Editor’s Note: Much of the information in this article is courtesy of Wikipedia
Saint Francis Tulsa Tough Ride and Race again was a successful event in June. The three-day festival features non-competitive riding through scenic areas around the Tulsa metropolitan area and professional level races. It is held each year on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the second weekend in June.
Saint Francis Tulsa Tough attracts professional and amateur racers from across the country racing criterium style races on three different venues in the streets of Downtown Tulsa and along the Arkansas River. Prize money rivals the largest purses in the nation. The quality of the venues and the top level race operation already has professional teams making Tulsa an important stop on their annual racing schedules.
In 2008, Tulsa Tough’s women’s pro races were selected by U.S.A. Cycling to be on the prestigious National Racing Calendar. Based on voting by racers, race officials, and announcers, Tulsa Tough was ranked in the top 10 out of 30 NRC races in only its third year. With this proven success, the men’s and women’s races were again on the National Racing Calendar for 2019 and after the event were ranked in the top four among all NRC events. Top professional cycling teams plan their domestic racing schedules around NRC events, assuring a high level of national attention on the hosting events.
Saint Francis Tulsa Tough offers two days of tour rides with 50 km, 100 km, 200 km, and 100 mi options each day covering nearly 400 miles of Northeast Oklahoma hills and scenery. All routes feature aid stations and rolling support for riders of all sizes and abilities. The tour rides are expected to grow to well over 5,000 riders as cycling enthusiasts discover the challenging, epic riding available in Oklahoma’s Green Country.
Saint Francis Tulsa Tough has received national attention from major cycling publications and continues to be a topic on cycling forums and in the media.
It is jointly promoted by the Tulsa Sports Commission and Tulsa Wheelmen and is supported by corporate sponsorship. Guidance for the event comes from an executive committee made up of several Tulsa area cyclists and business people.
Besides the cycling, there are many fun events for everyone during Tulsa Tough, including kids rides, fun rides and serious criterium racing on the streets of downtown and along the Arkansas River.
Cry Baby Hill, the last part of the grueling River Parks Criterium race, serves as the annual finale of the race. There, Tulsans line the hill to cheer contestants on, chug beers and parade around in costumes. Although the event began organically, it has grown to become one of the largest parties and social events in the city. Regardless of age or preference, Tulsa Tough is a great experience for everyone.