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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 09-07-06, 07:15 PM   #1
velvetunder66
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Tour De Tucson?

anyone else riding this in November? I'm considering it, and since it will be my first century, im wondering how it compares in difficulty to others around the country.
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Old 09-09-06, 12:14 AM   #2
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This was my first century. I have ridden it every year for the last 4 but this year I think I am going to do a 300k brevet instead. El Tour is an awesome experience. It is a little pricey but they have police at every intersection that stop traffic for you which is really nice as over 109 miles I usually only have to stop for traffic 2 or 3 times. There are a lot of moderate grade hills and only one that could be classified as steep (right after you climb out of Sabino Creek). If you can hook onto a good paceline (and there are literally hundreds of them with 7000 riders on the course) you will be amazed how fast you can cover the course (just remember to take a pull should the opportunity present itself, some pacelines are so long you never really get to the front). If you want to get in the gold section (the first section you don't have to qualify for) you will need to get to the start line before 5 AM and wait in the cold until the start at 7.
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Old 09-11-06, 10:41 PM   #3
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I, too, am making the trek to Tucson for my first century. I am assuming this is one of the more "supported" centuries, so I'm wondering what my hydration strategy should be? Am I fine with just 2 water bottles, and re-filling at rest stops? Or should I bring a camelbak?
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Old 09-12-06, 11:45 AM   #4
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There are stops every 5 -10 miles. It is a VERY supported ride. I rode last year with a camelback because I wanted to do the whole thing without stopping (I did ride it without stopping but my bronchitis slowed me down so I missed finishing gold by 5 minutes).
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Old 09-14-06, 07:35 PM   #5
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Tucson

Everyone has to experience the El Tour de Tucson at least once ... especially the exciting start. It's a great first century, and one that you shouldn't have any problems finding someone to ride with at your own pace.
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Old 09-14-06, 08:36 PM   #6
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Regarding the "exciting start". I am not an early riser... so I will definitely be in back of the pack for that cluster-*&#% start. What does that mean -- I won't cross the start line for 10 minutes, or I won't cross the start line for 45 minnutes?

Why don't they split up the start for such a huge event? Two or Three starting points, all within a block or two, and merge together after a block or two? Too simple Iguess.
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Old 09-15-06, 04:27 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Vancemac
Regarding the "exciting start". I am not an early riser... so I will definitely be in back of the pack for that cluster-*&#% start. What does that mean -- I won't cross the start line for 10 minutes, or I won't cross the start line for 45 minnutes?

Why don't they split up the start for such a huge event? Two or Three starting points, all within a block or two, and merge together after a block or two? Too simple Iguess.
I think 10 minutes would be if you are in the very back. It isn't as long as everyone says, just seems that way when you see everyone in front of you heading out.
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Old 09-15-06, 04:30 PM   #8
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i'm doing it this year!! totally excited about it too. i grew up in tucson, so it's my hometown, but i never ridden the tour before. absolutely cannot wait to get down there. i just need to keep my fitness up until november. i'm riding with my uncle who will likely keep the pace very high.
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Old 09-19-06, 09:46 PM   #9
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Great Ride. Lots of people, lots of pace lines/groups of people to ride with. If this is your first century start in the bronze section and enjoy the people, for most of them it is a slower start and an easier pace. With that many people you will definitely find others who ride a similar pace. The police control the intersections, so about the only time you ever stop is the rest stops, and even there you don't stop until you need too.

For a lot of people since it is a timed event they treat it like a race. So they go as fast as they can.
Just be aware of who you are riding with. I have done the ride twice, last year I was in a small pack at a decent pace (22-25mph) when we came to the rr tracks south of the airport. People started slowing, and the guy next to me instead of slowing, swerved right into me and down I went. Broke my arm, went another 6 miles (next sag stop) until I determined that the injury to my arm was such that I couldn't shift or use the brakes on that side.

That being said, I'm sure I will again set a P.R. for my time at this distance because of all the pace lines. This year I will pay more attention to the people that I'm riding with.
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Old 11-08-06, 11:39 AM   #10
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Thought I would get this thread going again to see who is doing this ride.

