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By Bill Plock

March 25th, 2024–Sierra Vista, Arizona—The three-day El Tour de Zona offers cyclists tastes of the Wild West, the mining era boom and bust, and a sense of community in Sierra Vista, a town created to serve the vast military community nestled at the base of 8,000-foot snow-capped peaks. The backdrop for the camping community created for this three-day bike tour is perfect for adventurous cyclists who want fun routes and lots of history. With plenty of space and facilities for an RV, tent, or trailer, campers/cyclists enjoy a daily beer garden with several bands and food trucks. And with many hotels nearby lodging is easy for this tour.

Back to Sierra Vista from Bisbee

Cyclists ride to the spectacular Ramsey Canyon in the shadows of Ramsey Peak on day one on Friday. On day two riders make a loop after stopping halfway at Bisbee and on day three cyclists enjoy a closed road to Tombstone. Here is a link to all the routes.

303cycling partnered with Primal Weara sponsor and supplier El Tour de Zona to capture content for the tour.

The surprise of the ride, to me, is Bisbee Arizona—“the queen of the Copper camps.” A time capsule in ways. A rugged mining town founded in the early 1900s, the town is built on steep hills. Steps connect blocks. Streets curve like a wet noodle with room for one car at a time. Art is everywhere. On paper, on bricks, on adobe and just woven into every sense you have. But the town is art itself simply by how it carved its way into the rocks and hills. Churches and boutique hotels soar above endless galleries and saloons. At an elevation of 5,000 feet, it is a bit more mild, and only 10 miles from Mexico it seems hard to believe that they have snow once in a while. Cyclists climb out of town on the old twisty highway. From there is down into the fertile valley with infinite views back to Sierra Vista.

The third day, I’ll call it the day of legends, takes cyclists to the storied town of Tombstone. The home of the OK Corral and numerous movies and books is pretty cool. The dirt main street with old buildings, while certainly maintained, appeared not fabricated to resemble what the town used to look like. It was simply the town preserved. The story is once the silver crisis hit in 1893, the town became practically abandoned. And like the thousands of planes in Tucson air graveyards, the desert protected the gem of the legendary gunfight that shapes our imagination of what the Old West was like—right or wrong. It’s a little cheesy with re-enactments of the gunfight and the stagecoach rides, but it feels mostly real and is a fun time capsule. The story of the OK Corral and the notorious gunfight and gangsters really became mainstream when the book Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshall was released in 1931. Its popularity created a thirst for discovering legends and stories of the gunfight and the rich history around it. It’s fun to feel it in person.

Back in “camp” each day, the El Tour de Zona brings the stories of the day to the campfire with a pint of locally made, legendary Dragoon Beer. I enjoyed the music and when the sun set creating postcard scenes, the locals came and listened to the music and the party and day continued. I sensed Sierra Vista gently values the cycling event and the entertainment created a nice connection to the town. The legends of yesterday, mixing with the adventures of the day and sharing familiarities of bikes, beers and bands is the El Tour de Zona.

#Bikes #Beer #Bands #West #Tour #Zona #303Endurance

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