Tour of Missouri

I’m tickled to death that Missouri could rise above the politics and money issues to bring back the Tour of Missouri – it surprises me every year that we actually have this caliber of sporting event in our backyard.  I’ve been to the last 2 Tour of Missouri’s, watching both finishes in St. Louis.  My opinion is that the City of St. Louis does a crappy job of promoting itself during these huge events.

1. Location.  The race has ended both years in Memorial Plaza, which is a center of drug use and is frankly a complete dump.  I had the pleasure last year of seeing a) vagrants who looked like they were zoned out of their minds.  b) drug paraphernalia laying around the park – within easy reach of any 3 year old c) there is a city run port-o-let on the corner of Chestnut and 15th that was one of the most disgusting things I’d ever seen.  I can’t even describe the overflowing and explosive mess that covered the entire inside of that thing.  Totally unacceptable.  I never did see a proper bank of port-o-lets other than a pair in the VIP tent.  St. Louis do some clean up!

2. Finish Line.  I’ve sat through both races, watched every lap, and now we are ready to see the big finish.  Oh but wait, you walked more than 20 feet away from the crowd at the finish? Forget about seeing the actual riders cross the finish line!  It is so disappointing that with the entirety of St. Louis, tour organizers try to shoehorn the finish in as narrow a place as possible.  I missed the finish in year 1 because I was crowded out by the official press photographers who stood out on the street just on the far side of the finish line.  I missed the finish in year 2 because I was off about 50 feet in front of the finish line on top of some steps.  Thinking this would help me actually see the riders cross – I was wrong again.  Poor planning.  You have a choice of either standing at the finish line the entire race (this takes care of maybe 100 people) or you can see the backs of the racers as they cross, or you can see the backs of the photographers as the racers cross the finish in front of THEM.  What about the rest of us!

Not to be totally negative, I can’t say enough good things about the volunteers, fans, and actually having a race of this level on our home turf.  The people are friendly all around and it is for the most part a family friendly event.  I just want it to continue and these problems need to be fixed because it makes St. Louis look like a bunch of amateurs.  And why can’t we even get a local crew to televise the race?

Below are what I saw for both finishes.  I realize I could have gotten in real close if I had fought for it, but that is like asking everyone at Busch stadium to huddle around home plate to see someone slide in.

More photos of 2007 race

More photos of 2008 race

Posted in biking.

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