It was nine years ago this month we sat down at the patio of a new bar downtown for a drink and discovered:
- there’s some sort of bicycle race going on.
- it appears to be a really big deal.
- this is a gay bar.
The last one has absolutely nothing to do with the story.
Turns out we had just become spectators of the inaugural Tulsa Tough. We had no idea what Tulsa Tough was, but we enjoyed watching all the bicycles racing through the streets of downtown Tulsa. I was also fascinated by the guys on the BMW motorcycles who were the support vehicles.
The ensuing years have seen the event become an official “Big Deal.” Crowds turn out to watch and the race has received national attention. Today Tulsa Tough draws thousands of ciclisti from across the nation- and organizers hope to continue that growth.
Yesterday we battled through the sea of humanity that is Cry Baby Hill and took up our favorite spot at the first turn. Orange stripes and “Mind the Gap” is spray painted all along the street, as a reminder to stay clear of the passing bikes. The organizers say they would love to put up barricades to keep the racing and the spectating segregated. But the participants say they love it, they thrive on it.
And judging by all the craziness the spectators do too.
Overlooking a swollen Arkansas River the races commenced- and stopped for a brief, passing rain shower- then finished with an exciting finale that was hard fought to the very end. Finally we walked back to our car with the setting sun at our back enjoying a rainbow left by the departing showers. Until next year.