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Fun, exhaustion and even a wedding at GranFondo

  • Riders in the 2013 Levi's GranFondo wait for the start by the Finley Community Center in Santa Rosa on Saturday, October 5, 2013. (Conner Jay/The Press Democrat)

It was a day of cycling fun, excitement and a few injuries, as some 7,500 cyclists — both amateur and professional — took to the streets of Sonoma County on Saturday for the fifth annual Levi's GranFondo.

The top male and female finishers were three-peaters, having both finished with the top times the past two years as well.

Neil Shirley of Valencia finished first overall, in 4 hours 37 minutes and 14 seconds, a new record for the event. Alison Tetrick of Mill Valley was the first female finisher at 5:25:12.

Levi Leipheimer's GranFondo 2013

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Shirley is formerly a pro racer and is editor of Road Bike Action magazine, while Tetrick rides professionally for Exergy Twenty12 Professional Cycling.

The event, now it its fifth year, drew riders from all 50 states and six continents, said organizer Greg Fisher.

Riders were asked to call out their homes at the start of the race. Kazakhstan, the Czech Republic, Taiwain and Singapore were represented, as were American cities throughout the country, many in California.

"Someone even called out Narnia," Fisher said.

Before the event, organizers and the event's namesake, Levi Leipheimer himself, encouraged participants to ride safely, a practice that is made all the more difficult because of the volume of riders.

Two of those riders formed a union during their race.

Mike Reid and Michelle Young of Redding tied the knot on the cliffs at Portuguese Beach, all decked out in their finest cycling wedding attire.


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