El Tour De Tucson
Story by Luis Carrión

There might still time for a few mechanical adjustments and the odd equipment upgrade, however if you plan on taking on one of the longer distances of this year’s UMC El Tour de Tucson you better have some miles logged. The UMC El Tour De Tucson, a benefit ride for Tu Nidito Hospice, is scheduled for this Saturday and is expected to attract upwards of nine thousand riders.

Scott Blanchard is a professional cyclist and coach. He says that El Tour attracts riders of all fitness levels, and there is a distance that will provide a challenge for every cyclist. But, he points out, “to properly train for one hundred and nine miles is very different than (simply) completing one hundred and nine miles.”

Blanchard is one of the coaches for the Junior El Tour Cycling Program where he helps young kids train for the 35 mile leg of the El Tour. The purpose of this program is to foster fitness an sports in children who need some extra support, and to help generate knowledge and passion for the sport of cycling. El Tour de Tucson serves as the “carrot at the end of the stick” to help the children develop the consistency in their training.

Scott Shipman is with the Perimeter Bicycling Association of America, the organization that puts on the University Medical Center El Tour de Tucson. He says that the event this year is presented by Diamond Ventures and there is a great amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to keep El Tour Day running smoothly. He also points out that the event is not just a race, but an opportunity for cyclists of all levels to strive to do their best.

It’s still not to late to register for this year’s UMC El Tour de Tucson. The distances range from the 4 mile fun ride to the 109 mile full event… just remember to choose wisely.