El Tour de Tucson

Picked up my registration packet today for this year’s El Tour de Tucson. I am riding the full 111 miles on my 36 guni. The ride is this Saturday, and of course, the weather forecast is calling for wind - uggh.



Awesome well done.
Don’t forget to post a write up.

+1 and good luck!!!:smiley:

Trying to keep my pre-ride jitters down. Going to the Expo and getting my packet helped to turn some jitters into excitement. Having ridden a century recently is helping my confidence, but still a little nervous. This a huge event, and there will be thousands of cyclists out there!

Good luck! While I love solo epics for the simplicity, anonymity, etc… I think we all tend to thrive in actual organized events. I predict you’ll average a faster pace in this ride than you did on your solo century as you’ll always have somebody ahead of you to pace or chase.

Have fun!

I tried to pave the way for you on this ride Tucson Uni. Maybe a few less “where’s your other wheel?” comments from the other riders after my riding it the last three years with Zeke. . .
Have fun and don’t let the wind get you down. . . .
Jealous . . .


I need a recording of “I got rid of the training wheel” that I can have play automatically when I get the “where’s your other wheel?” comment. :slight_smile:

Weather for Saturday is now calling for 13 to 17 mph winds with gusts as high as 26 mph. Guess I’m not setting any speed records on this one.

Hey, maybe the wind will be behind you.
Then you’ll be flying. :slight_smile:

Riding in big bike events is always better, IMHO. They will give you lots of positive energy! You can also keep score on the number of bikes you pass along the way. :slight_smile:

The wind may suck some of the fun out, but remember it’ll be the same for everybody in the event, so they’ll understand what you’re dealing with. What worked for me on my century was not trying to ride real fast, not watching the clock, and just enjoying the ride. That one sounds like it’ll be pretty fun with all that company!

Part of why I did a century ride on my own a few weeks ago was to take the pressure of for this event. I’ve had it my mind that I might be able to break 9 hours and get a Silver finish. I am starting to let that go from my thoughts because of the conditions. I am getting towards just looking forward to having fun with the crowds, and not putting any pressure on myself.

Best of luck to you Andy. Show up and roll out for this ride and just enjoy yourself.

Silver Finish in El Tour! 111 miles, 8:51:46 - winds be damned! Detailed write-up tomorrow.

That’s super awesome Andy!!!

Fantastic effort, can’t wait for the write up.


Hey, I was the lead story on the Tucson Fox 11 news at 9! My mother-in-law recorded the 5:30 news. They gave stats about El Tour including the fact that 1 unicyclist road! Here is the quote “and get this, one unicyclist. Amazing.”

