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El Tour de Tuscon XXV - CycleCentury

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Tucson, Arizona
United States
Perimeter Bicycling Association of America
Total Time = 00m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Cora's folks were nice enough to let 9 of us invade their house for the evening. Jerry, Rick, and I were awaken by Tanya yelling at us from the loft above. We got up and dressed and ate. Luckily, Tanya went and got us coffee the night before.

We made it to the starting line in plenty of time and hung around taking turns going to the porta-potties. I took this opportunity to inflate my tires. My bike pump blew a gasket, so I have no idea how much air I rode this race with. They didn't go flat on me, so I don't think that was much of an issue.
Event warmup:

  • 00m
  • 109 miles
  • 0.00 mile/hr

When the race started, we had 5000 bikers all moving. This was pretty crazy. The leaders of our group were MOVING OUT, and all I could think of was to keep them in sight and not lose them. Luckily, we had a river wash that we needed to walk our bikes over. It was a good 73 yards long, which gave me a much needed rest from averaging over 20 mph.

After the wash, we went another 20 miles to the first aid station at a very fast pace. A Gu, some oranges, and a banana later, Josh and Jen caught up to us. They were taking it easy in the beginning to warm up. I should have done the same.

From that point on, things are kind of a blur to me. The group dropped me around mile 35. I just couldn't hang on. Jerry was with me so we tried to work together to catch back up. Unfortunately, I lost him around mile 40 or so. At this point, I was feeling more beat than I had after the 82 mile ride last weekend, and was seriously doubting if I could go another 70 miles.

I rode past an aid station at around mile 50 and couldn't believe it when I saw the group! They had taken a break, so we continued on. This gave me a HUGE lift. Having friends to talk to and ride with made it a lot easier. We walked through another sandy area that took a good 15 minutes to get through. It was pretty funny to have this on a bike ride, but it felt good to get off the bike and walk a while. We waited for those that needed to empty out their shoes and took off.

Only a mile or two past the sandy wash, we came upon the "Widow Maker". This was about 500 feet of pure uphill. In my lowest gear, I had to stand up and pump as hard as I could. The second you mashed one pedal, you had to get the other one mashing or you'd fall over. It was pretty hard, but because it was so short, it wasn't nearly as hard as all the long one's up ahead. It was at this point I lost the group for good. While I can maintain a great speed on the flats, hills completely ruin me. This is a combination of being heavy and having very week legs. During every hill of that ride, I promised myself I'd start hitting the gym to do squats and more hill work on the bike.

The rest of the ride was just plain difficult. As we rode along the base of the mountains, there were constant up and downs. I'd get our group w/in a few yards on the downs, only to lose them again on the hills. Finally, after a long one, they were gone and I'd spent almost everything I had trying to catch them.

About mile 65, I started getting massive leg cramps. I rode into an aid station to find they had gatorade! YES!! I downed a ton of that as well as 3 electrolyte pills and the cramps went away pretty fast. Then I got in a real nice pace line for a couple miles when a HUGE mass of bikes rode up on us. There had to have been between 40-50 bikes and they were FLYING. I jumped on to this and had the funnest time I've ever had on a bike! We were going a good 24 mpg steady, and I was hardly working. VERY exciting! We had this going for a long time until we came to some train tracks and a train coming. Ugh! This killed our group and I got to stop at the aid station to eat (I was starving).

The last 30 miles or so was just surviving. I got REALLY cold and had the chills on some straight away, so I drank and ate everything I had. I know I wasn't thinking right because I remember thinking "wow, it's a lot colder down here in Tucson in the middle of the day". While riding, I'd try to jump behind someone, but they were either going too fast or too slow, so I pretty much did it on my own. It was hard and long and I kept telling myself that there couldn't be another hill...but was always one waiting for us up ahead.

The last 11 miles was slow. I didn't have anything left, and I know it killed my average. At this point, I really didn't care. I just wanted to make it.

