2017 Rider Guide

Welcome to America's Premier Gran Fondo

Since 2009, we have led the way for the American Gran Fondo and created an unparalleled level of quality for timed rides in the United States. While our ride has been the largest on the continent, our focus has always been on delivering the best--that every rider who comes to our start line be treated like royalty.

When you line up with us on Saturday September 30th we want to make sure that you are well-informed of what to expect. That's why we've put together this handy guide to give you some of the important ride details. We want you to feel comfortable and ready for the day ahead.

Levi's GranFondo is the most challenging gran fondo in North America. Even our shortest "grown-up" route, the Piccolo has a fair bit of climbing, while il Regno takes the whole thing to level 11 at 116 miles in length with gravel and massive climbs up and down the Pacific coastline. Make sure you know how to say it.

In our short history we've raised more than $2,000,000 for at-risk youth. That's a big deal, and one that we're very proud of. This is a lot more than just a ride.

So thank you for joining us for our ninth trip around the sun. This year is very special to us. They all are.

Sincerely,
The cast and crew at Bike Monkey

Schedule of Events

Thursday, September 28

Festa del Fondo Fundraising Dinner

5:30 PM - 10:00 PM

Join Senator Mike McGuire, Congressman Mike Thompson and a host of luminaries including Levi Leipheimer, Andrew Talansky, Peter Stetina, Alison Tetrick, Floyd Landis and David Zabriskie. Our dinner will be crafted by celebrity chef Matthew Accarrino.

Raise a glass for at-risk youth, dine with a host of special guests, and donate during our silent and live auctions.

This year's Festa del Fondo will take place at Olympia's Valley Estate in Petaluma, CA. Tickets are almost sold out. Click here to buy.

Only 130 seats available, most of which have been pre-sold.

Friday, September 29

Sponsor/Fundraiser Ride

Top fundraisers and event partners will ride with Levi Leipheimer to shake out the legs. If you are one of our top fundraisers you can join us. It's one of the awesome incentives we offer in return for your support of King Ridge Foundation's efforts for at-risk youth. Time and location shared with you only if you're one of the many who have contributed through fundraising and reached the minimum level required to join this special warm-up before the big day.

Registration Expo and Packet Pick-Up

11:00 AM - 10:00 PM PACKET PICKUP

Required registration packet pick-up. Every rider* must be physically present to sign a participation waiver and provide identification before the ride. 

*For minors, a parent or legal guardian must be present to sign the waiver as well.

Location: Finley Community Center (2060 W College Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95401) - No cleats in the building!

11:00 AM - 6:00 PM REGISTRATION EXPO

A cycling exposition open to the public, including top brand merchandise and services.

The Expo is also an opportunity to learn more about the The King Ridge Foundation beneficiaries and find out about how Levi's GranFondo is serving youth in our community.

Delicious food will be available for purchase provided by Oliver's Market, and our awesome partner Lagunitas will be pouring beer.

Saturday, September 30

WE RIDE!

6:00 AM - 8:00 AM : PACKET PICKUP  

If you can’t make it on Friday, your last chance to pick up your packet will be early morning Saturday. - No cleats in the building!

Finley Community Center (2060 W College Age, Santa Rosa, CA 95401)

7:00 AM: START-LINE FULLY OPEN FOR STAGING

Staging is located at Stony Point Road, on the south side of Finley Community Center.  Both directions of Stony Point Road will be closed at 7am between West 9th St. and West College Ave. Two-way traffic on the southbound side of Stony Point will resume at 9am.  

Please refer to the "STAGING" section below for more information.

8:00 AM: START TOGETHER

We all start together! Make sure you're staged in the right spot (See "STAGING" section below).

10:00 AM: FONDOSONOMA FESTIVAL OPENS

Location: Here! A fantastic post-ride celebration, complete with an array of food vendors, beer taps, live music, kids’ activities, a photo booth, shaded seating areas and much more. Whether you indulge in a recovery massage or just kick back with a hot meal and enjoy the live music on the Festival center stage, you’ll be glad you stayed to celebrate with us. Click here for more info on your rider meal (included in your entry) and all the festivities.