Race wrap-up

Friday – the big day tomorrow. Thankfully, I slept well on Thursday night. The night’s sleep before a big event is always too short and not too sound. I was trying not to be too nervous about the weather reports calling for lots of wind. Up at 4:30am and to the starting line by 5:45 to get a good position for a 7:00am start. I didn’t want to kill a lot of precious time getting across the starting line. Riding toward the start, I got my first “Where’s your other wheel” comment. I congratulated him on being the first for the day. Luckily, it was quite warm – about 54 degrees. No arm warmers required. Waiting for the start, I managed to keep my nerves under control. I had no issues mounting and getting started in a sea of bicycles. Well over 3000 starting the 111 mile distance, and over 8000 total including the 80, 60 and 40 mile distances. As the riders spread a bit, I kicked into high gear and really started moving. About 5 minutes into the ride, going around a corner, I heard the unmistakable sound of a bicycle going down. With the warm temps, I was able to get spun up and cruising nicely. I have found that I have a hard time going fast when it is really cold. About 9 miles in is the first of 2 wash crossings. This is ride-able for a uni, but it was chock full of cyclists with their bikes over their shoulders, so I jogged through pushing my uni. Here the route goes along the extreme south end of town, past Raytheon, where I work, and then past the landfill – I love the smell of garbage in the morning. The route then goes along the freeway frontage road, before finally heading north. Going north through the Air Force “bone yard”, I am still riding fast and feeling good. Up to this point, the wind has not been a real issue. This changes when the route turns east again. About ten miles of head wind with hills and rough pavement. I fall off my pace through this section, but I know that the route will turn north again and give relief from the wind. After travelling north a ways, I start to descend into the low part of the valley, with a long stretch of downhill on Freeman road. This is nice and fast. I kept safe here, but see some bike carnage on the side of the road. This is probably the third or fourth rider/riders laid out on the side of the road with injuries, and I saw many more the rest of the day. This is a dangerous ride with so many riders, many of them inexperienced. I have a lot of miles road riding over the years, and I know how to stay pretty safe. I am a little scared of the hand-cycles and other machines that sit so low to the ground. They can be hard to see from my high perch on the 36er. Forty miles into the race, I meet up with my support crew, my wife and daughter. We swap out water bottles with Electrolyte drink, and a fresh water bladder for my pack. There is a guy there with a fancy looking video-cam filming us. He follows me on foot as I take off and go around the corner. It turns out that he was a cameraman from Fox News. My wife was talking to him while waiting for me to arrive. Little did I know that she had a mike on her and the guy was filming for a news story! I continue north towards the Catalina Mountains, and turn west toward the second wash crossing. There is a dirt road leading to the Sabino Canyon creek. It was fun to ride down this road, passing all of the skinny-wheelers walking. Shortly after this, there is a short, but steep hill climb, where I pass a bunch of cyclists. From here, I continue west on Sunrise Drive through familiar territory and pass within a mile of my house. There is a tailwind, and I cruise along at a nice pace. Somewhere along here, I pass the half-way mark in excellent time. The route then turns north up Oracle road. Through here, I am gaining altitude, and there is a cross wind, but I push hard and keep a good pace. Finally, I hit the peak elevation of the ride and turn west again. This section has rolling hills, and a strong crosswind is developing. I am feeling good and continue to push it. At one spot along here, we are all stopped to let an emergency vehicle by to tend to a crashed cyclist lying in the road. There are lots of cyclists along here, because the 40 mile ride has just started. Now there are riders from all the distance categories mixed together. At the 77 mile mark, I meet my wife and daughter for another refill. They have a sweet spot, parked right on the dirt shoulder. From here, I start the long descent down Tangerine road. At the bottom of this 10 mile stretch, the road flattens out, and the wind is really starting to gust hard. This is where the going gets tough. I have 25 miles to go to the finish. I turn south, and have a hard time keeping forward momentum. I am just north of the Tucson Mountains here. I am hopeful that they may help block the wind some as I get further south. I look at my watch, and make some mental calculations, and realize that I may still be able to meet my goal of finishing under 9 hours, even with the wind. I know it is going to be a grind. The route heads south for a while, and then doubles back north, before heading over a short, steep climb. This whole section is windy with rough pavement. I am working hard to go pretty slow. After descending the hill, the wind is directly in my face, but thankfully not as insane as it was for the past five or six miles. My legs are starting to fade at this point, and my back and underside are getting sore. Throw in some rough patches of pavement and a stiff headwind, and you have a slog. The next 20 miles are like this heading to the finish downtown. Force of will and the desire to make my goal keep me moving. I have moments where I get up the gumption to go 14mph for brief spurts, followed by times where I am going 9 or 10 mph. The road is rolling, and there are spots with nasty-bad pavement. I hit the 100 mile mark at around 7 hours and 50 minutes. At this point, I have about 15 minutes of stop time for the whole ride. All along the route, I keep seeing the same cyclists over and over again, because they keep taking advantage of the rest stops, and I keep going without stopping. Throughout the day, I have had an overwhelming number of positive comments from riders and spectators. “I am not worthy”, “You are my hero”, “You are the man”, “Oh, my God!”. Having hit 100 miles under 8 hours, I have confidence that I will break the 9 hour mark. Keep the faith. No stopping. My back is super tight, and I can’t push hard any more. Keep going. I am talking to myself a lot at this point. Three times I get stopped at lights for traffic. Luckily, I manage to mount and get into high gear without incident. Finally, I see the turn off of the frontage road that signals that the end is in sight. I find myself riding next to a woman who was next to me at the start. Into the home stretch. I see the balloons at the finish now. I cross at 8:51:46. The crowd is cheering. I did it! I dismount and walk through the gates to meet my family. Tears well up in my eyes from a rush of emotions from working so hard for so long. Almost nine hours of riding, with only 17 minutes off of the unicycle. Epic.

Here are my splits from the ride. These are average mph per 10 mile interval, not including stopped time.

11.8 (headwind and hilly)

Amazing effort! Congratulations!

Did you end up riding much of the route in low gear?


Well done

Just spending that much time in the saddle is not easy, never mind riding that far.
Great effort.