The Tour de Payson Returns on Saturday, May 8

By Bob Beane

What does Payson have in common with Paris-Roubaix, La Vuelta a Espana and Le Tour de France?

Well, within 50 miles of riding in Payson you can (1) cross a ¼ mile dirt/cobbled section of road…twice, (2) ride a climb that will remind you of a Vuelta route in southern Spain and (3) ride enough challenging climbs and smell enough pines to think you are in the Alps of Le Tour. Take all that, and add in two shallow water crossings (yes, your tires will be 1” to 6” under water), possible elk sitings and views of the Mogollon Rim, and you have the new Tour de Payson.

We are back after a hiatus since 2005, and this year will be a “low cost, low key, come ride and see” preview-of-coming-attractions ride. We start late (8:30 am) so you can drive up from the Valley or elsewhere that morning, or sleep in and have coffee if you come “up the hill” the night before. Route options will be available from 5 to 50+ miles, but remember as you choose your version that the starting altitude is 5,200 ft and the course is, as Paul Sherwen would say, “lumpy”. There is no required mass start, but we do hope to have several local guides available after the 8:00-8:30 am registration to lead an easy-paced warm-up circuit around town before the hill work begins.

This year’s ride fee will be a mere $15 per rider to cover insurance, SAG and volunteer mileage expenses (no profit intended). Lunch/beverages will be optional and on your own (not included) after the ride at a reserved section on the patio of Macky’s Grill (SW corner of Beeline Hwy and Old Main Street). So, drive up that morning and back by mid-afternoon, or make a weekend of it (plenty of hotel rooms available, and Saturday afternoon social activities are being planned). Look for details and registration info on the PMBC web site (www.pmbcaz.org) by the first week of April.

For questions after the official ride announcement in early April, call Bob Beane at 480-861-7750.