RadioShack’s Levi Leipheimer kept his promise of creating a bigger and better second annual King Ridge GranFondo, which will be held on 9 October in his hometown of Santa Rosa, California. This year handful of world-class cyclists and actor Patrick Dempsey will toe to the line.
Among the 6,000 participants will be Leipheimer’s teammates Jason McCartney, Janez Brajkovic and Jose Luis "Chechu" Rubiera. Professional mountain bikers Kris Sneddon, Max Plaxton and Mark Weir along with neo-pro for Garmin Transitions Andrew Talanky are also set to ride.
“There are a lot of factors that have contributed to the success of the event,” said Greg Fisher of Bike Monkey, the event’s management company and producers of a Santa Rosa-based quarterly bike magazine. “Things like a challenging and beautiful course, the chance to be hosted on a ride with Levi, and really first class rider treatment and course support.
“Free beer at the finish and a built-in party doesn't hurt, either,” he added. “If forced to reduce it to one thing, I'd say that the event offers thousands of people a chance to be a part of Levi's local riding community for a day. Sure it's 6,000 people, but regardless of that number the feel of the ride is very organic and grassroots, which gets people to feeling very welcome as they ride.”
The mass-start group ride caters to all cycling levels by offering three different distances at differing price points: A 165km GranFondo that incorporates the famed King Ridge climb and costs $130 to enter, a 105km MedioFondo costs $110 and a 57km PiccoloFondo costs $70. Both GranFondo and MedioFondo are full and there is limited space left in the PiccoloFondo. The registration deadline for the last open ride is 25 September.
King Ridge officials expect 6,000 to ride this year's event
“The routes worked great last year,” Fisher said. “Everyone was very excited about what we put together for them to ride and since it isn't broken, we don't plan on fixing it. The routes are almost exactly the same as last year with great views, epic descents, and grueling climbs all still built in.”
The registration fee is worth more than just a bike ride and will include hot showers and a post ride meal at the Fondo Sonoma Festival at Santa Rosa’s Finley Park where the rides will start and finish.
Last year, the GranFondo raised $100,000 and funds were divided among three beneficiaries. This year the proceeds are spread more broadly, to: Forget-Me-Not Farm of Sonoma County, The Lance Armstrong Foundation, Santa Rosa’s Keep The Tour of California Campaign and VeloStreet’s Community Initiatives Program.
Additionally, some of the funds will go toward the Sonoma County cycling community for a plan to create a Velodrome, the addition of cycling specific signage throughout the county’s popular cycling routes and creating a competitive grant program to fund cycling initiatives in California.
“This event is a big boon to the City of Santa Rosa, as it drives people from all over the world to travel, eat, shop, and sleep in our fair city,” Fisher said. “The estimated economic impact from last year's event was 1.2 million dollars to our local economy and the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce awarded Levi their ‘Businessman of the Year’ award for his promotion of cycling in the area.”