Anyone that has competed or cheered at the full Vineman... do you have any recommendations for where spectators should to see to see the athletes?
I'd recommend getting to the swim start in Guerneville nice and early so that you can get a good parking spot. If your athlete is a strong swimmer and is going to be in one of the earlier waves, you'll have a great shot of being able to leave after you see your loved one exit the water. Later on in the race, this might get trickier.
The race course is open to local traffic, and while parts of River Rd (the first 6 miles of the race) have nice wide shoulders for cyclists, some parts do not and traffic can creep along.
Because the bike course is two loops, you'll have ample opportunities to see your loved ones go by. The bike course is open to local traffic, but please please please do not drive along the entire course, moving from spot to spot. This just makes things unsafe for the cyclists and makes the local residents unhappy.
Luckily, the bike course goes in a big loop that crosses over highway 101 and back again, so you can use the highway as your means of getting from spot to spot. Basically, just keep your car on the interior of the loop and you'll be fine. Popular places for spectators to park and cheer are mile 29/85 in Geyeserville and mile 35/92 where highway 128 makes a left handed turn. Note: if you stop at this point, make sure you get back on the highway by heading away from the cyclists - if you turn with them, you'll end up having to drive most of the rest of the course alongside the cyclists and up Chalk Hill, which is narrow, windy, and an overall suffer point. Don't block the road there.
That being said, it is super popular to write chalk messages on Chalk Hill for your athletes. Just make sure to use chalk and not spray paint. But a little bit of love goes a long way.
For the run, it is 3 out and backs. So even if you stay at the finish line, you'll see them a bunch. Tons of people will line Windsor Rd leading to the high school, although shady spots are in the most high demand. Bring a chair and a cowbell!
Msg me for more info. When I lived in Berkeley, I used this course to train and race for 3 years so I know it inside and out.
Concur with shannontri's post, particularly the bike spots and the Windsor Rd idea listed above. Also agree with the get off the bike course concept - in addition to the cyclists and local residents, you also have to deal with people going wine tasting - really slow traffic if you are on the bike course any more than you have to be.
One spectator comfort tip - can be much hotter than you expect for the spectator. Spectators could use liquids and a hat, as well as the recommended chair and cowbell. Have a great time!