Tag Archives: Tulsa Tough

Tulsa Tough 2017 – River Parks Criterium and CryBaby Hill

_DSC0009

This past weekend was the annual Tulsa Tough bicycle racing festival. A collection of bicycle races and other events over the course of three days. The popular events are the Crit Races or Criterium Races which are races over a relatively short loop with multiple laps. The first two crit races are close to downtown and Sunday is the day for the River Parks Criterium which features a loop that includes a steep hill and a very sharp turn onto Riverside Drive coming off the hill.

_DSC0976

Tulsa Tough also has longer road races, called Gran Fondos, and for posers like me they have a short Townie Ride. I was going to do it this year but maybe next!!

_DSC0015

I attended the River Parks Criterium again. For fans it is like two different races. Down on Riverside drive there is a long straightaway and corporate hospitality tents and everything is very calm and sedate.

_DSC0913

Above shows the high speed sharp turn off the hill back onto Riverside. Lots of crashes happen here as the riders are bunched up, turning, and braking to get back on the long straightaway.

_DSC0010

This tent is close to the sharp turn onto Riverside. The bags of mulch are to protect the riders who lose control of their bikes and crash into the tent. See the Red Cross flag at the far right. I was standing there when one of the medics told me. “Hey Dude, do what you want but we put the medic tent for a reason, when they lose control off the hill they land right here, so if you stay, be alert.” So I moved.

Riverside Drive is where the Starting Line is and everybody stays pretty mellow.

_DSC0939

At the top of the hill on the other section of the course is Crybaby Hill. The course is a relatively narrow residential street and and this where things get interesting. The races are going all out to get up the hill and the fans are there yelling at them and ringing cowbells and having a good time. There have enough people that they have the people in the referee shirts above who are charged with keeping a lane open for the racers. “Minding the Gap” they call it.

_DSC0936

I always get there kind of early and leave kind of early so I’ve never seen the party in full tilt. When I’m there you have people getting warmed up for the party.

_DSC0943

The racers are working very hard though. They come from all over the US and overseas to compete. The popularity of the event is growing rapidly and it really is a Tulsa happening. Especially Crybaby Hill.  Below is a short video of the racers coming through. I would be good for one loop but these guys and gals do it over and over.

I’ll be back next year!!

2016 Tulsa Tough and Cry Baby Hill

_DSC0005

Sunday morning I ventured down to the Tulsa River Parks to watch the River Parks Criterium segment of Tulsa Tough. Tulsa Tough is a three day series of races of all kinds here in Tulsa. The River Parks Criterium is a short cycle race that loops from river level up a steep hill overlooking the river and then back down to the river via a 120 degree hard right turn at high speed at the base of the hill. And then they do it again, and again. It is brutal.

Copied from TulsaTough.com I hope they don't sue my butt

Copied from TulsaTough.com I hope they don’t sue my butt)

There are about fourteen races in all on this course lasting about a half hour each.

_DSC0078

The course is not for the faint of heart. The leaders are working the whole way. Y

This is where they head up the hill, and they are just flying.

_DSC0080

Not only are they going fast, they are going fast while being close together. If one guy or gal goes down then the risk is high that others are going down also. It looks nerve wracking to me.

_DSC0075

They alternated the pace cars. This one was a Jaguar. They run a couple hundred yards ahead along with a motorcycle to alert everybody to get out of the way.

_DSC0062

The races are very exciting.

_DSC0045

The riders are concentrating hard.

_DSC0042

At the of the hill is Cry Baby Hill. It is kind of wild. It is in a residential area with not many sidewalks so you have to stand in the street. The residents have parties in their front yard. It is quite the party. I left about noon so I think I missed the peak of the madness.

_DSC0040

Everybody is there to cheer on the riders and spray water and beer on them.

_DSC0038

There are marshalls in zebra shirts with whistles and flags to keep the crowd behind the line. I guess this guy lost his shirt or something.

Lots of cowbells and a band cheer the riders on.

_DSC0027

And toy baby dolls if you didn’t bring one.

_DSC0024

It is quite the spectacle.

_DSC0007

As I left people were still piling in.

_DSC0997

And the races were still going on.

Last Year’s Tulsa Tough Post

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday

Addendum #1 Not my video – a collection of crashes from Tulsa Tough.

Our World – Tulsa Tough and Crybaby Hill

_DSC0143

I finally made it to a Tulsa Tough Bike Race and Crybaby Hill today (Sunday). I’ve missed out in past years but this was my year.

_DSC0089

Tulsa Tough is a series of bike races held in Tulsa every June. It has grown and grown. It includes everything from a “Townie Ride” open to everybody to  amateur and professional level criterium events. A criterium race, I’m told from Wikipedia, is a race on a short course consisting of closed off city streets. The race is a set number of laps. In other words they go around and around.

_DSC0101

The formal name for the Crybaby Hill event is the “River Parks Criterium.” It is brutal. The riders start on Riverside drive and go for a short while and then climb up a steep hill and then make a right turn and then back down to Riverside drive down a very steep hill and then a greater than 90 degree turn. And then they repeat the lap, over and over. It looks brutal. Check this Tulsa World link for the story behind the Tulsa Tough races and Crybaby Hill.

_DSC0080

They have classes all the way from youth to old guys and gals and professional levels. All sorts of very skinny yet muscular people speaking foreign languages this week in Tulsa.

_DSC0113

Crybaby Hill is also a party. Check here for the origin of the name (if you didn’t before). Basically people get to the top of the hill and cheer the riders on.

_DSC0055

I left today before it really got crazy. Next year I’m staying for the whole thing.

_DSC0062

People wear strange outfits to the event.

_DSC0034

In between laps the contractor handing the portapotties was racing to finish the installation. Everybody was yelling “clear the way for the *******.  The orange lines are where the spectators are supposed to stay behind. They had to put those in because in years past, from what I’m told, the gap the riders could ride through got narrower and narrower as the day went on.

_DSC0115

My favorite sign. Take that Westboro Baptist so called Church.  The guys in the striped shirts are the supposed to keep everybody behind the orange lines. They enjoy their jobs.

_DSC0129

The theme was “Under the Sea” so I guess that makes this guy King Neptune or something.

_DSC0130

I’m not sure what she was supposed to be.

_DSC0125

And some more characters. Notice the baby’s for sale. This is Crybaby Hill after all.

This is a brief video of the scene at the top of the hill where the riders are just about tuckered out and the crowd is cheering them on with cowbells, whistles, sirens and beer.

And this is a video at the bottom of the hill where they have to make a greater than 90 degree right turn on a steep downhill. You’d better have a precise line and good brakes to get through this unscathed.

Anyway a good time was had by all. And bikes were raced.

Linking with Our World Tuesday