May 18th, 2013 Ride starts in: Day ::
May 18th, 2013 Ride starts in: Day ::
Greetings to Riders in the Sonoma County Backroad Challenge!
We are glad you have chosen to ride in our event and we are working hard to make it an enjoyable day on the bike for everyone. This is the information you need for the event, May 18, 2013. There is lots of information here. Please read it so we are all together. We want you to have a great day on the bike!
The ride is sponsored by The Petaluma Sunrise Foundation and heavily supported by The Petaluma Sunrise Rotary Club. We also are receiving support from other community groups and from our wonderful sponsors. Please pay attention to who they are; we appreciate their support. The proceeds from the ride go to support those community groups who are helping with the ride and to the projects of Petaluma Sunrise Rotary.
What are those projects and who are these community groups? We in Petaluma Sunrise Rotary support many activities, both local and international, including:
The community groups that are supporting us and sharing in the benefits of the event are
<>We are proud of the list of people and projects supported by this event and we are working hard to put on a great event. We hope you have a great day on the bike.
The Sonoma County Backroad Challenge on May 18, 2013 will start in Petaluma in the Club One parking lot near the intersection of North McDowell Blvd. and Old Redwood Hwy. If you are arriving by car take the northernmost Petaluma exit from Highway 101, labeled Petaluma Blvd. North and Old Redwood Hwy, turn east on Old Redwood Hwy and you will immediately see signs and people directing you to parking. The registration tables will be in the Club One parking lot; Club One is south of “The Progressive Bldg.” and west of the Kohl’s store. (Please do not park in the Kohl’s parking lot.) Carpool if you can but we will direct you to parking so that everyone gets a spot. Please see the associated maps and watch for the signs and flaggers to direct you to parking, to the registration area and to the start of the event.
Registration will be in the Club One parking lot. Be sure to bring a picture ID. You will need to sign the waiver forms, available on tables near the registration, and present yourself, your ID and your wrist to people at the sign in tables. There you will receive your route maps, wristband and other important information.
Your wristband will have tabs attached. Each tab may be turned in at the Festival in order for you to pick up your meal, your adult beverage, and your T-shirt. If you are “not old enough for an adult beverage” your beverage tab will be removed by the people at the registration table before the wristband goes on your wrist.
We are once again planning on three courses for riders.
Each course is described below and on the website in more detail. Please check the length and elevation gains noted for each course and match your ability to the course. We want you to be challenged but we also want you to have an enjoyable experience.
Each course will be marked with signs and with arrows. The color of the arrow corresponds to the course color. The arrows (biodegradable) will be on the road. Your wristband color will correspond to the route so in the event you forget which course you are on, check your wrist band. If you show up at a rest stop on the long course with a short course wristband, we will politely give you “the evil eye,” and then offer you help getting back to your “intended” route. Check out the sign and arrow samples at the registration area so you will know what to look for. We don’t want anyone to “get lost.”
You will also receive a route card at registration. The route card will be distinct for your route, labeled and color coded, with a map showing rest stops and turn by turn directions for your particular route. There will also be a phone number to call if you need assistance from the abundant support resources that we have spread around the course. Remember, phone coverage is spotty over some of the course so it may be necessary for you or someone else to move to better coverage to call in for assistance. And, of course, if there is an emergency, call 911.
The courses will open for riders at specific times with start windows noted above for each course. Clearly, you may start earlier if you wish. However, based on these start times, we are preparing and opening the rest stops to support riders, we are sending out bike riding marshals and we are dispatching the Support and Gear (SAG) vehicles to be on the course as a help resource. If you start early, you will, to some degree, be “on your own” until the SAG and other safety provisions we are providing come into effect. We will also be “sweeping the course” later in the afternoon to ensure that all riders are able to complete the ride in good order. If you are still on the course later in the day when “The Course Sweeper” comes upon you, we will offer you a ride. If you choose to keep riding “on your own,” then you must be aware that the rest stops, the SAG vehicles and the safety features and ride support may not be available to you from that point on. We want you to be safe and to have a good day on the bike; at this point it is your choice to accept a ride or continue on your own.
