Monthly Archives: November 2013

El Tour 2013 race summary as I saw (and felt) it.

.As you might know, I like to take pictures.  However, this is one race where I left the camera in the bag for the entire race.  I did manage to get a few shots of the 107 mile race as it passed on my way to the start.  I have done the full distance 2 times, and had a tiny bit of remorse for not riding it this year.

See all of the photos of El Tour De Tucson 31
See all of the photos of El Tour De Tucson 31

My ride was to include coaching El Grupo Youth Cycling in the 57 mile race.  El Grupo had riders in the 80 and 107 mile rides, but I opted the 57 so I could be with my son Samuel.  He had a choice of being the team leader for the shorter distance or hanging on with the longer distance.  For convenience, this ride is the best for us.  We can ride our bikes to the start from home, there are no wash crossings, and 50-60 mile rides are normal weekend  training rides.    I opted to race on my Mountain Bike as I thought it would be more challenging and that I might actually win that category.

From the start of the race El Grupo pushed the pace with very few people passing us.   The team held together until Oracle, but we ended up dropping 3 riders as we headed North.  As soon as we turned onto Rancho Vistoso the wheels started to come off for Samuel.   He had the conditioning and mental strength, but he did not have the best clothing.  The water had penetrated his coat and vest and he was soaked to the core.  As a father it was one of the most difficult things to watch.  Here is my boy, freezing, teeth chattering, still hammering away to stay with the team.  I stripped down to my jersey and gave him my jacket, but it was too late.  His core was chilled and there was no coming back.  He stuck with it until the I-10 rest stop.

When we stopped Samuel could barely lift his leg over the top bar.  We walked in to the medical tent and they helped him make the decision to stop.  A minute later he was stripped of all clothing, wrapped in a heat blanket and in the back of a car heating up.  I sent the team on and stayed with him in the car.   I was also shivering and joined him.  There were two other gentlemen in the car who were also in a world of hurt.  Everyone who was volunteering were so helpful and except for the regular check-ups where they opened the car door allowing the cold air in, I could have stayed there all day. After 30 minutes we were presented with the option of taking a SAG wagon back to the finish line.  Samuels clothing were sopping wet and he was still shivering, it sounded like a good option.  I asked him if wanted me to stay with him or if I could finish the race.  I was hoping he would say “Stay with me Papa”.

As I got out of the car to put my gear back on my teeth started to chatter uncontrollably.  After I was fully dressed I got back in the car.  One of the other riders was talking about getting back on the course, but after seeing me said “you are not doing a good job on encouraging me”.    I have a very difficult time not finishing what I start, so with that in mind I left the warm embrace of the Volvo station wagon and got back in the saddle.

Did you know there are three types of rides?  1- those that are great, and you look back and they are great.  2- Those that suck and you look back and they were epic.  3- Those that suck and you look back and they really sucked.  The first mile was feeling like a SOLID 3.  My  teeth were like a typewriter.  As I headed south on the frontage road a blast of cold wind greeted me.  My thoughts were limited to pedal as hard as possible until a burn in my legs or lungs replaces the chill.  I was fortunate to have a strong rider pass me and I was able to jump on his wheel and that helped block the wind.  I still had to put out a full effort and for the first time during the race was wishing I was not on a Mountain Bike.

I started taking turns pulling after I regained my composure and we started to pick up other riders.  Every time someone passed I’d try and recruit them to ride with us.  The smart ones jumped on and we shared the work load.  The others were all caught eventually and either joined in or were dropped.   With considerable effort and direction I was able to from a rotating pace line.  The miles disappeared.  In the final sprint we all went off at our own pace in anticipation of finishing.  I definitely lost that sprint and was feeling very empty.

It is Monday morning as I type this.  I have had a few days to reflect.  What was this ride on my 1,2,3 scale.  I’m going with a 1 with a few moments of 2.  Riding with people you love and seeing them suffer is far more challenging than suffering myself.  I’m very proud Samuel made it as far as he did.  I’m frustrated he did not have the proper attire that caused his chills.  Like all experiences, we both will learn from this and be more prepared the next time we are racing in the rain.

I did not take many photos during the race, but I did take some of the 107 and the start and finish.  If you are not a fan already, please Like The Damion Alexander Team on facebook.  I post all images there.  Nearly 13,000 to date.

Loop Construction from Silverlake to Ajo begins next week

Below is the full press release if you want details.  In one sentence…. The Paseo de las Iglesias project will Add seven miles to The loop by connecting existing segments of the Santa Cruz River Park north of Silverlake and south of Ajo with the Julian Wash/Tucson Diversion Channel path and is expected to be completed in 15 months.

