Spaces are filling up fast for Levi Leipheimer's King Ridge GranFondo next October, with nearly half of the 6,000 spots reserved on Tuesday, the first day of registration.
The second annual cycling event, the largest group ride in Sonoma County, raises money to help Santa Rosa host the annual Amgen Tour of California.
It also benefits Forget Me Not Farm of Sonoma County, a nonprofit that provides therapy for troubled children.
Brian McCleary of Sacramento takes in the sweeping view of the Sonoma coastline, overlooking Goat Rock from Meyers Grade Road, Wednesday September 30, 2009. Meyers Grade is part of the 103 mile route for Saturday's upcoming King Ridge GranFondo. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2009
Paul Klassen of Santa Rosa zooms down Hauser Bridge Road, Wednesday September 30, 2009 as he traces the GranFondo route over King Ridge. After his 103 mile ride on Wednesday, Klassen will participate in Saturday's King Ridge GranFondo, pedaling another 103 miles. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2009
A Brown Ranch employee, who did not want to be identified watches rider negotiate King Ridge Road, Wednesday September 30, 2009. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2009
Riders trace the route of the GranFondo, Wednesday September 30, 2009 on Hall Road in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2009
Signs have been psoted on the GranFondo route alerting driver to the bike ride on Saturday. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2009
Kevin Scott and Sabra Nagel of Bike Monkey, strip deck tape along a cattle guard on King Ridge Road, Wednesday September 30, 2009 in preparation for Saturday's GranFondo ride.(Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2009
Brian and Elizabeth McCleary of Sacramento pedal up King Ridge Road, Wednesday September 30, 2009. and (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2009
GranFondo riders will have to negotiate curves and vehicles on Highway 1 near Jenner this Saturday October 3, 2009. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2009
Last year, the GranFondo attracted 3,500 cyclists from 39 states.
Online registration opened Tuesday at 9 a.m. for the cycling event, which features short, medium and long-distance rides in western Sonoma County. All the routes start in Santa Rosa.
The event's Web site couldn't handle all the traffic when registration opened, said Greg Fisher of Bike Monkey, the event producer.
"It was crazy," he said. "Our site really slowed down."
There are 3,000 spaces for the 103-mile GranFondo, 2,000 spots for the 65-mile MedioFondo and 1,000 spaces for the 30-mile PiccoloFondo.
The Oct. 9 event also features a post-ride festival. A tradition in Italian cycling, GranFondo is aimed at cyclists ranging from recreational riders to professional racers.
The first GranFondo was held in October. It raised nearly $100,000, with $60,000 set aside for Santa Rosa to bring a leg of the Amgen Tour to the city. Santa Rosa must raise $175,000 to be a part of the tour.