Meet me in St. Louis, Louis. Meet me at the THF Realty Gateway Cup…?

8 Sep

Meet me in St. Louis, Louis. Meet me at the THF Realty Gateway Cup…?

Doesn’t quite have the ring of the original song:

“Meet me in St. louis, louis meet me at the fair. Don’t tell me the lights aren’t shining anywhere but there. We can dance the Hoochie-Coochie, you will be my tootsie-wootsie. If you meet me in St. Louis, Louis meet me at the fair!”

 Let me be the first to tell you, St. Louis is not anything like that movie lets it on to be. I found St. Louis very exciting for about the first half day we were there, and then there was a hurricane. Ok, not exactly a hurricane, but it sure felt like it to me. Rain…and lots of it. It was technically a tropical depression from hurricane Isaac that hit down in Louisiana.

I travelled down to St. Louis because I wanted to gain new experience, immerse myself in a criterium series atmosphere, and as a “final ha-rah” of my road season. The THF Realty Gateway Cup is a criterium series that has been around for one less year than I have been alive (21 years). And believe me, it shows – they know how to put on some fun races! 4 days of criterium races around some of the coolest historic places of the city, BIG, big money, and a ton of fun!

The arch in the distance on my first ride. My sweet Blue and Cognation Wheels

I am going to give you a condensed version of my races, because each day it was pretty much 50 or so girls going around in circles for 45 minutes, four days in a row.

Tour de Lafayette: This race started at 8:15pm under the lights, in the pouring rain. SUper fun. 😉 It was a little bit of the girls getting used to each other and trying to not slip on wet road paint. There was a crash going into the second-to-last corner of the last lap. Thankfully, I had positioned myself ahead of it, so I sprinted for a top ten spot, and ended up 7th. Not bad for the first race of the series!

Tour de Francis Park: We had clear-ish skies up until we began our call ups (before the start when the announcer introduces the top 10 up to the start line one by one, by name and team they represent). As the top ten riders from yesterday’s race were recognized, the skies decided it was time to drench us, again. Completely soaked, we began our race. The pace started out a little slower than the day before; we rode around the course for 45 minutes with a few minor attacks (attempts to break away from the main group or “peloton”), and it came down to another field sprint (the group still all together and the whole field tries to out-sprint each other on the last lap and before the finish line). I had gone to front of the pack with about 6 laps to go, and my rear wheel slid out in one of the corners, which caused me to be a little more cautious and uneasy for the remainder of the race. I didn’t position myself as well as I had the day before, because of the lack of confidence in my wheels, and sprinted for another top ten, 10th place.

Rainy rainy hurricane depression

Giro della Montagna: Finally, we had sunshine!!!! This race we had a loud and rowdy crowd in the Italian neighborhood of St. Louis. The course was really fun, four tight corners, a little hill, and a screaming-fast downhill finish. This was the only race that a break stuck (2 ladies attacked and got off the front of the pack, and held it off all the way to the finish). I was very aggressive on the last lap, got myself into the top 10 girls going into the final sprint and had a confidence boosting 8th place, 6th in the field sprint (6th among the main group, not including the break-away group).

Benton Park Classic: The final day of racing was a long (about 4 min) course, with 10 tight corners and an uphill finish. I had really hoped a group of girls would get off the front (attack)during that race. But “you live and you learn”. Looking back, I should have attacked and made something go (drew a few strong riders with me away from the group) and now I know, if I want something to happen, I need to make it happen. I was sitting in a really good position going into 3 laps to go and 2 laps to go. With one to go, girls started to swarm around me and I got stuck in the middle with nowhere to move, and was pushed back to about 20th wheel. I sprinted, but didn’t have much room to move up, and finished 13th.

That race wasn’t the best way to end the series, since I had a goal of being top 5 in that race, but I learned, and that is also what I came to do.

After the race my mom and I decided if there was one thing we needed to do in St. Louis, it was going to the top of that crazy arch. The arch in St. Louis is 630 ft tall, and stands to represent the “Gateway to the West”. The Eads Bridge was built in 1874 and was the first bridge to span the Mississippi River, giving people easy access to get from the east of the country to the west of the country. The Arch was built in 1967 to portray the brilliant design of the arches of the Eads bridge.

St. Louis from inside the Arch

Mom and I in the observatory of the Arch

And what Colorado mountain girl can say she dipped her toes into the banks of the Mississippi River? And skipped rocks across the slow-moving current in the not-so-confident hope of making it all the way across? That is exactly what we did, and enjoyed every moment of it!

Skipping rock on the Mississippi River

I write this on my 6:15 flight out of St. Louis. With a mind full of new experiences, a yearning to learn more, and tired legs, I head back to everyday life of being a student at the University of Colorado.

6:15 flight

Until next time St. Louis!


One Response to “Meet me in St. Louis, Louis. Meet me at the THF Realty Gateway Cup…?”

  1. Ann W. Ghent September 20, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

    Great Job ! Way to Race!!!! – Love Aunt Ann

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