Of all the current and former pro cyclists who have launched gran fondos—there are quite a few of them these days—American Levi Leipheimer has been far and away the most successful. A former teammate of Lance Armstrong and a longtime regular at the Tour de France, Leipheimer last year admitted to doping during his long racing career and was kicked off his Belgian team in 2012 before finally retiring in the spring of 2013.
Still, his fondo goes on, with some 7,500 riders expected again in October 2013. If you go, you’ll see why it’s considered one of the top fondos in the country, not to mention a challenging day out, with 9,000 feet of climbing and a total of 103 miles of pedaling.
The beautiful King Ridge road is a celebrated route, one of the jewels of California cycling. The fondo takes in, mile after mile, the most breathtaking expanses of terrain with gorgeous views of mountains, valleys, and, of course, the vast Pacific. Chances are you’ll see Patrick Dempsy, a buddy of Leipheimer, lead the rollout with several thousand or so fans in his slipstream.
The King Ridge Gran Fondo is held in October.