A premier cycling festival featuring the best of Northern California - with something for everyone – rides and races, expo and post-event party.
Sacramento somehow manages to retain a certain low-key small town charm in spite of being the capital of California – with an economy that would rank #7 in the world were it an independent country. The City is located on the Sacramento River Delta on the eastern edge of the Great Central Valley. The Great Valley is incredibly productive, producing nearly 10% of the nation’s fruits and vegetables from less than 1% of its farm land. Immediately to the northwest lies the town of Davis, home of the U.S. Bicycling Hall of fame and one of only 3 cities in America to be awarded the coveted Platinum Level in the League of American Bicyclist’s Bicycle Friendly Community program. Beyond Davis, you’ll find a series of mountain ranges and valleys with micro-climates that have allowed it to become one of the top wine producing regions in the world. A little farther on you’ll find the spectacular Pacific Coast. The cycling here is among the most varied in the world.
Our goal is to promote cycling and the healthy lifestyle though a series of weekend events held across the USA. These events include rides and races for cyclists of all abilities. Each event affords the opportunity for cyclists and others to learn about endurance bicycle racing. And each event includes a race where solo racers may attempt to qualify and teams may tune up for the Race Across America. Sign up and come out for a weekend of fun.
Entry fees and what is included
A weekend of fun – 3 non-competitive rides (60 and 120 miles), 2 endurance races (200 and 400 miles), an expo and post-event party with awards, entertainment, food and drink. The 120-mile ride is a “Gran Fondo.”
What is a Gran Fondo?A Gran Fondo – Italian for “big ride” – is a long distance, mass participation cycling event – not a race – open to recreational and competitive cyclists. The Gran Fondo falls somewhere between a non-competitive century ride and a road race. All participants are timed. Riders may challenge themselves against the distance or the clock. The top riders compete against each other to finish first. Gran Fondos typically have more challenging courses – ours are no exception. Most importantly, they have big parties after the finish. Participants are usually not in a rush to get home. They regale each other with tales of glory over a hot meal and a cold beverage! Our Gran Fondo is no exception … come on out, ride and party!
Above and beyond a Gran Fondo, the next challenge: an intro into endurance racing!
Start, finish and party at Crocker Park, in front of the new Crocker Museum, near the west end of the Capitol mall.
Rides and Races
The rides and races have been designed to showcase the exceptionally diverse geography of Northern California. The rides feature the incredibly complex river system of the Sacramento Delta. The races feature the mountains and valleys of the region.
Rides. Choose the appropriate length and difficulty. All rides leave Crocker Park and head west on O Street. The 60-mile riders ride down the east levee to Courtland. Just after Courtland, they cross the river and return via the west levee road. The 120-mile Gran Fondo riders turn north on Front Street, head under the Capitol Mall/I-5 overpass, and west on Capitol Avenue to the junction with I-80. There they will get on the bike path and proceed to Davis. Riders will pass by the US Bicycling Hall of Fame and through the UC Davis Campus. The route goes through Winters, south to Vacaville and back north to Monticello Dam on Lake Berryessa and back to Winters before heading north to Woodland. Woodland is the home to RAAM Hall of Fame member Lee “Fuzzy” Mitchell. Riders will pass through Woodland and follow the Sacramento River back to the finish.
All rides are non-competitive and fully supported with aid stations (food and beverage), bike mechanics on course, bike patrol, traffic control by local law enforcement and SAG support. No personal SAG vehicles will be allowed.
Races. Races are open to solo, 2 and 4-person teams. Both races leave Crocker Park and follow esentially the same routes out of Sacramento.
The 200-mile route heads west to Davis, Winters and up to Lake Berryessa. Racers then continue north around the Lake along the primitive Berryessa-Knoxville Road to Lower Lake where they turn east and drop out of the mountains and head to Woodland. Unlike the century ride, racers head east out of Woodland and return along the west levee of the Sacramento River. They return to Sacramento via the Gateway Bridge. The 200-mile course features 10,000 feet of climbing. The 200-mile racers have 17 hours to finish.
The 400-mile route follows the same course to Davis and Winters as the 120-mile Gran Fondo and 200-mile routes. It then follows the same route as the 200-mile route along the west shore of Lake Berryessa. But, at Pope Canyon Road the 400-mile route turns west toward the Napa Valley. Riders head north on Silverado Trail,following the east edge of the Napa Valley to Calistoga, and then cross the mountains and drop into Santa Rosa. From there they head south to Sebastopol and out to Bodega Bay on the Coast. The route heads north up the Coast, turns inland near Jenner and heads up the Russian River Valley. The route follows Dry Creek and toward Cloverdale. Riders proceed on to Hopland where they cross back over the Coast Range, around the north side of Clear Lake and back down into the Central Valley. At Yuba City the route turns south and heads back to the finish. The route features 21,000 feet of climbing. The 400-mile racers will have 34 hours to finish. The 400-mile race is a RAAM Qualifier.
The races are unsupported. There will be no aid stations or SAG support on the 200 and 400-mile courses. Bikes and support vehicles will be inspected. 200 mile racers may ride randonneur style (without crew), but must notify the Race Director prior to the event. The 400-mile racers must have a support crew. Riders and crew must follow Modified RAAM Rules. There will be race officials to insure compliance with race rules.
Route Maps, profiles and cue sheets
Races will be timed.
Where to Stay
For reservations call: Bell Hotel Housing 888-868-4541
What to Bring
September is a great time to be riding in Northern California. The Valley will likely be hot, the hills warm and the coast cool during the day and cool at night. Skies should be clear. We don’t expect rain, but bring your rain gear just in case.
Event Store: Purchase Cycling Challenge merchandise at our on-line Store.
A portion of the proceeds from the Northern California Cycling Challenge will be donated to non-profit organizations – to be announced.
The Northern California Cycling Challenge is produced by Soul Events in conjunction with the Race Across America (RAAM). To learn more about RAAM visit raceacrossamerica.org . To learn more about Soul Events visit souleventsusa.com.