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University Medical Center 26th El Tour de Tucson - CycleCentury

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Tucson, Arizona
United States
Perimete Bicyling
Total Time = 8h 16m 37s
Overall Rank = 2896/3817
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

First stop in Tucson was to the hotel. We made a last minute switch to The Hotel Arizona for a variety of reasons but mostly because it was about 1/4 of a mile from the start line. No need to find parking or get our bikes in and out of the van the night before. Turned out to be a fantastic decision! Not only were we right there it was so cool to be surrounded by people prepping for the same race. On race morning we opened our curtains to see the start line.

The Expo and Pre-Race
I was so stinking excited at the expo that I could hardly stand it. :>P Here I was on a weekend away with my husband, shopping at a bike expo and about to ride 109 miles with him by my side. It was so very cool.

We picked up our packets and meandered around a bit to see what we each needed...I mean wanted. ;>)

I finally found some decent fitting arm warmers (it shouldn't be that big of a deal but I have SHORT, FAT arms!) and a cute t-shirt for $10!

Javadad and I also both found new Jerseys for $20! Sweet! My pink and black ensemble is now complete. I couldn't wear it on race day though because the pockets ended up being too small for all the FOOD I needed. LOL Oh well, it will be great for shorter rides!

We left the expo and went to have a delicious pasta dinner! Yummy! After that is was time to get everything set and ready to go for race day.

We got the bikes out of the car and brought them in the room to get the numbers on and get stuff stashed in our Bento boxes. Everyone does that right?

I got all my nutrition laid out. It's approximately 2400 cals or 300 per hour for an eight hour ride. I knew I wouldn't eat all of it but I wanted to have plenty.

It was time to try to sleep.
Event warmup:

The beauty of staying so close to the race start and not having to worry about parking is that you can sleep a little later. We got to sleep in until 5:00 am. LOL!

There are four start corrals for this race...bronze (under 11 hours finish), silver (under 9 hour finish), gold (under 7 hour finish) and platinum (you have to qualify..I think it's 5.5 hours for women). We felt pretty good about starting in the silver section so we did not need to get there too early. The gold section starts lining up at 4:30 am! We could already see a couple hundred people lined up when we were just waking up.

I remembered to bring my oatmeal but forgot to bring a bowl or spoon. Oops. I ended up making it watery and drinking it out of a cup. NASTY! Next time I think bagels would be a better choice!

Finally it was time to head over and get in line in the silver section.

As we walked over and saw all the people lining up I got this giant lump in my throat. This was going to be a huge day and all of a sudden the emotion washed over me. I pressed the tears down though because I knew there would be plenty of time for crying after being in the saddle for 4-5 hours. ;>)
  • 7h 16m
  • 109 miles
  • 15.00 mile/hr

At last we started moving into the cold morning air. Brrr...I's freezing! I second guessed my last minute decision to forgo a base layer in addition to the arm warmers. Yikes.

I couldn't believe it when we came upon the first of two dry washes. You have to hop off your bike and either carry it or roll it through the dirt. The dirt was packed enough this year that some of the lead packs rode through but dirt and my bike don't mix too well as previous spills have shown me. They say it is part of the tradition of El Tour to carry your bike through. When you come out the other side a mariachi band and some port a potties are waiting for you. It's hard not to smile and be ready to get going again. :>)

The few hours went fast enough but it didn't feel like we were making much progress. The combination of a little climbing with a cold wind held us back a bit.

We got to see Robin and Josh (3) two different times on the course. She had on her cool kid jersey so she was easy to spot. It was great to see someone that we knew out there.

My nutrition was spot on for hours one and two. Then... in hour three I decided I wanted a break from eating and drinking sweet stuff. Wha? Huh? Who makes these decisions? LOL That led to a little dehydration in hour fours and five. I had to really pick up the pace and start forcing down fluids. I also switched my game plan and started eating orange slices (they looked really good) at the aid stations and forcing down two fig newtons an hour. Then I forced lots and lots of water. Bleck. My stomach had gone south just as I suspected it would after too many hours of Infinit and Shot Blocks. The good thing was that I had brought a variety of items and corrected the problem by the 6th hour. Whew. I saved the golden Roctane until mile 90 and I have no idea if it worked or not. LOL!

