El Tour de Tuscon XXV - CycleCentury

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Tucson, Arizona
United States
Perimeter Bicycling Association of America
82F / 28C
Total Time = 6h 42m 13s
Overall Rank = 2104/4233
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

The pre-race for El Tour highlight for me was probably bike prep. There's an official policy against aerobars and tri/tt bikes (which we later found out was BS), so I had to use my old road bike Daryl and take off his aerobars. That bike's been in storage down in Tucson for the last 9 months, so I had no idea what to expect. It turned out all he needed was a tube on the rear wheel and my old computer mount cut off, but in the process of cutting the cable ties holding on the old comp I sliced open my left middle finger.

We got down to the convention center to pickup packets and swag about 3:30 on Friday. The construction on I10 through downtown made getting in a little difficult, but once we got there Perimeter cycling had the place running like a machine. We had to pickup 4 packets in addition to our own, and we didn't have a single problem.

The ESCKTC peeps, my wife CoraLee (pneuma) and I stayed with Cora's parents and had dinner at Mama Louisa's down by Davis Monthan AFB. The food was delicious, but the place was swamped by all the cyclists carbo loading.
Event warmup:

We got up at 4 to get downtown and get a spot. The gold section was already full by 5:30 when we got there. Warming up wasn't much of an option since we were packed in and trying to stay warm in the 57 degrees in our bike gear.

Some topics of conversation during the hour and a half wait for the start:
1. What the heck is that thing projected up on the building?
2. Fat guy in the "Luck Bicycle" jersey. (That bike wasn't very lucky)
3. Techniques for distracting bike patrol away from Travesty's tri bike.

  • 6h 42m 13s
  • 109 miles
  • 16.26 mile/hr

The plan was to stay together and to latch on to a few packs to pick up the speed. Tanya started out in the lead, but I think we started dropping people the very first time we caught a pace line.

The 1st riverbed was interesting, and made me very happy I didn't use my speedplay pedals. It was abut 150yds of walking through sand and gravel down a slope and up the other side. There was a mariachi band playing at the far shore. It was a slightly weird experience.

We regrouped at the 1st aid station and Tanya's husband Matt took off. He went on to finish in 5:57, blowing away all of us by 45minutes. Our regroup didn't last very long. 1st Tanya had cleat issues with some rocks preventing her from clipping in. Then we hit some smooth road and Travesty and I took off. Shortly thereafter we hit the hills and never held the whole group together again.

My theme of the day was looking for people at the aid stations. Tanya and I seemed to find each other the most often. Every once in a while I'd stop and Jen and Josh would fly by. I'd catch a pace line and roll up behind them. This continued for most of the ride. The last time we really held together anything resembling a group was the 2nd riverbed walk. The steep hill right after that was the deathblow.

Tanya, Travis and I loosely hung through the rolling hills, and Tanya and I stopped for pancakes thinking everybody wanted pancakes. Perfect regroup spot right? It turns out everyone else flew by. We must have hung out there for 5-10 minutes waiting for people.

The course was all rolling hills from there to Oro Valley. I saw Travis again at the Mormon aid station who said Jen and Josh were just ahead of him. That was a great station. They had PB&J, Tang, and salty pretzels. I was dying for something besides sweet fruit and water.

I saw Tanya again at the base of Tangerine right before I10. I could have sworn I had caught back up to J&J. I saw them pull into an aid station, so I pulled in only to find Tanya again. At least I found somebody. I found out later that this was the one and only station that had gatorade or anything resembling a sports drink. I could have used this badly because withing a few miles my right quad would start cramping.

I just kept on pushing it from there. Tanya and I didn't talk much, and I lost her agin. Most of the fast pace lines had gone by by then, so I was pushing into the wind by myself. Mentally I was pushing to catch up with Jen and Josh, partially to make up for the pancake stop, and partially to proove that I wasn't hallucinating back at that aid station. I knew they were up there somewhere dammit! I kept seeing guys in the distance wearing the same Arizona jersey as Josh. I just had to find the one riding next to a blue jersey-wearin female.

The roads got really bad for about the last 22 miles which made the push that much harder. I did manage to catch one last pace line and hang for a number of miles, but it broke up due to bad roads.

Finally I caught up with Jen and Josh with about 12 miles to go. I was pretty wasted having taken my last gel about half an hour before to stop the leg cramps. Having told this to Jen she said to just hang on Josh's wheel which I did. I tried to relax and just hold a steady pace with J&J for the rest. The leg cramps got bad at one point and I dropped back a ways, but I caught up at a road crossing.

Otherwise it was steady riding to the finish...until the last major intersection. We got there and had to wait a good 2-3 minutes for the traffic cop to let us through. That was agonizing since we could almost see the finish. Once we let loose it was right up and around a corner to the place where it all began.
What would you do differently?:

Bring some Infinit dry mix in a flask, more gels, and some electrolytes. I planned on there being more sports drink and sports appropriate snacks on the course.
Post race
Warm down:

Walking around the expo finding people and picking up medals.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Stopping and not enough elecrolytes

Event comments:

Perimeter cycling has it together. They pulled off a HUGE race. Over 9100 riders in 4 waves took over the streets of Tucson. The traffic control was phenomenal. The only downside to the whole thing was no gatorade anywhere and no rider food at the finish. Even that was understandable given the sheer number of riders. I'll definitely be back for this one.

Last updated: 2007-05-29 12:00 AM
06:42:13 | 109 miles | 16.26 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 2104/4233
Performance: Average
Wind: Some
Course: A full loop around the greater Tucon metro area.
Road: Potholes Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 2
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4