In our November/December 2019 issue, you raised up your favorite road cycling events as part of our Readers’ Choice Awards. Here’s a closer look at the top five vote-getters and what sets them above the rest.
For a lot of us, Labor Day means barbecue, beer, and a day spent at the lake. For St. Louis’ competitive road cyclists, it means the Gateway Cup. Over the four-day extended weekend, hundreds of riders, from newbie to pro, hit the historic streets of Lafayette, Francis Park, The Hill, and Benton Park to vie for part of a $70,000 total cash purse. Spectators can enjoy the festival-like atmosphere and watch the action develop thanks to short, lapped routes and expert commentary broadcast at nine races daily. “It’s sort of an interesting combination of NASCAR and chess match,” said longtime participant Scott Moninger. You can read a full account of the Gateway Cup experience here.
After taking a hiatus in 2018, this decades-old community event returned to the streets of downtown St. Louis last year with 3,000 riders on a clear, crisp, moonlit night in August. Unlike our first entry, the Moonlight Ramble is not a race. No places, no awards, just a leisurely pedal that gives participants a new perspective from which to appreciate the sites and neighborhoods of the Gateway City. Riders can choose from a short (7.8-mile) or long (17-mile) route. Advance choice is not required, and the price is the same for either distance. Come early and stay late to take in the vendor village and family friendly after-party. You’ll never look at the streets you ramble in the same way again.
This inspirational fundraising event has contributed more than $29 million to cancer research since its inception in 2009. Participants commit to ride one of six distances — or pedal a stationary bike or be a virtual rider — with 100 percent of the money raised going to the cause. The September ride starts at the Chesterfield Amphitheater and offers options from 10 to 100 miles. Riders generally work their way west, with the 100-mile route going as far out as St. Alban’s before dropping south of Six Flags near Eureka. (You can read a full route preview on our website.) There are fundraising incentives, events for kids and foodies, and a new option for those who prefer grittier gravel courses, “with the same first-class event experience.”
Ride the Rivers Century
Miles of bike trails, three majestic rivers, two ferries, and a big post-ride party. If that sounds like your jam, then Ride the Rivers Century from Trailnet could be a great exclamation point on your cycling season. Both the 100-mile or 64-mile metric century begin and end at Streets of St. Charles in St. Charles County, with flat-to-hilly routes (expect a few big hills), five rest stops, and beautiful views of the Missouri and Mississippi river valleys. The event is non-competitive and offers a great way to meet new people from around the city and state who share a love of the open road on two wheels.
Bike MS: Gateway Getaway Ride
Hosted by the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society, this fundraising ride facilitates research, advocacy, professional education, and programs and services to help people with MS. Over two days in September, some 2,500+ participants gather at Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, Illinois, to tackle routes varying from 25 to 100 miles. The former travel flat countryside and pass through the welcoming towns of Illinois; the latter have a view of the mighty Mississippi as they spin down the historic Great River Road. Highlights include themed rest stops and the Team Tent Village, where canopies stand side-by-side and create a united, celebratory atmosphere before and after each ride.
Author: Brad Kovach is the editor/publisher of Terrain Magazine.