I competed in the El Tour de Tucson yesterday. It was my first cycling event and it was a blast. I rode the shortest version which was 35 miles and featured a nice elevation drop for the first 15 miles. This race was my goal when i started riding in August.
Here is a view from the starting line:
1,517 people competed in the 35-mile distance. I ended up starting about 50 yards from the front. Within 5 minutes it had opened up enough to ride any way I wanted. Earlier this week I started a thread asking for suggestions for riding in a group and mass start type event. Everyone said it really wasn't a big deal, but to just protect the front wheel. They were right of course, it really wasn't bad at all.
I did see one accident on the route. It happened right before the pack I was riding in came though the area and the bike patrol riders had us ride single file through the area. One lady was bleeding pretty good, but there was a guy who appeared to have a head injury and as we were riding away he saw an ambulance coming to pick him up.
I only stopped at two SAG stops and each time it was just to refill my water bottles and make a phone call to my wife telling her when I thought I would be done.
Here is a shot of me heading for the finish line. It doesn't look like it but I was moving pretty good.
I ended up finishing 299th out of 1,500 riders with an official time of 2:17:26. My in saddle time was 2:09. It also happened to be my fastest pace yet.
The ride also showed me that I need to get proper cycling shoes. I rode is a pair of sketchers and toward the end of the ride my foot was really feeling bad. I am sure I'll be seeing cycling shoes and clipless pedals under the Xmas tree this year.
I am hoping to ride the full 109-miles next year.
In a really unfortunate note about the race and elderly man turned left in front of a pack of 60 riders and sent several to the hospital, one is in critical condition. Apparently the driver got out of his car, looked at the damage to his car and then drove away. You can read more about that here.
Overall I am really glad I did it and am already looking into my next ride!