The July 19th bicycle race at the Missouri Show-Me State Games near Columbia was marred by an apparent episode of vandalism, as someone scattered thumbtacks on the race course on Route DD near Hatton in Callaway County. The tacks ended up flatting the tires of about of dozen of the 50 bikes in the race, and many of the cyclists who had flats weren’t able to finish.
“You always want to think it was accidental, but the tacks were on both sides of the road, so we know somebody had to actually throw them out,” race organizer Raymond Sapp said. Also, the first groups of bikes to pass the spot had no problems, but suddenly “it seems like everybody starting having flats. We got to looking at the tires and found white-headed tacks in them,” he said.
Sapp said he contacted the Callaway County Sheriff’s Department, which referred him to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The patrol contacted the Missouri Department of Transportation to sweep the area, but no criminal report was filed.
Although no one was injured, participants agreed conditions made the tacks especially dangerous. Although some cyclists are experienced, many participating in the Show-Me State Games are amateurs, Sapp said. “These are people in the state who want to go out and improve their health and get more into exercise,” he said. “And then somebody comes out and tries to hurt them by throwing tacks in the road. It’s sad.”
Read more from the Columbia Tribune.
In a similarly incident, on Wednesday’s RAGBRAI stage, “pranksters” spread tacks across a road, causing hundreds of flats. Read more from the Des Moines Register.