Adding Mt. Lemmon Route (Tucson, AZ)

Hi! This has been on my mind to ask Zwift if they would create and add Mt. Lemmon in Tucson, Arizona to their menu of routes. It would be an incredible addition to the cycling world on Zwift. Besides the climbing, Mt. Lemmon offers stunning scenery which would make a very impressive virtual route.

Sadly, on June 5th, a lightening strike hit the Santa Catalina mountains and over 100,000 acres were consumed and the fire while so much smaller currently, it is still burning. Watching the mountains burn, the amazing hero fire crews work to contain this devastating fire has been very emotional to witness.

Mt. Lemmon and most of the mountain range is closed until Nov. It is dangerous to be on the mountains until a lot of clean up happens and also it is monsoon season so the threat of mudslides and flooding on and at the base of the mountains is a serious concern. GABA which holds the Mt. Lemmon Hill Climb event in October had turned the event into a virtual event due to COVID-19, register and to do on your own, no SAG. Now the closure of the route presents another obstacle to do this virtually.

Mt. Lemmon is hugely popular to cyclists and one of the most sought after climbs in North America. I would love to see Zwift support Mt. Lemmon and the cycling community especially now due the impact of the fires and Mt. Lemmon being closed.

Fingers Crossed! This would be epic to add to Zwift!

Unfortunately there are thousands of Zwifters who think that there are specific areas/roads that should be added to Zwift. So, I would guess this is as unlikely as any of the others. Outside of Watopia, new Zwift roads appear to be related to some event (World Championships, Tour de France, Olympics, etc.). So, if you really want Mt. Lemmon added to Zwift, your best bet is likely to be to get the Olympics to be held in Tucson. :wink:

3 Likes

Nigel, You can’t catch a fish if you don’t put your line in the water. While your points may be very valid in chances of it happening, I am throwing my line in the water hoping that I catch that Mt. Lemmon fish in Zwift. I’d rather ask and take real action by putting it out there for votes and support than ride my bike on the roads and in Zwift just thinking about it.

Thanks for your insight. :slight_smile: Wink!

Why should Zwift add Mt Lemmon to its distinct and challenging assortment of alpine climbs?

Mt Lemmon in Tucson, AZ is nationally recognized as a top cycling “must do” destination. The 28 mile, 5% avg grade, and 6,000 ft total elevation gain route is a breath-taking tour of several distinct environmental biomes; from the dry desert floor with its iconic Saguaro cacti, to the often cloud encircled, pine forest peaks.

Bicycling Magazine ranked Mt Lemmon as the #2 Hardest Hill Climb in the World (24 Oct 2019). This publication also recognized it as a Winter Desert Classic Ride (23 Jan 2012) pointing out its lush and dramatic vegetation evolution as “saguaro cacti and mesquite trees give way to cool pine forests, brisk air, and dramatic windblown igneous rock formations” and descending “along the velvety-smooth road…sweeping, no-brakes descent.

Outside Online (Spring 2018) confirmed that “the 20-mile, 5,000-foot ascent of Mt. Lemmon must surely be one of the only places in the Lower 48 where you can ride an alpine ascent in shorts in January”

Canadian Cycling Magazine Online included Mt Lemmon in their Sunshine Pro: Ultimate Training Guide (2 April 2019). “Mount Lemmon is ideal for long intervals and you will be able to recover between efforts because it’s not too steep.”

The Denver Post (2 Mar 2011) points out the mountain’s allure for professional teams. “Mount Lemmon is the prime reason so many professional European cyclists come to Tucson for winter training. And it is the reason Lance Armstrong rented a house here several winters ago.”

AFAR Online (12 Oct 2018) confirms the Peloton’s fascination with this assent. “At Tucson’s northeast corner, Mount Lemmon is a dream ride for many serious road cyclists and has long been a training destination for Tour de France racers who need sustained two- to four-hour climbs at a 5 to 6 percent grade.”

Cycling Tips Online (Feb 2020) describes the unique scenery from a geological standpoint. “Sky Island is a term for an isolated mountain surrounded by a vastly different climate – in most cases, desert. The term originated in the American Southwest where 12-14,000 years ago, the climate warmed and dried the valley floors. Isolated mountains retained unique biodiversity especially in contrast to the desert floor below. On Mount Lemmon, you pass through four distinct life zones from cactus of Sonora Mexico, to alpine conifer found in Southern Canada. The vertical gain means you pass through several different climate zones, from sparse desert to tall pines, saguaro cactus gives way to pine forest and unique hoodoo rock formations. Closer to the summit, riders are greeted to a new ecosystem of aspen trees and crisp mountain air. Upon arrival at the summit you can visit the alpine ski resort of Ski Valley and the village of Summerhaven including the famous Cookie Cabin and General Store’s fresh made fudge!

6 Likes

I want Mt Lemmon on Zwift so Phil Gaimon will lose his KOM :joy:

1 Like