By Chris Wright, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Tulsa Tough ended its tour in town Sunday afternoon on Riverside Drive.
Organizers say the three-day cycling event continues to grow beyond expectations each year. This year's competition concluded with a new event they hope will become an annual institution.
For the third day in a row, cyclists took over the streets of Tulsa. The final day of races were held on the challenging hills of Riverside Drive.
Cyclists say it was a fitting way to end their stay in Tulsa.
"It's been beautiful," said Ian Burnett with Fort Lewis Cycling. "Nice and hot for us."
While the premier events featured the professionals, amateurs were also allowed to take part in the festivities as part of the first Tulsa Townie Ride. Organizers say event was designed to encourage a more active lifestyle.
"When I saw all those kids and everybody come by on the Townie Ride, that was the single biggest highlight of the event for me this year," said Malcolm McCollam, Tulsa Tough director.
After they wound their way through the eight-mile course, the Townies were greeted like professionals at the finish line.
"It was a lot of fun, getting to talk to the kids while you're out there," TU basketball player Joe Richard said. "Just a nice, fun bike ride. Get to see parts of the city you probably wouldn't see being on campus."
"It's just amazing how many people showed up, and big of a deal it is," said Drew Rowlands, one of the Tulsa Townies. "It's pretty cool."
Tulsa Tough officials hope the experience will encourage more people to take up cycling, as well as build momentum for next year's competition.
"We have big plans," McCollam said. "We want to get a lot bigger than this."
Organizers estimate that 1,000-2,000 riders took part in the Tulsa Townie Ride.