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GranFondo registration starts Tuesday

  • 9/30/2011: D1:
    12/30/2010: C1:
    10/10/2010: A1:
    PC: Six thousand plus bicycle riders jam the starting line on Stony Point Road prior to Levi Leipheimer's King Ridge GranFondo, Saturday Oct. 9, 2010 in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2010

Registration opens Tuesday for the Levi Leipheimer King Ridge GranFondo, the wildly popular Santa Rosa-to-the-coast-and-back ride that showcases the best scenery and roads in Sonoma County.

The ride is capped at 7,500 participants and sells out every year, having grown in four years to be one of the nation's top cycling events. This year's event will be held Sept. 29.

"It is the combination of Levi lending his name to the ride and what Sonoma County has to offer," said Marc Hagenlocher of Santa Rosa, a former professional racer. "This ride in Mississippi wouldn't be as popular. It is where we are and what Sonoma County has to offer."

2011 Levi Leipheimer King Ridge GranFondo

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The fondo (an Italian word used to describe some cycling events) has three routes. Its 7,500 riders will stream out together from the Finley Center in one colorful, massive start that will have cyclists wheel-to-wheel for several miles.

The shortest route is the piccolo, just 32 miles to Occidental and back. The 65-mile medio route continues to the coast by way of Duncans Mills and returns over Coleman Valley Road.

The 103-mile granfondo route includes the ride's name-sake King Ridge in Cazadero and is the most popular, with 4,000 slots that will sell out within a few days.

On-line registration for the three routes opens at 9 a.m. Tuesday at www.levisgranfondo.com. Fees are $75, $125 and $145, depending on the route.

Last year's crush of registrants overwhelmed the organizer's computer servers, causing a two-day delay while registration was moved to new servers and forms were rewritten for easier loading.

"The way the registration form talks to our database has changed, and the servers are far more able to handle the volume," said Greg Fisher of Bike Monkey, the event organizer.

The ride, which is the brainchild of Santa Rosa pro racer Leipheimer, started in 2009 with 3,500 riders. It was meant to help the City of Santa Rosa raise money to host the Amgen Tour of California, the top professional bike race in the United States.


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