My Tulsa Tough Experience - Part 6: Cry Baby Hill

Kindly suggest you start with  
Part 1: Meeting Shawn Brett
Part 2: The Schedule
Part 3: Settling In
Part 4: It's Good to be a Diva
Part 5: GranFondo

Another early alarm and GranFondo were on Sunday’s Tulsa Tough schedule.  Peanut butter toast and some fruit and we were out the door.  With no cloud cover and my body temp still running high, I was thankful I packed a white jersey.  

It wasn’t too hot out at 7am, but I was already looking forward to my 1st rest stop so I could throw ice in my bra.  I can’t imagine doing these rides at normal Tulsa temps, but guessing I’ll experience one in the future.  I might have to start doing my Tulsa Tough training in a sauna.

We parked, unloaded the bikes, and found the Divas.  There weren’t as many people signed up for Sunday’s GranFondo but getting the Diva front row spot was still an advantage.   Carol knows everyone, so she chatted while I sent a picture and text to Terry.  Next year, I’m hoping to drag him to Tulsa Tough with me.
Carol with Jim (GranFondo Director) - anybody recognize Mr. One-to-Go in the background?

Carol and I took off and my legs were tired but responding.  There was a good kicker right away, but like yesterday, residents and volunteers were up early to cheer us on and take our minds off the pain.  I even had one very fit lady start running and taunting me that she was going to beat me to the top.  I took care of business, but I'm very thankful she was there to urge me on.

The course went thru a neighborhood, back on that “bonus” gravel road, and then out into more beautiful Tulsa countryside.  I had flat agricultural in mind, but that is not Tulsa.  It is lush, hilly, and full of variety to keep your eyes occupied.  There was also a Time Trial section that riders could test out their legs on.
Time Trial Rest Stop - our 1st and last

We finished the ride along the river near the Tulsa Tough Start/Finish.  The races had already started and I could tell this afternoon was going to be a blast.  We hung out briefly but needed to transition to the next items on our schedule, so rode back to the car.
Diva Finish Line Photo

I showered, applied sunscreen, put on my new SoundPony t-shirt, and grabbed my cowbell.  I spent the next 5hrs at Tulsa Tough laughing, screaming, and using more cowbell! I left Cry Baby Hill for a short time between the Pro Women and Pro Men for a bio-break and to refuel, but otherwise I was there taking it all in.
Couple hours before the crowds really started building.  Next year, I'm wearing a costume!

The crowds were strong all the way around the course.  Residents were having parties in their front yards, music blared, and people were genuinely interested in bike racing.  When I wasn't at the Cry Baby Hill disco party, I ate at the GranFondo tent, wandered around the vendor tents, talked to some of the racers as they warmed up/cooled down, and checked in on Shawn to see if he needed anything. 
Pro Women Cool Down - I should have done this on Saturday at a couple GranFondo rest stops

I can’t describe Cry Baby Hill.  Hopefully you watched last year’s video in my earlier posts.  This year, there have already been a couple videos released and I’m sure there will be more, so I’ll update this list.

Cry Baby Slow by Dropbars Productions

2013 Cry Baby Hill: A Bike Race, Hundreds of Fans, Lots o' Beer, Live DJ & One Steep Hill by Cycling Dirt

Tulsa Tough Cry Baby Hill 2013 by okstaygold

I bet you are thinking, I need to watch last year's video one more time to compare the crowds. By 2018, we'll have to sleep out on Saturday night to secure a good spot on Cry Baby Hill.  I can't thank the residents & organizers enough for making it such an unreal experience.

2012 Cry Baby Hill Crazies by Gizmo Pictures

My videos and pictures didn’t turn out a fraction of what you see above and honestly I was having too much fun to concentrate on quality.  We’ve attended mountain stages at the Tour de France and Tour of California and they don’t come close to the atmosphere on Cry Baby Hill.  
Pro Women - 1st time up Cry Baby Hill
That's Rose Long leading the charge! COWBELL for ROSE!!

The Tour of Utah has Wacky Food Hand Ups on the Queen Stage which is a far 2nd place from what I’ve seen when it comes to crazy.  Granted, none of those events are criteriums and I’ve only attended a handful of races, but wow!  It was totally worth the flight and vacation time to experience Cry Baby Hill. 
This doesn't happen in Utah - the high % alcohol nor the policeman photo op

I watched the final podium, congratulated Shawn on a successful Tulsa Tough, and finally met his daughter, the resident of my cool host room.  She had ridden her 1st Townie Ride that afternoon and then assisted with the podium so she was on cloud nine.  As much as I was still riding the high of spending the afternoon on Cry Baby Hill.
Party in the Streets after the racers go by,
then Centurion whistles & it's Mind the Gap
or else the Cowboy will shoot you!

I headed back to the house for another shower and then we jumped in the Pace Car and arrived fashionably late to the Private Diva After Party at Dalesandros.  All the Divas were dressed up and celebrating their weekend rides with lasagna and wine.  The Saris Cycling Group owners and regional manager were in attendance as both friends and sponsors.
Ron LeMieux from Saris Cycling Group plays a huge role in supporting Women's Cycling at Tulsa Tough

Team Colavita arrived and had a good time chatting with the Divas. Christina Gokey-Smith also stopped by briefly.  It was fun to talk with the racers about their Tulsa Tough experience, their upcoming schedules, and how they are helping with the women’s cycling movement.  
Team Colavita earlier on Sunday celebrating Jen Purcell's 3rd place overall

My Tulsa Tough schedule was nothing compared to what these pro women athletes do every day as they travel and race across the US.  Especially when you consider that most are working, going to school, and/or starting their own businesses in order to make ends meet.  I was more motivated than ever to do what I could to support women's cycling.

As I crawled into bed absolutely exhausted, my only thought was #TakeMondayOff... which I did.

Thanks for reading about my Tulsa Tough Experience.  We'll see you in 2014!