Ariana Dinu

At age 10, Scottsdale resident Ariana Dinu made history by becoming the youngest female to ever attempt and complete the 102 

Ariana Dinu has always loved riding her bike and competition. 

She first learned how to ride when she was 4 and nearly three years later, she was taking her bike to distances that challenge adults. 

Now she has achieved something few adults can – becoming the youngest female to complete the 102-mile El Tour de Tucson.

“When I was 6, I saw some bikers in my neighborhood that were practicing for a tour and I knew at that moment that I wanted to do the same thing,” Ariana said. 

She began waking up early with her dad to practice for her first race – the 30-mile El Tour de Scottsdale. After medaling in it, Ariana was hungry to do it again but further. 

Her mom began looking at races and discovered a 50-mile race, El Tour de Tucson. 

Ariana jumped at the opportunity to saddle up for 50 miles alongside her father Valentin. 

While winning “The Conquistador” trophy for being the youngest female in that event, she heard of a longer race that motivated her to set a long-term goal – a race that is over twice the length and on a higher incline than anything she had ever ridden before. 

This motivated her to want to ride 100 miles by the time she was 10 – “a century by 10” as she calls it. 

“My dad and I would wake up early every weekend and go biking around the Scottsdale area up to Dynamite when we wanted to practice uphill riding or to Tempe on the Greenbelt,” Ariana said. “The main things we focused on were the cadence, speed, mileage, nutrition, hydration and change in elevation.” 

On Nov. 21, Ariana saddled up alongside her father for the longest race of her life, the 102-mile Tour de Tucson. 

Her day started at 7 a.m. and was filled with a mix of excitement and nerves that ultimately subsided the moment she began peddling. 

“On the way, I saw a few people give up and begin walking their bikes, but I knew that wasn’t an option for me,” Ariana said. “My parents had always taught me to focus on the target and if I set my heart and mind to it, I’d be able to make it as long as I never gave up.” 

Along the way Ariana and Valentin had plenty of water along with packets of apple sauce and mom’s homemade brownies to keep them energized and hydrated for the long race. 

There were aid stations along the ride but Ariana did not stop at any of them as she knew stopping would only hinder her from finishing in under 9 hours, when the race ultimately ended. 

Ariana crossed the finish line exactly 8 hours and 56 minutes from the moment her chain cranked and she began the trek, making her the youngest female athlete to attempt and successfully complete El Tour de Tucson. 

“I did this so that I could prove to other girls out there that they could set the bar high and push the limits as long as they put their heart and mind to it, work really hard, focus on the target and never ever give up,” she said. 

Like her bike, Ariana has only moved forward since making history. 

She plans to ride 60 miles at the beginning of April in Mesa alongside her sister. 

She has recently taken a liking to running and swimming and is training to compete in a triathlon with the goal of competing in the Iron Man triathlon series. 

In the meantime, she plans to spend her time away from competing by enjoying being a kid. 

“I bike to school every day with my sister and my dad and whenever we practice, it’s on the weekends so that I still have enough time to get my schoolwork done and have fun with my family,” she said. 

Overall, there is one thing that excites Ariana more than anything in the world. 

“I look forward to every day that I get to ride my bike,” she said. 

While her life has remained steady since the feat, Ariana hopes that she is able to inspire others with her accomplishments. 

“I would like for every kid out there, especially every girl, to know that they can set the bar high if they try hard and never give up,” she said.