I'll be there riding for a P.R. averaged 18.1 mph two years ago. This year my wife will be riding her first century with Team In Training.
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Old 11-08-06, 12:09 PM   #11
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One caution, I couldn't sleep last year so I lined up just behind platinum. There were a lot of crashes in the first 15-20 miles or so so be careful this year! Have fun and remember to thank the police officers as as they wave you through their intersections.
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Old 11-08-06, 12:19 PM   #12
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how does the whole precious metal thing work?

also, how many people will be lined up for the 109 miler in the morning? we gotta try to figure out where to park, what time to get there, etc.
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Old 11-08-06, 01:52 PM   #13
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The metals represent expected finishing time. You are supose to line up in the section with your expected finishing time.

Platinum:Must qualify
Gold:under 7 hours
Silver: 7-10 hours
Bronze: 10+ hours

The gold section always fills up in the early morning, so if you want to line up in front get there early. Some people who line up in gold have no business being there and will start moving backwards, keep an eye out for these fools, if you are starting further back. The riders are usually pretty bunched up until the first river crossing.
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Old 11-08-06, 02:25 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Ganesha
The metals represent expected finishing time. You are supose to line up in the section with your expected finishing time.

Platinum:Must qualify
Gold:under 7 hours
Silver: 7-10 hours
Bronze: 10+ hours

The gold section always fills up in the early morning, so if you want to line up in front get there early. Some people who line up in gold have no business being there and will start moving backwards, keep an eye out for these fools, if you are starting further back. The riders are usually pretty bunched up until the first river crossing.
Actually Gold is under 6 hours I believe for guys and 7 hours for girls. Also the gold section has closed in past years as early as 5:00-5:30 so get there early if you wish to be up front. If not you can usually find pacelines working their way to the front (not all fast riders believe in waking up early surprising enough).
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Old 11-16-06, 10:26 PM   #15
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This will be my 23rd El Tour de Tucson.
Matters not where you are in the starting line-up as everyone now wears a 'computer chip' on the ankle that times you leaving/arriving.
Weather forecast: Low about 48, high about 80. Bring/use sunscreen!
Water/food/potty stops about every 10 miles.
Have ridden it 15 times on tandem, raced it the first 2 years, now am riding Bike Patrol.
The first 25 miles or so, it is quite crowded and some crashes do occur, mainly due to inattention, being too hyped/over-anxious, or toward the end being tired.
Be safe! See you out there (again!).
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Old 11-17-06, 01:40 PM   #16
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It's true, they have timing chips, but all posted times are gun-time not chip time. If it takes 15 minutes to get off the line (worst case) your (published) total time will include those 15 minutes.

But hey, it might take 10 minutes to do the river crossing (a nice, dusty walk). That's not accounted for either - thus the "it's a ride not a race" mantra.

See you there, I'll be the guy in the funny hat
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Old 11-17-06, 10:10 PM   #17
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Don't worry too much about being 'first' in the El Tour, with 8,000+ riders your chances ain't too great!
Even Floyd Landis came in fifth last year . . .
I won't be wearing a funny hat, but my ride number is #4.
Be safe, and enjoy the ride!
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Old 11-19-06, 09:22 AM   #18
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wow, what a great ride! that was a lot of fun. i got there at about 6:30am and was far back in the bronze section at the start. i knew there was going to be a lot of riders, but i was still surprised to see the sea of humanity.

my bike was a little messed up. the headset was too tight, and the fit wasn't perfect (this is a bike i don't ride everyday) so i was getting aches and pains throughout the ride. nothing too bad though. my finishing time was 6:20, my goal was 6 hours so i was pretty close. really a great ride though!
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Old 11-19-06, 05:51 PM   #19
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Glad you enjoyed the trip around the 'Old Pueblo!'
8,159 riders total; 4,789 did the 109 miler. No clouds, no rain, a tailwind on Silverbell Road (unusual!) a bit cool start but warmed up nicely to about 83 degrees . . . great support by police, sagstops and loads of cheering spectators . . . a typical great El Tour!
Raced the first year of El Tour; there were 189 riders and I placed 27th . . . am a bit older, and slower now, but it's still fun!
See you next year!?
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