Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

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When is Levi’s GranFondo?

What are the entry fees?

Before September 1st

Panzer: $200
Gran: $170
Medio: $150
Piccolo: $80
Family: $40

After September 1st

Panzer: $220
Gran: $190
Medio: $170
Piccolo: $80
Family: $40


What is included in my entry?

Each entrant will receive the following:

  • An unforgettable experience from a grand day on the bike with Levi Leipheimer, other pro riders, and thousands of your new friends
  • A fully timed road course with an adventurous dirt option
  • Partial road closures on the first 25 miles and traffic control afterwards
  • A series of fully stocked rest stops with amazing food and friendly service
  • A GranFondo gift bag at registration
  • A Levi’s GranFondo commemorative t-shirt
  • A hot shower after your ride
  • A lovingly crafted, post-ride meal from any one of our multiple local food vendors, and either a cold beer or non-alcoholic beverage
  • The exceptional post-ride FondoSonoma Festival with music and great entertainment

What is the last day to register online for Levi’s GranFondo?

Although we recommend registering as early as possible, you can register right up until 8:00AM on the day of the ride.

Is the ride tax deductible?

The ride itself is not tax-deductible, because it is a tangible, exchangeable item. If you’re looking for a tax deduction, consider making your way into the ride through donating or fundraising for at-risk youth! Raise $1,000, and receive free registration.

Is there a comprehensive Rider Guide for the event? How do I access the Rider Guide?

Yes. We work hard each year to provide the most up-to-date, pertinent information for our riders. It comes complete with information regarding a schedule of events, routes, parking, staging, road closures, course signage, rest stops, bib number placement, and the like.  If you have registered for Levi’s GranFondo, expect a Rider Guide to land in your email in-box approximately one week prior to the day of the event.

Can I sign up for the Panzer route?

Yes. Due to popular demand, for 2016 we have increased registration for the Panzer route to allow for 200 more spots. There is no previous qualifying ride time necessary for registration. Please do note that this is a demanding route choice. We encourage you to train.

When does the ride start?

The ride starts at 8AM for all routes. Note that if you’re staged at the back, it can sometimes take upwards of 20 minutes before you actually start rolling. Location: 2060 W. College Ave, Santa Rosa, CA.

See Staging map here.

When does the ride end?

The course is officially CLOSED at 6:00pm. Finishing times will not be recorded after 6:00PM. The FondoSonoma Festival also closes at this time. We recommend choosing a route that allows you to both enjoy a ride within the limits of your ability and the post-ride meal, beverage and camaraderie at the Festival. It is not uncommon for even the most experienced riders to choose a shorter route in order to leave more time for post-ride festivities.

What is packet pickup?

Packet pickup refers to showing up in person at the Finley Center to get your rider packet, t-shirt and swag bag. You must do this in person. No one else can do it for you.  You must be the one who signs the waiver and shows your photo ID.  We’ll have bike industry exhibitors onsite, and our GranFondo merchandise booth will be in full swing. And yes, we make Levi do this too. No exceptions!

Packet Pickup Times
We strongly recommend you pick your packet up Friday to avoid the Saturday morning rush.

Where should I park? Is there a parking map?

Please see our section on Access and Parking here, where you will also find a downloadable parking map.

Will there be breakfast provided before the start?

No.We recommend having breakfast before coming to the Finley Community Center for the start. Taylor Maid Farms will be offering coffee, but we do not traditionally offer breakfast items. We will have food prepared for all rest stops and of course, Gerard’s Paella and other fabulous offerings will await you at the Fondo Sonoma Festival post-ride.

Is there a secure place to store my things while I ride?

Yes. We offer a bag check for all riders the morning of the ride. Bag check is  located by the volleyball courts at the Finley Community Center. Bags are available for pick up just after the finish line, so that you may have what you need post-ride easily at your disposal.

What is a Mass Start? How does rider staging work?

We go forward together. Simply put, that’s a core component of our gran fondo. It’s 6,000 people all moving forward at once. Quarters are tight. Excitement is high. But we’re all a part of one big day on the bike, and that means we all begin as one group–even as we sort our own paces out for the rest of the day. Being in a peloton this large is a rare opportunity, one not even enjoyed at the professional level. You get to move along the full width and breadth of the road for the first part of the ride, riding in concert with 5,999 other individuals as one big flowing organism. It is tremendous to behold, whether you’re participating as a rider or spectator.

It’s important for people to understand at what spot in the mass start their preferred pace and athletic ability should be. We’ll have signs indicating where riders of certain paces and route lengths should place themselves. We’ll encourage you to stage further back than you think: it’s far more prudent to plan for a slower start pace than to plan to charge out of the gate on a 103 (or 65, or even a 32) mile ride. In the end though, we trust that you’ll have the judgement to ride responsibly all day long, beginning with where you line up to start.

Many century rides include a stagger start or release riders within a window of a couple of hours. A gran fondo is not a century ride. Many of the operations (timing, professional cyclist presence, course, pageantry, etc.) are specifically different. It’s a big day. It’s designed to bring out your best by pushing you to excel. It’s a challenge, and it’s one we all undertake, starting on even ground at one time. We go forward together.

