The Main Stream

Nov 15, 2012 9:10 PM by John Patrick

Thousands preparing for the 30th El Tour de Tucson

TUCSON - Thousands of cyclists are preparing for the 30th annual El Tour De Tucson getting underway this weekend.

Riders from all over the world have met at the Tucson Convention Center to register, get race information and visit with over 100 vendors. It's estimated that around 30,000 spectators, vendors and cyclists will converge on Southern Arizona to take part in El Tour de Tucson.

Nine thousand will be cyclists from all different skill levels participating in the race. They will choose from fun 5 to 10 mile courses all the way up to the main event, which is 111 miles.

Doug Ellis a first timer to the El Tour de Tucson was getting registered for the big race at the Sanofi Expo and Packet Pick up.

Ellis says, "I've Been trying to train properly, as like anybody I'm a busy guy so I haven't been able to train like I wanted to but I'm sure that's a common story this weekend."

For others this year's tour is just another notch in the belt. The Van Renterghem's are a couple that have been around since the beginning and say that this will be their 19th Tour de Tucson.

Van Renterghem says, "I rode the first El Tour. Raced the first three and then we decided ah heck and we went out on our tandem."

Some people are taking good advantage of the race to raise money for a worthy cause. Bob McKenzie, a rider from Tulsa, is part of Rotary International and is making his second trip to the tour.

McKenzie explains, "I'm coming to ride for rotary and we're raising money to eliminate Polio from the world."

Booths set up at the tour expo aren't only aimed at products and apparel but awareness as well. Brendon Lyons a local firefighter and safety advocate with Look! Save a Life was at the expo to spread awareness on cyclist safety.

Lyons who was struck by a vehicle while riding a bike explains, "There is often this disconnect between cyclists and drivers."

Being a firefighter Lyons explains he has been on too many vehicle versus bicycle calls and says, "Anytime you go on a collision versus bicyclist it seems like it could have been prevented. So as a cyclist we should always ride to abreast, don't oppose traffic and encourage others to wear a helmet."

To find out more on this year's El Tour de Tucson visit their website here.

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