Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tucson Day 5 Mt. Lemmon

The reason I am out here in Tucson is to get as much training as I can in to be ready for the season. Even after 3 days of hard racing, Paul, Chad and I decided to put in a long ride on Monday. This would end up being the longest ride of the year, the most climbing and the highest KJ work output. Maybe not the best for the day after 3 days of hard racing, but hey! Nothing else to do!

The weather was not to shabby, but chilly for Tucson. It was 60 degrees with 30mph winds out of the southwest. We were going northeast. That would prove difficult later!

Took about 1.5 hours to get to Mt. Lemmon, being on the other side of Tucson, and with all the streetlights. We set off up the mountain and Chad and Paul took off. I settled into a nice pace not exceeding that of what coach Nick had told me. Mt. Lemmon is a 25mile climb, with switchbacks going in all different directions on the way up. It climbs from 2000ft up to 8200ft. A very nice road surface however. On the way up, I saw a bunch of cyclists descending and none going up. Maybe they were smart in starting earlier in the day.

I caught up with Paul at about mile 11-12, and put on my vest and arm warmers as the temperatures were dropping with each pedal push at higher elevation. At 12 miles to go we saw a creature lurking across the road. It ended up being a full grown tarantula spider. Paul and I stopped to get a few pictures and headed on our way. With about 6 miles to go, I looked back and didn't see Paul behind me, so I pushed on ahead to the top. This is where it got hectic. As we went up the mountain the winds became stronger. I met up with Chad at the top at the famous "Cookie Cabin" We went inside and I had a chocolate chip cookie and coffee. The temperature at the top was 38 degrees and winds of 50mph. Paul had turned around earlier to head home and get a start back to Iowa. Chad and I started down the mountain, and it was chilly til we got down to around 5000ft. At the bottom, Chad and I had another 1+ hr ride back into the 25mph headwinds to home. We both made it, battered and starving, but a great day!

Tuesday is the younger brother, of the Shootout ride. It is only about 1.5hr, starts at 7am, and sprints up Gates Pass.

Chad and I are now staying with Lou at his place. Thank you very much to TJ Tollakson and his mother for the great hospitality for the first part of the trip!!!

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