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El Tour de Tucson - CycleTour

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Tucson, Arizona
United States
Perimeter Cycling
70F / 21C
Total Time = 4h 47m 23s
Overall Rank = 187/2807
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Since I haven't done a century or tour for 20 years, when I was in my early 20's. Back then going sub 5 was routine business. I went into this reac very nervious. I didn't feel confident of my ability to go 111 miles at a hard pace to get under 5 hours, my goal. I thought of not going or downgrading to the 85 miler. In the end, I stuck with the 111 mile tour.

My off season began at the end of October after SOMA HIM. My enthusiasm to race had waned off by early November, but I continue to train for a half marathon in January, and do 3 bike workouts a week. My running has been focusing on 5k and 10K pace runs and I've been doing one Ane / VO2max workout with 2 mucsle endurance tempo / LT bike workouts per week since Oct. I will find out during the tour how much these workouts helped.
Event warmup:

Nothing... prior to this event, I was told that I need to get to the event up to 3 hours early for a good position... I thought that was crazy, but that's the truth... I got there at 4:45 am for a 7:00 am start!!! Yet, I was still about 300 cyclists deep in the GOLD section (those who think they can get sub-5 to 6 hours. There was a PLATINUM section that was for people who have gone under 5 hours in previous years (you have to qualify for that area)... the areas are PlATINUM, GOLD, SILVER and BRONZE. So, I'd estimate that I was already 400 to 500 cyclists deep at the start. Anyways, waiting for over 2 hours in the cold was the norm without a warmup.
  • 4h 47m 23s
  • 111 miles
  • 23.17 mile/hr

I was deep at the event, so for the first 5 miles I had to work my ass off to get to a fast group, probably harder work than I would have ever imagined or thought that I was capable of doing and still go 106 miles. I got into a group at about the 5 to 6 mile point, one of the lead packs from the gold section, since the Platinum guys were probably way to far ahead by then.

This group was at least 100 deep and I rode with this pack and switched into pulling duties as we worked as a team. We were hauling at a 27 to 28 mph pace until the first river crossing at San Xavier river. This is a mandatory dismout river since the silt was deep, too deep to ride through. I did my best triathlon dismout and ran through the sand, like beach sand. I got through and remounted as fast as I could. The leaders of the group reformed and our group shrunk down a little bit. We continued at a fast pace. After about 25 miles, my garmin was showing a 26 mph pace.

The first 30 miles of the Tour is uphill and the grades get slightly more steep as you go, We all rode hard for a long time, again as I did my pulling duties reaching HR levels and long times at Ane and VO2max, more than I could have thought that was achievable.

We all rode hard (at almost 25 mph pace) until the second river crossing at Sabino Canyon (about the 55 mile point) and this is where I got all messed up a bit. Not ever experiencing this kind of riding, I dismounted at the beginning and ran, only to see that half the guys were riding through it, on the firmer packed parts, I got back on the bike and road the rest, but I had lost some position, when I finally made it across my HR was screaming at MAX and we still had some viscious climbing ahead.

I later found out that our big group got split into 2 groups at the end of the crossing, I ended up in the 2nd group. We all worked hard to bridge the gap, but no dice as they were just as strong and not going to go backwards, so we all decided to save our energies and ride solid, there was still a lot of climbing ahead.

For the next 20 miles it's uphill and it burns you up. This climbing seemed to go on forever. Further, adding to the difficulty was that I carried 2 bottles of Gatorade from teh start and I had been nursing on those with some solid nutrition, but my liquids were gone at mile 75 and had only the hard stuff from then on, I could also feel that my body was searching hard for new internal energy supplies whereever they come, since I had already passed the point of my longest rides, I had never trained at levels that exceeded a few moments at LT during those rides.

Finally, at mile 80 it goes downhill, and a relief, as we all were able to recharge our bodies. Just as soon as we got another wind, did the road turn ugly again. It went into a secion that was upwind, uphill and on the worst roads that could be imagined... I was thinking,WTF, another 25 miles of this???? Our pace slowed down to what seemed a grind at 19 to 20 mph, it was getting hard to find leaders to pull and it seemed that there was core group of about 8 riders, including me, that wanted those duties. We motored on.

The horrible roads finally ended with about 7 miles to go, back onto city roads and highway access side streets, the pace was getting gradually faster again, then the with 4 miles to go, your energy is enlived as you know you've made it and it's almost over. Everyone is jockying for position, we turn onto Speedway, the pace goes faster, then onto the finish street, 6th street, pace faster, then into the sprint, boom, it's all done, PHEW!!!

I look down at my watch and it showed 4:47, my first tour in over 20 years and under my goal time of 5 hours. Next year, I get to line up in the Platinum section.
What would you do differently?:

Not much, just cross the river sections better, now that I know what to expect. My liguid ran dry at mile 75, I had NOTHING for the rest of the ride, except for gels and food bars.
Post race
Warm down:

Some food, rest.... but really I felt better than when I did after SOMA... triathlons tear up the body for worse.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I performed better than I could have imigined, I continue to work on every improvement.

Event comments:

This was a very visible event for Tucson... folks line the streets in support, NICE and FUN!! My only negative is the aid stations... the folks don't come to the riders, but stay back off the road. I was expecting like triathlons where you can grab a bottle on the fly. NO DOING!!! Next year I will be more prepared.

Last updated: 2012-11-15 12:00 AM
04:47:23 | 111 miles | 23.17 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/2807
Performance: Good
Avg. HR 147, high 170 A remarkable 2 hours and 15 minutes of the total time of the race was spent at or above LT / VO2max and Ane. Unfortunately, I lost my cadence meter (on the crank arm) at the first river crossing, so I lost all power data. It is unfortunate b/c no doubt I achieved a hell of a lot of new personal bests in power.
Wind: Some
Course: A perimeter tour of Tucson, that has 3400 ft. of climbing.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: 90
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %3
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
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

2012-11-18 11:12 AM

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: El Tour de Tucson

2012-11-19 8:34 AM
in reply to: #4502445

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Sedona, AZ
Subject: RE: El Tour de Tucson

Great job out there! The washes suck, I'm surprised people couldn't ride through the first one. Sounds like you did great even though you ran out of liquid.

I know the road you are talking about - it is always in horrible condition! You handled everything well and finished strong anyway. Can't ask for more than that!

2012-11-19 3:06 PM
in reply to: #4502445

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, Arizona
Subject: RE: El Tour de Tucson

That's an amazing time and it sounds like 'you've still got it'!  The first wash was horrible this year and Silverbell road is just a mental beat down after 85 miles of hard riding.  Congrats on an excellent ride!

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