Change can be uncomfortable. It can be scary. Just like riding a bike, it can carry a ton a risk. But our willingness to face change is precisely what allowed us to create Levi’s GranFondo 10 years ago. Now we’re embracing that spirit again with our odyssey: Sonoma VITA.
Magical as it has been in the past, we know in our hearts it will only remain so if we force ourselves out of the groove, and to favor imagination over habit. After so much time building on the original version of Levi’s GranFondo, we’re going to take some big strides.
What you’re about to experience is going to feel different, but that’s the whole point.
Now is the time to take what you know of Levi’s GranFondo, and set it down. We are barreling toward Sonoma VITA and it won’t be like anything we’ve seen before.
You get to ride the same routes you’ve become familiar with. But that’s where the familiarities end.
The start is at a different location than before, and the finish is at a different location than the start. This is perhaps the biggest challenge of them all for those of you coming from out of town, and it’s still a challenge for our next door neighbor Jerry who thinks he doesn’t have to read our emails. He’ll be lining up at the wrong place, all by himself. You need to pay attention here.
A Place to Play is a community park on West 3rd Street in Santa Rosa, just west of where the ride used to start.
There are lots of parking options in Santa Rosa. But some of them are free while others are not. All of them are convenient in different ways to different people. So please give this some serious thought before you park for the day.
Please do not park at Finley Community Center on West College Avenue. The Finley Community Center will be open for regular patrons and you will not be permitted to leave your vehicle there during the ride.
The same business park you’ve probably used many times in the past. The Stony Point Business parking lot is just south of Finley Community Center, practically attached to it near the intersection of West 9th Street and Stony Point Roads. From this parking area which can accommodate lots of cars you’ll have to ride 1.5 miles to the start. At the end of the day you’ll have to ride 1.8 miles back to your car on this designated route. We consider this to be the best option for most participants who don’t mind doing a short ride back to their car at the end of the day. It will also be the official free parking lot of the event, and will be the only lot that has a designated return route marked for your convenience to get you back to your car with ease.
Follow pink arrows to the start, and pink arrows back to your car.
Just across the street from Finley Community Center on Stony Point Road, and just south of West College Avenue is parking which is similarly convenient to option 1. From the MSC lot it’s a 1.7 mile ride to the start, and then at the end of the day it’s a 2.2 mile ride back to the MSC lot.
Follow pink arrows to the start, and pink arrows back to your car.
For visual people, here’s a map:
There are numerous value lots in Santa Rosa, and some can accommodate an entire day’s worth of parking. There is information about value lots available on the City of Santa Rosa’s Parking page here.
Santa Rosa has abundant parking in paid garages. You can park pretty close to the finish line in a paid parking garage. It will mean your ride to the start is a little bit longer. No big deal. And it’ll mean that your ride back to your car at the end of the day will be a little bit shorter. Cool. But remember not to drive into a parking garage with your bike on the top of your car! All parking garages in Santa Rosa are incompatible with roof-mounted bike systems. If you enter a parking garage with your bike mounted to the top of your car, you’ll be walking, not riding, on Saturday.
Packet Pickup takes place at the Sonoma VITA Kickoff Expo adjacent Old Courthouse Square on Friday October 5th. It is crucially important that you get your rider packet on Friday before the ride. If you don’t, then your only other option is to get your packet Saturday morning between 6:00 am and 7:30 am at Old Courthouse Square. Remember, you’ll still need time to get to the start of the ride at A Place to Play on Saturday, exactly 3 miles away. DO NOT SHOW UP LATE! If you start your ride late, you will not have the support of law enforcement for your solo roll-out. But the course will still be marked, and eventually you’ll probably catch someone, and integrate with the group, albeit, the back.
If you are arriving Saturday morning, you'll need to get your packet from Old Courthouse Square by or before 7:00am.
We recommend the following program for your Saturday morning "late" arrival:
Keep in mind that if you choose to park downtown all day and ride your bike all the way to the start, there are limited places where you can park. The cheapest place to park all day will be in a parking garage of which there are several and you can review them here on the City of Santa Rosa's website. Make sure you don't have a roof rack though. They are low-clearance.
The start line for Levi’s GranFondo will be in a giant, elongated parking lot inside A Place to Play. There is no parking at A Place to Play except for staff, volunteers and sponsors with VIP parking passes. If you are not one of these people, DO NOT TRY TO PARK AT A PLACE TO PLAY! You will be turned away, generally a little bummed about it, and you’ll waste time in the morning getting lined up.