Regarding clothing drop off, there will be a provision for “checking” any jackets or light gear that you want to shed at the first rest stop. You will put it in a plastic bag, available at the rest stop, and leave the bag with us at the rest stop. We will haul the bag to the Festival when the rest stop closes. Toward the end of the day, you may retrieve the bag at the Petaluma Sunrise Rotary Booth at the Festival,. We also advise you to put your contact info in the bag with “your stuff.” Last year it took us several weeks to hunt down the owners of some pretty nice jackets and other gear that riders left with us at the end of the ride.
This year we have expanded our rider support with several new features. We have a group of 25 Marshals riding bicycles spaced out through the groups of riders. The Marshals will be wearing very red jerseys with our Sonoma County Backroad Challenge logo. They are experienced riders who will be able to help you with encouragement and minor bike issues. They will also be able to help with communication regarding problems that occur and with summoning aid in the form of Support And Gear (SAG) vehicles or other more substantial assistance. We also have several of our two-wheeled “Motorcycle Cousins” from the Russian River BMW Motorcycle Club riding with us to provide similar services and communication. There will also be automobiles, SAG vehicles, stationed or moving around the course, which can be summoned for assistance and will be available for transport of riders and bicycles if the need arises. We have several officers from the California Highway Patrol directing traffic and providing assistance at specific locations to improve rider safety. All of these support people will be in communication with our control center which will coordinate these resources and direct them to where they are needed.
There is a telephone number on your rider information card, the one you receive at the registration table with your wristband, etc. We want you to call in to the communication center to advise if there is a need for assistance. Please note that phone coverage in many areas of the course is “sketchy” so you or the Marshals may have to move to a location with better phone coverage. If you need help, or if you see someone else who needs help, call us as soon as possible and provide information on the nature and the location of the problem. We will get assistance to the location in very short order.
There are five rest stops this year spread over the three courses and we have added a water station at the base of Joy Road for the long ride. The short course has two rest stops. The medium course has four rest stops and the long course has five plus the Joy Road water stop. Each of the rest stops will have communications, food and water. Each rest stop will also have people and provisions for limited medical assistance and limited bicycle mechanical support. We have worked very hard to upgrade the rest stops this year by engaging groups from the community to staff each rest stop. We anticipate that they will make the rest stops very interesting as well as refreshing. Please pay careful attention to each of the rest stops, take note of who the sponsoring group is, and let us know what you think of each of the rest stops you visit. Also, please be sure and thank the people staffing the rest stop.
There are course descriptions, course maps and elevation profiles on the website on the page marked courses. All three courses leave Petaluma quickly and go to the first rest stop at the Two Rock Presbyterian Church parking lot.
The Long Course and the Medium Course go past the Coast Guard Station and take the picturesque Chileno Valley Road to Wilson Hill Road, to the Bauman Ranch rest stop. The long and the medium courses go over Wilson Hill and up and down the Marshal Wall, turning north along the Pacific Ocean to the rest stop at Nicks Cove and Miller Boat Landing. The long and medium courses continue north to Tomales and then further north to Valley Ford. At Valley Ford the long course and the medium course separate (and if, at this point, you realize that you have overestimated your capacity for suffering and want to “bail out” then this is the spot! “You know, just sayin!’”). The long course turns left toward, and goes through, the town of Bodega, and then after a quick water stop at the bottom of Joy Road, proceeds up Joy Road. The Joy Road climb is a tough pull that will challenge even the best of us. The long course winds through the hills around Occidental over some of the same road that the Tour of California will be using the very next day, arriving at the rest stop in Occidental. From Occidental the long course then proceeds up and down more hills, providing spectacular views, particularly in the Burnside Road area, and then down to the final rest stop, joining all the other riders, at Bloomfield Park.
The Medium Course follows the same route as the long course until the separation at Valley Ford. At Valley Ford the medium course turns right toward Petaluma. You will be joining with the short course riders as you get close to the rest stop; the long course riders will be coming down the hill from Occidental as the Bloomfield Park rest stop is where all the courses finally join back together.
