Final Thoughts On Tulsa Tough

Posted on 14. Jun, 2011 by in race

The first thing that is striking at the St Francis Tulsa Tough is the crowd. This year, the organizers altered the schedule, moving the first two women’s races to later in the day in the hope of having more people watching and it worked.  Both the Friday and Saturday evening crits are held in neighborhoods with restaurants and bars, and patrons were out and cheered on the riders, women and men. The 3-day event is also well publicized and embraced by the community. And then, the Sunday fans on Cry Baby Hill were once again rowdy, noisy, full of energy and just plain fun. They lined the road cheering, dancing, throwing water, offering dollar primes, and jello shots as the riders came by while a band was rocking the place out. Great times.

A party on Cry Baby Hill

A party on Cry Baby Hill

The fields were also better and deeper this year compared to last year. The word has gotten out about the prize money and the crowds. While not every pro men’s team sent a squad even though the race is NRC, more of them did show up this year with Jamis/Sutter Home sending 7 riders; their numbers paid off in the end with the overall win. While the men’s races were exciting, I do want to highlight the pro/1/2 women’s races in Tulsa. Unfortunately, women’s races are sometimes quiet affairs until the final 5 laps when the squads ramp up for the final sprint – yep boring to watch. But not at Tulsa Tough, the attacks flew from the start, especially from the two new teams this year, Primal/MapMyRide and NOW & Novartis for MS who both raced aggressively.  It will be interesting to see how the brand new team Now & Novartis fares at Nature Valley Grand Prix this week.

What was up with all the crashing at Tulsa The  first day  was a crashfest, with the roads wet after a massive downpour and the oily roads making it a slip & slide. So the crashing early on was understandable but it continued with riders diving into corners and fighting to hold their 50th place in the field. Were the courses too sketchy? Or are riders taking too many dangerous risks?

Finally, Tulsa Tough always has a big purse. In the final tally – without the primes – Jamis/Sutter Home came out with $14,470 Jelly Belly with $8,830 and V Australia, $6,625. NOW & Novartis was the big winner in the women’s race, making $6,980, Mellow Mushroom $4,335 and Team Type 1, $3,795.

Reports and Photo Galleries from the St Francis Tulsa Tough:

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