Road Warriors Find Their Finish Lines

by Ilyasah Molina, beginning journalism

Road Warriors
Road Warriors at the finish line.

For the 17th year, Pueblo’s Road Warriors participated in the world-renowned El Tour de Tucson, which was held on Saturday, Nov. 17; three students and three faculty members were among the more than 9,000 riders.

Seniors Andrew Romero and Jose Antonio Pesellin and junior Leo Parra, along with faculty members Mr. Ernesto Somoza (sponsor), Ms.Marie Little and Ms. Tina Bruce, all made it to their finish lines.

In the past, Somoza has bicycled from Oceanside, CA to San Diego, about 50 miles. He’s also cycled from the U.S.-Mexico border to Ensenada, Baja California.

Two Pueblo students, Pesellin and Parra, finished the 100-mile race, as did teacher Somoza and his sister, Melissa; Somoza’s father, ­­­­­Xavier Somoza, also participated.

“Practicing was easy,” Pesellin said, “but riding 100 miles was a bit challenging. After the race, I had to see an on-site medic because of the pain in my leg muscles.”

Parra said, “The race was tiring. It was tough, but it was really important to me to reach the finish line.” He added that he raced on his Scatante bike and completed the race in eight hours. Parra plans to beat his time next year as a returning member of Road Warriors.

Teacher Somoza completed the full 100-mile course—mostly to ensure that students would be safe and that they would finish the complete race.

Somoza has participated in many races in the past several years, including 50-miles rides in California.

Another teacher, yearbook and exceptional education teacher Little, participated in the event for the first time, finishing her 25-mile course.

“I will definitely be doing this [El Tour de Tucson] next year,” Little said, “and I will be challenging three of my family members to join me.”

Gabrielle Giffords with Andrew Romero
 Andrew Romero with Gabrielle Giffords.

El Tour de Tucson began in 1983 with just a few dozen riders. In the past several years, as many as 10,000 riders have participated in this event, held each year on the third Saturday in November. This year, a record number of riders dominated the streets of Tucson (an estimated 11,000) in different distance races.

“It’s not necessarily about finishing first, and El Tour de Tucson is not necessarily a race,” Little said. “Being part of the Road Warriors is about having fun. All of the training that prepares us for El Tour really is effective. We hope to get even more students and faculty members involved next year.”

Sponsor Ernesto Somoza also adamantly encourages students to join the Road Warriors Club if they are looking for something to do after school that’s a little bit different than just joining a sports team.

“Road Warrior members have the opportunity to meet other bicyclists in the community. Tucson is truly a bicycle-loving and bicycle-friendly city,” Somoza said.

He added that earlier this month, the club had a new member drive that added nine new cyclists who did not participate earlier this semester. These students will continue to participate in monthly rides until the end of the school year. Rides, which will last about five miles, will beheld on the first Thursday of each month from 3:45 until 5:30 p.m. No prior experience is required, Somoza said.

Somoza said that bicycling has been very therapeutic and allows his mind to rest, and he would like others to discover the mental and physical benefits of bicycling. “If I’m really stressed out, I just go hiking or biking,” he said. “This helps me take my mind off of the chaos in this world.”

Road Warriors Participate In Tour de Tucson 2013

Road Warriors pose for picture after ride.

Our very own Road Warriors participated in a rainy & chilly Tour de Tucson on Saturday, November 23, 2013.

The Road Warriors Club has been in existence since 2001 and every year since, Pueblo has been represented at El Tour de Tucson.  Please congratulate the following student riders and faculty volunteers  who rode in such inclement weather that day.

Road Warriors pose with faculty volunteers after event.

Here’s the results:

57 Miles
Luis Moctezuma Del Toro 3:54:18 (327-1002)
Michael Warner 4:07:21 (414-1002)
Kari Warner 4:59:07 (710-1002)

38 Miles
Nathaniel Gonzales 2:47:38 (205-953)
Amy Kijewski 2:50:29 (240-953)
Nathaniel Adams 2:50:29 (241-953)
Christian Quiñones 3:22:51 (482-953)

Road Warriors during their practice rides.

Tour De Tucson 2008

Road Warriors at the Finish Line
Road Warriors at the Finish Line

Every year our Road Warriors participate in the Tour de Tucson. We were well represented in this years race on November 22, with two groups participating in the 33-mile and 66-mile start lines. Pueblo students and teachers trained together for this event by organizing weekend bike rides.

As one of the few high schools that take part in this Tucson event, we are proud of all of you that represented Pueblo High by completing your route.

Road Warriors starting at the 66-mile Line
Road Warriors starting at the 66-mile Line

Well done Road Warriors, we look forward to cheering for you next year…