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By the numbers: Wang ready to take on El Tour for the second time; first to register for Nov. 23 ride

Zida Wang couldn’t wait to join this year’s El Tour de Tucson.

Could. Not. Wait!


So much so he was the first one to register for the 41st ride of El Tour on Nov. 23, 2024. At noon on Wednesday – just as registration opened – Wang was in.

He’s back for a reason: he loved his first ride in El Tour which was in last year’s where more than 9,000 cyclists took to the Tucson streets.

 Zida Wang (center) photo courtesy of Zida Wang

“It felt pretty good, and it was the first big event I had ever ridden in or involved (himself) with cycling,” said Wang, a 27-year-old PhD student at the University of Arizona. He’s from China.

“It was pretty amazing. I really loved the environment. I was able to ride with people (a group). Normally, I just ride by myself, and I don’t have teammates. So, it was a pretty nice experience.”

He registered just days on the heels of riding in Tour de Scottsdale, where he rode 62 miles. Two big rides in just a few months.

“That was much harder than El Tour de Tucson,” he said. “But still a really good ride.”

He finished in 3 hours, 12 minutes.

It was about the same time he rode El Tour – both of which were enjoyable to him even though he’s new to the to the sport, having picked it up within the last year and decided to train for El Tour. He rode 62 miles last year. He finished in 3 hours, seven minutes. He finished 250th out of more than 2,100 cyclists.

Not bad for a first-year cyclist. For both Tour de Scottsdale and El Tour de Tucson.

He’ll be back hoping to improve that time.

“I’m hoping and my goal is (within) three (hours),” he said. ”

And, well, there was another reason why he wanted to be first to register: he wanted to be one of the first to get No. 1.

“I wanted to be the first one to see if I could get a special number,” he said. “Last year I got 6661 and that’s a good number but, …”

He wanted a lower number.

In fact, he intended – or at least hoped – he’d be the first one to enter, thinking if he were the first to join in, he’d get the No. 1

Sorry to say it doesn’t work like that, but in our hearts, Zida will be No. 1 for 2024. There’s something to be said for being the first – of many so far – to register for our big ride on Nov. 23.