For downtown Santa Rosa, the arrival Monday of more than 100 of the world's top professional cyclists, including Santa Rosa's Levi Leipheimer, will be a big-time event with a hometown flavor.
The competitors in this year's Amgen Tour of California race, which starts Sunday and ends May 23 in Thousand Oaks, are expected to finish Stage 2 of the race at Third Street and Santa Rosa Avenue by mid-afternoon Monday.
But the City of Santa Rosa, Bike Monkey Events, Amgen Tour promoters and an alliance of local nonprofit agencies plan to keep downtown visitors entertained from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
"This is the community coming out to celebrate the Tour of California," said Laneil Bryant, recreation coordinator for the City of Santa Rosa.
"It's our local restaurants, merchants and nonprofits coming out into the street. We'll have a stage there and a beer garden," she added. "It's about the local flavor."
Two events — the tour promoters' Lifestyle Festival on Courthouse Square and the city's Santa Rosa Festival on Third Street — will open in the morning and run until shortly after the racers arrive.
The Lifestyle Festival features cycling-related exhibits. The Santa Rosa Festival features live music by Baby Seal Club and the Green String Farm Band.
Also, city council members and county supervisors will bicycle through an obstacle course dubbed the "Elected Officials Commute," created by the Sonoma County Bike Coalition and Santa Rosa's Imaginists Theatre Collective.
"We're going to put them on adult-sized, three-wheel cycles, so that makes it more fun to watch," Bryant said.
After the Amgen contestants have come and gone, Bike Monkey will stage a block party at Fourth and D streets until early evening, with a deejay, Lagunitas Beer and GoldSprints stationary bike races.
"GoldSprints came out of the bike-messenger culture," said Greg Fisher, editor of Bike Monkey magazine and "Marketing Guy" for Santa Rosa-based Bike Monkey Events. "People would get together after hours and go on bike rollers. They're big drums you can drop a bike on top of, and spin your little heart out, and not go anywhere."
Fisher contends one of the day's biggest attractions will be the race fans themselves.
"Cycling attracts energetic people. It comes out in events like this. None of us are going to get out on that course and race with those guys, but we can be around them and capture some of that energy," he said.
"It's like going to a party, but you don't have to go through that first hour of small talk, because whether you know each other or not, you've all got something in common."
You can reach Staff Writer Dan Taylor at 521-5243 or firstname.lastname@example.org. See his ARTS blog at http://arts.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.