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El Tour de Tucson rides again after 2020 hiatus

Organizers say turnout is among event's largest
After finishing their routes, thousands of cyclists celebrated near the finish line at Armory Park.
Posted at 5:11 PM, Nov 20, 2021

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — COVID-19 prevented El Tour de Tucson from happening in 2020, but it did not seem to slow down the event this fall.

Thousands of cyclists again took over Tucson-area streets on Saturday, with El Tour organizers saying 6,500 cyclists participating across all routes—one of the highest turnouts in event history.

The 102-mile route started downtown in Armory Park before moving east to Old Spanish Trail just outside Saguaro National Park. It then dipped south and swung through the Sahuarita and Green Valley area before looping back up to the finish line at Armory Park.

Riders say the new route this year felt fast without too many uphill climbs. Both the men’s and women’s winners finished in under four hours.

Jesus Amaya also accomplished that feat, finishing 22nd overall in the preliminary results.

“Shaved about an hour off time from 2019, I think,” he said. “I did a lot of work and feel really good about how I did. So, pretty stoked.”

“It was hard,” Marty Vaughn said after finishing the route. “It was my first hundred [mile] since high school, so like ten years. So, that was a blast. I mean, there’s a lot of good people out there who work together. So it was great.”

Ken Hodge was one of the many riders in Tucson from out of state, though the cyclist from San Diego had already done El Tour twice before.

“This is a great, beautiful place to come to, and I love coming back here,” he said.

Thousands of other riders conquered the 57 or 28-mile routes.

While for others it was more about supporting loved ones than hopping on a bike themselves.

Marissa Ray-Reyes and her father came to Tucson from Ohio, with Marissa holding a sign at the finish line to support her dad.

“I love my dad, he’s a great dad and I love that I get to cheer him on in this race,” she said.