2011 Santa Rosa Cup © Tim Westmore

by Brian Staby

SANTA ROSA, CALIFORNIA – Santa Rosa has long been a destination for road cyclists. After all, Levi Leipheimer lives and trains here; the Amgen Tour of California makes a regular visit; and the area is arguably one of the most beautiful in the world. OK, you can argue about that last point all you want. But, did you know there is a blossoming cyclocross community springing up in Santa Rosa?

For the past couple years, Carlos Perez and his Bike Monkey crew have been bringing cyclocross to the masses in Santa Rosa city parks. The city loved us at first, then like most venues, they saw the aftermath. Seems every time Bike Monkey had a race, it rained and rained and rained. Great for us but the wear and tear was too much for the city. Enter CX Nation, who has teamed up with Bike Monkey to bring a bigger and better race series this year. Round 1 of the Santa Rosa Cup took place last Saturday.

The city let us “have” a couple acres of undeveloped land at a local city park. We could do whatever we wanted. It took us three months and tons of volunteer hours but in the end the course was complete with a man-made sand trap, long stretches of dirt, and plenty of pavement. Rain two days before the race left the course quite tacky in morning but, by the time the Men’s and Women’s Elite riders rolled through, it was perfect. It was time to race.

Elite Women:

Kelly Chang (Sycip) ©Tim Westmore

With a minimum $500 purse on the line, it was unfortunate that there weren’t more ladies toeing the line. Those who did gave quite a performance. Sarah Bamberger (Rat Balz) took the lead early on and never relinquished it. She sliced and diced through the course like a surgeon to claim the big prize. Second and third didn’t come so easily. Kelly Chang (Sycip) had a good grasp, but slid out on a wet section of pavement. This gave Kristin Drumm (Cylcles Fanatic.com) all she needed. She punched it and rolled through in second while Kelly rebounded to finish third.

Aren Timmel (Chico Corsa) ©Tim Westmore

Elite Men:

The men’s race rolled out a stellar field, of not only cyclocross riders but some pro mountain bikers, to challenge for the $500 minimum purse. Yes, you read correctly. There was an equal payout for men and women. A huge goal for The Santa Rosa Cup was accomplished.

A group of six broke away from the main field on the first lap. Aren Timmel (Chico Corsa) set a rabid pace throughout the race – on a 29er. Pro mountain biker Michael Hosey (Marin Bikes) followed Timmel’s pace ‘till an untimely flat sent him to the back of the field. Krishna Dole (Sheila Moon), Mitch Trux (City Cycles), Max Jenkins (United Health), and Walton Bush (MASH) tried to stick with Timmel, but he was too much for all but Dole. On the last lap, Dole closed the gap on Timmel but couldn’t close it in the final sprint. Aren Timmel claimed the first round of the Santa Rosa Cup.

2011 Santa Rosa Cup ©Tim Westmore

Other winners:
Junior 10-14: Wyatt Overson
Men’s 55+: Thom Fox (Roaring Mouse)
Women’s C: Pilar Rand (Sycip)
Men’s C: Adrien Tamblin (Red Peloton)
Master’s 35+ B: Rob Pitchford (Fightin’ Bobas)
Master’s 45+ B: J Reese Gory
Master’s 35+ A: Fritz Wisor (Breakway Bikes)
Master’s 45+ A: Mark Howland (Bay 101/HRS/Rock Lobster)
Men’s B: Sam Rosenberg
Singlespeed A: Sean O’Meara (Team Bacon Strip)
Singlespeed B: Michael Jordan
Women’s Cat B: Adrienne Belliveau
Women’s 35+: Janel Lodge (Bay 101/HRS/Rock Lobster)
Women’s A: Sarah Bamberger (Rat Balz)
Men’s A: Aren Timmel (Chico Corsa)

Round 2 is December 18th at Spring Lake Park in Santa Rosa. Same categories, same prizes.