Four days of cycling events and festivities will mark the THF Realty Gateway Cup’s annual Pro Am tour through St. Louis’ most colorful and historic communities. The race, presented by the Residence Inn by Marriott St. Louis Downtown, draws top tier riders from across the country including pro cycling’s largest contingent of women competitors.
The competition is open to riders of all skill sets. The cycling events will be held in the Lafayette neighborhood, St. Francis Park in St. Louis Hills, on the Italian Hill neighborhood and in historic Benton Park. There are competitive races for men and women and fun races for children. The events will be held Friday – Monday, September 2-5.
Mike Weiss, event director of the THF Realty Gateway Cup and owner of Big Shark Bicycle Company expects the THF Realty Gateway Cup to bring out some of the country and region’s most talented cyclists. “It’s an important and prestigious event for the St. Louis cycling community, and also our for city neighborhoods. The energy and support of this event grows every year. The fans just can’t get enough.”
On Thursday night, Big Shark Bicycle Company invites all competing cyclists to “carb up” with pizza and beer at Pi, one of St. Louis’ favorite places to grab a slice. Participants can also pick up their race number at Big Shark Bicycle Company, 6133 Delmar Boulevard in University City, as part of the Early Bird registration.
Children are encouraged to participate in the cycling events. In the place of charging a registration fee for the Kid’s Races, the THF Realty Gateway Cup will be accepting donations for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Amachi Program, which provides assistance to children with incarcerated parents. Prizes for the kids include goodies from the St. Louis Science Center, The City Museum and Build-A-Bear Workshop.
Friday afternoon kicks off the THF Realty Gateway Cup’s first race, the Tour de Lafayette. The nighttime criterium, or short course cycling race, features a .9 mile loop around beautiful Lafayette Park. “Night races are especially exciting, and the lit course just adds to the drama,” says Dan Schmatz, former professional cyclist and seven-time winner of The Lafayette Square Race. The Tour de Lafayette is sponsored by Studio 2108.
Participants, volunteers and spectators will enjoy the second leg of the THF Realty Gateway Cup in Francis Park. St. Louisans take pride in the many charms of the St. Louis Hills district and most famously, the delicious flavors of Ted Drewes custard. Big Shark Bicycle Company sponsors the Saturday events. Recreational cyclists will be able to tour the course and then embark on rides of various lengths on the Tour de Unite recreational ride benefitting the Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impairments.
On Sunday, The Giro Della Montagna race, presented by Trailnet, will celebrate its 26th anniversary as part of the longest standing bike race in the St. Louis metropolitan area. With roots that go back to 19th century Italy, The Hill in St. Louis is one of the most culturally dynamic neighborhoods in the city. The Hill offers a wealth of authentic Italian restaurants, bakeries, bars, social organizations and churches. Sunday’s events will begin and end at St. Ambrose Catholic Church, starting with a fun ride sponsored by Trailnet at 8:30 am. From 4 to 8pm riders and fans alike can enjoy the festive Giro Pasta Dinner at the St Louis Bocce Club. The menu includes all the pasta you can eat, plus two meatballs, salad, Italian bread and dessert. Tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for children and are available at the door.
The Greenstreet Properties Benton Park Classic Criterium Criterium is the fourth and final stop of the THF Realty Gateway Cup. Monday’s course is framed by the Anheuser Busch Brewery and the historic Soulard and Benton Park neighborhoods. Registration opens at 9 am and the day will conclude with an awards ceremony.
The THF Realty Gateway Cup depends on help from volunteers. It takes 100 volunteers everyday to stay on schedule. Volunteers are needed for 2-3 hour shifts before, during and after the races. Interested parties may register online at www.Gatewaycup.com
Cyclists interested in competing in the Gateway Cup are encouraged to register as soon as possible, as fields are expected to fill early. To register, visit www.Gatewaycup.com.