Yesterday, Terry and I rode in the second annual Levi's Granfondo out of Santa Rosa, California. Levi's is a charity event, one that focuses on change at the local level by supporting groups such as Keep The Tour Campaign, Forget Me Not Farm and even The Lance Armstrong Foundation.
We rode the 65 mile Medio route, the longest ride to date for me! The Medio route winds through vineyards, farms and redwood forests, along the coast, up the brutal Coleman Valley Road, then finally back down into Santa Rosa. It feels like the entire 3,500 feet of climbing for the route was gained on Coleman Hill.
The morning started at 5:00 am with the drive up to Santa Rosa while trying to force down food and coffee. We parked downtown and road to the starting line. By 7:00 am, all 6,000 of us were starting to line up and most everyone was jumping around trying to stay warm. Patrick Dempsey was even in the lineup which made quite a few women happy!
The ride started promptly at 8:00 am. We were lined up towards the back and it took us probably a good 20 minutes or so to cross the starting line. For the first 10 miles we were packed tightly together, stopping and starting as we turned corners. After the first rest stop and the three rides went there separate ways, the lines started to thin out.
We crossed the finish line just after 1:00 pm and headed straight for the Festa del Fondo. Food from many local restaurants and beer from New Belgium ensured we were promptly refueled after our day on the bike. I was happy to have my Action Wipes with me as we were pretty dirty after the ride and I think I stepped in a huge patch of poison oak while taking a picture of some riders at one of the rest stops.
The thing I love most about Levi's Granfondo is not just the stunning scenery (everyone stopped to take pictures along the route) but the camaraderie. This is not really a race- everyone is there simply because they love to ride. Thanks to all the volunteers who made it a great day out riding and I will definitely see you next year!
I wore my Contour HD helmet camera to take video along the entire ride. Sadly, the battery lasted for about 20 minutes of filming time so I was only able to capture the first 20 miles of the ride. Below is some of the video that I captured yesterday so you can get an idea of the crowds and the scenery.