Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tucson Training Camp

Hell yeah I went to Tucson, it's somewhere down in Arizona.

Lemme explain: Shortly after moving out to Colorado I quickly jumped on the RMCCC list-serv as I will/hope to help out with the collegiate cycling scene out here in the Rockies. Soon after I saw an e-mail from Caley Fretz about the Colorado State U cycling team's training camp in early January. The cost was low, the weather would be warm and I had nothing better to do that week so I jumped in.

Departed from Fort Collins at 4:30 am on Friday Jan 8th, awkwardly introduced myself to the crew and started the 15 hour drive to Tucson with 3 passengers in my trusty Honda. Somewhere in New Mexico my car passed 200,000 miles and I took a photo to commemorate the occasion:

Made in to Tucson later that evening, I met a few more members of the 20 person crew that went down and got some sleep.

Day 1: MTB
(Photo by Erick)
Opting not to go on a lame road ride I went on a great 2.5 hour mountain bike ride in the roasting sun with a few of the guys (Caley, Erick, Adam and Mike) and ripped up some of the best trails I've seen. There were tight and technical sections, rolling terrain, loose sandy switch-backs and everything in between, the sun was out and the temps reached upwards of 70F, leading to a great day.

(Photo by Erick)

Day 2: Mt Lemmon
On the second day of the trip the group ride was up the infamous Mt. Lemmon, a 27.2 mile monster that hovers over the city of Tucson with a huge elevation gain. Seeing as the longest climb I'd ever done before was 15 miles the (lefthand canyon in Boulder the previous week) I wasn't looking forward to it, but regardless, I hung on to the main group of Cat 1's and 2's for a while and then rode my own tempo to the top. Also, Somewhere around the mile 14 mark I got passed by ECCC alum Thom Coupe and had a quick chat before he went on his way, which was kind of neat.

At the end of the day it was about a 5 hour ride and I was pretty happy with myself.

Day 3: Rest
Seeing as the "camp" started on Tuesday, the group took a rest day on Monday and I spent it mostly trying to relax and also hit up the local driving range after spending Top Dollar ($3.99) on a new (used) 6 iron.

(Excellent form if I do say so myself)
Day 4: Intervals and Endurance
The fourth day was an interval work out in team time trial format, I was grouped with Mike, Jacob and Adam making a powerful foursome. Seeing as I'd never gotten to do a TTT, I quickly learned how fun much I had missed out on by not doing them when I was racing collegiate. After the workout some of the "faster" people and myself tacked on a few more hours bringing my total for the day to just under 4.5 hours and just over 80 miles.

(I busted out the College Kit for the TTT workout)

(Leading the Bunch on some endurance riding)
Day 5: Longest ride o' my life
Day five was scheduled to be the biggest day of the trip, supposedly we were going to do over six hours and I was excited, my legs had felt good and I was enjoying riding with the CSU crew. Basically we went North of Tucson up to Mammoth, AZ (about 50 miles) then turned around, did a somewhat hard and long climb for 15 miles or so on the way back, then tacked on another climb (gates pass) at the end and personally I ended up doing 123 miles in about 6.75 hours. I was pretty spent after this one.

Day 6: "Recovery"
Day 6 was supposed to be a recovery day and it kind of was, all we did was an out and back south of town on some flat roads, but I once again went with the cat 1 group for the day and did about 4 hours on the flat totally around 70 miles for the day. The ride was pretty lame and my back and sit bones were sore from the previous day, but the sun was out and I was still riding around in shorts in January, so I was happy.

Day 7: Hill Repeats
This was kind of a messed up ride, we rolled out of Tucson really slowly because 4 people got flats and eventually did hill repeats on the backside of Gates pass, I did a long "attack" on the front side before doing the back side 5 times (twice in the big ring) and then the group decided to a cool loop before going back over Gates pass one more time, stopped for a group shot at the top (see below) and then cruised back into town. Totals: 3.25 hours, 53 miles.

(The Bunch atop Gates Pass, I'm in the Wheelworks kit on the right)
Day 8: The Shootout and the Way Home.
Saturday was a long day, oh man. It started by waking up at 5:30 am to get in a good breakfast before heading over to The Shootout, which is a HUGE group ride that happens each week in Tucson, there were at least 150 people and a few pro's there as well. I mostly hung out at the back on the way out of town until about mile 15 in the ride when the gauntlet was thrown and the pace jumped up to "NRC Breakaway Speed" as Thom Coupe had warned me. So, I did the smart thing and followed a Team Type 1 rider, Thom, and Jon Chodroff (Ouch-Maxxis) to the front of the group and hammered away for a few minutes until I realized I couldn't go 28 mph on the front after doing a 25 hour week. So I faded to the back, tail-gunned for 45 minutes or so and then eventually popped of the back of the ride, only to turn around, stop for a coffee and go back to the house. Totals: 2.75 hours and 47 miles.

After the ride, I got changed and the group began the long process of packing up the cars and trailer and began the drive back to CO. Left at 12:30, stopped for dinner north of Santa Fe, NM and then rolled into Fort Collins at 4:45 am, dropped of the passengers and I finally was home in bed at 5:30 am after being awake for 24 hours straight.

All and all a great trip, some good weather, made some new friends and got in 28 hours on the bike in 8 days.

Whew, I'm tired.