Before signing up for this race, I had heard great things. Actually, no, that's not true. I had just witnessed it selling out incredibly fast. (Reg opened at 9am and by noon, it was sold out.) I assumed that meant the race was "awesome."
For your reference, the reg fee in 2015 was approx $130.
Email communication leading up to the race was sparse. Organizers only sent a couple of emails about 3 days before the event. (And 1 of them mentioned we would see a lot of animals, but all I saw on the course were 2 Shetland ponies.)
I had a hard time finding the expo location and arrived at the expo location about 5 minutes after they were already starting to clean up the vendor booths. Even so, there appeared to be very little to see.
I was given the correct shirt size but didn't like it. My friend (who had gone to the expo earlier) was given a men's shirt (no v-neck) in the wrong size, so I offered to exchange my shirt and give it to her (since I didn't like it anyway). When I went back into the registration tables, I was told that I wouldn't be able to exchange it until tomorrow after the race. Except that I didn't understand why not when I had already arrived AFTER the expo was officially closed (it was the extra 1 hour after the expo closed but the reg tables were still open) so I think they shouldn't have expected too many people to still come to pick up AND there were piles and piles of shirts. Thankfully, another registration volunteer allowed the exchange. (And I just gave up my own shirt for my friend.)
I had a great time running with friends, and the post race festival was decent. (The best part of the post race festival was the Tri-Trip Trolley...OMG, so good!!)
The weather was incredibly hot the day of the race, and the start time was delayed by about 10-15 minutes (so that didn't help the heat situation). I wish they had started a group of people right at 7am and then done a delayed start for the remaining people who were still in the port o potties (that would have broken up the crowd).
Views were pretty (rows and rows of vineyards).
With that said, the views at Clo Cow (in nearby Petaluma) are also pretty but Clo Cow is much cheaper in comparison (also super hilly, but that's a different issue).
It started on a slight uphill and then had rolling hills for most of the race. The hills weren't too big / difficult but still rolling. (N2S definitely has less hills and less difficult hills than Clo Cow in Petaluma, as mentioned above.)
There were 2 bands on course (at miles 7 or 8 and 10).
Really small race (capped at 3,500) but still pretty crowded because of everyone starting at one time. I'd say it didn't thin out until around mile 4 or 6. For what it's worth, at the start, there were lots of port-o-potties (so not a very long wait); at the finish, not as many of them (but also not as many people using them).
The shirt is just OKAY...navy blue and "bamboo" material. Super soft but the design was unimpressive. (It actually matches the theme of their "destination races").
The medal is hideous. I can only attach 1 picture here, so I encourage you to search on instagram. It has a corkscrew and a bottle stopper and an eagle with a map. A friend said the eagle/map design may be recognizing a specific winery. If that's not true, then I have no idea what the design is related to and why they couldn't budget more money toward medal design (especially considering the high registration fee).
The wine glass just says "Destination Races" and not "Napa to Sonoma" (so it's like they were trying to save money and whatever is left, they'll use on the other races in their series).
A sponsor of the race had a game associated with the race bib - find another participant with your "solemate" and get a free pair of the socks. The problem? You AND that person had to show up at a booth at the finish line together. The game didn't account for people finding their solemate sometime during the race and then losing that person again (because of mismatched speed or injury, etc). It would have been better if you just needed to show a photo of you and your solemate on your phone.