The Short Course follows the same route as the long and medium courses to the first rest stop and then for a short distance to the Coast Guard Station. Shortly after passing the main gate of the Coast Guard Station the short course will go straight where the long and medium riders turn left. The short course riders will proceed straight and then turn right into the modest hills populated with ranches and cows, up some hills so you can say you were on a challenging bike ride, and then down joining the Medium course riders with a right turn toward Bloomfield Park and the final rest stop for all the riders.
The three courses, Long, Medium and Short, are together at the Bloomfield Park rest stop as the last rest stop for all three courses. From Bloomfield Park the course turns toward Penngrove/Petaluma and the Sonoma County Backroad Challenge Festival. The Festival this year will be at the Penngrove Community Park where there will be food, drink, entertainment, exhibits and a place to sit and talk, (which we understand means telling each other about what a hard ride this was, while some others call it “bragging”). The course takes you directly to Penngrove, the Penngrove Community Park and the Sonoma County Backroad Festival.
As riders you have choices as to when and how you enjoy the Festival. One choice is to park your bike and “do the festival” right then. You may check your bike with our Valet Bike Parking System, operated by the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition, and enjoy some time eating and drinking and listening and talking at the Festival. When you are finished with the Festival, it is a short 1.5 mile bike ride to the morning parking area near Club One or you can take one of the shuttle vehicles that we will provide back to Club One. If you want, you may leave your bike in the valet parking at the Festival, take a shuttle to the morning start and parking area, pick up your car and then return to Penngrove Community Park to pick up your bike.
Another choice is to continue on the bike, on the course, past the Festival, and complete the final 1.5 miles, load your bike into your vehicle, change clothes, shower at Club One, or whatever suits your fancy, and then come back to Penngrove Community Park either by car or on the shuttle. Keep your wristband attached! At that point you can “do the Festival” including pick up your T-shirt, your meal and beverages, and, we hope, finish off a great day on the bike in fine style with music and conversation.
If you check your bike, the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition bike valet service will keep your bike safe in the Penngrove Park area until 6:00 PM in the evening. We will have shuttle buses operating between the Penngrove Community Park and Club One every 15 minutes until 6:00 PM. Be sure and retrieve your bike!
As far as enjoying The Festival, we have a hearty meal prepared by The Penngrove Social Firemen and served by members of some the wonderful community service groups in our area. Several local breweries are providing beverage choices. Riders obtain their meal and beverage by having the appropriate wristband tab cut off. Friends and supporters of riders can buy meal tickets and drink tickets at the ticket booth just inside the entrance to the food and beverage area.
Please linger and enjoy the food, beverages, conversations, displays and music as long as it is pleasant. The music will be by “Randy and The Special Agents.” From time to time, when Randy and company get tired after a tough set up on the stage and need to recover, there will be recorded music. There are a number of displays that will be of interest and you are encouraged to visit that area as well. We hope you have a good time at the Festival.
There is parking available at the Festival site on a limited basis. Please follow the signs and the directions of the people who are helping arrange the parking.
Remember that we will be “sweeping the course” toward the end of the day. The intention is to make sure that no one is left unsupported on the course unless they make that choice themselves. If you are still on the course and the “sweeper vehicle” approaches you, the people in the sweeper vehicle are going to be asking you if you want a ride or if you want to continue, unsupported, on your own. We want you to have a good day on the bike so the choice is yours.
We will be starting to clean up and close down the Festival activities about 6:00 PM so please plan your eating and drinking and talking and listening with that end point in mind. We want you to have a good time, but all good things come to and end, and we need to clean up and go home!
Please remember we want you to be safe and to have a good time.
These are not easy rides, but we want your day to be fun, challenging and enjoyable. Before you start, check the website maps and elevation profiles, assess your own capacity for riding and climbing as well as you can and pick the ride that suits your abilities. If you overestimate and decide you need some assistance, find a marshal or a SAG vehicle or call us. We are happy to help you salvage the day by providing a motorized ride to a rest stop, to the Festival, or to your car. The most important thing is to ride safely!
We want you to have a good day on the bike!