Wednesday, November 24, 2010

El Tour de Tucson 2010

I think I am now fully recovered from El Tour.
We got up at 4am so that we could be at the starting line by 6 and the race started at 7am.
It was an amazing sight to see. A few thousand cyclists, so many that it took eight minutes for the entire group to get over the starting line.
Rob and James were staged near the back a couple of blocks from the starting line in the silver group.
Kelly and I hot footed it up past the line to get pictures of the guys off the line. The sea of humanity and the cheering crowd gave this feeling of jubilation.

The weather was chilly that morning and the temps were scheduled to be perfect, in the low 70's. The only problem factor was that there was to be wind but not till later in the afternoon.
Well the wind showed up a bit earlier than planned. Boy did that wind reek havoc on the racers.
Wyatt and my mother in law were stationed at the Kolb and Irvington aid station led by the Boy Scouts. I received a call from my Mil that the first riders came through just before 9am. A short time later Kelly and I began seeing the racers pass through. Man they are fast.
Kelly and I were aid station 13 at mile post 73.7.
It was a great experience watching all these athletes race by or stop for water and fruit.
Our Brownies had the jobs of holding bicycles, getting fruit, cookies, eggs and of course cheering the riders on.
The wind began to become a big factor in the riders progress. With winds whipping around at 30+ miles an hour, you could see the cyclists compensating for it as suddenly they would be leaning at a precarious angle and then when the wind passed would have to
adjust without over correcting. It was a sight to see.
After Rob and James came through, I forgot to take photos except when they were pulling in, Kelly and I worked a bit more before we packed up to head to the finish line.
At 20 miles out Rob called to give me a heads up on time and location. Rob also requested me to pick up a couple of burgers to eat when the race was over.
Knowing that it takes Rob about an hour to ride 20 miles I worried that I would run out of time by getting the burgers and finding a parking spot downtown.
After Wyatt finished with his aid station at 10:30 he went back to Grandmas and waited for my mom to pick them up and bring them downtown.
Thankfully they were already there and waiting for Kelly and myself. I called mom to see where she parked in hopes that I could get close enough because after the race all the kids were going to spend the night at her house.
Anyway, I lucked out and parked right by mom which incidentally was right in front of the spot that Rob and James started from.We walked to where everyone was waiting for us and then we went to find a space on the sidelines where I could take pictures.
My mental clock was ticking and I was anticipating the guys to be coming around the corner at any time.
Anytime came about 1 hour and 20 minutes later.
The wind killed them on the ride on the frontage road to downtown.
Rob would later tell me that he saw several racers pulled off on the side of the road and being picked up. Rob also said that the wind was so brutal that it added an hour to their time because of the constant fight against the winds. The winds just kept pushing them back because it was blowing straight at them. The guys finished at 8 hours 22 minutes in 2,625th place out of 8600 something. This was the second largest El Tour in the races 28 year history.
Sunday the men were sore as expected but feeling pretty darn proud, as well they should. I know I am extremely proud of my hubby.
PS** Rob calculated that roughly 2000 people did not finish the race.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What an exciting day it was for me. When I went to pick up Wyatt and Inez (grandma) I saw the wind picking up and coming in from the southwest...I knew there would be trouble.
Getting downtown and parking was a cakewalk,on the other hand keeping the kids occupied was another :).
With the help of Fred (a friendly hounddog)that helped, but soon the kids wanted to be on the move. So I decided to head to Congress Street, the last hill before the riders turn the corner and head to the finish line. I got such a kick out of cheering them on,"last hill" I would yell, "you can do this" and they did. To hear Rob yell "ma" and to see them struggle up that final hill, made me jubilant. Yelled for Kelly and Wyatt and I took off with Chelsea.
Though I didn't get to see the guys cross the line, I am so proud of Rob. Though as Carrie said, the wind was fierce, like fighting a huge wall, that just kept pushing them backwards, these determined, strong men, women and kids finished...everyone of them deserve a hug, and a medal.