Fondo-licious: Edible Gran Fondo

Bicyclist or not, everybody loves to eat. Where to grub during the Fondo

The Fondo’s are about to descend. This weekend (October 8-9, 2010) thousands of bicyclists converge on Santa Rosa for Levi Leipheimer’s annual King Ridge Gran Fondo, a trio of challenging rides that invite everyone from families to hard-core enthusiasts to test their mettle against the big boys of the cyclo-circuit.
And while not everyone enjoys wearing perilously thin spandex over their trouble zones and pedaling their own body weight up 65 degree slopes, food is the common denominator here. Because where there are muscle-bound athletes, there’s bound to be some serious noshing. Not to mention the fact that quite a few local chefs are serious cyclists.
So whether you’re carbo-loading before getting in the saddle on Saturday, or merely snickering at those of us dim enough to think we can ride 32, 65 or 100 miles across Sonoma County, here’s where to get your eat on
(And PS, yes…I’ll be doing the Piccolo Fondo on Saturday morning and I better not hear one snicker about my thighs in bike shorts. Seriously.)
Gran La Fonda: This unofficial event on the Fondo lineup is for hardcore cycling nerds who drool and squeal over the very excellent craft of hand built bikes. A prestige group of 16 DIY frame builders (Sycip, Inglis/Retrotec, Rebolledo, Soulcraft, etc) will gathering in Railroad Square around 5pm. Bikes will be on display with builders eager to talk tig-welded custom forks, and head tubes until your eyeballs fall out.
Eats: Fork catering, Lagunitas beer, Noci gelato
Downtown Santa Rosa Pub Crawl: Fondo-riders get a pre-ride fete with a self-guided pub/grub crawl from 5 to 9pm.  Street Food: In a surprise nod to mobile food trucks (more, please, more!), the street in front of Courthouse Square will be closed off and the gals from Street-Eatz and La Texanita will be serving up grab-n-go eats. We’re hoping this will become a regular tradition with more trucks joining the fray.
Restaurants: Participating with specials are Franco’s, Mary’s Pizza Shack, El Coqui, Nonni’s, Jack & Tony’s, La Vera PIzza, Bistro 29, Brasserie and Sushi to Dai for.
Fondo Festival: Whether you’re in spandex shorts or not, everyone’s invited to the FondoFestival at the Finley Center where riders start and finish. There’s an entire food court with the likes of Fork Catering, Gerard’s Paella, Harvey’s Mini Donuts, Kashaya’s Brick Oven Pizza, Pica Pica, Lata’s Indian Cuisine, Salt Side Down Chocolates, Sift Cupcakery, and drinks from New Belgium Brewing, D’Argenzio and St. Francis wineries, Revive and Vibranz.

And on the downlow:
– It’s not secret that Riviera Ristorante is one of Levi’s favorite eateries. They’ll be hosting a special fundraising dinner on Thursday at St. Francis, but chances are the restaurant will be host to many a rider throughout the weekend.
– Occidental-bound:

Do you know a cool food/bike event happening in Sonoma County? Let me know!