Thousands of cyclists will get the opportunity during this year’s El Tour de Tucson on Nov. 22, when Marcotte and McCabe will start dead last in the 104 mile course. Once the Tour begins, they’ll try to pass as many riders as they can to raise funds in the LOOK! Save a Life / Arizona “Ride to Save Lives.”
“It would be pretty crazy if we ended up catching the front, but I think we’ll catch most (riders),” Marcotte told Clipped In.
That’s hardly boasting for Marcotte, who won El Tour de Tucson three times as an elite amateur rider before turning professional last year. He and McCabe, who recently re-signed with SmartStop Pro Cycling for the 2015 season, took first and second at the 2014 U.S. Pro Road National Championships and scored multiple podiums in other professional races.
But Marcotte and McCabe don’t view this year’s El Tour de Tucson as a race.
Instead, they’re seeking to raise awareness and money for a very personal cause – ending the preventable injury and deaths of thousands of cyclists every year who are hit by automobiles. They were invited to join the El Tour “Ride to Save Lives” by Tucson firefighter Brendan Lyons, who was traumatically struck, along with his girlfriend, while training for El Tour last year.
Marcotte, a Scottsdale chiropractor, has seen first-hand the effects of auto-cyclist encounters.
“It changes everything for most people,” he said. “Whether it’s a hip or back or arm, they’re stuck with that broken part for the rest of their lives.”
Marcotte and McCabe, who spend countless hours on the road, also have personal stories of near misses.
“I don’t think I’ve ever done a ride where I haven’t woken up and thought, ‘I don’t’ have to worry about cars today,” Marcotte said. “I’ve never been on a road bike and not had a situation where you’re too close for comfort. It just shouldn’t be that way.”
McCabe, who lives in Tucson, added: “I realize how quickly my life could change due to one inattentive driver. It’s a very frightening realization and it not only affects me, but anyone enjoying their bicycle.”
LOOK! Save a Life / Arizona is a supporting beneficiary for Perimeter Cycling’s 2014 El Tour de Tucson presented by Casino Del Sol resort.
Lyons and his girlfriend were struck by an inattentive driver in 2013 while training in Tucson. They were in a bike lane when a car traveling at 45 mph struck them from behind.
Today, Lyons is still recovering and has a “large passion” to keep other cyclists safe through the organization he founded, LOOK! Save a Life / Arizona, he said.
About 40 cyclists have signed up to ride for his organization in El Tour de Tucson, and Lyons said he hopes more will register before the Nov. 22 ride.
Learn more: pledgetosavelives.com.