Rider Information

Greetings to Riders in the 5th Annual Sonoma County Backroad Challenge to be held Saturday, May 16, 2015

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!

Who we are

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 Ride

The Sonoma County Backroad Challenge on May 16, 2015 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.  Proceed until you see Main Street in Penngrove on your right.  Take Main Street and you will see Penngrove Park immediately on your right where our flaggers will be.  The weather has held, so we will be able to park everyone right there this year.

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.

The Courses

The Sonoma County Backroad Challenge 2015 marks our 5th Annual Event.  Once again we offer three spectacular rides – the Century, the Metric Century, and the Half Metric Century – along the byways through the scenic countryside of southwestern Sonoma and northwestern Marin.

  • The Full Century ("GREEN" or "Long") Course is approximately 100 miles. The start window is from 7:00am to 8:00 am.
  • The Metric Century ("RED" or "Medium")  Course is approximately 70 miles. The start window is from 8:00am to 9:00am.
  • The Half Metric Century ("BLUE" or "Short") Course is approximately 35 miles. The start window is from 9:00am to 10:00am.

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.

Sonoma County Backroad Challenge Festival

We will have a hearty barbecued chicken meal and vegetarian faire 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.

The Festival got better this year as we fully anticipate parking everyone right there in the back lot.  Plans will change if we get rain, but for now, it looks good.  When you finish the course, you may check your bike with our Valet Bike Parking System, operated by the Petaluma Wheelmen, or you can take your bike back to the car. If you check your bike, go enjoy some time eating, drinking and sharing stories at the Festival.  We will keep your bike secure up until 6:00pm.

If you prefer, you can get a shower before or after your meal.  Just get back in your car and drive a short 1.5 miles to our sponsor Active Sports Club at 1201 Redwood Way in Petaluma.  Keep your wristband attached if you will be coming back to the Festival, so you can get your t-shirt, meal and beverage. 

And Finally

Please remember that we want you to be safe and to have a good time. So the ground rules are as follows:

  • Everybody rides with a helmet, no exceptions.
  • Pay attention to advice from the Marshals. They are very experienced bike riders who are looking out for your safety.
  • Be courteous to all, including cars, cyclists, pedestrians.
  • Help each other! If you need help or if you see someone else who needs help, call it in and we will get some assistance to your location as quickly as possible.
  • Come to the ride with a bike that is in good repair.
  • These are not easy rides.  Before you start, check the website maps and elevation profiles.  Then assess your own capacity for riding and climbing. Choose the appropriate ride and don't exceed your physical abilities. If you do bite off too much, it's not a problem.  Just flag down a SAG vehicle or Marshal and we will pick you up.
  • Have a fun time.  That's what the Sonoma County Backroad Challenge is all about.