June 21, 2015 by Joe Kukura

Competitive cyclists or those just looking for a really fun bicycle rally should gear up for the 25th anniversary Konocti Challenge, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. Recently named Cycle California! Magazine’s Best Metric Century of 2014, the Konocti Challenge is a cycling adventure circling the incomparably scenic Clear Lake—the oldest lake in North America and largest natural freshwater lake in California. Oh and don’t forget this all happens while breathing the cleanest air in America. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Lakeport, the Konocti Challenge is an incredibly fun and well-organized event for all levels of cyclists, with discounted early-bird registration available for a limited time.

“We classify ourselves as a fun boutique ride with an amazing amount of local hospitality and fun,” said Konocti Challenge ride director Jennifer Strong. “We also add a lot of unique features that other rides don’t do,” she said, referring to the race’s one-of-a-kind rest-stop competition, where seven local nonprofits build elaborately themed rest stops and serve delicious gourmet treats like grilled Gruyère sandwiches and smoothies in addition to the top notch cycling event fare. Competing for a big charitable donations, the rest stops have employed entertaining and unique themes like MASH, Wizard of Oz and Gypsy Tent extravaganza just to name a few of the past themes.

“They decorate it up, they have a theme, they have fun with it,” Strong said. “They come up with these wild and crazy themes that are truly an experience for the riders. You just never know what the next rest stop is going to look like.”

In addition to the fun at the rest stops and the amazing food along the way, the Konocti Challenge also boasts of some of the most challenging and beautiful terrain out there. There are four different routes to choose from: 20 miles, 40 miles, 65 miles and 100 miles. All of the routes offer views of majestic Mount Konocti and a lot of SAG support along the way. Both the 65- and 100-mile routes circle the entire perimeter of Clear Lake, and wind through all but two of Lake County’s many ZIP codes. “The people that are on the ride get a really good idea just how diverse the area is and how many little microclimates we have here,” Strong said. “We have the scenery, the clean air, the challenging courses, the amazing hospitality, and the weather even usually cooperates with us quite well in the first weekend of October.”

Since the ride is all about the experience, the cyclists are greeted at the end of the day with a scrumptious chicken and tri tip barbecue enjoyed right on the shores of Clear Lake with panoramic views of Mt Konocti in the background. You can even dip your toes in the water or go out for a relaxing round of pilates on paddleboards. And you’ll be spoiled with the local charms of the Girl Scouts handing out ice cream bars and brownies. “We get a lot of community volunteers that participate,” Strong said. “It really has become an awesome community event which brings people together and helps showcase the beauty of what we get to appreciate on a daily basis.”

This wonderful scenery, world class organization and the rest stops’ inspired lunacy have made the Konocti Challenge so popular that last year the ride was voted the best metric century ride of 2014 by Cycle California magazine (a metric century is 100 kilometers, or 62 miles). “To be voted the best metric century in California is kind of a big deal and we are really honored to have been chosen,” Strong said.

The ride takes place Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015 and it’s certainly a weekend not to miss! Come celebrate the 25th anniversary with live music and dancing with the LC Diamonds. Enjoy Lake County wines on Friday night at registration. There is also a whole slew of weekend activities including Oktoberfest on Saturday, the Sponsoring Survivorship walk/run, the quilt show, stargazing, guided hikes up Mt Konocti, bird watching, wine adventures, paddle boarding and much more!

The Konocti Challenge is truly an experience not to miss! Register today for the 2015 Konocti Challenge and see why it is considered California’s finest.

Photo credit: Konocti Trail System