By Russell Finsterwald
I’m in Tucson living the dream and enjoying every minute of warm, desert sun! My condolence to everyone back home in Colorado, and elsewhere, suffering through frigid temperatures.
Cyclists from throughout North America migrate here every winter and spring making it easy to find plenty of riding buddies and creating the perfect mix for some of the best group rides I’ve done.
It's thus not surprising that one of most famous group rides in the country starts in town. Every Saturday at 7:30am (yeah, you read that correctly!) The Shootout departs for close to 100 miles of race-pace fun. It's not unusual to see 100 or more spandex-clad cyclists out trying to inflict maximal suffering on each other on this ride. It's a great way to get high-intensity work in the legs, and getting in 100 miles in by 1pm leaves plenty of time for pool-side relaxation.
This is my 5th year coming to Tucson, but my first time staying on the west side. This has allowed me to mix things up and explore different trails. There's a fairly new trail network in the Tortolita Mountains just north of town. The trails here are constantly being maintained by a crew of two, so you can always expect immaculate single track. I’ve been really enjoying one trail in particular called Wild Mustang. It seriously has everything! There's technical climbing and fast and flowy descents punctuated by numerous rock features. Each time down I’ve gotten closer and closer to clearing everything - just one more rock section to go!
I plan to GoPro the trail next time I ride it, so keep your eyes peeled!