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Oklahoma: anybody remember the Talimena / Winding Stair stage race?

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Oklahoma: anybody remember the Talimena / Winding Stair stage race?

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Old 10-11-10, 02:20 PM
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Creakyknees
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Oklahoma: anybody remember the Talimena / Winding Stair stage race?

Does anyone recall the stage race that used to be held at Winding Stair / Talimena scenic drive?

Last time I heard about it was in the 80's sometime. Anyway, I took a weekend trip up there and am now reminded again what a super-tough road race course (or stage race) could be made up there.

Map shows one possible loop but there are other variations.

http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...hina/365717088
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Old 10-11-10, 06:28 PM
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The Talimena parkway is tough enough to just ride, it would be brutal to race on it.
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Old 10-11-10, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by brian416 View Post
The Talimena parkway is tough enough to just ride, it would be brutal to race on it.
yeah I know... ain't it cool?
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Old 09-21-12, 11:22 PM
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I know this is an old topic but it came up in a search of my old memories. Don't know the exact years (mid 80s?) but I raced it the last two years the race existed. Definitely a climbers race. I was a Cat 2 climber stuck in the flatland of west Tenn. I used a 42-24! The largest rear sprocket I had. The race was 2 road stages. Each day looped the opposite direction down the scenic drive. The first half on lower roads. Then a major climb and returning on top with a series of steep roller coasters along the ridge. Followed by a major descent then 5-10 miles to the finish. I think the loops were 60-70 miles.

Every stage I raced both years followed the same plot. Pack of all riders until the first major climb. Then one by one you heard the riders around you breathe harder and harder as they blew up. There was no attacking. At the top 4-6 riders left. 3-4 would catch back on. Those 6-10 riders were the race. Since the rest of the ride was shorter climbs and the lead riders were evenly matched, the finish would be a sprint.

The second year stage 1s first climb was in a surreal dense fog. A Euro? solo rider slipped away in the climb. He won the stage and OA.

The second day lead to the end of the event as far as I know. I will tell it from my view point. My team mate had taken the wrong line on the last descent in front of me. The last I saw of him was skidding off the shoulder with locked brakes. The remaining riders continued the last 10 miles or so to the sprint finish. Immediately after the race we started hearing from radio reports someone had crashed and was really hurt. I was temporarily relieved when my team mate completed 10-15 min later. He had fallen through tree tops, climbed back up to the road, then returned for his bike.

The reports sadly were even worse. A rider had died. He crashed on one of the upper descents and hit a road sign. I hope he did not suffer. I know there was people with him when our support vehicle went by. Our support stopped but was told to go on there was nothing they could do.

The awards ceremony was very somber. Riders got their checks and left. We had 8 riders and a father in a Suburban. There was no talk beyond necessary on the 8 hour ride home. The father never again drove us to a race. I can't imagine what his team and family went through. Cycling has the possibility of being dangerous as is almost every thing else. I came to terms with the risk and continued racing the next ten years.

I don't think the promoter ever had the race again. Don't know if it was from mourning or worried about liability. I looked for it every year in VeloNews until I stopped racing in the mid 90s. It was a major loss in my season. In those days in the central USA, you were lucky to have 2 races a month within 500 miles. The only other stage race in AR/OK with any hills was the Fayetteville Stage Race. Now it is the Joe Martin Memorial Stage Race and I have seen what a huge race that became.

Hell of a first post.
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Old 09-22-12, 05:25 AM
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One of my teammates (master rider now) must have raced with you, I believe he was a cat 2 as well. He was in the same race and was friends with the person that died. That corner still wasn't very well marked in 2009 when I rode the parkway, it is very easy to overshoot.
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Old 09-22-12, 08:05 PM
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Yep 1bratt, that was the year I raced. Very similar memories.
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Old 12-09-18, 01:46 AM
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Talimena break away

Originally Posted by 1bratt View Post
I know this is an old topic but it came up in a search of my old memories. Don't know the exact years (mid 80s?) but I raced it the last two years the race existed. Definitely a climbers race. I was a Cat 2 climber stuck in the flatland of west Tenn. I used a 42-24! The largest rear sprocket I had. The race was 2 road stages. Each day looped the opposite direction down the scenic drive. The first half on lower roads. Then a major climb and returning on top with a series of steep roller coasters along the ridge. Followed by a major descent then 5-10 miles to the finish. I think the loops were 60-70 miles.

Every stage I raced both years followed the same plot. Pack of all riders until the first major climb. Then one by one you heard the riders around you breathe harder and harder as they blew up. There was no attacking. At the top 4-6 riders left. 3-4 would catch back on. Those 6-10 riders were the race. Since the rest of the ride was shorter climbs and the lead riders were evenly matched, the finish would be a sprint.

The second year stage 1s first climb was in a surreal dense fog. A Euro? solo rider slipped away in the climb. He won the stage and OA.

The second day lead to the end of the event as far as I know. I will tell it from my view point. My team mate had taken the wrong line on the last descent in front of me. The last I saw of him was skidding off the shoulder with locked brakes. The remaining riders continued the last 10 miles or so to the sprint finish. Immediately after the race we started hearing from radio reports someone had crashed and was really hurt. I was temporarily relieved when my team mate completed 10-15 min later. He had fallen through tree tops, climbed back up to the road, then returned for his bike.

The reports sadly were even worse. A rider had died. He crashed on one of the upper descents and hit a road sign. I hope he did not suffer. I know there was people with him when our support vehicle went by. Our support stopped but was told to go on there was nothing they could do.

The awards ceremony was very somber. Riders got their checks and left. We had 8 riders and a father in a Suburban. There was no talk beyond necessary on the 8 hour ride home. The father never again drove us to a race. I can't imagine what his team and family went through. Cycling has the possibility of being dangerous as is almost every thing else. I came to terms with the risk and continued racing the next ten years.

I don't think the promoter ever had the race again. Don't know if it was from mourning or worried about liability. I looked for it every year in VeloNews until I stopped racing in the mid 90s. It was a major loss in my season. In those days in the central USA, you were lucky to have 2 races a month within 500 miles. The only other stage race in AR/OK with any hills was the Fayetteville Stage Race. Now it is the Joe Martin Memorial Stage Race and I have seen what a huge race that became.Hell of a first post.
Hey my name is Jerry Markee I was one of the four riders with you and that breakaway coming off of Rich Mountain when your buddy ran off the road that was a crazy race. I returned and I won the first edition of the Joe Martin Memorial State race
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Old 12-09-18, 01:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Jmarkee View Post


Hey my name is Jerry Markee I was one of the four riders with you and that breakaway coming off of Rich Mountain when your buddy ran off the road that was a crazy race. I returned and I won the first edition of the Joe Martin Memorial State race
Your buddy that ran off the road was giving me a hard time because I was staying in the downhill lane because we did not have a road closure and told me to go wide I was slowing everybody down a couple corners later while he was swing into the outside I saw him at the rock and disappear. At the awards which was indeed a bummer I donít think there was anywhere on your body the body that wasnít covered in bandages and gauze.You may not remember but the lead vehicle told me after the race they were doing over 60 miles an hour and we ran off and left them
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