Training in Tucson

Every year around early April, I must leave the Seattle grey weather behind or I lose my sanity. This year, I was fortunate to spend the first week of April in Tucson, AZ at Cycle U training camp. I was accompanied by Coach Tom and his other athletes, Clayton and Ken. Both Ken and Tom were prepping to race Duathlon Nationals that are held in Tucson and Clayton and I were both ramping up to race Wildflower Long Course.

Here are 3 highlights:

SWIM:

I had a technique epiphany while I was there. This was much-needed as I was definitely in a swimming slump. I had so many new things to think about, I was forgetting to breathe! It is amazing how much you can learn if you have someone film you underwater. By the end of the week, Coach Tom challenged me to a 50-yard race. I am thrilled to say I won … handedly.

Clayton and me after a good time at the pool. This is the only discipline where I am faster than him ….

BIKE:

The highlight of the entire trip was our climb up Mt. Lemmon. It is one of the ‘must-do’ climbs in the U.S. for cyclists. It is only 24 miles long, but gains  over 6,000 feet of climbing. I believe you start at 2,000 and climb to just over 8,000 feet. This was a slow and steady ride because you are literally pedaling uphill 98% of the time of a what, 3 hour or so ride. I did get a bit discouraged when I looked down and I saw 7 mph and I had 7 miles to go. I knew I had about an hour left. Then, I got to 6 miles to go and I was going 6 mph … still one hour left. It was a wonderful feeling to get to the top and the Cookie Cabin was there to greet us! We ate the biggest cookies I’ve ever seen. So big, I only ate half. (Anyone who knows me well enough knows that it is a rare day that I don’t eat all my dessertand half of someone else’s.  The descent down the mountain was fun, but cold! I took many stops to take pictures and to warm up. Now, when a hill is challenging and I am climbing on my TT bike, I think back to that day and remember, it isn’t as hard as that!

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RUN:

Because a good portion of Wildflower’s run is on trail, Coach Tom had us run the Phone Line Trail.  A beautiful, yet challenging run up along a desert ridge and then back down again. Knowing I would be the slowest, I took the car keys so that if anyone had to turn back early, they would eventually run into me. Tom, Clayton, and Ken disappeared so fast and I was left to run to my own rhythms in the hot desert sun. The trail was rough and I twisted my ankles a lot, but it was just as majestic and I was enjoying the drastic change of scenery. I made it back down to the van and Tom and Clayton were waiting for me. It’s a long story, but Ken got a bit lost and miscalculated how long his run would be. He didn’t come back to the car for another 45 minutes after me. Lesson learned? Sometimes it is just best to stick to the plan!! (Thankfully, there were no snakes on this run like there were on another run we did.)

So that’s it. Short and sweet. If you have never had the opportunity to ride or train in Tucson, I recommend it.

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