VIP staging is where professional riders and some sponsors will line up to start Levi’s GranFondo. You are only allowed to stage in this gated area if you have the appropriate “STAGING” pass attached to your rider bib number.
The Growler staging area is for those riders who have signed up for the Growler route--the longest route of Levi’s GranFondo. This year there are approximately 450 of you. The Growler was formerly known as “Il Regno” and “Panzer”. Don’t worry about the name changes, it’s still the same super-challenging 116 mile behemoth that is going to challenge you to the core.
Pack Staging will be the third and final designated staging area, and is a self-selected staging area based on known rider ability. We’ll place signs that indicate the group riding speed so that you can make sure to line up with people who will ride about the same speed as you.
Part of the fun of signing up for the family route is that you get to watch the start of the ride, and cheer riders on as they begin. We will have a special family staging area to the side of the main staging area. Our professional announcer will send you all off to bring up the rear just as soon as those last riders in the main group cross under the start line arch.
At precisely 8:00 am we will roll, everyone at once into the 10th annual pilgrimage of Levi’s GranFondo. This mass start is part of the magic of Levi’s GranFondo. We do it the same way every year, together in unison, we flow out into Sonoma County to take it all in.
We offer a variety of directional course signage in addition to special caution signs that vary along the route to indicate the presence of hazards. While those course hazard signs are similar across all routes, directional signs correspond to the route you'll be following. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the sign color that corresponds to your route.
In addition to these route-specific signs which you will see at intersections where different routes go different directions, you will see "ALL ROUTES" signs when everyone is supposed to go the same direction.
Time cuts are in full effect for Levi’s GranFondo and they’ve been made a little bit more aggressive than in years past because we need to ensure that riders are back in Santa Rosa at a reasonable hour for everyone’s safety. This is very important because riders not obeying the advised detours after these time cuts will not be guaranteed event support.
The finish of Levi’s GranFondo is going to happen right smack dab in the middle of Santa Rosa on 4th street next to Old Courthouse Square. As soon as you roll across that finish line, valet park your bike and go get your rider meal and beer. Live music begins at 2:00pm and the line-up we have in store for you is completely off the charts with Echosmith headlining our 10th anniversary and the new Sonoma VITA festival. The finish line is here.
In order for your time to be recorded, you will be provided with a variety of timing material. One number plate that goes on the front of your bike. DO NOT FOLD OR BEND THIS NUMBER PLATE. If you do, your time may not be recorded. You will also be provided with a redundant, secondary "hang tag" which can be placed in a number of places on your bike with provided zip-ties. The diagram below indicates how this hang tag can be placed on your bike for optimum visibility. If you do not follow these instructions properly, your time may not be recorded.
Levi's GranFondo is a fully supported ride from the moment you start with us. We provide well-stocked aid stations with a variety of food including gluten free options, water, electrolyte drink mix, snacks, sandwiches and mechanic support. You can find out where the aid stations are along each route by visiting the ride page.
We also provide vehicle support along the route. If you have a mechanical, make sure to flag down one of our amazing on-bike marshals. They've got 10 years of experience under their belt in providing the best service in the business to make sure that you are taken care of.
Free and secure bike valet is available at the finish line as part of the Sonoma VITA festival, complementary as part of your entry.
Showers this year will be available at the YMCA at 1111 College Avenue. It is a short 4 minute ride, or a 12 minute walk from our bike valet location next to the finish line on 4th Street. If you ride, remember to bring a lock!
At A Place to Play, you will be able to drop your backpack or rider bag with a change of clothes or whatever basic necessities you have and we'll transport that back to the finish line so it will be available to you when you return.
Beer and Wine Festival Tickets are not included as part of your rider entry. If you want to participate in the newly added beer and wine festival component of Sonoma VITA, you can purchase your tasting passes online here.
Of course every rider still gets a post ride meal and one beer from Lagunitas with their entry.
We have a full three days in store for you, and most of what you need to know about the weekend is available within the rest of the site. Start with the schedule, and go from there. We also have a lot of questions answered in our FAQ. Take a look there if you don't have what you need. And of course if you still aren't getting what you need, just shoot us a note right here at email@example.com.