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Konocti Challenge rolls on this Saturday

The Konocti Challenge will circle Lake County this Saturday, October 3, 2009. Courtesy photo.





LAKEPORT – A great way to enjoy Lake County is from a bicycle, and this weekend it's once again time to saddle up for the annual Konocti Challenge.

The 19th annual event will take off from Lakeport on the morning of Saturday, Oct. 3, with rides for all ages and fitness levels.

“It's a great way to see the county,” said Rotarian and Ride Director Jennifer Strong.

Strong said the Konocti Challenge is the only event that showcases nearly all of Lake County. The only area the ride doesn't extend to is Middletown.

The Konocti Challenge is one of the biggest annual fundraisers for the Lakeport Rotary, which took the event over from the Lakeport Regional Chamber of Commerce about 12 years ago, said Strong.

She and a dedicated committee of five work on the event year round, with all of the Lakeport Rotarians working the event itself.

Strong said the event usually nets between $8,000 and $10,000 for the club, although last year was particularly good, with the challenge bringing in $12,000 that was used for the Rotary's local efforts.

“All of the funds raised go to an extremely good cause,” she said.

Last year's ride also drew 450 participants from all over California and a total of eight states, Strong said.

They have high hopes for another great event this year, with beautiful fall weather in the 70s expected Saturday, according to Strong.

The ride has four courses, all of which start and end at the Lakeport Yacht Club at 15 Fifth St., said Strong.

“There's something for everybody,” she said.

The courses include a 19-miler for families which leads down to the Gnarly Dude Ranch on Steelhead Drive, and which includes Rotary escorts for children riding without their families; a 30-mile course that winds through the resort and vineyard sections in Big Valley and Lakeport; a 65-mile adventure course along the lakeshore; and the endurance-testing 100-mile course around the lake, then up Cobb Mountain.

Riders in the 30-mile course leave between 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m., while 65- and 100-mile riders leave between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.

The 100-miler is a serious ride for avid cyclists that includes 6,200 feet of climbing. “It's rated as extremely difficult in the cycling world,” said Strong.

Helping keep riders on track will be six rest stops along the way, run by local nonprofit groups including Hospice Services of Lake County, Clearlake Rotary, Early Lake Lions, Operation Tango Mike and People Services, Strong said.

The rest stop groups compete for votes from riders, with whoever wins getting a $500 donation from Rotary. Strong said Operation Tango Mike won last year.

Along with rest stops, there will be about 12 to 15 vehicles on the road to pick up riders and assist with flat tires, Strong said. “There is a lot of support for the ride.”

After the ride, Kenny Parlet of Lakeview Market will host a barbecue back at the Lakeport Yacht Club, Strong said.

She explained that riders can sign up online at the event's Web site, , until Thursday at 8 p.m. They also can sign up at the Lakeport Yacht Club from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and on the morning of the event.

For more information visit the Web site or call Strong at 707-349-0815.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at .

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