Build a cycling event that people travel from around the world to ride. Transform a city’s economy and culture into one that celebrates life on two wheels. Use time in the saddle to drive change in people’s lives. Integrate bicycling into the heart of your community.
Risk losing it all when the walls come crashing down.
Many are familiar with pro cyclist Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace in the 2012 doping scandal, but far fewer know about the named riders who testified to their own use of performance enhancing substances. Former pro cyclist Levi Leipheimer had built one of the biggest mass participation charity events in the world, Levi’s King Ridge GranFondo, in his hometown of Santa Rosa, California. Over 7,000 riders came from six continents to experience the grueling and exhilarating terrain of Sonoma County year after year, generating over a million dollars in charitable donations and far far more to a new cycling economy in Sonoma County.
His name, once associated with a bold new community direction, now stood scarred with the very people to whom he was most accountable. He lost his team, his career, and much of the standing he had earned as a world-class athlete and hometown hero.
Levi’s GranFondo, however, couldn’t retire. There was too much to lose, too much work that had gone into its success. The event had to stand on its own and prove that it was far bigger than the person who started it.