It's here: The fourth annual Tulsa Tough Ride & Race.
Quite a sight to behold and, from what I understand, even more fun to pedal through, Tulsa Tough Ride & Race is a set of competitive races and tour rides that bring athletes from the world over here to T-Town. The race routes showcase the best of what our fine city has to offer - the historic Brady and Blue Dome Districts, Riverside and more.
The event, designed for new and experienced riders alike and to inspire athleticism and Tulsa pride, gets started tonight at 6:20 with the Men's Category III race and rolls through to the end of the weekend. The event is thanks to the Children's Hospital at Saint Francis (which will help Tulsa Tough give 225 new bikes to kids this year), Tulsa Sports Commission and Tulsa Wheelmen.
Riders and racers can participate in a number of events and activities, from professional-level races, recreation and tour rides to kids and youth activities (check out the Tough Kids and Townie ride at 1 p.m., 13th and Riverside) to live music and vendors during the three-day cycling event.
In short, Tulsa Tough is more than a cycling event; it's a weekend festival.
The event attracts thousands to Tulsa, filling the sidewalks, cafes, bars and art galleries to the brim with the spandex-free cycle happy along the race tracks. Last year's event brought on an estimated 15,000, or about six times to capacity of the music hall at Tulsa Performing Arts Center.
Now, that's a lot of biking (and Tulsa) enthusiasts.
Before you head out to watch or ride in the races this weekend, be sure to add Tulsa Tough as a friend on Facebook and follow it on Twitter. While you're online, check out Dwayne Davis's story on Tulsa Tough, "The Fast and the Curious" and my 2007 post on Tulsa Tough (with a side of Savastanos Pizza in Bixby). And, don't forget that Tulsa Tough is a qualifying activity in the Mayor's Million Miles program.
See y'all at the races.
Photos from Tulsa Tough Facebook group.