When I left work, Friday night. My destination was Lafayette Square, the site of the first of four bicycling racing events that on this holiday weekend comprise the Gateway Cup. Over four days, men and women from the amateur level up to the regional professional level will compete in a series of races that pit progressively faster riders against each other. Each day’s races will be at a different venue. Each venue will feature a race track of roughly a mile. Racers will ride around and around for fix periods of time that get longer throughout the day, as the race participants become more adept. After the race’s time period has expired, the racers begin their countdown from five laps to go to zero.
I took I-70 downtown and circled by the Arch and arrived at Lafayette Square in time to catch fellow Team Kaldis rider, Kubie, already riding her race. At the Start/Finish line, I bumped into Don, DJ and DJ’s friend Audrey. I invited myself along to dinner at the Square One Brewery. After dinner, Audrey and DJ went to investigate a local antique store, while Don and I had another beer and watch Kubie, who had showed up later, wolf-down her dinner. There is nothing like bike racing to develop your appetite.
After dinner we all headed over to Tom and Audrey’s, for some their front yard race viewing. Tom is a race official for the Gateway Cup. I saw Stocker taking photographs, but I couldn’t get close enough to her to say hello. Chris and Sandy were there also. Sandy’s hotel group is a major sponsor, providing rooms to at least some of the race teams.
Saturday morning it began raining at five AM. It rained steadily until noon. I did chores and ran errands in the morning. In the afternoon, I biked over to Francis Park, Saturday’s race venue. This was Francis Park’s first year as a race venue and after seven hours of rain, I’ll give it a pass, on a pass/fail grading system. I don’t think that it will ever rise to the levels of Friday’s Lafayette Square or Sunday’s Hill events, but I think that it deserves one more chance. After all it is very near to Ted Drewe’s on Chippewa.
The Gateway Cup is normally the pinnacle of bike racing in the Saint Louis area. On Labor Day the Gateway Cup will be upstaged by the Tour of Missouri, a worldwide professional level race. The first stage of the Tour will begin promptly after the conclusion of the last race of the Gateway Cup. Chris and Sandy are race officials for the Tour of Missouri. Chris was proudly displaying his walky-talky, his badge of office.
Afterwards, I worked my way up to the Park and caught today’s header. That little green guy was having lots of fun fishing among the shallows. I got twenty miles.