So what now? With every decision comes opportunity. We have eight years of knowledge and experience gained from the tour that can be used to position Santa Rosa for a successful stage bid in the future (e.g. our unparalleled success in 2012 after failing to be selected as a host city in 2011). We are also interested in using this knowledge and experience to the advantage of our local events.

For example, events such as Levi's GranFondo, the Santa Rosa Marathon and the Vineman Triathlon that bring thousands of participants to Sonoma County each provide a return on investment on par with or higher than a stage of the Amgen Tour of California. These local events attract participants, in some cases internationally, who tend to travel with family and friends to Sonoma County and stay three or four days visiting the area spending money in restaurants, hotels and other local businesses.

This is not to say that locally produced events can or should replace the tour. However, if we are allowed the time to reassess, to take stock of our local assets, to understand as a community what we are capable of, to be creative in our approach, then we may just accomplish something greater.

At the same time, we continue our long and fruitful relationship with the Amgen Tour of California and its promoter, AEG. We have informed them that, while we have chosen not to bid for a race stage next year, we stand ready to help the tour and other host cities with their planning for the 2014 race and beyond, and we expect to be a stop on the tour in future years. In short, Santa Rosa is a bright red circle on the cycling map, and we expect to stay there.

<i>Raissa de la Rosa, economic development specialist for the city of Santa Rosa, and David Guhin, director of utilities for the city, are co-chairs of Santa Rosa's Local Organizing Committee for the Tour of California.</i>