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CAMPionissimo 2.0, our second annual riding event held in Sonoma, Northern California, USA, was blessed with varied terrain, from rolling vineyards, to dark and humid crevices, pockets of ancient redwoods to mountain ranges that opened onto coastal roads. It’s especially spectacular at this time of the year in fall. The grapevines throughout the area had transformed into bright shades of yellow, orange and red. Rainy season sparked all the greens to reappear, creating a contrast of colors on the landscape, which gave us a beautiful scenic escape from the Bay Area or frankly, anywhere.
This year’s CAMPionissimo consisted of 4 days of riding from November 16–19th, which we held alongside DuVine Cycling. From Thursday to Sunday we saw a total of 219 riders come along, who we separated into three different pace groups for each ride. Free to those who attended, all of our rides set off from our home base at the Jimtown Store, outside of Healdsburg, a quaint country-store destination for vineyard tourers and cyclists alike, and we cycled everywhere from Calistoga to the Pacific and between.
Bike brands such as Cervelo and Alchemy provided demo bikes to participants. ASSOS ambassadors traveled from around the US to participate, socialize and document the affair from their own perspective. Over local wines, beers and Hors d’oeuvres, Tyler Hamilton spent Friday evening speaking about his unique experiences within cycling with the interested crowd.
Yet this year’s CAMPionissimo almost didn’t — or rather, couldn’t — happen. Just six weeks earlier the region suffered its worst tragedy to date, as devastating forest fires ravaged Sonoma and most of the North Bay. In the wake of these fires, SonomaPride.com was created, and this particular beer has joined forces with Levi Leipheimer’s King Ridge Foundation to give back to those in need.
The central ethos of CAMPionissimo really chimed with the aftermath of this year’s forest fires, where the simple act of gathering to ride bikes became so much more. It gave us an opportunity to support and indulge in our favorite local businesses while celebrating the region’s beauty and resilience.
We took donations during the event and personally handed over many Leaders’ Jerseys from this year’s AMGEN Tour of California to Levi to distribute to cyclists who’ve lost their possessions through his foundation. (He even expressed a bit of jealousy that ASSOS hadn’t sponsored the race while he’d been competing.)
CAMPionissimo was born from the idea of sharing experiences through riding, and those became even more meaningful this year. We set out to share the experience of ASSOS in the environment we love, riding a bike, but we found so much more as we rode through the marked landscape.
We hope you’ll join us next year.