Posted by: fizzhogg | November 19, 2010

No Turning Back

In fifteen and a half hours I will be rolling off with nearly 4,000 other cyclists in the 109-mile long, 28th Annual EL TOUR DE TUCSON. I will be sporting my TEAM FATTY colors!

(That’s not me, by the way – that is the real, one-and-only Fat Cyclist! Thank you, Fatty, for letting me use your image without permission)

Anyway, the forecast for tomorrow here in Tucson is for beautiful weather… except for the wind.

Gusts of up to 35mph are predicted. A steady breeze of 10-15mph is expected. Wheee!

I arrived in Tucson having had a lousy week (make that 2 weeks) of training. Not enough riding. Not close to enough. I rode 44 miles yesterday and it felt like I’d ridden 65. Today I went for what was to be a nice, light “spin” and instead turned into 19 miles of out-of-breath, feeling-weak, cranking for my life. 19 miles. Are you kidding me? 19 miles is my warm up these days. What is wrong?

I think the answer lies in the eternal answer to all cycling queries around here — IT’S ALL IN YOUR MIND.

As I’ve written about ad nauseam on this little bike lane on the information superhighway, this cycling stuff is ALL in the head. Okay, having a V02 max similar to Lance Armstrong helps, but you get my point.

I think my weak rides over the past 24 hrs are due more to my growing stress and anxiety over El Tour rather than any lack of training. I also discovered that the bike shop that charged me $40 for a tune up, didn’t. Oh, they charged me all right, but they did not tune up my bike. I know this because…

I digress.

So, here I am on the eve of the single biggest challenge I’ve ever taken on. Ever. Seriously. That’s not a testament to how difficult this race is, but rather a statement on just what a boring, sedentary life I’ve led. I am as nervous as I could possibly be. But incorporated along with that nervousness is an anticipation, an excitement of doing something so huge – huge being relative.

Scouting Report

I rode over some of the El Tour route yesterday (and drove other parts of it), and am glad I did. I now know to expect a short, but nasty little climb very late in the race. I know where the wind will howl straight into my face. I know where the roads are so rough we might as well being riding Paris-Roubaix:

Here’s how most professional cyclists look after riding the Cobbles:

So that ought to be fun.

Then there’s Snyder Hill. 50 miles into the ride, after crossing (on foot) the second dry riverbed, we must ascend Snyder Hill. No more than 3/8 of a mile, but with a summit sporting a gradient of 16%.

Oh, and that was not a typo. There are two dry riverbed crossings. One of just over a 1/4 mile and one of more than 1/2 a mile. The photo at the top of this blog is one of the El Tour riverbed crossings. Here’s another:

So, yeah, all these things might have been swirling around in my head as I rode yesterday and today.

But lets repeat the mantra of the 2Kin2K10 Unfat Project — It’s all in your mind.

After tomorrow’s adventure I will let you know if my legs defeated my mind. Hmm, I wonder if Jens ever says, “Shut up, mind!”

Eat better.

Ride your bike.

Go like Hell.

Watch out for the road idiots


  1. Allez, Fizz, Allez.

    See you at the finish line!

    (Seriously, wind?)

  2. You got this. Remember, it’s not a race. Go at your pace, refuel and stretch at the rest stops, remain hydrated, and you’ll do great things.

    The river beds present an interesting challenge. I’d hate to run/walk a half mile in my road shoes. The cleats would be torn up!

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