Happy New Year!!
You may have heard about some cool changes for the Saint Francis Tulsa Tough Rides this year. I’m excited about where we’re headed.
Tulsa Tough is going Gran Fondo! That roughly means “Big Ride” in Italian. In France it’s called “Cyclosportive”. In Tulsa it’s called “The Rides”. Seriously, that’s what we’ve called them since the beginning…. “The Rides”, blah.
Gran Fondos have begun to be promoted on this side of the pond in the past 2-3 years. Levi has one in California. There’s a U.S. series starting up with five events across the country, and another series in Canada.
At Tulsa Tough we think a lot about how we present our rides, especially compared with the first class presentation of the races. Quality of the rider’s experience is important.
This fall, over lunch, we realized the concept and style of Gran Fondos is really no different from what we’ve always imagined for the rides: epic, timed rides, superior support, much better than average amenities from before the event till long after it’s over, a dose of healthy competition, a premier event that attracts 1000′s of riders of all abilities from across the country.
So here we go, let’s see what happens! Starting with 2011 we’re beefing up the excitement, changing some routes, adding a little competition, enhancing the care and support of the riders, and calling it Gran Fondo!
On this record breaking snowy February day, the planning continues to evolve, but here’s what we know:
Saturday, June 11:
50km Piccolo Fondo, 100km Medio Fondo, 100mi Gran Fondo, 200km Molte Gran Fondo
Sunday, June 12:
100mi Deuce Challenge and possibly a 35 mile Fun Ride.
- Any rider who completes the 200km distance under 6 hours
- King and Queen of the Mountain competition at designated spots on the Saturday course
- Deuce Jersey to any rider who completes 100 miles both days under 5 hours each day
- Any rider who completes 100 miles both days regardless of time
- All riders receive a finisher’s medal
Plus these features for everyone:
- Chip timing for all riders
- Earlier start time: All rides will begin at 7:30 a.m. both days
- Redesigned Saturday finish in Brady District: Complete with VIP finishers tent!
- No ride-day registration: Advance registration required for all rides
One thing I’m looking at seriously is swapping the Saturday and Sunday routes. We think the southwest routes we’ve ridden on Sunday have more to offer in scenery and hills. Hopefully they’ll give more opportunities for in-ride competitions and a better overall experience for more riders. It also puts the Sunday century on the slightly easier Saturday route up north.
I’m working out new start and finish routes to mesh with the race festivals and making a few adjustments to rest stop locations. The route swap isn’t firm yet but I hope to have it all worked out by early-mid February. The online maps will show the new routes and we’ll send out an announcement about that and the start of registration when we’re ready.
This year could be a turning point for the non-race side of this great event. Mark your calendar for June 10-12, 2011. Please come out, bring friends, and help us grow!