Every beautiful vista you’ve put your eyes up against had, with few exceptions, one thing in common: crushing weight. Somewhere along the way, somehow, a vast and merciless ballast was laid down on a slab of stone, a bulb of magma, or a stretch of river. And that burden was patient. Like a glacier, its heft was constant, its effect grinding through the epochs. Mountains bent. Plains caved. The liquid heart of the earth bubbled up.

On a slightly faster timeline, we find ourselves in the same state. We have several thousand cyclists coming to our little town, bringing with them the ponderous load of over a hundred millennia of cycling experience and expectation. We’ve promised much and now the strain of those words threaten to break us all. We’ve said it was the pride of the hemisphere. We called it the best day out on two wheels. We said it was to be this one and no other until the end of the world.

This Saturday, that weight lifts. The great collective crush is going to ease. We’ll ride and all the pressure you put on all of us is going to feel like the beating of moth’s wings.

In the distance, you’ll hear laughter. That’s just us, a bunch of dumb giggling kids who know what’s around the next corner for you.

 

Rider Guide Is Available

The how, when, where, and why of all things GranFondo, this guide is our attempt at getting your noggin as full of information about the GranFondo as is possible. It’s a mega-newsletter, kind of like if radioactive waste seeped into the place we normally keep all the newsletters, creating a monstrous information creature that threatens Santa Rosa and now Godzilla has to come and fight it off. Thankfully, it has less lame metaphors in it.

Read it online now on your computer or tablet and get all your questions answered

 

Your Friday and Saturday Dance Card

We’re keeping it up to date on the front-and-center of our website, but we’re in the “lead a horse to water” business.

Get to drinkin’:

Friday:

  • 11AM-10PM: Rider packet pickup at the Finley Center. Anyone riding has to show up here. We’ll have an expo on-site with sponsor exhibits, vendors, music, coffee, and tasty New Belgium beers.

  • 2PM-5PM and 6PM-9PM: NorCal Bike Sport happy hours, six of ‘em (see below). Drop off raffle tickets for custom GranFondo Specialized Roubaix or Ruby.

  • 10PM: Go to bed. Big day tomorrow, kid.

Saturday:

  • 6AM–7:30AM: Same-day packet pick-up for everyone who missed it on Friday. Estimated 60° and clear.

  • 7:30AM: All riders staged and ready. Get out of the porta-potty and for god’s sake, stop ordering lattés.

  • 8:00AM: WE RIDE

  • 10AM: FondoSonoma Festival unofficially opens, estimated arrival time for first Piccolo rider. Estimated 80° and clear.

  • 10:30AM: Estimated arrival time for first Medio rider

  • 11AM: New Belgium beer taps open, “official” opening of FondoSonoma Festival

  • 12PM: FondoSonoma Festival’s live music begins

  • 1PM: Estimated arrival time for first Gran rider. Estimated 91° and still so so clear.

  • 4:45PM: Presentation by Levi and friends on the main stage

  • 6PM: GranFondo course closes, FondoSonoma Festival closes

 

You Get A Bike! And You Get A Bike!

Yeah, you read that right up there. We partnered up with Specialized and NorCal Bike Sport to give away not one, but two bikes this time around. Guys, direct your attention to that shiny new GranFondo-bedecked Roubaix Comp that could grace the corners of your garage. Or bedroom. Ladies, let the vision of your own personal Ruby Comp dance through your head, stem to stern in GranFondo colors. You’re going to get a raffle ticket in your rider bag and all you have to do is drop it off at NorCal Bike Sport on Friday to be entered to win. Make for the Specialized/NorCal tent at Friday’s Registration Expo and you can snag a second ticket, doubling your chances to win (math!). We’re pulling names at Saturday’s FondoSonoma Festival on stage at (or around) 4:45pm. Warm up your delightful squeal muscles beforehand.

Also, for those of you diverging up the Willow Creek dirt on Saturday, we’ll have a 3.4 mile, 1000 ft. hill climb segment marked on that route. Specialized is going to give away a S-Works Evade helmet to one guy and one gal selected at random from those who uploaded their ride through that segment to Strava.

 

Staging, one more time

We’re going to say it again and again: if you’re unsure about where to line up with the great conclave of riders at staging, head towards the back. No one wants a pack of thousands breathing down your neck, nor does anyone want to struggle to ride at their best because someone (or several someones) slower than them lined up at the first spot they saw open, five minutes before the ride starts.

We’ll have signage directing you to where you should line up, based on your ability level and the average speed over the course of our many many hilly miles. We strongly suggest you obey those signs and be realistic about your performance on GranFondo day. Should you be in the wrong place at the wrong time, we ask that you stay to the right so that other riders can pass you. There’s always someone who wants to go faster. Let them. Besides, as a reward for lining up in just the right spot, you may score yourself some shoe covers from the nice folks at Velotoze. They’ll be handing a limited number out to help with your cold start on Saturday morning.

Start well, and the rest of the ride will practically take care of itself. Start poorly and you’ll have something other than 14% grades with which to contend.

 

Parking

The GranFondo start/finish is serviced by a killer bike path that runs between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol. Between that, our bag check, and bike valet, we try to make it easy to leave the car at home/the hotel/the place where you parked and slept in it. If you must drive, the business park lot off West Ninth, just east of the intersection with Stony Point Road is the best bet. Next best would be the City of Santa Rosa Utilities lot off Stony Point just south of West College Ave. Try to park in the Finley Center lot off West College and you’ll likely be turned away due to parking shortages.

More information can be found on our website about this, including a parking map.