Not shown on this map is the Family Route staging. Family Route riders will line up near the start, to the side of the other staged riders, and will cheer on the peloton. Once the main peloton has crossed the start line, Family Route riders will proceed on their shorter, 8-mile loop.

See staging map below:


Will I get a cue sheet or turn-by-turn map for my chosen route?

No. Simply put, we don’t think you’ll need one. Our idea of an amazing time on the bike does not consist of fishing around your jersey pocket as you constantly wonder how far off the course you may have gotten. We’ve signed every turn, every hazard, and every route split with every sign you may need to find your way around any of our routes. It should be noted that our hazard signs are erected by experienced cyclists with decades of local knowledge. We do provide Garmin-friendly Strava maps of each route, should you choose to upload one to your existing device. We do not provide maps in any other software format. 

Is the event timed?

Yes. It is important to note that, strictly speaking, Levi’s GranFondo is not a race. However, participants will be given a timing chip that attaches to their bikes that records how long it takes them to complete the course.  We will not be posting a rider’s place, just times, again this is not a race.

Are there cutoff times? / Is there a time limit?

YES. There are cutoff times to ensure your safety. Due to the lack of available daylight hours in the fall, we have found it mandatory to enforce cutoff times in order to assure available SAG support throughout the ride. You will have until 6:00pm to complete the entire route. It takes approximately 30 minutes for the riders in the back of the staging area to cross the start line. Because of this, all riders will have between 9.5 and 10 hours to complete any given course and still have their time recorded.

  • The 10:30AM Gran & Panzer route cutoff: If you have not made it to downtown Cazadero by 10:30AM, CHP will direct you to the left of the intersection at King Ridge Road and up an alternate climb on Fort Ross Road. You will reach the ridgeline adjacent to the Ritchey Ranch rest stop, where you can fuel up just before the steep descent back down to the coast. Fort Ross Road is a beautiful ride with tough climbs and lovely descents, but it’s not as long or difficult as King Ridge.
  • The 11:30AM Panzer route cutoff: If you have not made it to the King Ridge Rest Stop before mile 50 by 11:30AM, you will be directed to take the Gran route.
  • The 6:00PM course closure: The course is officially CLOSED at 6:00pm. Finishing times will not be recorded after 6:00PM. The FondoSonoma Festival will remain open, serving food and beverage, until 6:00PM.

Why is there a cutoff?

The mandatory cutoff for the Gran route is above all, a safety issue. Having riders out on the course, far from the finish, at sunset is not only a visibility issue, but also one of fatigue and discomfort for the rider. Beyond the safety issue, we hope to provide an enjoyable GranFondo experience which includes not only a fun, challenging day on their bike, but also taking in our post-ride FondoSonoma Festival, having a meal and/or a beer with new friends, and not struggling through a prohibitively difficult ride for the entirety of daylight hours.

Can I ride a shorter route than the one for which I registered?

Yes. If you’ve registered for a longer route and decide, for whatever reason, to ride a shorter route on the day of the event, please do so. For example, if you’ve registered to ride the 103 mile Gran route, you may decide to ride the Medio. It is a spectacular route. Likewise, a Medio registered rider can ride down to the Piccolo. However, we cannot allow riders to ride a longer route than the one for which they have registered.

If you know in advance that you want to swap or transfer your spot, see our Refunds and Transfers page.

Can I ride a longer route than the one for which I registered?

No, not if you make this decision on the day of event.*

The cost associated with riding the GranFondo is much more than just the cost of food along the route, and for this reason “poaching” is not allowed and is well monitored.

*If you are already registered for a route of Levi’s GranFondo and would like to upgrade to a longer route, you may do so prior to event day. The upgrade will be treated as a transfer, and you will incur transfer fees. Please see our Refunds and Transfers page for details.

Is there a waiting list?

We do not have a waiting list for any of our routes. Transfers begin at the beginning of July, so we recommend checking our Facebook page for people needing to sell their ride.However, we do provide one more way to get a ticket for any of the three routes: fundraise $1,000 to receive a free entry, accompanied by other incentives.

See for details. Also see our Refunds and Transfers page for the details about picking up a transfer.

Are there refunds, deferrals, or transfers?

No. There are no refunds or deferrals to subsequent rides.

If you have paid for registration and can’t make the ride, you can donate your registration fee to the King Ridge Foundation by sending us an email to

There are transfers to another participant, however.  There will a be transfer fee, depending on how close to the GranFondo the transfer happens.  The transfer period begins around mid-summer and closes about a week before the GranFondo event date.

Refer to our Refunds and Transfer Policy for more details.

Are there age limits?

Yes. Any minor under the age of 14 must be accompanied by a legal guardian. The legal guardian must be present to sign for their minor and must agree to accompany them during the ride.

What type of bike may I ride in the GranFondo?

