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  1. #1
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    Advice for training in AZ

    Figured I need some feedback on this before I book anything. I am planning to spend 6 weeks starting early february in Arizona for training and need some advice on where I should be.

    I am between the obvious Tucson and Phoenix, and leaning towards Pheonix as there are more apartment options, I plan to do the VOS stage race there in Feb, plus would like to day trip to the canyon, maybe vegas. I've never been to that part of the country so would like to do a bit of tourist nonsense.

    Although I would love be somewhere I can climb every day, I don't NEED 6000 feet a day. Im ok being somewhere flat and driving a bit to get my climbs in. Really just need smooth roads and sunshine.

    Where in phoenix would you recommend? I probably want to avoid in the middle of the city. North Scottsdale ideal? Would something like Queen valley be too far out? Are there many roads through the mountains other than the main highway?

    Or is Tucson much better? I see that is where most training camps go.


    Any input appreciated!

  2. #2
    Senior Member SpeshulEd's Avatar
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    North Scottsdale area has some good riding, but the climbs are rated 4 at the best. I think 9 mile hill gets to a 2 in one spot, been awhile since I've done it. However, there is beeline highway, which should have some climbing, but I never made it out that way before. You might want to check out the Cave Creek area, just north of North Scottsdale, this is where all the rated 4 climbs anyway, the roads are mostly nice, and the traffic is fairly polite.

    Lots of people go to South Mountain in the South Phoenix area to do climbing. I think the mountain is over 2000' of climbing. Still, I think the entire climb is only a 2.

    Queen Valley is a long way from the city. Also, anything in the East Valley will have pretty bad traffic during rush hour. I'm not all that familiar with the East Valley

    I'm in the NW Valley and there's lots of great riding out here, but not any substantial climbs.

    That's about all I've got. I'm not familiar with Tucson at all.
    Hey guys, lets go play bikes!

    Strava

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    Thanks for the feedback. Im not too concerned with heavy climbing, February is mainly base miles anyway, mainly just looking for sunshine! Depending on weather Ill probably stop at NC for a week on my way home (im from Ontario) if I really miss going up all day.

    Im looking at two places right now, one in Scottsdale and one in Sun Tan valley (still out of the city, but not quite way out there like queen valley is seems)

  4. #4
    Senior Member rideaz's Avatar
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    Scottsdale would be good...you can ride out to the north around Bartlett lake, and Saguaro lake to get some climbing. For shorter rides, you can ride around Paradise Valley. South Mountain is a good climb, some folks do repeats. There are plenty of group rides, underground crits in the Phx, Scottsdale area. Not sure about the far east valley like San Tan etc. Tucson does seem like the winter place to go for cyclists though, you might want to talk to some folks from there before you decide on Phx...maybe contact some of the bike shops in Tucson for more info.

  5. #5
    Senior Member SpeshulEd's Avatar
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    Hopefully someone that lives closer to the SE valley will chime in. I have no idea about how things are over there. One benefit to that would be if you wanted to ride in Tucson, you wouldn't be as far of a drive.
    Hey guys, lets go play bikes!

    Strava

  6. #6
    Senior Member robabeatle's Avatar
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    Uhhh, no contest. Tucson is absolutely better for riding. Wanna train with the Garmin development team? How about Jelly-Belly guys? Tom Danielson was climbing Mt. Lemmon the other week. Oh, and tons of pro triathletes in Tucson. No contest. You will never need to put your bike in a car to access great riding. 9Kft mtns, rolling hills, flats, hammer fest (Shootout) and mtn biking too. And less traffic.

  7. #7
    Senior Member SpeshulEd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robabeatle View Post
    Uhhh, no contest. Tucson is absolutely better for riding. Wanna train with the Garmin development team? How about Jelly-Belly guys? Tom Danielson was climbing Mt. Lemmon the other week. Oh, and tons of pro triathletes in Tucson. No contest. You will never need to put your bike in a car to access great riding. 9Kft mtns, rolling hills, flats, hammer fest (Shootout) and mtn biking too. And less traffic.
    Note to self, ride bike in Tucson sometime.