Right around mile 80 we came upon an accident that forced us to stop and then walk our bikes for a few miles. It was very sad and sobering to see people hurt like that. On another part of the course there was a hit and run where 10 cyclists got hit. :<( After that I seemed to be counting the miles as they ticked off the Garmin. 85.....86.....87.....still pedaling. My middle back seemed to spontaneously combust and my left foot had a hot spot in it that would not quit! Mile 89 came and I decided that as much fun as this was...I was done. I started pedaling like a madwoman. Javadad and I estimate that we averaged 18-20 mph that last hour. There were people on the course at this time that were only doing the 35 mile portion ( you could pick 35, 67, 80 or 109) and so mostly the 35 milers were families or people getting their feet wet for the first time in a bike race. I totally and completely applaud these people getting out to exercise but for some reason I wanted to pass them all! They just became an obstacle between me and the finish line and so I madly started pedaling around them. It would have been a really nice time to cheer for them and encourage them but I was pedaling so fast that I could not even see them. At one point a woman screamed at me, "Geez, give me space!" as I passed her with a woosh. *SIGH* And yet I continued to pedal like a mad person. I *had* to get off of the bike and soon. I had visions of pulling over and just laying down by a tree. Ahhh...that would be nice... a nap. No, no...there would be no naps, I had to finish this sucker!! Javadad said something to me and I didn't understand him and I might have snapped something like WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?!? And I think I heard something like let's just talk at the finish line. HA! It was very funny afterward but at the time I was cross-eyed to finish.

And at long last there it was. The tears that had welled up at 6 am finally had a chance to escape. I could.not.believe.we.just.biked.109.miles!! It had been an awesome day! Even the last hour could not have been too bad because within minutes we vowed to be back in 2009.
What would you do differently?:

The main thing I would do is to make sure that we are ahead of the shorter groups as they release. We were ahead of the 80 and 67 mile groups but got stuck behind the 35 milers. Next year I will make sure to stay ahead so that the course is less crowded at the end.
Post race
Warm down:

We went to get our medals and walked around the party area. We had a really yummy cheese quesadilla that tasted like the best food ever invented.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

First time at this distance. Just more training and as always...losing more weight. :>P

Event comments:

Loved this event!! The city really turns out for the race...will be back for sure. Hopefully next year I can balance El Tour and IMAZ though. That is my only complaint..the weekend it landed on.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2008-08-17 12:00 AM
07:16:00 | 109 miles | 15.00 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/3817
Wind: Some
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering:
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2008-11-26 4:26 PM

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Wisteria Lane
Gold member
Subject: University Medical Center 26th El Tour de Tucson

2008-11-26 4:40 PM
in reply to: #1827942

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Subject: RE: University Medical Center 26th El Tour de Tucson
Great job! I remember not so long ago when the 30 mile Tour De Sacaton was your limit, and now you're doing 109.

2008-11-26 6:41 PM
in reply to: #1827942

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Extreme Veteran
Phoenix, AZ
Subject: RE: University Medical Center 26th El Tour de Tucson
Great Job Lisa! Sounds like you had a great experience, the walking through washes is funny though huh?
2008-11-27 7:01 AM
in reply to: #1827942

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Subject: RE: University Medical Center 26th El Tour de Tucson

Nice job!

That sounds like a fun event.

Scary about the accidents and people getting his though.  Yikes.

2008-11-29 8:56 PM
in reply to: #1827942

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Vista, CA
Subject: RE: University Medical Center 26th El Tour de Tucson
109 MILES!!! OMG -- You are a goddess! Great job, Javamom and Javadad, too. I"m awe inspired. Great race report. :-)
2008-11-29 9:18 PM
in reply to: #1827942

Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: University Medical Center 26th El Tour de Tucson

Congratulations!  It was a beautiful day for such a long ride.  I did the 80 miler.   I'm glad you enjoyed the ride and had nice things to say about Tucson. 


2008-12-02 12:29 PM
in reply to: #1827942

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Subject: RE: University Medical Center 26th El Tour de Tucson

Way to go Lisa! Your description of everything made me want to do it again next year. You did an amazing job!! With this ride, it's not just the distance, but the course itself. VERY hilly!

As with everything, you were able to make it through with a big smile on your face 


2008-12-03 2:26 PM
in reply to: #1827942

Subject: RE: University Medical Center 26th El Tour de Tucson
WOOT! You did it girl!! I knew you would, but now you can cross this big one off your list!!!
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