Saturday, September 5, 2009

tour of missouri

The Tour of Missouri 2009 starts on Monday, Labor Day, with a 75 mile circuit ride in St. Louis. On Tuesday the race moves to a route from Ste. Genevieve to Cape Girardeau in the southeastern part of the state. On Wednesday, stage 3 runs from Farmington to Rolla. Thursday's stage 4 starts in St. James and ends in Missouri's capital, Jefferson City. Then on Friday it really gets interesting. For me, anyway. The last two years I haven't been able to see any of this race, even though Kansas City has hosted a stage. This year things will be different.

For the first time Kansas City will host the finish of the Tour of Missouri, and I plan on being there. But why stop at one stage? I always believed that if a little is good, a lot is better. So, with that in mind I looked at the last 3 stages, and they are all within a couple hours of where I reside. On Friday, September 11, stage 5 is an individual time-trial, held at the home of the Missouri State Fair, Sedalia. If I leave work a little early I'll be able to see more than half the riders cross the finish line. That's just the kind of sacrifice I'm willing to make. I don't collect autographs, and I've always hated the idea of bugging famous people when I'm near them. But, I've got to take my old Discovery Team jersey, and a sharpie, and try to get it signed by one of my favorite riders, George Hincapie.

Saturday's stage 6 is a route from Chillicothe to St. Joseph. Again, the end of the stage is less than a couple hours away, and I'm planning on being there to take pictures. Maybe I can catch the blur that is Mark Cavendish as he sprints toward the finish line. Then on Sunday, the 7th and final stage is close to home in Kansas City, MO. The route will start at the Power and Light District downtown and take riders past the Sprint Center, along the Missouri River in Riverfront Park, past Westport and Union Station, and finish at Crown Center. Promoters promise "countless technical corners and short steep hills" await the riders on this final stage.

I'm really looking forward to seeing these guys in action. It won't be the Pyrenees, but being there live will be a thrill. I promise not to run alongside the riders while wearing a thong, waving a flag, and screaming at the top of my lungs. At least not all at once. Finally, this year's Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike jersey, modeled here by my brother-in-law, Bruce, is covered in red C's with yellow centers, like the state flag. And one day riding up a mountain behind another rider I realized that from far enough back they make it look like the polka-dot jersey that the king-of-the-mountains leader wears in the Tour de France. For a fleeting moment I caught a glimpse of what it might be like to ride in the Alps and Pyrenees. And, as I never caught the polka-dot jersey, it was probably achingly realistic.


  1. I saw the finish of the stage ending in Springfield last year. It was a blast. Nothing quite prepares you for the speed and power of the peleton as it passes within inches of your toes. I'm not good enough to pick out individual riders, but I could recognize which team was leading the pack for each of the three circuits it passed my location. After the third, I jumped on my bike and rode two blocks to be near the finish and got some pretty cool pictures showing Cavendish slingshotting around his teammates to take the sprint finish.

    Here is a link to that..

    I considered driving up to Sedalia for the time trail as well, but Pam and I have tickets to an even on Friday night and it wouldn't do to make myself late! Have fun.

  2. Sounds like fun. I have never been to an event like that, although I once rode a mountain bike race that had the likes of Greg LeMond and Gary Fisher.