    I've had to go to Tucson a couple of times for my old job and I hated every second of it. Perhaps, my mind would change if I did some riding there.
    Hey guys, lets go play bikes!

    Strava

  8. #8
    Senior Member robabeatle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpeshulEd View Post
    Note to self, ride bike in Tucson sometime.

    I've had to go to Tucson a couple of times for my old job and I hated every second of it. Perhaps, my mind would change if I did some riding there.
    Yeah, check it out. I’ve ridden in Boulder, SoCA, Portland, etc. and I still think Tucson is tops.

  9. #9
    Senior Member GuitarBob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpeshulEd View Post
    I've had to go to Tucson a couple of times for my old job and I hated every second of it.
    That's funny, and probably as it should be. See, most everyone I know in Tucson does what they can to avoid Phoenix!

    I can't compare the cycling because I have never ridden in PHX, but both places should have plenty of sunshine. PHX is, however, much larger area-wise and population-wise than Tucson. That might be why Tucson feels quite a bit more laid back to me, although I am sure there are sections within the greater PHX area that are similar.

  10. #10
    Senior Member SpeshulEd's Avatar
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    I think if I went to Tucson for fun, I'd have a different perception of it. I should take my bike down for a long weekend and go exploring.
    Hey guys, lets go play bikes!

    Strava

  11. #11
    VoodooChile zoste's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarBob View Post
    That's funny, and probably as it should be. See, most everyone I know in Tucson does what they can to avoid Phoenix!

    I can't compare the cycling because I have never ridden in PHX, but both places should have plenty of sunshine. PHX is, however, much larger area-wise and population-wise than Tucson. That might be why Tucson feels quite a bit more laid back to me, although I am sure there are sections within the greater PHX area that are similar.
    I lived in Tucson for three years before moving to Glendale. There is no comparison...Tucson is far more bike friendly than Phoenix (the northwest valley, anyway). Tucson has more bike lanes/striped shoulders/bike boulevards; a little more driver awareness; and a multi-purpose trail that almost completely circles the city...not to mention Mt Lemmon.
    Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

  12. #12
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Tucson!
    Live here since 1978.
    Yes, have ridden in Phx . . . too big of a city; not enough variety; not bike friendly.

  13. #13
    Senior Member LarryMelman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    Tucson!
    Live here since 1978.
    Yes, have ridden in Phx . . . too big of a city; not enough variety; not bike friendly.
    You've written this several times, and each time I ask you to back up your rant, and you never do.

    When was the last time you rode in the Phoenix area? Bike lanes and paved canal paths are plentiful.

    And for my money, the street system in Phoenix is much easier to navigate. It takes forever to get anywhere in Tucson.

  14. #14
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Toured in both towns..

    Winner : Tucson

    Check in with The Ordinary Bike Shop for rides and riders.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
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  15. #15
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    LarryMelman:

    Have ridden through and in Phoenix area (including the Answer to the AZ Challenge, the El Tour de Phx, 3-day Southwest Tandem Rally, etc). Rode in the Phx area (Peoria) this year.
    I prefer Tucson riding better than Phx . . . anytime; and, yes, I may be prejudiced because I live in Tucson.
    Do grant you that Phx's Mormon-style street designations (for the most part) are easier to figure out than Tucson's. But 83rd Ave I was on suddenly shifted from going N and S, to E and W. . . Yikes!
    Perfection, even in Phx, is as difficult to achieve as in 38+ states I've bicycled.

  16. #16
    Senior Member SpeshulEd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    But 83rd Ave I was on suddenly shifted from going N and S, to E and W. . . Yikes!
    Hey, it sounds like you rode by my house...you could have at least stopped and said hello.
    Hey guys, lets go play bikes!