Free, secure bike parking is available during the Festival. Be sure to keep your bib number as this is required to retrieve your bicycle after you enjoy the Festival. Spectators and volunteers can also use this free, efficient, and secure bike parking service.

4:30 PM: AWARDS PRESENTATION

6:00 PM: COURSE, BIKE PARKING AND FESTIVAL CLOSURE

Sunday, October 1

Bike Monkey HQ: 121 5th Street, Santa Rosa CA

Coffee at Bike Monkey!

7:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Join us for a Pop Up Cafe at the Bike Monkey HQ. In past years the coffee in town has run dry due to the influx of riders. This year we are prepared for you with the same great coffee you experienced on course and at the Festival. Coffee and treats will be served from Jessie, Taylor Maid's famous mobile cafe.

Routes

TIME CUTS

10:30 AM -- All GRAN and IL REGNO riders not making it to Fort Ross Road by 10:30 AM will be required to turn LEFT onto Fort Ross Road and abbreviate their ride by eliminating the King Ridge loop. You will be officially riding the GRAN FORT ROSS loop at this point.

11:30 AM -- All IL REGNO riders not making it to the King Ridge aid station by 11:30 AM will be required to turn LEFT and descend Hauser Bridge Road, and abbreviate their ride by eliminating the Stewarts Point / Coast Highway loop. This also cuts out the gravel climb up Kruse Ranch Road. You will be officially riding the GRAN route at this point.

6:00 PM -- All routes officially shut down. Most riders by this time have made it back to the post-ride festival. Occasionally, a few have not. It's important to know that this is one of the major reasons we enforce the earlier time cuts--to avoid having any riders on-course after 6:00 PM because 1) it starts to get dark, and 2) our course support closes down. Roads near the Finley Center open back up and you'll be on your own, outside of the control of the event.

CLICK FOR MORE DETAILS.

COURSE SIGNAGE

On-course signage looks like the following. Pay very close attention to signs to make sure you know where you're going. With 11 route options, there are a lot of course diversions. When that happens, you need to make sure you don't get swept up with the wrong group of riders.

PROCEED

You'll see more of these on-course than any other. It means "ALL RIDERS PROCEED" in the direction that the arrow is pointed.

GRAN ONLY

Route-specific arrows correspond to the major routes. You'll see "GRAN", "MEDIO", and "PICCOLO"

MEDIO ONLY

Route-specific arrows correspond to the major routes. You'll see "GRAN", "MEDIO", and "PICCOLO"

PICCOLO ONLY

Route-specific arrows correspond to the major routes. You'll see "GRAN", "MEDIO", and "PICCOLO"

MILE MARKER

These correspond to the GRAN route only, so don't be alarmed if they don't match your GPS!

SLOW DOWN!

This sign means business. If you see it, SLOW DOWN NOW! It means that a hazard lurks ahead.

STEEP GRADE

This sign means that there is a very steep grade ahead. You NEED TO SLOW DOWN RIGHT NOW! If you wait, it could be too late, and you could crash.

LEFT U-TURN

A sharp turn to the left is coming up. Slow down so you can negotiate it safely.

RIGHT U-TURN

A sharp turn to the right is coming up. Slow down so you can negotiate it safely!

GATTLE GUARD

A cattle guard is a set of gaps in the roadway made with a metal structure. There are many of these along the routes. The gaps are perpendicular to your direction of travel, and your bicycle can travel over them. But you must make sure to slow down and go straight across them, perpendicular to their openings to avoid getting your wheel stuck.

AID STATIONS

Our aid stations are truly world class. We endeavor to keep them on-par with the amazing scenery of our route.

Riders embarking on the Gran and il Regno routes will find a full lunch stop at Ritchey Ranch. It includes a full service coffee espresso truck from Taylor Maid Organic Coffee who will be serving our GranFondo Blend. They call her Jessie!

Every stop is complete with fast-filling water stations, a huge assortment of fruits, gluten-free items, salty snacks, electrolyte mix and an army of volunteers to keep you fed, hydrated and moving.

RULES OF THE ROAD

What's the Fitness, Kenneth?

Ride Scoring and Rules of the road.

The vast majority of people who ride bikes today do so for three reasons: joy, health and fitness. Fitness is the most easily measurable and quickest motivator for us all to be better versions of ourselves. One way to measure that objectively is to keep track of how long it takes you to complete a route of your choice.

