Levi’s GranFondo Attracts Barry Bonds, Patrick Dempsey & Pro Cyclists to Santa Rosa Annual Ride Raises $250,000 for Local Charities

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Visit Santa Rosa welcomes Levi Leipheimer’s annual charity ride – GranFondo to town. The highly popular event brings celebrity VIP’s and much needed attention and support for local children’s charities and services.

On Saturday October 5th 7,500 biking enthusiasts including VIP’s Barry Bonds & Patrick Dempsey will take to the streets and ride along with Tour de France cyclist Levi Leipheimer and celebrity riders; Andrew Talansky, Tom Danielson, Rebecca Rusch and more in support of local charities. Levi’s GranFondo includes three fully supported bike routes of varying difficulty in what’s now known as America’s best single-day mass-start cycling event and Visit Santa Rosa has been a past sponsor along with providing welcome amenities to celebrities and VIPs. Participants experience some of the greatest biking country in the U.S. while challenging themselves side-by-side with seasoned professionals. All routes start (and finish) at the Finley Center in Santa Rosa, CA. on Saturday October 5th at 8:00 a.m. The Gran Route, the longest and most difficult, officially sold out but there are “transfer” tickets available, the Medio & Piccolo Routes are open and registrants can still get tickets to all three courses. For tickets, transfers and all other event information visit http://www.levisgranfondo.com.

The three different routes range from fairly flat, to the very hilly Gran-King Ridge; each take in the drama and beauty of Sonoma County’s most charming vineyards, towering redwoods, meadows and coastal panoramas. In the tradition of the GranFondo, these are timed, non-competitive rides. Very strong, skilled riders opt for the 103-mile Gran, the Medio attracts riders with experience and the gentle Piccolo is for less experienced riders or those looking for an easy pedal through beautiful landscapes. It is a day of activities on and off the bike—all to benefit a suite of local and national charities designed to support change at a local level.

The GranFondo community will raise $250,000 this year supporting the healing work that Forget Me Not Farm does for at-risk children, the schools and emergency services in the underserved areas along the GranFondo route, the Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing and other programs.

The newest event is the big FondoSonoma Festival celebrating the lively end of the ride with kid’s activities, live music, local food and exhibitions. There will be free bike valet, and tons of activities for families & non-riders who want to participate and enjoy the day. The popularity of the event is a wonderful yet complete surprise to Santa Rosa’s Leipheimer who says, “I thought maybe a thousand people might get together for a ride, I thought since Santa Rosa is near some major metropolitan areas…we could get riders from there…” Cyclists now come from as far as Australia, Germany and England and the event has grown to 7,500 riders raising $250,000 for charity – all in three years. “I didn’t envision this, to draw from all continents,” said Leipheimer.

About Levi’s GranFondo
Levi Leipheimer’s King Ridge GranFondo is a challenging, long distance, mass-participation cycling event that welcomes professional, amateur, and recreational cyclists of all abilities. It is an opportunity to ride your heart out in some of the most beautiful and challenging cycling country this continent has to offer. The ride raises funds for a variety of beneficiaries that have a history of supporting their communities and shepherding those in need through difficult times.

About Visit Santa Rosa:
Visit Santa Rosa provides assistance to visitors and groups seeking information about lodging, dining and entertainment opportunities in Santa Rosa. The bureau also operates an Official State of California Welcome Center, and helps to bring major events like the Amgen Tour to Santa Rosa. For more information, please call (707) 577-8674 or VisitSantaRosa.com.

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