Fans of the annual El Tour de Tucson bike race have a new opportunity to explore the town of Marana this year.
The new ride, which is 28 miles long, will launch from Heritage River Park (12375 N. Heritage Park Drive) in Marana on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 1 p.m., as part of this year’s El Tour festivities.
The segment begins at the Marana park, before trekking southward on the Pima County Loop toward downtown Tucson, concluding at Tucson’s Armory Park.
Marana Mayor Ed Honea believes the town’s inclusion in the El Tour festivities will serve as an economic boon for the town.
“I think Marana’s a very healthy community,” Honea said. “A lot of healthy, young families. There’s a lot of seniors like me. But I think we have a lot of walking trails, and we want people to get out and exercise and have a good time.”
Honea believes the shorter event can elevate the second-largest town in Pima County.
“El Tour also has a financial [angle] to it; A bunch of people come to Marana for the one that starts there at Heritage Park,” Honea said. “And then there’s family members with everybody. They’ll eat at our restaurants, they’ll stay at our hotels.”
The event also offers an alternative to the longer 100-, 75- and 50-mile routes, while still offering a challenge, later start and easy parking. Organizers expect up to 1,000 riders to participate. The Town of Marana will host food trucks, a DJ and other festivities at a family-friendly event beginning at noon.