But it's not a race.
With exception to the few experienced professional athletes who make their living racing bikes, no one is incentivised for going fast. Keeping track of your time is merely to prove as a measure and record of your own personal achievement. A lot of people use Levi's GranFondo as a way to test themselves each year, to measure their progress in their endeavor to be happier, healthier and fitter. Some consider it the most fun test they've ever taken.

Kings and Queens.
As we mentioned, it's not a race...mostly. For the top professional athletes who line up with us each year, we are able to provide a safer race-like atmosphere with a CHP lead to help create a safe environment for competition. But it boils down to just four athletes that become recognized at the end of the day--the top male and female of each the Gran and il Regno routes. That's it. These individuals are champions of the sport, and as champions are often the inspiration many of us follow to better ourselves. It was one of these champions who imagined, and ultimately created Levi's GranFondo. It is in that spirit that we choose to recognize these individuals in this way.

Rules of the Road For All
Just as a motorist, you must follow California's vehicle code throughout the entirety of your ride. If an officer at an intersection is not giving you the right of way, or no officer is present, you are required by law to obey the traffic control signage and/or lights at that intersection.

Whether you're a top competitor, in the back or somewhere in between, these rules apply to you. While we do maintain some road closures in the earlier parts of our roll out together the vast majority of the routes are open to traffic. It's practically impossible for us to close every single intersection and driveway along every route option that we provide access to. For that reason, Levi's GranFondo is at all times a RULES OF THE ROAD EVENT, regardless of who you are, or think you are. Your safety is in your hands, on your bicycle--we are not piloting your bike. You are. Please remember that.

Scoring

With all of what's said been said above, we do organize your finish times according to route, gender and age in 10 year increments. If you opted-in at registration to receive your time via SMS, we will text it to you shortly after you roll across the finish time.

But I took a different route!
It's OK to take a shorter route than the one you have registered for. We have on-course RFID tracking to see which route you actually took. But because it can take some time for us to retrieve that data (lack of good cell coverage, radio, wifi etc.) your proper categorization takes us usually until Monday or so to update. So results are preliminary until then.

I lost/damaged my timing chip.
It happens. That's why we put TWO of them on your bike. One for the seat-post, and one for your handlebars. They are small metal-looking stickers that are actually RFID "tags" that broadcast a miniscule radio signal to our scoring antennas when you roll past them. But if you don't wear these or they both become damaged or lost, you will not receive a finish time.

Getting to Santa Rosa

There is more than one way to get to town.

Take a plane, take a car, ride a bike and even a train.

STS: Charles M. Schultz Sonoma County Airport

Arrive at the friendliest airport in America! Click here for info.

Accommodations

Hotels fill up fast, and if you wait too long, you won't be able to book in our block. For lodging and accommodations see our lodging page.

Smart Rail

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit system came online this summer and offers service to Downtown Santa Rosa, mere blocks from the Finley Community Center where Levi's GranFondo takes place. You can use it to get here from the Sonoma County Airport, or from as far South as San Rafael. What a great option!

www.sonomamarintrain.org

GETTING TO THE START LINE

Park near the Festival for the best spot!

CLICK HERE FOR GOOGLE DIRECTIONS

Park to the South of the Finley Community Center for the best spot in the house. You'll be near the start/finish line and the festival. It's also the easiest place to get to around the entire venue. Simply take Dutton Avenue to 9th Street, head west and then turn right into the parking lot. 979 W. 9th Street is the place!

Ride your Bicycle

If you're staying in Santa Rosa, you probably have easy access to our local bike paths. The ride actually finishes on Santa Rosa's Prince Memorial Greenway. It's the easiest way to get to the start of the ride without having to drive!

Staging (Lining up for the start of the ride)

Staging for Levi's GranFondo is an important orchestration. There are thousands of people participating in the event, and a smooth roll-out depends on your cooperation, and a little knowledge of your own abilities. Be realistic, because if you're not a fast rider and you start too far up front, you'll not only spend too many chips too early trying to keep up, but you'll create a bottleneck for faster riders behind you.

Use this guide:

Family Riders will stage on the side of the main start line right near all the action, and will wave off the main peloton before starting their ride just behind them.

