So work was good enough to be hosting a Geostatistics training course in Tucson with the renowned Clayton van Deutsch and I was invited to join in. This proved to be a great learning tool but also provided an opportunity for me to be in town over the following weekend when the el Tour de Tucson was taking place. The el Tour allows for cyclists to choose one of 4 distances from 40 to 111 miles with the later basically covering a lap of the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona. This ride had 9000-ish people coming from about 18 countries this year and all USA states.
The upside of the ride is that it is quite scenic. Tucson is surrounded by mountain ranges in pretty much all directions, but the ride itself was reasonably flat, though there were some rolling hills throughout. But as a fan of the Saguaro cactus and the Mesquite trees, it was a good ride. Especially as the day was overcast and not too cool or warm. And the breeze was pretty reasonable until about 145 km in when we turned east and hit it. Then the next 25 km on some cracked roads was not good for the buttocks either.
The last few kilometers did involve smoother roads and when you know there isn't long left it makes it a lot easier to find that last burst of energy as well. So the pace picked up, the enthusiasm lifted, and the smiles returned. After crossing the line there was a recovery area, complete with beers, foods, massages and music which had a very festival atmosphere. People were happy relaxing, sharing stories, working away the previous hours of pain, and generally enjoying the achievement of finishing an (almost entirely) enjoyable days riding.