Add Box to the Bucket

Box Canyon proved to be a worthy bucket list challenge.  Us old timers think of this route as Greaterville but whichever guise it’s referred to, it gave us another memorable day in the saddle.  The recently flooded dirt road gave us fits and flats a plenty. We did however, profit from overcast weather which cooled off typical summer temperatures.


Many of the team members hadn’t experienced this slice of cycling paradise.  Beautiful landscapes, twisting mountain roads, and incredible views made it worthwhile.  I did however notice the contrast in increasing off road vehicular traffic to compared with a few decades ago.


Unfortunately our other bucket list ride this month to summit Mount Lemmon will have to wait as the road closure will force a change of plans.  Instead we will head west to what I think is an under-appreciated ride to 3 Points and loop back via Diamond Bell Ranch Road/Sierrita Mountain road.


A group will depart 6am for 72 miles.  Optional return over Gates will add another 5;


B and C group will depart 6am for 50 miles.


The rest of the week remains unchanged on the Genius here;


Coach Luke has returned from his trip up North and we look forward to hearing about his adventures and his presence on the rides.  Welcome home, Luke.


I would also like to take a moment to thank our volunteer coaches; Jim Averill returns from a crash a few months ago after doing shoulder damage.  Ken Clark and Jeff Christiansen have been very helpful on both mountain and road bike rides.  Lastly,  huge props for Cara O’Neil and Rene Ortega for being the rock stars that they are.   A very big El Grupo thank you!

This week.

We had a great turnout today.  I greatly enjoyed the Robles mountain bike trails. We will continue cross training maintenance after some of the rides that will compose of simple balance, core, and stretching.


Saturday will be our first bucket list ride.  This will be a full century with the gravel section of Box Canyon.   I’ll be using a gravel bike, but road bike with sturdy tires will probably be sufficient.  Box canyon ride will necessitate 2 spare tubes each, lots of water, snacks and some store stop cash so please be prepared.  Not all team members will be ready for such a massive undertaking, so we will have a shorter ride options planned.  Please confirm with Coach Gord your intention to do the century Box Canyon ride by Friday afternoon.  Note that Box Canyon riders will need to arrive extra early so we beat the heat as best as possible.  5:30am departure!!



Here is the A group 101 mile Box Canyon ride which will depart 5:30am from clubhouse;


Here is the B group 54 mile ride option at 6am;


Here is the C group 36 mile option at 6am;

Heating up.

Tucson is surely testing our capacity to endure summer’s heat and we’ve done a great job continuing practices on mtb, road, and in the shade of a very generous eucalyptus tree for our cross training at the Oury St. park.  Coach Ignacio has created a very effective resistance training circuit that is both challenging and fun.  It’s great to get off the bike and search for better balance, both mind and body.  We will continue these sessions next week.  Remember to try and bring a towel, and a water bottle.  We provide plenty of water, both to drink and to douse hair and clothing to keep us cool.   If you haven’t attended this session yet, I encourage you to come.  It’s tremendously rewarding.


We are briefed every few weeks by the NICA organizers and they’re still holding out hope that some kind of season will commence in the fall.   They are exploring ways to create a safe event that falls under state distancing guidelines.  We will certainly keep you apprised if any major announcements occur.


Maybe I’ve expressed this before, but I’m continually amazed by the team’s talent, passion and maturity.  I’m surely learning from the team as we navigate these difficult times and awaken to rising social issues.


I had many cycling heroes as I found my passion for the sport.  One of the Tour de France greats was Robert Millar.  After making the World Tour peloton, I could finally rub shoulders with riders that were once just images on the pages of magazines or on our old 20” television screen.  I realized that they were human, just like me.   Robert was in my eye a scrappy warrior with rare climbing ability, enough to earn the famed polka dot jersey.   What I learned after Robert’s career ended was even more compelling and inspiring.


This coming week’s practice schedule has changed slightly and emulates this past week.  We will continue with cross training on Tuesday and Thursday and both Ignacio and I encourage better attendance here.  Mountain bike ride on Wednesday and road ride on Saturday.  Sign Up Genius as follows;


Have a great rest of weekend!

Practices cancelled this week.

With statewide Covid-19 cases continuing to climb and coinciding with Governor Ducey’s most recent decisions to roll back closures, team El Grupo has decided to close the clubhouse and postpone practices this week and will assess resuming normal hours and programming on a week to week basis.  


I hope you had a wonderful Father’s Day Weekend.  We held a fun event up Redington Pass.  Along with the Trail’s End TT, we can re-visit this course later in the year in a different phase of fitness/training.  Here are the results;   Oliver 29:35 Sam    30:57 Jeff     30:58 Kaiden 34:20 Thorsten 36:07 Sawyer 37:12… Read more »

Diggin’ the Dirt

June practices are gaining momentum and attendance.  I’ve had a real pleasure learning how to mountain bike again, and with Team El Grupo’s talented riders leading by example, I’ve rediscovered a lost cycling discipline that’s both challenging and rewarding.   We will continue this with Wednesday shortrack day out at 36th street.  Note that we’ve… Read more »

June 1st news

June is here and with it our new cautious push to resume responsible group training.  Sign ups for practices are going well and we’d like for them to continue so we have a preview on how to proceed with smaller groupings.  Here are the overview and sign ups for June;   Arizona is… Read more »

June Practices and last chance for MayDay TT sign up

May has seemingly flown by despite having the pandemic slowing most daily functions.  Team El Grupo  carefully started programming with multiple interval workouts.  These were designed with limited numbers to adhere to cautious distancing protocols.  I’d like to thank all riders, coaches and volunteers for making the month enjoyable despite the challenges.   We will… Read more »