Piccolo Riders will stage near the back of the main peloton. 

Il Regno Riders will stage behind Fundraiser & Partner riders, toward the front of the peloton. 

Speed Staging Riders will stage toward the front of the main peloton, behind the il Regno riders. Riders who rode the Gran route in 2016 in less than 7.5 hrs fall into this category and will receive a staging sticker on their bib plate as a signifier.

If you don't fall into a category above, look for signs labeled "Expert", "Intermediate", and "Beginner".  Please stage behind the sign that best describes your riding level.

COMMUNITY

King Ridge Foundation

In it’s seven-year history the King Ridge Foundation has given out over $2 million to various programs, focusing on at-risk youth. These programs include the Forget-Me-Not Farm that work to empower marginalized youth through working with animals, Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) who are helping end youth homelessness, and the B-RAD Foundation who provide under-served children and teens team-building and leadership skills though experience. Without your help, these non-profits could not do such amazing work for young people in need.

 

Levi's GranFondo is our soap box.

Without the thousands of guests of Levi's GranFondo who come from around the world every year to create the biggest day on a bike, King Ridge Foundation never would have been possible. We use the bike to challenge and channel the energy and desire we find on two wheels into good purpose for at-risk youth. The biggest way we achieve this is through participant fundraising and donations.

Fundraising. You can make a difference.

You can personally make a difference in the lives of at-risk youth. With your help, The King Ridge Foundation is able to raise awareness and provide crucial financial support to programs serving at-risk youth across the country.

ROAD CLOSURES
CLICK FOR ROAD CLOSURE INFORMATION
THe Cost of the Fondo

We love doing this for you but nothing is for free. 

We love doing this. We do it for you. We do it for us. We want to tell you a little about some of our costs to make it all happen at the level you've come to expect. Our staff and volunteer crew (over 2,000 strong) put their heart, soul and countless hours into the event. We are very grateful for the amazing support from our community and partners over the years to help us offset some of the event costs.

We've maintained our efforts to deliver the best possible experience for you, despite increasing production costs. Let's take you behind the scenes for some insight on how we create America's premier granfondo.

We Work All Year

A handful of full-time and part-time production staff and a smattering of interns work on Levi's GranFondo around the clock to create the world-class experience you've grown accustomed to. We work our hearts out in an office in downtown Santa Rosa at Bike Monkey Headquarters planning, plotting, biggering and bettering our ride every year. We spend countless hours partnering with the organizations whose company brands you see at the top of this rider guide. They support our efforts to use Levi's GranFondo as a platform to enable King Ridge Foundation's continued positive impact for at-risk youth. We only turn the lights on when it's dark, but use natural light when we can and turn the A/C on maybe twice a year at most. Promise.

The Festival

The cost of renting tents, equipment, generators, hay bales, barricades, sound equipment, cable ramps, extra cones, fencing, electrical infrastructure, linens, tables, umbrellas, golf carts, hand carts, light towers, radios, and Santa Rosa's largest city park and all of its facilities is just the foundation of the post-ride festival.

Next we have to fill it with anywhere from 50-75 part-time staff and hundreds of volunteers working multiple days and nights in a row. Then we hire talent to entertain the masses and pay for thousands of post-ride meals that are included as part of your entry fee. Thanks to Lagunitas' generosity, however, the beer is on the house--the first one anyway.

The Aid Stations

In a warehouse in northern Santa Rosa, a few weeks before you arrive, an army of staff and volunteers prepares equipment and supplies to put on-course. A few days before you line up at the start, they begin filling rented box truck after rented box truck. Tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment and food (an eye-popping amount) is retrieved from a variety of places --pallets of fruits, cookies, mixed nuts, chips, bread, peanut butter, jelly, M&Ms, cheese, meat, ice and all of the awesome ride fuel our partners throw in. Everything of the highest quality.

It is all then deployed and neatly placed in orderly fashion as far as 60 miles out from this distribution center. Months before the event, we've secured permits with municipal, county and state agencies, and we've coordinated with property owners to confirm the locations.

