Gateway Cup Bike Races – Tour de Lafayette

It’s another sign of the times of pre-COVID life returning – the Tour de Lafayette returns on September 3, serving as the unofficial end of summer, the beginning of Labor Day weekend, and kicking off the annual Gateway Cup Bike Races.

The Gateway Cup is a four-day race spanning four of St. Louis’ historic neighborhoods, returning after the cancelled event in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. According to their website, the Gateway Cup is “the best professional and amateur cyclists in the US coming to put on a show over Labor Day Weekend…[with] four full tilt races in four of STL’s coolest neighborhoods.”

While I agree Lafayette Square, Francis Park, The Hill, and Benton Park are four of St. Louis’ coolest neighborhoods, I’d be remiss to not be struck by the fact that our lovely neighborhood has the honor of hosting the first night. The Friday of a long holiday weekend always had a special feeling in the air – shortened school and work days, plans with friends and family, and the promise of the changing seasons – so it seems extra special that our neighborhood is stop No. 1.

But the Gateway Cup has always had an extra special meaning for us. When my husband and I were first married and living on Mississippi Ave., we had hosted friends over to our loft prior to walking up the street and setting up shop at the corner of Park and Mississippi and spent literal hours watching the racers blow by – and enjoying that gust of wind of they came and went as the herd of bikers turned the corners (it is September in St. Louis after all, how about that humidity?!).

While we briefly left St. Louis for a job opportunity for several years, our return to our home city last and this beloved neighborhood was noticeably lacking some gusto because of the absence of all the social events that make this neighborhood so unique. So with the race signs draping the park fence, the return of the Gateway Cup has extra special meaning for us, as if the neighborhood is officially welcoming us home. And we cannot wait to stand on the streets this Friday, cheering it all on.

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Becky Zerman

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