2015 Desert Camp Information
We will begin each tour from the Country Inn and Suites Hotel located 1/2 mile from the Tucson Airport. Your arrival hotel room on Saturday night is included inTucson. Your departure hotel room is included the last night of the tour. A hotel shuttle bus is available to bring you and your bike to the hotel. You will be able to ship and store your hardshell bike case at the Country Inn and Suites Tucson. Rider information Packets will be emailed around December 15th after you register.
The Country Inn and Suites Hotel will take your reservations should you wish to arrive early or stay over a few nights.
If you would rather not travel with your bike to camp - you have an option of renting a bike. Contact Jessie Menard of Cycle Tucson at www.cycletucson.com. They can put together a bike that fits you and will deliver and pick up the bike at the Country Inn and Suites.
Arrive in Tucson and saddle up for a tour filled with sizzlin' southwest history every day! The first day we ride 49 miles to the Old Sonoita Inn. This inn was built in the style of a horse barn to honor the famous race horse Secretariat. The following morning we'll head out on an easy 55 miles through the wine country of Elgin before spending an evening walking the wooden sidewalks of historic Tombstone.
This tour is for riders who are looking for a fun cycling holiday. It's the easiest Desert Camp Week. You'll enjoy this tour more if you can average 10 mph to have more time to explore the old southwest along the way. If you want to train for racing and average faster than 15 mph you should not attend this week. Please consider joining a longer mileage week of Desert Camp.
Starting in Tucson this tour heads northwest into the lower desert west of Phoenix. This area has a perfect climate in February with warmer days and fewer mountains than any other Desert Camp routes. The huge Saguaro Cactus are a trademark of this region where hundreds of cactus have stood for over 200 years. The network of back roads make an out and back destination through the towns of Casa Grande, Gila Bend and Wickenburg. If you are looking for a tour without major climbs (but still longer miles) this is a good preseason training week through the scenic desert of the southwest.
This week is for intermediate to experienced riders. All riders should be able to ride more than 50 miles in 4 hours with stops.
This week is a cross between our popular Mountain Tour with more time to ride the beautiful Chiricahua Mountains. The 15 mile climb to the Chiricahua Monument is considered one of the best roads in the region. You will spend 2 nights in Willcox and 2 nights in Historic Bisbee so you can customize shorter or longer routes if you wish. You also get to visit quirky Tombstone!
This week is for experienced riders. All riders should be able to ride more than 50 miles in 4 hours with stops.
There are several historical hotels in Bisbee and we will be using several of them to accomodate the group size. Please register early!
This week is for riders who want to ride long miles everyday, but stay at one location during the week. The first day ride to Sierra Vista - our base hotel is the Holiday Inn Express. On the last day we ride back to Tucson. Daily rides can be customized for riders with specific interests. Evening cycling entertainment and programs will be provided on a variety of topics. Each day will offer longer and shorter routes with 60-100 mile options.
The riders at this camp will range from intermediate to experienced. All riders should be able to ride 50 miles in 4 hours with stops.
This year Jennifer Wise from Randonneurs USA will be conducting evening meetings regarding Paris Brest Paris - qualifying, registering and answering general questions regarding the RUSA organization.
There's no question that Chiricahua is a tough climb, but I would say that it has some steeper parts and some less steep parts, so it's not just a continuous slog (like Mt Ventoux in southern France). The first few miles are relatively gentle as the scenery starts to change from desert to more forest and you get your first view of the unusual rock formations. To break it up, riders can stop at the Park Service visitor center, which has bathrooms and interesting displays. The middle part of the climb is deep in a forested canyon, which can be cooler than on the desert floor. Sometimes, water is flowing in a small creek bed and you get more close-up views of the bizarre formations. The last few miles are a bit steeper, but still not as steep as parts of the Mt Graham climb from Mountain Week. This stretch is also very rewarding because of the expansive views and switchback road that clings to the hillside. Riders are back into the open at this point and you can see the twisting road up ahead. There is a nice parking lot at the top, surrounded by miles of rock formations, with interpretive displays and short hikes to overlook vista points. In sum, while this is clearly a good climb, I've rarely been on a climb that is as rewarding as Chiricahua and best of all, there is very little traffic. The descent is thrilling, but with excellent smooth pavement, so it takes only a fraction of time to get down.
Concerning the Chiricahua Climb
by Charles Breer
Mountain Tour returns! This is the hardest desert camp tour week with 7 full riding days. The route weaves out to Safford, NM where Mt. Graham lies to the south. A winding 35-mile-long road that climbs steeply up the southern flank of 10,717-foot-high Mount Graham is the highlight and challenge of this week.
Back by popular demand - register early so you are not disappointed.
The training base for riders attending Desert Camp is different than for riders joining our other cross country tours. Most riders are coming from winter climates. They are unable to ride outside during the three months before Camp. These riders can still arrive at Camp ready to ride. Here are some fitness goals:
Register by Dec 1st and receive our custom voler desert camp jersey. All registrations include a cool PAC TOUR commemorative and a cycling book.
SAVE $$$ Ride, Sleep and Eat Option
Opt out of commemoratives and save $100 on your first week of Desert Camp.
Save an additional $100 when you register for 2 weeks of desert camp as each additional week does not receive commemorative items such as jersey or clothing.
The Bike Friday founder, Alan Scholz will be back to enjoy the desert sun and mingle with his current customers. "Bike Friday is an organic company in the truest sense of the word."
PAC Tour is proud to be associated with this fine company.