|El Tour de Tucson tips||spookyload|
Sep 24, 2003 8:02 PM
|I am making the trek down south in November and was wondering if anyone has done it. What is the terain like as far as hills. What kind of gearing is the ideal? I ride a 11-23 mostly, but bring a 12-27 when the climbs get longer than a two or three miles on a century.
Any tips on weather too. Being in Albuquerque I am guessing about five or ten degree's warmer than here. Something in the sixties maybe? And what kind of rainfall does November usually bring. I am not going to get caught without a rain jacket again if there is the slightest chance of showers. Did it last month by Angel Fire and paid the price!
Sep 24, 2003 8:55 PM
|I've done the ride three times. The weather ranged from 80 degrees and sun one year to 50 degrees and wind the next. That's the problem with November in Arizona. It's usually 35 in the morning and 80 in the afternoon. You can't dress right for both extremes. Bring a rain jacket just in case.
There are no mountains. Just a couple gradual hills or inclines. 11/23 will be fine. It's mostly high gear, fast, group drafting. There can be winds that make holding your position a pain. Like I said, there are so many people, you're usually in a pack of at least 10 at all times.
Here's the deal-
With so many thousands of riders, the start is very early and takes a long time. You're lined up about an hour before the 7:00 am start. It's always real cold in the morning, from high 30's to low 40's. The start area lines you up all along a street with metal barriers on each side. What I do is line up with a lot of extra clothing on. It's junk clothing. Old sweatshirts, old sweat pants, and a cheap wool cap. Then, just before the playing of the National Anthem, I take off the junk clothes and just set it or throw it on the other side of the barriers. If you're in the middle or front of the Gold group, you'll be warmed up withing the first 1/2 mile. They TAKE OFF like a rocket at the start. I averaged 27mph for the first nine miles last year.
Once you are in line, try to sit down and set your bike besides you. I get in my spot, take off the front wheel, and set the bike on the rear wheel and the fork tips with the front wheel propped up against the bike. I plop myself down right besides the bike. If you don't do this early, the area gets too crowded for you to sit down and your stuck standing shoulder-to-shoulder with everybody else. Standing for an hour in cleats waiting for the start gun sucks.
If you have a buddy you're lined up with, you're set. You can have him save your spot so you can get in the last-minute pee.
Last year, I made the mistake of wearing booties. I forgot about the two dry riverbed crossings. I trashed and tore up the bottom of a $50 pair of Santini Wintex overshoes carrying my bike across the rocky and sandy crossings.
Sep 24, 2003 9:05 PM
|I am kind of expecting the crowd problem. A co-worker and I are staying at some resort real near the start as to avoid the parking problem. It is a late season ride for me, and he isn't the strongest, so I am expecting a 6.5 time or so. Should be fun with the large field. The four centuries so far I have done this year have all been closer to 1200 or less in size, so it will be cool to see that many people with the same passion as me!|
Sep 25, 2003 5:49 AM
|Rode the Tour the past 5 years. Spoiler's recommendations are spot on. Leave the 12x27 at home - there are a lot of steady inclines, rollers, and short out of the saddle grades but nothing to worry about. Because of the temperature extremes - 30-40s at start, 80s in afternoon - bring your arm warmers/leg warmers. Also a clear plastic garbage bag over your clothes in the morning is a cheap way to stay warm. The biggest tip is pace yourself - at the start, a lot of riders go off like a shot, which is fine if you plan on racing for a time, but if you're not out to set a personal best, take your time at the start, let your body warm up, and avoid the several crashes/close calls that occur every year after the gun goes off. You can make up most if not all of the time during the ride.|
|From a fellow ABQ-ite perspective||terry b|
Sep 25, 2003 5:58 AM
|Hills - none to speak of. Couple of short climbs (few hundred yards) and one long, low grade climb up Oracle which is time consuming more than challenging. I rode El Tour last year in 12-25 and never got out of 16 (except downhill.) I found it pretty easy and actually rode it in my personal best time. Compared to the SF Century and Tour of Enchantment, it seems like a sprint.
I found the weather a bit challenging. Starting time last year was in the 40s so I used arm warmers and a vest. End of day was in the 80s, which for me was hard given I'd been riding here in NM in the 60s and below. It felt hot to me, and it probably was since the last 80 degree rides I'd had were two months earlier.
Everything Spoiler says above is consistent with my experience. It is crowded, and lots of people don't know how to ride in crowds (things like passing between my friends and me when we're riding 2x2.) But, it's not hard to survive. I don't particularly like the stream crossing, but they're short and part of the "character." The support is great.
|re: El Tour de Tucson tips||theBreeze|
Sep 25, 2003 7:40 AM
|Agree with all of the above. Lining up smart is one key. In all but the platinum group it's a self selection, and I think many over estimate themselves. I mistakenly lined up in the silver group last year, and let's just say I probably passed 1/3rd of the "gold" starters in the first 20 miles. The first five miles are crazy, stay alert.
Support is great! Rest stops are every 5-8 miles so there was never a crowd. People hold your bike and fill your bottles while you pee; I thought I'd died and gone to cycling heaven.
They really organize the event well and I think that is what contributes to making it a fun event.