SCE Men's AZ Training Camp, February 2011
In February, with snow still falling in Pittsburgh, Jim, Greg, and EJ escaped to Arizona for a little biking in Tucson. Read about their escapades in the team camp report here. we are looking forward to seeing how the Tuscson mountains helped get their legs in shape for an exciting road season!
Jim's Camp Report
Well with only a minor delay at Midway both EJ and myself made to Tucson to meet Greg at the airport then off to our townhouse. after a long day, we decided that we would wait until morning to assemble our machines, but of course I could not sit still and before long mine was built and EJ was on deck. While EJ was finishing up his bike he over tightened the seat post clamp and sheared the bolt off. at this point conventional wisdom might be to stop, but Greg decided to get underway and with no problems he was done too.
The first priority of the day was a stop at a bike shop to get EJ a new seat clamp, then since Greg has the least amount of miles in his legs, we decided to let him pick the day’s route from the six I worked on before the flight out. the selection was made for a fairly flat but long 67 mile ride. the ride was south through Davis-Montham Air Force Base then back through San-Xavier Indian Reservation, but with the first flat of our trip and heavy winds Greg decided to cut his ride short and make a cut across some back roads. before we could get to Greg’s cut across road our road turned to dirt ahead, and so with us one tube, CO2 cartridge, and frame pump that did not install much confidence we decided to turn back. Greg did find a short cut back as EJ and I forged ahead in the wind on a new route. we made it back without any other incidents other than a few drops of rain.
After what we encountered the previous day Greg picked a shorter route with a bit of climbing through Gates Pass. This was a very scenic ride at around 54 miles and without much wind or rain, so a good day to work on the tan but EJ got a little bit more red than tan. we all made it back together but I think Greg was cursing my name underneath his breath as I was driving the pace on the way back. Gates Pass is a must do!
Greg decided that a recovery ride was in order so he decided to head out with a former Pitt cycling teammate, Dan, that lives here in Tucson. He rode Gates Pass again, but at a more casual pace and a shorter route of about 30 miles. that left EJ and myself to head north into Orr Valley for a long 68 mile ride with all the climbing in the first half. after the climbing on N. Oracle Rd we ran into Kara, a triathlete from Annapolis, MD, that rode with us for a while. on our way back into town the city signs became more motivation for EJ.
This day started out the same as Day 4, heading out N. Oracle Rd, but today we had Greg helping in the wind so we just stayed on SR 77 heading towards the Biosphere 2. we turned back after we saw one of the Hammer Nutrition groups going back towards the city so we pulled them back. after a few minutes of sitting on we decided return to our pace to get back. just an out and back ride with a loop on the University of Arizona campus for coffee.
Well today is going to be the hardest day of riding, with a trip to Mt. Lemmon in the middle of our 70 mile route. Greg was needing a easier day than what we had mapped out, so he decided to drive the truck with cold weather gear and food to mile marker 22 of the climb and then ride down a ways and climb back up before EJ & I got to the truck. Once we made it to Catalina Hwy, we met Greg at Le Buzz coffee shop before the climb. There is not much to say about the climb other up, up, and up some more with many turns along the way. There was not much snow towards our turn around point at the truck so the roads were dry. Once at the top I found Greg sleeping in the truck before I could get in to add warm clothes and wait for EJ before we descended back. the altitude and probably a little dehydration from the previous day's ride had given Greg a terrible headache that prevented him from riding once parking the truck. we went back to Le Buzz to finish getting warmed up before heading back to our house.
After EJ and my tough ride up Mt Lemmon yesterday, for our final day in Tucson, we opted for a relatively easy 50 mile spin ride on a route suggested by Greg's former teammate Dan to Saguaro National Park. as we neared the park, we passed a cyclist that recognized from our Steel City Endurance jerseys that we were from Pittsburgh. He was originally from western Ohio. He tagged along with us to the park and when we found out that there was a $10 admission fee for cyclist into the park, he volunteered to use his park pass free guest admissions to get us in. the one-way road through the park was a scenic, rolling path at the foothills of Rincon Mountains. Our return route to the house included a stop on the University of Arizona campus for coffee. Our week was topped of with dinner and a couple drinks at the Hub Restaurant & Ice Creamery with Dan and his girlfriend.