I’ve sorta become the unofficial bike race shooter here at the PD. Everyone on the photo staff is equally adept at covering bike races, it seems though that these big bicycling events land on my shift.
In February I endured four hours of pounding rain from Davis to SR on the back of a motorcycle covering the Tour ‘O California, trying morbidly, to get decent pictures. It was so wet, my strobe is still drying out. While THAT was fun, it was pure torture. My face was so frozen that I literally couldn’t feel it; Sorta like frozen pizza dough.
On October 3, it will be a much different story. Levi Leipheimer and 3,499 of his closest cycling buddies will tackle King Ridge in northern Sonoma County as part of the GranFondo or “Big Ride”. There will be several hours of bicycling bliss.
I must warn you though, even with world class views and 18% grades, this road is arguably the most curvy in Northern California.
Trust me- I grew up driving the Hopland grade almost every day-I drove the entire course yesterday and felt as though someone had put me in spin cycle and closed the lid. The course is hairy; narrow areas where it’s hard to get even a small car through, steep descent’s met only by grueling uphill grades with nearly 180 degree switch backs. There were cows on the course because of the open rangeland on the top of King Ridge near Hauser Bridge Road.
Watch out for those cattle guards. I was impressed to see Bike Monkey employees putting deck tape on the guards around the course. Sabra Nagel and Kevin Scott were being very careful around the grates, but Nagel did biff it when she stepped between the slots. She’s okay. I missed the picture though.
While it’s a tricky route, the views are absolutely stunning. I’ve written before that it’s a “photographic no brainer” to live here in SoCo. The King Ridge route has great views around every hairpin turn. My favorite view has to be Meyers Grade when you see the giant blue Pacific and Goat Rock come in to view. Have Fun!