Episode 11 of the Kansas Cyclist Podcast focuses on the recently-completed Tour of Missouri, with a recap of the race, some on-the-scene interviews and sound bites from the races themselves, and an in-depth look at what the Tour of Missouri means, not only for racing fans, but for everyday cyclists and for advocacy efforts in the state.
For our main interview, we talk with Brent Hugh, Executive Director of the Missouri Bicycle Federation, who served as State-Wide Volunteer Coordinator for the Tour of Missouri. Brent has been involved with the planning and promotion of the Tour since the very beginning, and he shares some behind-the-scenes information on how the Tour got started and how it’s run. Brent also provides fascinating insights on what the Tour has meant to the state of Missouri, to the cities and communities that have been part of the races, and to MoBikeFed’s efforts to improve the bicycle friendliness of the state. Good stuff.
This episode also features a short segment with legendary cycling commentator Paul Sherwen (see picture below), a shout-out from Tour of Missouri 2009 Champion David Zabriskie, and a brief conversation with Gina Poertner of LifeBALANCE Sports & Wellness.
As successful as the Tour of Missouri has been the last three years, the future of the event is endangered. The state of Missouri’s tourism commission has chipped in about $1.5 million for each Tour, and this year, that spending has come under fire from political opponents of Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, the leading proponent of the Tour. In July, Governor Jay Nixon threatened to withhold the money that the state had committed to the event, which would have meant cancellation of this year’s race. Ultimately, he relented and released the funds, but unless the tour finds a large corporate sponsor for future years, there will likely be big political tussles over state spending on the race.
If you feel strongly, as we do, that the Tour of Missouri is a huge asset for the state (and the entire region), please consider contacting Governor Nixon to express your opinion:
Ask: “Governor Nixon, will you support the 2010 Tour of Missouri and will you support bicycle friendly policies for the state, including Complete Streets and funding for bicycling & pedestrian facilities in any future MoDOT funding?”
Calls and emails are appreciate both from Missouri residents and from people living in other states (and indeed, around the world). Your voice can make a huge difference!
And finally, few photos from the Tour:
The peloton approaching the first King of the Mountain site, near the Liberty Memorial at the Tour of Missouri Circuit Race in Kansas City.
The racers are just a blur as they pass spectators lining Grand Avenue at the end of the Tour of Missouri in Kansas City.
Be sure to check out our entire 2009 Tour of Missouri Photo Gallery for more great scenes from the exciting races.
Since this is a special Tour of Missouri edition of the Kansas Cyclist Podcast, we’ve dispensed with our normal news, rides, and trails information — they’ll be back next time! (If you need a news fix, check out our Twitter Feed and Facebook Page, as well as our cycling calendar.)