The Tulsa Police and street department workers started closing down streets in the Blue Dome District before lunch. Sergeant Les Young wants to make sure drivers avoid the roads between Cincinnati and Greenwood.
Parking Tips For Tulsa Tough
The criterium races are what spectators love to watch. Racers - including professionals later Friday night - will compete in a closed course, making laps around downtown Tulsa.
Les Young, Tulsa Police, said crews are ready for the races and drivers need to remember to give themselves extra time. A resurfacing project on Interstate 244 just east of downtown adds to the mix.
"There's going to be traffic, there's going to be changes, so just be aware you may have to come a little earlier or just choose another route to come off of. Just be aware it's going to be a little tougher," he said.
Criterium National Champion Rahsaan Bahati and his team were already testing out Friday night's Blue Dome course before the barriers went up.
"It's awesome to be here on the 10-year anniversary. This is Anthony's first time, and I told him when we first met that this is one of the races that you have to do in the country, it's just one of a kind," he said.
"Seeing it all come together, seeing the public city works come together to make sure the course is clean - it's awesome," Bahati said.
Cyclists will be racing in three different closed courses over the weekend. That means police will be constantly closing roads around downtown.
Bahati and his teammates can't wait to be shoulder to shoulder, zooming through the Blue Dome District.
"We do a lot of races throughout the country, and the best races are always in the downtown area," he said.
Teammate Anthony Reguero agrees.
"When you downtown race and you can get off the front or be in the race, I obviously stand out because I don't look like a bike racer," he said.
"They get behind you, and it's just amazing feeling when you have everyone screaming for you."
The action shifts to the Brady Arts District on Saturday. There will be another criterium for racers plus rides through the countryside. Riverside Drive will be shut down Saturday morning as the touring rides head out.
Finally, on Sunday, the fans become as fun to watch as the racers. That's at Cry Baby Hill - 13th Street - just east of Riverside Drive. It's a street party like Tulsa sees no other day of the year.
Fans dress up and cheer the racers on as they take the toughest lap up Cry Baby Hill. No cry babies allowed - and mind the gap!