Levi’s Little Slice of Heaven

P3010520.JPGLevi Leipheimer, the threepeat winner of the Tour of California is planning to have a Gran Fondo event (Gran Fondo simply means “long distance”) to raise money for the Tour of California and for an animal charity in Sonoma. Called the King’s Ridge Gran Fondo, this ride is planning to showcase some of the best routes in the area. As someone who has been cracked on that road before, I can tell you it’s going to be an incredible ride.

The ride will be fully supported, there are different speeds and routes, and Levi and his “pro buddies” will be on the route. The route is past vineyards, over pastures and past redwoods–possibly the best place to ride in the country.

Leipheimer, who lives in Sonoma County plans to ruin it for all of us tourists by showing the world how perfect the region is for cycling. Sonoma is one of my favorite little private spots, and now he’s going to go and ruin it for everyone by leading a series of bike rides across my favorite routes. Nuts to that, I say. Of course, I’m already booking my lodging for the event.

This isn’t a race, although they’ll be prizes, medical support and lots of post-ride pasta. There are smaller routes (a “Medio Fondo and a Piccolo Fondo”) as well, for those who aren’t up to the full route. It’s only $75 a person to join up, and $150 for a tandem.

Full details are at http://levisgranfondo.com, and the whole press release is after the break.

Sannta Rosa, Calif.–Levi Leipheimer, the reigning and three-time Amgen Tour of California champion, is the instigator and patron of a new fundraising cycling event, Levi Leipheimer’s King Ridge GranFondo, on October 3 in Sonoma County. The primary beneficiary of the ride will be the Tour of California.

Levi Leipheimer, a resident of Santa Rosa, Calif., said, “This King Ridge GranFondo is the perfect way to show everyone what myself and many of the best cycling teams in the world have known for years: Sonoma County is a cycling heaven! There’s nothing I enjoy more than showing off my training grounds to other cycling enthusiasts and sharing that passion for the bike.”

Three different ride options, one of which includes the stunningly beautiful King Ridge Road, will take place in the golden light of fall in Sonoma County. The turning leaves, soft vineyards, tranquil valleys, and spectacular views of the rugged Sonoma coastline create an ambience of romance and adventure as participants pedal through some of the most glorious cycling country in the USA.

GranFondo, which means ‘great endurance’ in Italian, is a traditional out-of-season ride in Italy. In other countries, France, for example, it has another name: ‘randonnee cyclosportive,’ which translates as ‘sporting bicycle tour.’ The full ride, the GranFondo, is 103 miles. In addition to this, there are two shorter, easier routes: a 65-mile MedioFondo; and a 40-mile PiccoloFondo.

Locals will recognize from the King Ridge part of the name that Levi’s GranFondo takes a challenging route, which is why the MedioFondo and PiccoloFondo routes are planned too. Riders looking for a nice flat course may opt for the PiccoloFondo that stays in the charming valley floors. A moderate day’s pedal in beautiful countryside can be had in the MedioFondo, while those looking for the kind of terrain that Levi seeks on his hard training days will find it on the mountainous King Ridge GranFondo route.

The event raises funds for the Tour of California and an animal charity in Sonoma County. Registration is open now at http://www.levisgranfondo.com .

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