Anne and I dined last night with Don and DJ. We tried a new place, at least to us, called Polite Society. The food there was quite nice and the company was even better. The occasion was the kickoff for the Gateway Cup, a Labor Day weekend of crits. A crit or more formally a criterium is a one-day bicycle race on a closed course. Last night’s races circled Lafayette Square. This residential neighborhood was first laid out in the 1840s. Located a good two miles from where the Arch now stands, it was part of the Saint Louis suburbs of its day. A few miles further west Henry Shaw had purchased undeveloped land around then that would eventually become his gardens.
Once a year, this quaint middle 19th-century neighborhood is invaded by hordes of bicyclists and their groupies. My crowd is firmly ensconced now in the latter category. We like to watch. However, someone somewhat tongue-in-cheek asked Anne while she was crossing the course, if she had finished fourth in the last race. She was wearing street clothes and not bike duds at the time. His question and the fact that you have to watch out for speeding cyclists caught her a little off-guard. Never mind that the last race was a men’s race.
Later, we moved down the block to Tom and Audrey’s place with its curbside view of the races. It was you typical late August evening, both hot and humid, but every two minutes, when the peloton passed by at 30 MPH, there was a cooling breeze. We met up with a few of our other cycling chums, before bidding everyone adieu. It was a nice way to kickoff the holiday weekend.