Sunshine an average of 350 days per year, 630 miles of striped bike paths, more than 300 miles of trails, a flourishing triathlon and running community, several endurance sport-specific retail shops and a long list of can’t-miss restaurants that will make any foodie drool—Tucson is a triathlete’s paradise. Plus, with an average house sale price at just over $190,000, it’s one of the most affordable cities on this list. Yes, temperatures can get up into the triple digits in July and August, but “during those months local athletes either get up earlier to train before the heat of the day or we retreat up Mount Lemmon to the cooler temps and shade of the pine trees,” explains Amy Dillon, Tucson Tri Girls president.
In 2016 the Sahuarita Triathlon—held in May about 15 miles South of Tucson—will expand to a two-day event and include both sprint and Olympic distances. The Finis Triathlon at Patagonia Lake is held in late October and, according to Dillon, has earned a reputation as “the toughest Olympic and sprint in the state.” There are also several beginner-friendly triathlons—like the Oro Valley Sprint Triathlon Series—that utilize pools for the swim.
Don’t move here if…
Hometown long-distance races are important to you. The lack of lakes in the area means that you’ll have to travel about 100 miles to Tempe, Ariz., for the closest half-iron (a 70.3 in October) and iron-distance (an Ironman in November) opportunities.
Did you know?
Tucson is surrounded by five mountain ranges—the Rincon Mountains, Tucson Mountains, Santa Catalina Mountains, Santa Rita Mountains and Tortolita Mountains—that contain several state and national parks, making for plentiful opportunities to ride and run among some stunning alpine scenery.