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The 10th Annual Sonoma County Backroad Challenge – Saturday, Sept 26, 2020

We are glad you have chosen to ride in our event! We work hard to make it an extraordinary experience that you will return to year after year.  Rider information is provided to make the Backroad Challenge a fun, safe  and memorable event for all.

Your participation ensures that, together, we can provide support for these wonderful non-profit groups and noble causes. It’s going to be a great day on the bike.

Disclaimer to event participants:  The Sonoma County Backroad Challenge has posted four options for cycling routes which will be patrolled by support vehicles to provide assistance if needed and along which are organized rest stops.  Traffic is not restricted along any of these routes during the event.  Participants should expect there to be the normal vehicle traffic along all routes.  Cyclists are responsible for following all laws and regulations and are responsible for their own safety during this event.

The Sonoma County Backroad Challenge courses will start and finish at Penngrove Park near Petaluma. (MAP)  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 east until you see the Rancho Adobe Fire Station on the right. Take the Main Street fork in the road to the right and you will immediately see our flaggers to direct you to turn right into the park. Parking is at the rear of the park. Volunteers will guide you.

• Fast & efficient registration, with some light breakfast available
• Application fee includes your ride, a souvenir t-shirt, and Festival Food and a beverage
• Bring your picture ID.
• Waiver Forms need to be signed. They are available on tables near the registration area.
• Receive your route maps, wristband and other important information by presenting your ID to our volunteers at the registration tables
• Have a quick bite from our concessionaires, then you are off and on your way to a spectacular and scenic ride – the Backroad Challenge

True to the name “Backroad Challenge,” these rides are not easy.  Check the website maps and elevation profiles, assess your conditioning for strenuous exercise, and pick the ride that best suits you.  If you overestimate and later decide you need some assistance while out on the course, 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 or back to the Festival.

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.

Look for our photo opportunities! Captivating Photos will be taking pictures along the routes and will be available for sale at the festival.

The 10th Annual Sonoma County Backroad Challenge  offers four  spectacular rides for 2020 – the Century, the Metric Century, the Half Metric Century, and an enjoyable Training Ride – along the byways through the scenic countryside of southwestern Sonoma and northwestern Marin.

FULL CENTURY:  (“GREEN” or “Long”)  approximately 99.54 miles Start window – 6:00am to 7:00 am.

METRIC CENTURY: (“RED” or “Medium”)  approximately 65.74 milesStart window – 7:00am to 8:00am.

TRAINING RIDE: (“PURPLE” or “Medium”) approximately 46 milesStart window –8:00am to 9:00am.

HALF METRIC CENTURY: (“BLUE” or “Short”)  approximately 36.52 miles.  Start window – 8:00am to 9:00am.

Course Information is available on The Routes page.  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 a safe and enjoyable experience. Each year we get a few cyclists that try to do too much and end up getting picked up by our SAG crew due to exhaustion. It’s up to you which course you pick, but please choose wisely and within your athletic tolerance.

Each course will be marked with visible signs on posts, trees, etc. and with biodegradable arrows on the street. The color of the arrow corresponds to the course color. Your wristband color will correspond to the route so in the event you forget which course you are on, check your wrist band. 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. We ask that you do not start earlier than the designated start time. If you start early, you will, to some degree, be on your own until the rest stops, SAG and other safety provisions we are providing come into effect.

We will 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 later in the day when the Course Sweeper comes upon you, we will offer you a ride. If you choose to keep riding, please know that the rest stops, SAG vehicles and the safety features and ride support may not be available to you from that point on.

• There are five rest stops this year spread over the four courses. The two short courses have two rest stops. The medium course has four rest stops, and the long course has five rest stops.
• Each rest stop has communications, food, water and people and provisions for limited medical assistance and limited bicycle mechanical support.
• Non-profit groups from the community staff each themed rest stop. There is a competition for the best rest stop, so 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, if you get a chance, please thank the staff. Without their efforts, our tiny Rotary club could not put on this event.

1. Bloomfield Park – roughly 12 miles into the ride
2. Nick’s Cove – roughly 30 miles into the ride
3. Sacred Heart Church – roughly 50 miles into the ride (Century only)
4. Baumann Ranch – roughly 70 miles into the ride
5. Two Rock School – roughly 15 miles from the finish

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, along with your contact information, available at the rest stop, and leave the bag with us at the rest stop. We will get 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.

The Festival will feature a hearty chicken BBQ meal and vegetarian faire prepared by the Penngrove Social Firemen and served by members of some the wonderful community service groups in our area.  Local brews are provided Lagunitas. Riders will obtain their meal and beverage by having the appropriate wristband tab which was issued at registration.  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 interest. You’ll have a good time at the Festival.

We will have a group of Marshals riding bicycles spaced out through the groups of riders. The Marshals will be wearing bright red jerseys with our Sonoma County Backroad Challenge logo. They are experienced riders who will be able to help you with encouragement, directions, advice, minor bike issues, and minor injuries. 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. There will be SAG autos 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 will 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 weak so you or the Marshal 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.

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.

Non-riders must also check-in and receive a wristband as well — and are welcome to hang out at the venue throughout the day. However, the real festivities don’t start before 11:30am, so the early morning will be slow. Non-riders can lounge in the park, enjoy the town of Penngrove, groove to live music, and — of course — enjoy incredible food throughout the day. You can purchase non-rider BBQ Tickets at the ride for $20. Beverages are $5 each, unless you purchase a commemorative pint glass for $10. That’ll get you unlimited beer!

While we all love our furry friends, they don’t always love us. PLEASE, DO NOT BRING THEM TO THE EVENT.

Captivating Photos will be taking photos along the routes and will be available for sale at the festival.

Getaway Adventures in Santa Rosa can provide rental bikes for those wanting to ride that don’t have a bike or are looking for an upgraded bike. They also have tandems for those that like to work as a team.
Getaway Adventures will also have a repair/sag station the day of the event just in case you need a last minute repair. They will also have a few bikes on hand for last minute riders.

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.
• Get Away Adventures will be onsite again this year to help with any bike repairs. They will also have bike rentals available for anyone that decides at the last minute to ride.
• 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.
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