El Tour de Tucson 2021 kicks off after yearlong hiatus

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 6:01 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -After a year away, El Tour de Tucson is back again. The expo and weekend kicked off Thursday, while the big ride is this Saturday.

While the vibe and atmosphere are the same, there are some changes, like the route. This year, riders will head south and will go through Sahuarita and the pecan trees.

“You know, just mix it up a little bit. We had panned it before the ride was postponed with the pandemic, so again, it’s just something a little bit different,” said T.J. Juskiewiscz, the executive director of El Tour de Tucson.

Some riders were excited for the change, and to see more of southern Arizona’s beauty.

“You know, I’m excited about the new route,” said Rick Leeman, who is riding in the race. “It’s nice that we’re not going North and West…it’s just a nice change on scenery this year.”

Organizers said about 6,500 people signed up to ride this year, about 800 of those are kids. In 2019, there were a little more than 5,000 riders, so certainly an uptick.

“It’s nice. It seems like things are getting back to some kind of normal. It’s also been nice to see like so many more people seem to be out riding their bike out on the loop out here,” said Chris Steele, riding the 102 this year.

For some, it’s about more than just an exercise or a ride. It’s a bonding experience. Jason Schlottman and Pam North, a mother and son team riding this year, were excited to spend time together and ride before Schlottman graduates from the University of Arizona.

“My son’s getting ready to graduate from the U of A, so this might be his last year in Tucson, who knows, so this might be the last chance I get to spend some quality time with him for a while,” said North.

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