Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tucson Training

Old Spanish Trail, Oracle, Gates Pass, Kitt Peak, Madera Canyon, Mt. Lemmon, Colossal Cave, Saguaro National Park, Rancho Vistoso, Catalina Highway, Sonoita Pass, Picture Rocks...

It's been another great training trip to the southwestern desert city of Tucson. I was connected with a friend of friend who lives right downtown in the Armory Park neighborhood, so I was in striking distance of the U of A pool and the start of all group rides. I used to pass through Tucson on my way south to Mexico during spring break, well before I even considered the cycling possibilities. Starting last year, I was able to break away from work long enough to explore some of the roads and get a much needed respite from the snowy Colorado winter. This year I went back with a little more knowledge of the rides and runs, and was able to log some good training despite some rough weather.

I spent a couple days in Scottsdale, riding on parts of the Ironman course and enjoying a run in McDowell Mountain Park before heading down to Tucson. My first days were challenging, trying to time rides properly to dodge the rainy weather, but swimming at the outdoor pool at the university was a nice change of scenery. I have always been able to deal decently well with adverse weather on bike rides, but starting rides in the rain is demoralizing. Fortunately, the meteorologists were about a half day behind on their predictions, so even as parts of Arizona experienced their worst winter storm in 17 years, most of the rain in Tucson fell at night, and I found windows each day. Runs along the usually dry riverbed through town became more interesting, as chocolate milk churned past with each big rainfall, and several city streets were closed due to flooding. The highlight of the trip was battling a windy day as I rode out to Kitt Peak and back, climbing high above the Saguaro and Ocotillo flats to an altitude that felt more like home.

Although it wasn't the best trip in terms of weather, I was able to put in more mileage and build good strength in the time I had. Given that Durango had 35 inches of snow fall in town while I was gone, there is no question that it was a prudent choice to for optimizing training in this Ironman build. With an always enjoyable spotting of the infamous Silver Fox, plenty of wildlife, and some spectacular sunsets, it goes down as another valuable block. With a little luck and planning, I should be back down in mid-February for some more miles in the pool, on the bike, and on foot. Until then, it might be time to get out the skis...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

2010 Kickoff

Following a pleasant respite from structured training, I am into my first real block of consistent workouts. I'm always mixed when it comes to offseason rest, as I truly love the lifestyle of training day in and day out, but know that I need time to really rest and recover. This year I maintained some fitness through running and swimming, but took plenty of time away from the bike.

With heavy snows blanketing most of Southwestern Colorado, I decided to get out of town for a little while, seeking warmer temperatures in Newport/Laguna Beach over the holidays. I was fortunate to have a place to stay right near Crystal Cove, so I logged a solid week of riding in warm temperatures and running on the beach. Add to it some good deck of cards workouts, and I was starting to get a little form back. We celebrated New Year's at a nice restaurant in Laguna, right after logging 100 miles in the hills above Irvine to close out 2009.

Returning to Colorado, I was able to stick with the swimming and running, but icy/sandy roads were making outdoor riding treacherous. I'm good for around a maximum of 2 hours on the trainer before I lose it, so another trip was essential for my sanity. I knew that I wanted to make another training trip down to Tucson at some point during the winter/spring, so I put out the word and made plans to head south. I kicked things off with a couple days in Phoenix, watching friends race the Rock and Roll half-marathon, and reviewing the Ironman run and bike courses in Tempe. With weather turning a little rainy, I finished driving south to Tucson. I found a place to stay right downtown with a friend of a friend, so I'm close to the U of A pool and the start of group rides. So far, the weather has mostly skirted the area, and I have had two perfect days for riding and running. Considering that snow is falling heavily once again back home in Durango, I think I can deal with a little rain if and when it falls.

I'm also happy to announce that I will be back racing for team Sport Beans/NTTC in 2010, and riding with Specialized and Zipp as well. Look for me training on my SL3, and racing on the new Specialized Shiv time trial bike. Under Armour has stepped up as my running gear sponsor again, and they are developing some new products that should aid in some speedy run splits. Looking forward to a couple of hard weeks of training in the desert, and a welcome back to racing at Cali 70.3 in late March. More posts from Tucson to follow...