Also of interest, the press release came from one of my clients who bought a house last year.  I just think it is so cool that I’m having the opportunity to work with people who are so active in making this the best cycling community it can be.

Construction of Santa Cruz River flood control, park project
between Silverlake Road and Ajo Way to begin Nov. 18

                        Pima County and City of Tucson officials joined with neighborhood residents on Wednesday, Nov. 13, to ceremoniously kick off construction of the first phase of a flood control, ecosystem restoration and park project along both sides of the Santa Cruz River from Silverlake Road to Ajo Way.

“It’s important to the City of Tucson the work that Pima County has done on the Santa Cruz River,” said City Council-woman Regina Romero, Ward 1. “Pima County has had a wonderful vision of the investment they want to (make) in our community.

The Paseo de las Iglesias project will:

  • Add seven miles to The Loop shared-use path by connecting existing segments of the Santa Cruz River Park north of Silverlake and south of Ajo with the Julian Wash/Tucson Diversion Channel path.
  • Stabilize the river banks to better protect neighboring properties and streets.
  • Develop recreational opportunities for area residents and the greater community, along with ramadas, parking and restrooms.
  • Provide water harvesting and plant 10,000 trees, shrubs and cactus to restore the river ecosystem that is home to nine unique and special interest toad and amphibian species, burrowing owl populations, and other native animals and plants.

The public is invited to learn more about the project at an open house on Monday, Nov. 18, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the safety conference room of the Pima County Department of Transportation building at 1313 S. Mission Road.

Paseo de las Iglesias – the path between the churches – refers to the area between Tucson’s historic Mission San Agustin and Mission San Xavier. The project will also connect existing improved segments of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail to create a 12-mile stretch from Drexel Road to El Camino del Cerro.

Pima County Supervisor Richard Elías, District 5, said that the project builds on a site where people have lived for 4,000 years to improve alternative transportation options and support community health and fitness. The project area includes the seven-acre Las Milpitas Community Farm, a food-production and education project of Pima County, the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and City High School.

Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said the project will be “a very significant addition” to the County’s river park and shared-use path system. About 120 miles are done, he said. When completed, The Loop will be 131 miles of contiguous pathways free from motorized vehicles.

The Loop already connects 41 major parks, Paseo del las Iglesias will be the 42nd, and “we hope to have 50-60 in the future,” he said.

Pima County voters approved $14 million for the project in the 2004 bond election. Construction is expected to take about 20 months.

“I think you’re going to be proud of this when it’s all done,” said Suzanne Shields, Director of the Pima County Regional Flood Control District.

For more information, please visit the Paseo de las Iglesias Phase One project online.

We could have been a contender

2 seconds.  If he was 2 seconds faster we would have moved up to the podium.

4 points separated 1-3 place in the final race with the winner taking 1918 points.

In the year end overall total 2nd and 3rd place finished 1 point apart with 7675 v 7674 points. ONE POINT!!!!

The final race for both El Grupo composite and Tucson High teams were brutal.  It saw stitches, medics, flats and some of the worse finishes for some of our top athletes.  With just the smallest changes in fate, we could have won the day and the composite team could have been on the podium.  BUT, we had the day we had.  Every team could just as easily make the same claims.  If this mechanical had not happened, or had there star not run in the State High School Track finals the previous day, or had the bottle not been fumbled in the feed zone….

I can’t help but think  that there are some athletes out there that have printed the final results and are now aware that ONE point matters.  That one race that they pulled up at the end and were passed, that time they let the other racer get away, or they felt the burn and listened to it, the other racer who crashed them out, and the ones who took the dangerous but faster line, those that surged to the front for the hole shot, the countless hours training… all those little decisions made the difference in the end.  What a great lesson for life for these students.   It ALL does matter.  It ALL does count at the end of the day.  We are all going to get bumps and bruises on the way there, but those that grind on end up at the top.

After the race I was talking with Chloe Woodruff about some of the challenges we faced in the final race.   I told her it reminded me of something.  I searched for the word.  I told her it was on the tip of my tongue.  It was such a clear thought. How exactly could I articulate it? Oh yeah, It is like Mountain Bike racing.  Yes it’s true, that is what it is, and it has successfully completed its first season in the high school arena in Arizona.

Next year is going to be even bigger and better.  There are already plans to add a 5th race.  With all the great press and with your help more people will know about the league.  I can’t wait!!!

If you missed any of the action from this year,  below are the links to the albums or check out The Damion Alexander Team on facebook.

