What an AMAZING day. What an epic ride.
While this may have been a casual day of cycling for Levi, most of the 7000 plus cyclists in attendance were going to find the courses a bit more challenging. The topography alone is enough to make any ride in Sonoma County potentially grueling. With three routes (the Piccolo Fondo, the Medio Fondo and the Gran Fondo) to choose from, participants chose just how much they wanted to push themselves.
Yes, the courses were demanding. Yet, the energy of the day was something to behold. There is little that compares to being amongst so many other cyclists at the start. There were many very fit riders there, that’s true. Some had done a lot of preparation just for this event.
The longest and most challenging of bike rides begins with a single pedal stroke. At 8:00am, the gun went off. The cyclists, many of whom had been on the line since close to 7:00, began to turn their pedals. What had been a contained sea of color, had now become a flowing mass.
Once out on the open road, alliances formed and strangers would become friends as groups of cyclists would work together for efficiency and camaraderie. Riding alone, while always an option, isn’t necessarily the easiest way to complete a ride like this.
The organizers did a great job of providing frequent and well stocked rest-stops.
Here is an interactive map of the Levi’s Gran Fondo Route:
For those wondering whether to do this event, or any other fun ride, I say “Do it!” Thousands of people can’t be wrong! And besides, doesn’t it look like these guys had fun?