Sunday, March 02, 2008

Sun, Heat, and Open Roads

We arrived in Tucson on February 27. The weather forecast was for sun, and temperatures of 28 C. I love this place. When I was in my prime running I trained in Phoenix and made many trips to Tucson for races. My body seems to love the dry and hot weather. For some reason 28 C seems cooler in Arizona than in Calgary. Everytime I come to Arizona, I realize just how much I miss this place.

Shari (who I have now nicknamed gummie bear and grumpy bear) and I got on our bikes as soon as we arrived. Day 1 was short as we only had time for a quick ride before darkness arrived. 30 km was all we had time for.

Day 2 we headed south on the bike route known as the shoot out. The ride was 100 km and is uphill for the first half. Of course, what is uphill is always what is into the wind too!

Day 3 we got up really early and did a 65 km flat ride northwest of Tucson. Good recovery ride as we got into our rental and drove to do a 5 km race in Phoenix in the evening. The race was the Skirt Chaser 5 km. The great thing about this race is that the women start 3 minutes before the guys and the men chase down the women. The first person to cross the line gets $500. The course was long by about a half mile which was a bummer as the a guy caught the lead woman right at the end. He ended winning by 3 seconds! Had the course been accurrate it would have been unlikely that the guy (in this race) would have caught the female. Shari ended up second and I ended up sixth. We were both very happy with how we ran given the biking and hot weather.

Day 4 we headed to southeast part of Tucson and did what is known as the Marsh Station ride. From where we are staying this ride is a 115 km ride. It is a tough ride with lots and lots of rollers. It is a beautiful ride. We were pretty tired after this ride. Afternoon sleeping by the pool was a must today! Did I mention the temperature is 28 C. I sported my bikini and so did Shari.

Day 5 is today (Sunday) and we will do a short but tough and beautiful ride. It is the McCain Loop/Gates Pass. It is about 60 km and climbs a whole bunch. This is my second favorite ride with Marsh Station being my favorite. We will also run today for 45 minutes. We originally planned on doing another 5 km race but decided to sleep in to recover from Friday and Saturday. The quads are a bit fatigued.

Day 6 will be our last day of riding. We saved the best for last which is climbing Mt. Lemmon. For those of you who have not heard of this famous ride, it is starts at 2500 ft and climbs to 8200 ft. When Lance Armstrong used to train here he rented a cabin on the top of Mt. Lemmon and would climb up the mountain to top off a long days ride. This is a 29 mile climb with a climbing elevation of 11,255 ft. We will start from where we are staying so our ride will be 120 km.

It has been awesome riding.

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