Arizona Desert Camp March 2023
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Since 1996, PAC Tour has been offering different tour weeks out of Tucson, Arizona. Each year the weeks differ to provide a variety of roads and cycling challenges. Details here about road conditions at Desert Camp!
First time registering for Desert Camp? Read about Dale Johnson's experience! Read it here
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 Booklet will be emailed after December 1st.
Country Inn and Suites, 6681 Tucson Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85756
Reservations call: (520)741-9000
You can book early!
What's Included for Desert Camp?
Arrive in Tucson and saddle up for a tour filled with sizzlin' southwest history every day! The first day we ride 54 miles to the artist community of Tubac and sleep at the Tubac Golf Resort. Next day onto Patagonia with our stop at the Stage Stop Inn! The following morning we'll head out on an easy 56 miles through the wine country of Elgin before spending the evening walking the wooden sidewalks of historic Tombstone. Onto Bisbee with it's historical district shops and great restaurants. NEW in Bisbee - lunch and breakfast meals will be on your own. Benson is the last night on the road after we have lunch in Kartchner State Park. If you would like to visit the caverns you should should buy the ticket in advance.
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, please consider joining a longer mileage week of Arizona Desert Camp.
This week is for riders who want to ride long miles everyday but stay in one location for four nights. The first day's ride to Nogales offers a change in scenery then we head to Sierra Vista (Comfort Inn) for four nights. On the last day we ride back to Tucson. Daily rides can be customized for riders with specific intensity. Evening cycling programs will be provided on a variety of topics. Each day will offer 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.
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. 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
This week combines our favorite route sections from previous Mountain and Chiricahua Weeks. On our way to Douglas, the route descends off Mule Pass into the funky town of Bisbee where riders can stop and have coffee or wander around the town. The tour includes two nights in Safford which will allow riders to ride 30 miles to the summit of Mt. Graham and back to Safford in one day (60 miles total). Then we will stay two nights in Willcox giving everyone the chance to ride to the top of Chiricahua Mountain and back in one day (88 miles total). 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. We ride past the Chiricahua Mountains on our way back to historic Tombstone!
Register early so you do not miss out. You will be 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:
The Desert Camp Rider Information Booklet PDF is emailed to registered riders after Dec 1st. If you require any information before then - call 612-804-9970
Register by Dec 31st and receive our custom Voler PAC Tour Desert Camp Jersey. All registrations include a T-Shirt. Bring a gently used book to swap at camp registration!
SAVE $$$ Ride, Sleep and Eat Option - Opt out of commemoratives and save $100 on your first week of Camp.
Save an additional $100 when you register for 2 weeks of PAC Tour Arizona Desert Camp as each additional week does not receive commemorative items such as jersey and clothing.
If you would rather not travel with your bike to camp - Rent a bike. Contact Tucson Bike Rentals - They offer several levels of road bikes. They can put together a bike that fits you with delivery and pick up at the Country Inn and Suites for $350 per week. Look at American made Bike Friday -the bike that folds and packs so your bike travels with you easily on the airlines or in your car!
Do not rent beach cruiser E Bikes!