Many of our aid stations do not have potable water on-site, and so we must hire potable water companies to take thousands of gallons to remote locations. Navigating these roads on a bike is hard enough, but far easier than doing so with 40,000 lbs. of sloshing water in a truck, and so we are charged a premium for such services.

Finally, every aid station is staffed with an emergency medical technician and a bicycle mechanic for those who may need them along the way.

Safe Passage

One of the biggest orchestrations of Levi's GranFondo by far is the coordination of the route itself. The breakdown is staggering, and many of the items that follow are costly expenditures that we must bear the financial burden to provide. Because we won't settle for anything less.

The Start of The Ride

Traffic control contractors (Ghilotti Construction Company), Santa Rosa City Police, California Highway Patrol, Sonoma County Fire and Emergency Services, volunteer fire departments, American Medical Response Ambulance Services and contracted medical first-responders all begin planning with us for Levi's GranFondo months in advance. They coordinate the mechanism by which we engineer a parking plan and a traffic control plan which include deployment of thousands of cones and barricades, and which shepherd thousands of cyclists safely out of Santa Rosa en-route to their blissful day on the bike. And then they're with us for the entire day, making changes, coordinating the relocation of CHP resources and responding to accidents. It's, in a word, insane to comprehend. But we pull it off every year. It's not cheap, because we aren't. Your safety matters.

Moto Marshals

Once you're on your way, two dozen of our own qualified motorcycle marshals assist in shepherding you through as much as 116 miles of riding as you make your way to the edge of the continent and back. Many are retired moto police officers and professional and amateur race support motos, and they know what they're doing in a pack of cyclists. They use a lot of gas in a couple days of preparing for and supporting our ride. They also need a place to sleep and food to eat because the best in the business don't ALL live in Sonoma County.

On-Bike Marshals

At Bike Monkey we were the first to develop an unprecedented on-bike marshal program--as many as 160 individual cyclists who generously give their time to see to your safety along the ride. They are experts, local riders who know our roads like the backs of their hands. They're there to remind you to ride safely, to try and add another layer of security for your day. Many are medically trained, able to assist any fellow riders in need. We're very proud of the work these fine people do to help raise the level of our ride each and every year. They represent the beating heart of what it is to be a Sonoma County cyclist, and they are your GranFondo Marshals. We make sure they have the resources each year to train and prepare for the work ahead, and we are grateful for their presence.

HAM Radio Communication

There is no possible means by which we would be able to coordinate this many resources all at once if it weren't for the technological capabilities of amateur radio. Often referred to as "HAMs", these amateur radio operators are truly our biggest ears on everything that's going on during the ride. They coordinate all SAG drivers and moto support, and have a direct line of communication with all emergency personnel in our event.

We joke that you can't start a rumor during Levi's GranFondo without HAM net-control finding out. And we make damn sure to donate generously to Sonoma County's Radio Amateurs every year. When true disasters strike, such as an earthquake, fire or flood event, these are the people we will depend on.

SAG, Neutral Support, School Busses and Bike Transport

Finally, we have SAG (Support and Gear), augmented with neutral mechanical support vehicles from partners such as Specialized, SRAM and Velofix, and drop-off locations with school busses and box trucks ready to retrieve the weary. This infrastructure is capable of transporting you safely back to the start line should you have to cut your journey short. All paid for by your entry fee... Just don't use it unless you REALLY have to. 

Insurance

Insurance premiums for "open road cycling events" have multiplied over the last several years. Insurance costs are three times what they were just four short years ago. At the end of the day we have to protect ourselves. But we take it further, and make the choice to protect you too. Your participation in Levi's GranFondo automatically gives you access to an additional medical coverage should you need it--For an additional premium you can gain access this extra coverage if you have a crash at our event and incur medical expenses that exceed what your own insurance will cover. The cost of offering this level of service to several thousand people is a big number with lots of zeros. But you're important to us, and in spite of grappling with much higher insurance rates, we're still fighting the good fight.

Is it a Losing Deal?

No way! This is the best event in the world. Thanks to you, the participant who sees the value in our ride, and to the generosity of our volunteers and our incredible partners who help underwrite some of the event's production costs, we are truly able to consistently do two things that matter to us and still break even:

  1. Bring you the best day on two wheels
  2. Positively affect the lives of at-risk youth

#WINNING