I came in to the finish, they announced my name and Harry caught me. He was a great sight to see. I have to say that the city of Tucson and the race coordinators did an AWESOME job with this race. There were TONS of volunteers and police to help out. I'm not a big fan of the police, but these guys were amazing. Even though it was the most difficult event I've been in, I have to say it is in my top 3 and I'll be doing it again next year.
What would you do differently?:

Start MUCH slower. Train for the hills a LOT more.
Post race
What limited your ability to perform faster:

Started too fast and wasn't prepared for the hills.

Last updated: 2007-11-18 12:00 AM
00:00:00 | 109 miles | 0.00 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Average
162 average HR 182 Max HR
Wind: Little
Course: This was a HILLY, HILLY course!! The amount of police directing traffic and volunteers was excellent! I have to say that Tucson really tries hard to make this a great venue, and they have.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2007-11-18 4:31 PM

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Subject: El Tour de Tuscon XXV

2007-11-18 5:01 PM
in reply to: #1059245

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Chandler, AZ
Subject: RE: El Tour de Tuscon XXV


It sounds like a long day for you. Way to hang there. I was so ready to get off the bike during the last 10 miles or so. It seemed like I caught every single light on the wasy back. Although, it provided rest; it delayed my finish which was important at the time. Here is the cool thing. You can check off completing a century off your life's accomplishments list.

I looked for you guys as I rode past each aid station hoping to spot someone. Never happened.

2007-11-19 11:06 AM
in reply to: #1059245

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Wandering through AZ
Subject: RE: El Tour de Tuscon XXV
Great accomplishment Chris. You still managed to pick it up and catch a pace line even after all the hills. I was glad to be there at the finish for ya.
2007-11-19 12:29 PM
in reply to: #1059245

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Mesa, AZ
Subject: RE: El Tour de Tuscon XXV
I still say post race McDonalds was the highlight of the day BIGMAC!!! Alllggghhhh *thats me drooling*

You rocked it man, give yourself more credit. I about fell over when you said you were cold at 80 miles. Josh and I looked at eachother like "ummmm...bad!" We will figure out this biker thing, how to pace, stay together, etc. We are just babies at this, we'll learn! For what its worth I do think it was a monumental effort and to do it alone and still do as well as you did well hot damn YOU KICK A$$!!!!

2007-11-19 3:29 PM
in reply to: #1059245

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Goodyear, AZ
Subject: RE: El Tour de Tuscon XXV
Great job Chris. Way to work though everything and finish in such a great time. I'm in awe of you guys!
2007-11-19 4:14 PM
in reply to: #1059245

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Big Bear City, California
Subject: RE: El Tour de Tuscon XXV
Great job out there, you did amazingly well, especially seeing as you had to find your own groups to ride with. It was a great time carpooling and riding with you... Can't wait for next year.

2007-11-19 4:15 PM
in reply to: #1059245

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Surprise, Arizona
Subject: RE: El Tour de Tuscon XXV
Great job, Chris!! That distance wouldn't be easy for anyone - finishing it is a great accomplishment - you should be very proud!  And I can't even imagine combining hills with that distance.  Wow...
2007-11-19 11:29 PM
in reply to: #1059245

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Extreme Veteran
Tucson, AZ
Subject: RE: El Tour de Tuscon XXV
great ride!  those hill were horrible.  I had to walk up the 'widow maker'.  I had fallen over from the muscle cramps and had to walk my bike over the hill.  that was embarassing
2007-11-20 9:59 AM
in reply to: #1059245

Subject: RE: El Tour de Tuscon XXV
You did aweseome!!! YOu have come a long way since starting out!! OH...and that cold and chills is dehydration....not the cold chill of Tucson, silly!!  DRINK MORE!!!  Did suck not having the aero bottle, though.  BUT you made it!!....and you beat his quest to beat the guy in the pink crocks continues!
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