Mens race 4

Ladies race 4

Team photos race 4

Race 4 podiums

Race 3



Yetman Trail Pint night Fundraiser and Trail works days

Do you like to ride your Mountain bike in the wash.  If so, just go for a ride and ignore this(Oh, I’ll join you, sand is good).  However, for the majority of you, there is a major trail improvement that is going to make the Starr Pass Area even better.

If you have ever ridden over the west side of Starr Pass and come back through Yetman Wash you have likely had the thought “why the hell is there not  single track here and why am I riding in 3 inches of sand”?

Great news!!! Yetman Wash Trail Work Days are coming up to put in that mush anticipated Yetman Reroute!  Sonoran Desert Mountain Bikes (SDMB) is inviting people for upcoming work days in November, December, and January.  SDMB will provide all the tools needed, but please come dressed for a day outside, bring work gloves, and make sure to bring water and snacks.  They will provide lunch for after the work days. The dates of the work days are:

Sunday 11/17/13, Saturday 11/30/13, Sunday 12/15/13, Saturday 1/4/13

All work events will run from 8:00am to 12:30pm with lunch following.  Meet at the Sarasota Trailhead off of Kinney Rd and hike in from there. Parking is limited so we encourage you to carpool. Please RSVP to or the Facebook Event by the Wendesday prior to the work day to make sure they have lunch for you.

If you have never participated in a trail building day it is worth the effort.  You will meet some other like minded riders, get food, and remember every time you ride the trail the section “YOU” made happen.

New trails do come at a cost and in order to fund the Yetman Trail SDMB has an upcoming event.  It includes Beer!!! Yetman Wash Pint Night at Borderlands Brewing Co. on November 13th for the SDMB Yetman Wash Re-Route Pint Night Fundraiser. Time is 5-8pm. $20 will get you an awesome SDMB pint glass and two beer tickets. There is going to be a food truck, live music, and a lot of fun. We’ll also have some SDMB schwag like t-shirts, socks, stickers, etc. Additional beer tickets are $5. If you haven’t already, please “like” SDMB on Facebook and RSVP for the event there. If you can’t be there and would still like to help out, they  welcome you to one of the trail work days (see above) or you can just throw a few bucks to the cause. To donate, visit and click on the Donate Now button. And THANK YOU!

Loop improvement… I.E. CLOSURE ALERT

This is a press release from The county about the closure of part of the loop with a little cut and pasting form about the alternative route.

Segment of The Loop between El Camino del Cerro and Sunset
to be closed for repairs starting Nov. 5

A segment of The Loop west of Interstate 10 and between El Camino del Cerro and Sunset Road will be closed starting Tuesday, Nov. 5, for repairs.

The closed north-south segment is west of some businesses on Casa Grande Highway, south of Diamond Street.

The work is expected to take 7-8 working days.

Cyclists headed south from Sunset Road at the closed segment can instead proceed with caution:

  • on the paved shoulder along the southbound frontage road to El Camino del Cerro
  • then on the westbound bike lane along Camino del Cerro to Christopher Columbus Park entrance
  • to the shared use path along the west side of the Santa Cruz River.

Cyclists headed north from El Camino del Cerro at the closed segment should proceed with caution:

  • eastbound on the bike lane on the south side of El Camino del Cerro
  • through the southbound frontage road intersection at I-10, dismounting and walking your bicycle as needed on the sidewalk, and through the northbound frontage road intersection
  • north across Ruthrauff Road and proceed on the paved shoulder along the frontage road to Sunset Road
  • then under I-10 and across the southbound frontage road to reconnect with The Loop

Pima County is developing The Loop around metro Tucson with links to Marana, Oro Valley, and South Tucson for residents and visitors on foot, bikes, skates, and horses.

When completed, The Loop will total 131 miles and connect the Rillito, Santa Cruz, and Pantano River Parks with the Julian Wash and Harrison Greenways. The Loop connects to parks, trails, bus and bike routes, workplaces, schools, libraries, restaurants, hotels and motels, shopping areas, and sports and entertainment venues.

For more information and the latest maps and news about The Loop, go to

Stolen Bike Alert

My Coach Jason Tullous had his bike stolen  from his CTS car in front of his home in the La Canada and River area.

The bike is 54 H1 Trek Madone 7 series with Ultegra Di2 components.  The color is a custom CTS paint scheme with colors blue, black, and white.  It does have an older rear power tap wheel (Mavic rim 2.4SL powertap).  It also has a Motorola MOTOACTV attached to the stem.  It has a black seat bag with skulls on it and I have a sticker with the name “Tullous” on the top tube.

This is not the exact bike, but the same paint  and look.
This is not the exact bike, but the same paint and look.

Due to the unique paint and his name, this one should be easier to spot than most bikes.