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A Weekend of Bicycle Racing in St. Louis

September 4, 2009 Bicycling, Downtown, Events/Meetings, South City 5 Comments

Last Saturday night thousands of casual bike riders were on the roads after Midnight (Sunday morning) for the 46th Annual Moonlight Ramble:

Riders assembled on Market Street at 15th just before midnight on 8/29/09.
Riders assembled on Market Street at 15th just before midnight on 8/29/09.

Starting tonight and continuing through Monday racing cyclists take over the streets.   The annual Gateway Cup is 4 days of racing that attracts riders from across the country to compete for cash & prizes.  They always put on a good show.  Monday is the start of the Tour of Missouri, a pro-level bike race.  The first stage will take place in St. Louis Monday.

Here are the details for interested spectators:

Friday 9/4/09:

The nighttime start to the weekend.  Lights are set up on the four corners around Lafayette Park for the Tour de Lafayette.

Join the Lafayette Square neighborhood and business district for a Friday night festival  celebrating an evening of racing under the lights! Lafayette Square is known as one of the country’s best preserved examples of Victorian “Painted Lady” architecture dating from the 1870’s and 1880’s.  It is also St. Louis’s oldest historic district. The neighborhood (and tonight’s race course) surrounds the first public park in the city of St.  Louis as well as one of the first public parks west of the Mississippi.  The neighborhood took a hit during the Great Depression and after WWII,  but thanks to the restoration efforts of a determined group of urban pioneers,  Lafayette Square saw a renaissance starting in the early 1970’s. Today it is  one of the crown jewels of St. Louis, with condo and loft developments as well  as a business district blossoming with restaurants boutiques and art galleries. Enjoy!

Bring a lawn chair and pick your corner and enjoy the neighborhood as the riders speed by or enjoy food and beverage from the many vendors.  Parking is tight so carpooling, biking or taking transit (Union Station MetroLink) is advised.

Saturday 9/5/09:

A first this year, racing around Francis Park in the St. Louis Hills neighborhood.

The St. Louis Hills Francis Park Criterium For the first time the historic St. Louis Hills neighborhood is host to the second leg of the Gateway Cup! Francis Park, named after David Rowland Francis- President of the Lousiana Purchase Exposition in 1889, is know for its wide, tree lined streets and for having beautiful churches on every corner. Today the St. Louis Hills neighborhood showcases gingerbread bungalows, stately homes and some of the tidiest landscaping in St. Louis. Home to St. Louis cultural and iconic Ted Drewes- our homegrown ice cream oasis. We hope you enjoy the new and improved race course selection for this second stop of the Gateway Cup!

Please join us for bands and a post race par-tay just behind the finish line in Francis Park. Featuring local band Ship of Fools during the day and followed by local hero Steve Ewing of the Urge, one of St. Louis most revered musical acts. We encourage everyone to stay until 8:00pm before heading to the Tour of Missouri Women’s Soiree event later in the evening.

Should be a fun day around a wonderful park in a beautiful neighborhood.  First race 11am, last race starts at 4:30pm.

Sunday 9/6/09:

No park to race around.  Even better are is the dense neighborhood known as The Hill.

The Hill is proud to once again host the longest standing bike race in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area – the Giro Della Montagna – the third stop of the 2009 Gateway Cup!

The Hill boasts the finest Italian restaurants anywhere. It is the boyhood home of such baseball legends as Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola. It is a neighborhood that acts as a model for community as generations of families continue to maintain their residence creating a close-knit feel. The neighborhood was settled by Italian immigrants starting in the late 19th Century. The anchor for the community continues to be St. Ambrose Catholic Church, the Start/Finish site for today’s race. The Italian heritage continues to thrive with the Hill’s variety of Italian restaurants, bakeries, taverns, groceries, community organizations, and social clubs. One of these such clubs, the Bocce Club, hosts the traditional pasta dinner for the cyclists Sunday evening after the completion of the last race of the day. Giro Pasta Dinner, Sunday, September 6th 4:00-8:00 pm, St Louis Bocce Club 2210 Marconi @ Bischoff on race course. Menu includes all the Pasta you can eat, plus 2 meatballs, salad, Italian Bread, and dessert. $7 adults/$4 children. Tickets available at the door.

First race at 12:15pm, last starts at 5:50pm.

Monday 9/7/09:

Labor Day will be a busy one downtown with both the Tour of Missouri Criterium finishing the Gateway Cup series plus the start of the Tour of Missouri.  The Criterium’s first race starts at 7am with Pro 1 & 2 starting at 10am.  At 1pm is the start of Stage 1 of the Tour of Missouri.  Both can be viewed from Citygarden on Market Street. The Tour of Missouri stage extends into Soulard & Lafayette Square so plenty of places to watch the race go by exist.

Parking will be scarce so if possible use MetroLink, or your own bike, to get downtown.

The routes all four days use city streets, which will be closed to traffic.  It is possible to cross the route on foot but not by car.  When crossing on foot look for the volunteers which will help you cross safely.

If you haven’t been to Lafayette Square, St. Louis Hills, The Hill or downtown in a while this is a good excuse to do so.   Hopefully the rain will come at times the riders are not competing. Have a great weekend and Labor Day!

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

  1. Jimmy Z says:

    Unfortunately, whoever put up the “No Parking” restrictions around Francis Park and Lafaytte Square used a staple gun to attach them to a lot of trees – not good for the trees, and I doubt they’ll be coming back next week to remove the staples . . .

  2. The Friday night kick-off of the Gateway Cup with the Tour de Lafayette has become one of my absolute favorite annual urban events.

  3. john w. says:

    They’d better bring their rain coats.

  4. James R. says:

    There are days like Friday night that make me really want to race again.

    But then there’s days like Saturday that make me glad I’m not racing…

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