Monday, October 5, 2009

Cyclists Making a Difference at Levi's Granfondo

Liam and I just got back from a weekend that, for no better words, is best described as awesome and inpiring. We knew that when we signed up for Levi Leipheimer's Granfondo in Santa Rosa, California that we would be in for a treat, but we had no idea how great it would be!

Our First surprise came when the folks at Road ID (the main sponsor of the race) offered all the participants in the event a free Road ID. Liam and I thought it would be fun to send them a tweet on Twitter to thank them for the wrist bands. The next morning we got a reply that they were setting up a pre-event ride on Livestrong day in Santa Rosa, and they invited us to come along. It was a really cool pre-race spin out to Sebastopol and back on what turned out to be a beautiful day in Sonoma County. The group consisted of about fifteen riders which included some of the Leipheimer clan, Scott Nydam from Team BMC, P.J. Rabice and Edward Wimmer from Road ID, and a few other fellow participants from the Fondo.

October 2nd Livestrong Day Ride

Liam recorded a special video for Lance Armstrong before the ride. He congratulated Lance for his thirteenth anniversary from his diagnosis of cancer, said he hoped that someday soon we will discover the cure for cancer, and hoped that all people now living with cancer would be able to survive it. I thought it was very thoughtful and well said.

At the Granfondo registration later that day, we picked up our packets for the race and met many of the volunteers and fellow race participants. It is here that we began to feel that there was something special about this event. There was a real since of community at the packet pickup. It was almost like a family reunion of 3,500 participants and over 600 volunteers who made the event possible.

Liam and Scott Nydam (The winner of the event)

The race idea had come from Levi Leipheimer. He got together with a few of his friends and some great sponsors and decided to do something positive for his community. So often these days we hear so much negative about the state of the economy, and one is often left with the since that we are helpless to sit back and watch as things we care about crumble around us. Levi decided to be proactive and do something about it. Maybe it is because he is a cyclist. Out on the bike you have to move forward. You can't dwell on the negative. Cycling is about positive movement into the future. Levi was the driving force and inspiration behind an idea which would turn into the largest organized amateur cycling event in this country - an event that would raise much needed funds to both enable Santa Rosa to continue to be a host city for a stage of the Tour of California and to fund the very important work of the Forget Me Not Farm, a not for profit organization which puts orphaned animals and children together to break the cycle of violence that many are trapped in.

The event itself was amazing - from the feeling at the start, to the ambience of the crowd along the streets, to the the beautiful rolling vinyards outside of town, to the majestic Pacific coast, to the awesome views from the top of Coleman Valley Hill, to the great spirit of the many volunteers, to the new friends we met on the course, to meeting Levi at the finish. I could go on and on. Liam and I were honored to be part of such a great event. I hope that our video captures just a portion of the magic we felt out there that day.

Liam and Levi at the Finish

By being positive and doing what we enjoy we can make a difference in the world! Thanks Levi and to all the folks that made this possible.

This is Bill and Liam signing out!

Livestrong, Train Safe, and Live well!


  1. Bill and Liam, I have enjoyed every minute of your training and riding in the GrandFondo. It was like I was there. Maybe I might make it to next years ride. ;)

  2. Amazing and inspiring! Thank you.

  3. I saw you both at the Gran Fondo and saw Liam with his Medio bib...i was amazed. I snapped a picture of Liam on my phone and posted it on my Gran Fondo album via Facebook which was titled "truly inspirational kid". Then i found this site and now, even MORE AMAZED. =) Liam, you're an inspiration - i admire you both. Maybe i'll get to meet you at next year's Gran Fondo. =) Keep riding strong!

  4. I was telling my husband, who also rode the Gran Fondo, about you and Liam and he said that he had seen some things about you guys on Twitter and directed me to your blog. Sure enough it was you and your little boy that I was so impressed by. I just saw your video and was right there taking pics at the end. I was amazed at your little boy and his accomplishment, I could only do the piccolo! What a rockstar! Anyhow, I am a photographer and was shooting as the two of you were finishing and meeting Levi and have some good photos. If you are interested I can email the photos to you. Just email me your email address and I will send them your way.

    I hope someday my son can ride with his dad like you guys do!!!! Continue the good work and I hope to see you guys again next year.

    Lauren DeGarmo,

  5. Hey guys,

    Keep riding!!! You both are amazing. I saw you both at the GranFondo and glad to find your blog. I couldn't believe how strong this can ride and saw him climbing, he actually passed me.

    I am glad that I found your video by accident on youtube. I told everybody about you both.

    Best wishes!!!

    See you at GranFondo next year!