A Few Things I Learned At El Tour De Tucson

Yeah, try and get up to Platinum if you can.

  1. Do what ever you can to get into Platinum… there are probably 300 people in the corral, starting ahead of 8,000.
  2. I slept horrible without my favorite pillow… bring yours if it matters.
  3. 5am wake up in Tucson, is 4am wake up in CA… you’re not gonna be thinking too good when you rise.
  4. It can be cold, and it is dark… be careful getting over, take an old hoodie and chuck to a volunteer before roll out – they go to GoodWill.
  5. It takes 10 minutes to ride over from the University Marriott… so, even though we were way behind schedule getting over we still made it with 15 minutes to spare (corral closes at 630).
  6. Riders in the corral are nice and excited… this isn’t the craziness of Leadville.  Simple Green’s Tino, Brian and Mike were there.  Josh Wolff from BlueBird Canyon crew was close by.  My Jetset buddies in force.  Rahsaan was looking sharp in a Ride With Nelly jersey and stylish bandana.  Johnny Tz and Rich must have been way up front.  And me and Gould – the virgins, ready for our first ETDT.
  7. As 7am approaches, all the guys and gals that got there super early and left their bikes laid over on the pavement start showing up, so be prepared to move up… if you’re at the back like we were you can easily move up a bit.
  8. At 7am it’s on, and everybody hits it pretty hard… I was able to move up pretty easily.  The entire road is closed.  It’s awesome.  Everybody is pretty cool, and pretty safe.
  9. 8 miles in, you hit the first sand wash… we expected to have to run it after the meeting the day before, but it had been watered and I made it through easily.  I was still a 100 guys back, so I had to go 9/10ths to re-connect with the leaders.
  10. There is a train crossing about 7 miles later… sure enough, we could see the breakaway groups up ahead and we could see the train.  My group soft pedaled and made fun of the guys charging up front.  Well, we soft pedaled too much, and the train cleared the crossing before any of us got there. Doh!
  11. It rolls and climbs a bit until the second wash about mile 50… this is much longer and twists and turns and you can easily get stuck behind someone who skills aren’t there.  You come into this section on a twisty downhill through a residential neighborhood.  It pays to be up front here.  I made it all the way until about the last 30 feet.
  12. Don’t pat yourself on the back… you have a decent hill ahead of you and lots of people on the gas trying to shatter the group.  You also have a bunch of people breaking the rules and handing bottles and food up.  If you’re not a rule breaker stay left or you’re gonna regret it when the guy/gal in front of you slows way down.
  13. Now it’s gonna roll, mostly downhill.  Today was super windy, so nobody really wanted to pull.  I was bored out of my mind and trying to get something going, but of course the group had enough gas to chase me down…. then I got lucky.  I attacked again and Mike Gould came with me.  We didn’t know the course at all.  We were lucky because no one chased for a bit and we hit a big fast downhill and went for it.  The group sat up.  We had a minute gap and we rolled up to two guys who’d gone 5 minutes before us.  One of those guys was smoked and dropped off.  It was me, Gould and Amgen Doug.  We were working and two more guys bridged across.  Now we had something.
  14. Work with your fellow riders… this is a long course, and if you work together you will catch others, or be caught if you don’t.  We rolled up on Rich Meeker and 5 guys who’d stayed on the gas back at the non-event train crossing.  Too bad they were smoked, because we actually went slower.
  15. Our slow pace let about 10 guys catch up… reinforcements are good if everybody works together.  The wind was now howling.  We’d covered 90 miles, and the next 16 were really rough.  No organization.  Fake attacks.
  16. Real attacks will follow fake attacks… I was caught off guard when a real attack went.  It was Brian Forbes and one of the guys that had ridden with Mike and I, and a Jetset guy.  I tried to chase, but couldn’t bridge.
  17. The final 10 miles area awful… huge headwind, very tired legs.
  18. Good thing someone was handing out donuts with 4 miles to go… I was hungry, all I’d had was 3 bottles of Fluid and most of a Snickers bar.  One huge bite of fluffy sugar donut.  Yum.
  19. With 2 miles to go, the group ramped up a lot… I was moving backwards fast.  I waved Steve Hegg through, and watched my gang roar into town for a top 26 placing.  So yeah, I got 27th and I’m happy with that.
  20. It’s a really well run event.  Started on time.  Police on every, and I mean EVERY, turn.  Police escorting our group the whole way.
  21. The “festival” at the end does not include food… theres a BaskinRobbins standing by a block from the hotel.
    Never better.
    Never better.

    No scale today.