    Strava

  17. #17
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    I live in the N E valley (Las Sendas / Mesa). Right next to Bush Hwy (to get to Saguaro) and Usery Mountain range. I ride out here daily. Depending on how much "flat" riding you want to do there is plenty of areas out here to ride. Bush Highway (CAT5 and CAT3 climb), BeeLine Highway, Shea Rd, Usery (repeats, its a CAT3 climb). I can leave my house and ride into Fountain Hills, Scottsdale area without hitting many traffic lights. A typical pre-work morning ride out here is 25-30 miles and 1200 ft of climbing so nothing crazy at all. You can really rack in the miles up in North Scottsdale area (Bartlett especially). Pretty much any where you go in the PHX area is only a few minute (mesa to phx - 20 minutes / mesa to north scottsdale 30 minutes) drive to get any where else to go out and ride. Just depending on the area you want to be in.

    Everything down South East where I have ridden (Queen Creek, Chandler, Gilbert) has been pretty flat.

  18. #18
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    Thanks for the feedback everyone. I couldn't decide so I just made my trip longer....

    Phoenix for 3 weeks in February, a few days at the Los Angeles velodrome, than a full month in Tucson. Im on the edge of Scottsdale in Feb so I don't have to contest with the city too much, hopefully spend some good time on the TT bike on the flat highways. Then in Tucson Im somewhere near the NE, can't remember but its only a few miles to the start of some of the big climbs so ill spend all of march at elevation.

    Looking forward to it, its -23 with -41 windchill here today... If anyone can suggest some weekly rides I can join. Im also looking at doing the VOS race and the tucson bike classic.

  19. #19
    Senior Member robabeatle's Avatar
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    Nice, I’ll see you at the races!

    For group rides in Tucson, look up the Fairwheel website. The Saturday Shootout is the most popular and fast.

  20. #20
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    I've heard about the shootout, will definitely have to give that one a try

  21. #21
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    Just spent the last 2 months in Scottsdale and Tuscon and here are my thoughts for future readers who might find this

    Scottsdale is very pretty, very clean, and the roads are great. Fountain hills and carefree/cave creek are great rides that never get old. No massive climbs but you can get your miles. South mountain is a blast too.

    Tucson is swarming with cyclists because of Mt Lemmon. Its one of the best rides in the world, a smooth climb all the way up and amazing descent. Saguaro park is awesome too, I probably did 20+ laps there this month, one of my favourite places to ride for sure. Oh and the shootout is a good workout, but a pretty boring ride otherwise.



    Heres the problem with Tucson. Its a ****TY place to be. 95% of the roads are absolute crap, you get off 10 onto grant and its like stepping into a 3rd world country. Take out Mt Lemmon and it quickly becomes a boring place to ride. I've had 7 flats here, to put that in perspective I had 1 in Phoenix, and ZERO in over a year back home (12k+ km). The traffic here is WORSE because there are less people, but no interstates. In phoenix you can take a highway to get anywhere, in tucson you crowd the roads at all hours of the day with cars that are falling apart. I stayed on the west and east side of town, and was almost arrested for not riding with my passport one day out by Mt Kitts. What a country.

    My suggestion is if you have 1 week and no car, come to Tucson, chill at Le Buzz and ride lemmon a few times. Otherwise go to Phoenix and take a day trip to Lemmon.

  22. #22
    Senior Member SpeshulEd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gtrob View Post
    Heres the problem with Tucson. Its a ****TY place to be.
    Nailed it! I've never ridden my bike there, but I used to dread going there for work. So happy I don't have to anymore.
    Hey guys, lets go play bikes!

    Strava

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by gtrob View Post
    Tucson is swarming with cyclists because of Mt Lemmon. Its one of the best rides in the world, a smooth climb all the way up and amazing descent.
    Mt Lemmon and Mt Graham are both world class climbs! Only spent the one night in Tucson so can't comment on the city itself...
    http://climbinglama.blogspot.com.au

  24. #24
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    Except for Lemmon


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