At Levi’s GranFondo, safety must reign supreme. We need to know that everyone is operating at the same level of visibility and maneuverability as a pack of thousands move forward at speed, shoulder-to-shoulder with each other.

While mountain bikes and two-wheeled recumbents are generally not a problem, velomobiles, trikes, and non-two-wheeled recumbents represent a departure from this standard and for this reason, we do not allow them. Anything outside of what we’ve mentioned here is strictly not allowed. We need everyone at their best, both in the way they operate their own bikes and in the way they interact with other cyclists.

And aero bars? We DO NOT recommend these for several reasons, not the least of which is that they just won’t be helpful to you on a course like this. Using them on the flatter stretches in the pack is touchy at best and dangerous at worst (not to mention redundant), when riding with thousands of other cyclists providing a wind break.

Non-standard wheel sizes also present a big risk as these roads are, at times, chock-full of cracks or potholes and anything smaller than what we’ve normally planned for can present a risk to you and those around you. Potholes and irregularities introduced by Sonoma County’s dynamic, earthquake-prone (i.e. mobile) landscape have a much easier time taking down somebody with smaller wheels. Be aware of this.

Are trailers, trail-a-bikes, and bike seats allowed?

Yes, on the 8 mile family route only. Trailers, trail-a-bikes, and bike seats are not allowed on any other route, due to the safety concerns of riding in a large group of people.

Do you have any suggestions about bike rentals?

Yes. There are a variety of bike shops in Santa Rosa.  A quick Google search will help you locate every bike shop in the area, most of all of them have a fleet of bike rentals that you can try out during the Fondo.

Should I use carbon wheels?

Thousands of people have ridden our route successfully on both carbon and aluminum rims. Due to the variance’s in construction methods and technologies used between different carbon rim manufacturers, it is impossible for us to make the call for you.  Our route certainly is hilly, and depending on your riding style, could create demanding conditions for any rim. We recommend riding that with which you are most familiar.

What size/type of tires do you recommend?

Like the discussion on wheel types, tire types and sizes vary in construction, performance, and, therefore, preference. Generally speaking, this is a road ride that takes place on all–or mostly, if you choose to add a gravel section to a route–paved roads of varying conditions. There are potholes and cracks and smooth pavement alike. These are public roads, after all. Most riders have generally chosen to ride standard wheel sizes and tires with widths from 23mm–32mm. Ultimately, however, the choice is up to you, as you best know your abilities and typical riding style. We can say, though, that the gravel sections of our routes are typically mellow and rideable–that is, they are definitely not single track and do not generally require large, mountain bike tires.

What type of climate should I expect for the GranFondo? What if it rains?

Levi’s GranFondo will take place rain or shine. Autumn in Sonoma County is generally mild, but routes can span over 100 miles over several hours. Our past rides have been known to start with early morning fog, with some heat on the hills, followed by cool, coastal winds, with the likelihood of hotter weather in the afternoon. We recommend being prepared with layered clothing.

Who is this ride for anyway?

It is for EVERYBODY. For professional cyclists, this is an opportunity to stretch your legs in an event that fosters competition in a relaxed environment. While this is a timed course over epic terrain with peloton dynamics, it is devoid of the pressure created by television cameras, roaring crowds, and a director sportif yelling in your ear. Let this represent a return to your love of cycling: epic landscapes, grueling terrain, and rich camaraderie with your peers. Take some time out from your race schedule to experience the best professional cycling has to offer to the best professional cyclists.

For recreational cyclists, this is your chance to ride with some giants along a route long celebrated for its intensity and beauty. While the way is long and steep, there is fixed and roving support, including repairs, food, and water. If you’ve long wanted to roll along the elegant coastal hills of Sonoma County, you won’t get a better chance than this.

Are there exchanges for merchandise?

Yes. We want you to be totally satisfied.

Pre-ordered jerseys and other clothing items are exchangeable as long as they have not been worn. You can either return them by mail and pay a small amount to cover return postage, or exchange them at the event. Exchanges are limited to stock on hand. There are no refunds.

Please contact us at so we can calculate the return postage amount. We will need to know what it is that you will be exchanging and where it is going.

Capo Clothing Sizing

We love Capo riding gear and we hope you do too. To be sure you order the correct size, please refer to our handy sizing chart. These togs come all the way from Italy, so take the three minutes to get the measurements right and check the chart. Seriously, you’re going to be spending some major quality time in these threads, so you might as well feel (and look) amazing. Check the chart.

What about hotels / lodging?

We have great lodging options, from the deluxe to the spartan. See our Getting Here page for more information. Do remember that there are more people in the GranFondo than there are beds in Santa Rosa. Book early.

Is there RV overnight parking or camping available?

No, unfortunately, we are not set up for overnight RV parking or camping. We recommend you check the following links to find a spot near Santa Rosa:

Woodall’s RV Camping Guide

Santa Rosa Convention and Visitors’ Bureau RV Guide

Can I ride with headphones during the event?

We advise against them, but do not strictly ban them.

STILL have questions?

Send us an e-mail: