacific Ocean. After cresting King Ridge Road, Gran riders are in for whipping descents and the rolling profiles of the coastal roads until you make your way back towards Occidental via the infamous Coleman Valley Road. From there, it’s smooth sailing back into Santa Rosa.
Medio + Willow Creek Option – [map]
When it comes to scenic wonder, the 65-mile Medio route is neck and neck with the Gran. While it does not include the famed King Ridge Road, the loop does incorporate the later stages of that route when it climbs up from the coast over Coleman Valley Road. This is not by any means an easy stage, but one that offers fit cyclists an opportunity to test their mettle on a wonderful climb and still experience some of the best that Sonoma County has to offer.
The Piccolo route is created solely for recreational and beginner cyclists who wish to participate in the mass start and big group atmosphere en route to Occidental, but are not prepared for the long, steep climbs in the far western flanks of Sonoma County. There is some climbing on this 32-mile ride, but the route mainly stays in the County’s fertile valley floors. The Piccolo is a great ride for those looking for a pleasant pedal past vineyards and redwoods to work up an appetite for a well-deserved hoedown back at the FondoSonoma Festival.