Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tulsa Tough 2012: Street party + bicycle racing

(ABOVE: Fast women! Ladies racing in the Friday night downtown races)

The Tulsa Tough is three days of professional bicycle racing and tour rides centered around downtown Tulsa. The annual event is held during early June on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Tulsa Tough has quickly grown into a huge event with big crowds and a festive atmosphere Personally, it's my favorite event in Tulsa!

The huge attendance figures this year were the largest yet. The growth of corporate sponsorships= improvements each year to enhance the experience for cycles and fans-- this is a first class event.

Professional cyclists race through downtown and Riverside Drive courses Friday night, Saturday and Sunday. The more casual (and open to regular cyclists) tour rides take place Saturday and Sunday morning.

My wife and I attended the Friday night pro races, and then I cycled in the Sunday morning "Grand Fondo."

The Friday Night races are a must see. Even if you know or care nothing about cycling you will love it!

Tulsa Tough begins with the "McNellie's group Blue Dome Criterium". It's a fast-paced experience which will take your breath away.

The best professional cyclists in the country race at speeds over 30mph in a tightly-packed clump. The cyclists ride a closed course along the city streets of downtown Tulsa under the lights. Fans, many with a beverage in hand gather around the track.

A huge outdoor TV broadcasts the event with "play by play" provided by nationally renown commentators.

Children enjoy the event too. It's fun to lean in close to the track to be blown back by the gust of the wind from the bikes-- the peloton, or clump of bicycles is so intense that they create their own wind. Smiles all around!

I really enjoy Sunday's racing too, maybe the most. These races zoom along a section of Riverside Drive.

Many folks sit under the trees and along the hills to enjoy the day. I also witnessed several bike crashes. (If you get some thrill out of watching bicycles crash, then this event is for you!)

The Sunday race features a short, but steep climb up "Crybaby Hill"-- this is cool to watch.

Local crazies come out, some dressed in silly stuff, to encourage or whatever the cyclists. The crowd is huge, clever and fun-- quite a spectacle!

The Tulsa Tough... first class event. Make sure it's on your stuff to do list!

(BELOW: I rode with Team Lee's in the more casual Saturday and Sunday morning rides.)

Location:Downtown Tulsa

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