University Medical Center El Tour de Tucson presented by Diamond Ventures is the official name.
Most of us know it as El Tour de Tucson.
Now in its 28th year, the ride starts shortly after sunrise on Saturday.
Cyclists are only part of the nearly 40,000 people expected to participate in one way or the other - cheering or volunteering along the 109-mile course.
According to the Perimeter Bicycling Association of America Inc., 8,228 cyclists rode in last year's event, and as of press time this year's numbers were slightly ahead. That puts Saturday's event on track for having the second- or third-highest ridership to date. The biggest year was 2007 at 9,122.
The 109-mile start line - and finish line for all events - will be downtown near the Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone Ave.
The adjacent El Tour Downtown Fiesta will have food vendors, the Michelob Ultra Beer Garden, El Tour Perimeter Store merchandise booth and music throughout the day.
Linda Dugan, Perimeter Bicycling's art and merchandise director, has ridden the event and has seen it grow.
"There's something for everybody," she said. "It's about wellness and fitness."
Places to watch
The 109-mile route goes counterclockwise, first heading south from Jácome Plaza downtown.
• The top of Rancho Vistoso Boulevard at Innovation Park Drive. The 40-milers will be "piling out."
• Near Silverbell and Twin Peaks roads, where the riders will be coming down from Rattlesnake Pass.
• Sunrise Drive and Swan Road: Cyclists will be coming west on Sunrise Drive and barreling toward Swan Road. Plus, there's a lot of parking, shopping centers and eateries at that intersection while you're waiting.
More El Tour info
Things kick off at Jácome Plaza downtown at 7 a.m. when the 109-milers take off on North Church Avenue at Pennington Street.
The next three starts take place at remote locations.
• The Sargent Aerospace and Defense 79-mile El Tour starts at 9 a.m. at Pima Community College East Campus, at East Irvington Road and South Enke Drive.
• The Intuit 66-mile El Tour starts at 10:30 a.m. at Morris K. Udall Center on Tanque Verde Road just east of Sabino Canyon Road.
• The Sanofi-Aventis/Lantus 40-mile El Tour, which is five miles longer this year and has a new sponsor, starts at 12:30 p.m. from 2090 E. Innovation Park Drive in Oro Valley.
JUST FOR FUN
Three Diamond Children's Fun Rides begin at 8 a.m. Saturday downtown at the 109-mile start: You can also register that morning.
• 6-mile course includes the Rattlesnake and Basket bridges.
• 3-mile course features an easy, flat route around downtown Tucson.
• Quarter-mile course is especially for cyclists on tricycles or training wheels, or babies in trailers.
FITNESS AND HEALTH EXPO
• Sanofi-Aventis/Lantus El Tour Bike, Fitness and Health Expo: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. today; and 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday at the Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave.
You don't have to be registered, or even a cyclist, to enjoy this expo. It's free and features more than 100 booths with all sorts of sports and fitness products, clothing, exercise equipment, nutritional products, free samples and, of course, cycling gear.
STILL TIME TO RIDE
You can register to ride through Friday at El Tour's Bike, Health and Fitness Expo at the Tucson Convention Center. Pricing ranges from $15 for youth 12 and younger up to $140 for any of the 40- to 109-mile events for adults. More info at www.perimeterbicycling.com
DID YOU KNOW?
El Tour raised $1,802,658 last year for more than a dozen charities. This year's proceeds will go to Tu Nidito Children and Family Services and 11 other Perimeter Bicycling charities.
Indoor El Tour
For people who don't have time on Saturday or prefer to ride a stationary bike, the LeMond Fitness Indoor El Tour might be for you.
Using the honor system, cyclists ride a stationary bike in their home, in the gym or wherever. They ride for minutes instead of miles.
Participants can ride any time through Saturday, and the cost to register starts at $15.
Go to www.perimeterbicycling.com for more info or to register.