WINDSOR, CA—The December rains fell all day for the last stop of the 2012 Santa Rosa Cup at Windsor Oaks Winery. Ellen Sherrill jumped down from the top step of the podium and tore open the envelope just handed to her by race officials. Peering inside, her mud splattered face turned into an enormous grin, eyes widening as she looked at the green wad inside.
“I just won $250 bucks at a local CX race!” Sherrill exclaimed. “That’s amazingly awesome!”
Small in turnout, the Santa Rosa Cup offers the region’s highest podium payouts to those willing to make the drive. For 2013 the series aims to offer even bigger payouts to every racing class, not just the elite categories.
Though cross is about fun, friends and all those other warm, fuzzy reasons, the sport remains a costly pastime. Competitors will struggle for dollar hand-ups in the most imprudent circumstances–plucking dollars from bras, beer bottles and butt cleavage. As the payouts in Sonoma indicate, there’s an easier way to fund bike racing
Brian Staby, founder of CX Nation, secures venues and builds courses for the SR Cup series. He’s also a fire captain for the city of Santa Rosa. When Staby isn’t responding to emergencies, he can be found at the helm of a cross bike or behind the controls of a skid loader, dialing in tracks for upcoming SR Cup races. Staby explained the notion behind the largest payouts in NorCal Cross. “We want to make the races pro. We want to include all the things that make it professional like good course design and good payouts.”
So what’s a professional grade payout in for the northern reaches of the NCNCA cross realm? The Santa Rosa Cup guarantees $1,000 base pay between men and women across the elite A categories. The finishers in each category split $500 amongst the top five participants, plus an additional sum for each racer in the field. At Place to Play, Brian Finnerty jumped off the top step with $285 in cash. The updated payout schedule for the next race pays an additional $10 per racer on top of the base amount.
The payouts aren’t just for the pros, as the series also rewards the top finishers in all categories with a minimum $50 set aside for winners.
With guaranteed cash for all SR Cup categories, let the next beer soaked dollar protruding from a sagging beltline be a reminder that the gas money comes a little easier up in Sonoma County.
The next SR Cup Race takes place Saturday November 23 at the First Baptist Church in Windsor.
Details and a nifty payout calculator at the Bike Monkey Website.
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