May 17th, 2014 Registration starts in: Day ::
May 17th, 2014 Registration starts in: Day ::
Greetings to Riders in the 4th Annual Sonoma County Backroad Challenge to be held Saturday, May 17, 2014
We are glad you have chosen to ride in our event and we are working hard to make it an extraordinary event that you will want to return to year after year. Below is information you need to know for our ride. Please read it so that together we can make the Backroad Challenge a fun and memorable event for all. It's going to be a great day on the bike!
The ride is sponsored by The Petaluma Sunrise Foundation and administered by The Petaluma Sunrise Rotary Club. We also receive support from other community groups and from our wonderful sponsors. We appreciate their support and ask that you choose their products and services whenever possible. The proceeds from the ride go to support those community groups who are helping with the ride and the humanitarian projects of the Petaluma Sunrise Rotary Club.
What are those projects and who are these community groups? The Petaluma Sunrise Rotary Club supports many humanitarian projects, both local and international, including:
The community groups that are supporting us and sharing in the benefits of the event are
We know you will have a great day on the bike. Your participation ensures that, together, we will provide support for these wonderful non-profit groups and noble causes.
The Sonoma County Backroad Challenge on May 17, 2014 will start at Penngrove Park near the intersection of Old Redwood Hwy and Main Street in Penngrove. 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. As you pass McDowell Blvd., you will immediately see signs and people directing you to turn right into the Redwood Business Park on Redwood Way where parking will be provided. You will then jump on your bike and ride 1.5 miles to the registration tables at Penngrove Park. Please use this parking area at Redwood Way. Unfortunately, you will not be able to park your car at Penngrove Park.
Registration will be fast and efficient, with some light breakfast available. Be sure to bring your picture ID. You will need to sign the waiver forms available on tables near the registration area. Present your ID to our volunteers at the registration tables and you will receive your route maps, wristband and other important information. Have a quick bite from our concessionaires, then you are off and on your way to a spectacular and scenic ride - the Backroad Challenge.
Your wristband will have tabs attached. Each tab may be turned in at the Festival in order for you to pick up your meal, beverage, and t-shirt. If you are under age, your beverage tab will be removed at the registration table before the wristband goes on your wrist. Soft drinks and water will be available at the Festival.
We are once again planning on three courses for riders.
Each course is described below and elsewhere on the website in more detail. Please check the length and elevation gains noted for each course and match to your ability and physical conditioning. We want you to be challenged but we also want you to have a safe and enjoyable experience. Please be realistic in choosing the appropriate ride.
Each course will be marked with biodegradable signs and arrows. The color of the signs/arrows will correspond to the course color - which will be the same color as your wristband. 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 off course.
You will also receive a route card at registration. The route card will be specific to your chosen ride, labeled and color coded, with a map showing rest stations and turn by turn directions for your ride. 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. As always, if there is an emergency, call 911.
The courses will open for riders at the specific times mentioned above. Please do not start earlier than the stated times. Staying within these timelines will make your ride a better experience because:
We will also be “sweeping the course” later in the afternoon to ensure that all riders are able to complete the ride safely. If you are still on the course at the time the Course Sweeper comes through, you will have the choice of being picked up in the SAG vehicle along with your bike or continuing on your bike. If you choose to keep riding your bike, then you will no longer have the SAG vehicles, safety features and ride support available to you from that point on.
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 on the bag.
We have a group of 25 Marshals riding bicycles spaced out through the groups of riders. The Marshals will easily be identfied as they will be wearing red Sonoma County Backroad Challenge logo jerseys. They are experienced riders who will be able to help you with advice, encouragement, minor first-aid and minor bike issues. They will also be able to help with communication regarding problems that occur and by 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 safety/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 challenged 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 stations this year spread over the three courses. The short course has two rest stations, the medium course has four rest stations,and the long course has five. The rest stations will have communications, food and water. Each rest station will also have people and provisions for limited medical assistance and limited bicycle mechanical support. We have engaged non-profit groups from the community to staff each rest station. We anticipate that they will make the rest stations very interesting as well as refreshing. Please pay careful attention to each of the rest stations, take note of who the sponsoring group is, as you will be asked to rate them in a survey to be sent after the ride. The best rest stations will receive an additional share of the event proceeds. Also, please be sure and thank the people staffing the rest stations.
There are detailed course descriptions, course maps and elevation profiles on the website on the page marked courses. All three courses leave Penngrove 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.. 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 finish the ride all the way back to Penngrove Park and check your bike with our Valet Bike Parking System. Alternatively, you can return to the parking area on Redwood Way on the last leg of your ride, load your bike in the car, and go to the festival using our shuttle system. It's only 1.5 miles between the locations
If you check your bike, the 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 the original parking area on Redwood Way every 15 minutes until 6:00pm.
We will have a hearty barbecued chicken meal prepared by The Penngrove Social Firemen. Several local breweries are providing their craft brews so expect a great variety. Riders will 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, conversation, displays and music as long as you like. Live music will include local favorite bands "Good Question" and "Randy and the Special Agents." You are also encouraged to visit a number of bike related vendors and displays that will be of interestl. We know you have a good time at the Festival.
Please remember that we want you to be safe and to have a good time. So the ground rules are as follows: