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September 7, 2013


Planning New Rides for 2011 at Saint Francis Tulsa Tough!

Happy New Year!!

You may have heard about some cool changes for the Saint Francis Tulsa Tough Rides this year. I’m excited about where we’re headed.

Tulsa Tough is going Gran Fondo! That roughly means “Big Ride” in Italian. In France it’s called “Cyclosportive”. In Tulsa it’s called “The Rides”. Seriously, that’s what we’ve called them since the beginning…. “The Rides”, blah.

Gran Fondos have begun to be promoted on this side of the pond in the past 2-3 years. Levi has one in California. There’s a U.S. series starting up with five events across the country, and another series in Canada.

At Tulsa Tough we think a lot about how we present our rides, especially compared with the first class presentation of the races. Quality of the rider’s experience is important.

This fall, over lunch, we realized the concept and style of Gran Fondos is really no different from what we’ve always imagined for the rides: epic, timed rides, superior support, much better than average amenities from before the event till long after it’s over, a dose of healthy competition, a premier event that attracts 1000′s of riders of all abilities from across the country.

So here we go, let’s see what happens! Starting with 2011 we’re beefing up the excitement, changing some routes, adding a little competition, enhancing the care and support of the riders, and calling it Gran Fondo!

On this record breaking snowy February day, the planning continues to evolve, but here’s what we know:

Saturday, June 11:
50km Piccolo Fondo, 100km Medio Fondo, 100mi Gran Fondo, 200km Molte Gran Fondo

Sunday, June 12:
100mi Deuce Challenge and possibly a 35 mile Fun Ride.


  • Any rider who completes the 200km distance under 6 hours
  • King and Queen of the Mountain competition at designated spots on the Saturday course
  • Deuce Jersey to any rider who completes 100 miles both days under 5 hours each day
  • Any rider who completes 100 miles both days regardless of time
  • All riders receive a finisher’s medal

Plus these features for everyone:

  • Chip timing for all riders
  • Earlier start time: All rides will begin at 7:30 a.m. both days
  • Redesigned Saturday finish in Brady District: Complete with VIP finishers tent!
  • No ride-day registration: Advance registration required for all rides

One thing I’m looking at seriously is swapping the Saturday and Sunday routes. We think the southwest routes we’ve ridden on Sunday have more to offer in scenery and hills. Hopefully they’ll give more opportunities for in-ride competitions and a better overall experience for more riders. It also puts the Sunday century on the slightly easier Saturday route up north.

I’m working out new start and finish routes to mesh with the race festivals and making a few adjustments to rest stop locations. The route swap isn’t firm yet but I hope to have it all worked out by early-mid February. The online maps will show the new routes and we’ll send out an announcement about that and the start of registration when we’re ready.

This year could be a turning point for the non-race side of this great event. Mark your calendar for June 10-12, 2011. Please come out, bring friends, and help us grow!

4 comments to Planning New Rides for 2011 at Saint Francis Tulsa Tough!

  • Buck

    Please stay off of Shellcreek road north of Sand Springs.

  • DamJamJim

    Why? Is there construction up there or some other situation you’d like us to know about that would make it unsafe for cyclists?

  • Buck

    its narrow and filled with blind spots that makes it dangerous for cyclist and vehicle traffic.

  • Buck

    I live N. of Sand Springs off of Hwy 97 and Shellcreek road. I would love to say thank you for all of the bikes on Hwy 97 Saturday. We had a death in the family, and everyone met at out house, and had a hard time getting there because of all the bikes blocking the road. Everyone who came in commented about being “stuck” behind the bikes because there are no SAFE areas to pass and the bikes refuse to move over.

    Also, I would like to thank all of the riders for throwing down your plastic water and sport drink bottles on the side of the road.It is a beautiful sight to see, you really are endearing yourself to our community.

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