by Gabe Meline
The race hits downtown Santa Rosa between "2:23pm-2:58pm," according to estimates. I'd get there at 2:00. Really, go. It's the most thrilling thing to happen to downtown since the Fixx played there in 1998. (Okay, I jest. But the Fixx really did play there in 1998.)
Last year's finish is going to be hard to top: dozens of cyclists going down in a huge pile-up, Levi Leipheimer's buttcheeks hanging out of his ripped-up Spandex, and the controversial decision by race commissaries to award him retention of the yellow jersey made for mind-blowing, in-person drama.
Also, as pointed out in my Bohemian article this week, it's unlikely that the Tour of California will make a return to Santa Rosa next year, due to a combination of race organizers' demands and Santa Rosa's budget woes.
So get on down, be part of the exciting crowd, buy a hot dog from Ralph's, and watch the action. Plus, if you're on your bike, you can't beat the royal feeling of riding around town afterwards: it's the one day out of the year when every car in the city seems to be aware of your presence. ¡Vive la Peloton!