With Tour de France over, how about a hill-grinding Tour de Sonoma?
If you want a Tour de France-like cycling experience on this continent, take heart. The famed bicycle race ended Sunday in Paris, but the Tour de Sonoma through California’s wine country serves up plenty of hills with gnarly climbs and daily mileage close to what the pro cyclists logged.
Not for the faint of heart, the cycling adventure offers rides up to 90 miles to a day. But hey, there are great views from the tops of the (pant, pant) climbs.
Tour de Sonoma participants will average 50 to 80 miles most days with elevation gains of up to 4,500 feet.
Cyclists will ride the loop around Geysers Road, a.k.a. the Geysers, and pedal 90 miles of Leipheimer’s training ride.
They’ll also take in stunning views of Coleman Valley Road, offering some of the most dramatic views of any wine country road; and ride Trinity Road to Napa, both former legs of the Amgen Tour.
Then it’s on to Mount Tamalpais for great views of San Francisco and the Bay Area from Marin County.
The tour offers luxury accommodations and is limited to 12 participants.
It also includes wine tastings at some of Sonoma’s most celebrated wineries, such as Roth, Ferrari Carrano and Fog Crest; and locally sourced meals at high-end restaurants, including Duck Club, the Girl and the Fig, and El Dorado Kitchen.
In addition, participants will get a behind-the-scenes look at where the food is grown and produced, with stops at local gardens and farms, and places to meet area fishermen.
The six-day Tour de Sonoma Epic Ride costs $3,400 per person, based on double occupancy.
It includes the use of bikes, all gear, a cycling jersey and a Sonoma on a Bike T-shirt, as well as all meals, (wine included), and winery entrance and tasting fees. A support van carries purchases, wine, luggage and even guests, if they tire.
Departures this year run through November; private tours may be arranged year-round.
Info: SonomaonaBike.com, (800) 499-2453
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