Friday, March 21, 2008

Day 5 - Mt. Lemmon






Once again, the day started with a run, this time in Saguaro National Park. Once again, we were running as the sun came up over the mountains. It's hard to have a bad day when you start it this way.
Everyone here is hooked on Jamba Juice which, combined with some Brueggers bagels, has become our standard breakfast.
After this, it was back to the hotel and change for the big part of the day - Lemmon. To ride Mt. Lemmon is a great accomplishment. To ride it the day after Kitt Peak, with more riding plus two 90 minute runs first thing in the morning is huge.
The spin over from the hotel took about 30 minutes and soon we were at mile marker zero. Only 27 uphill miles in front of us. I gave the advice to keep a steady tempo and not overwork it, at least until theres 10K left. These guys have put in some great volume and it's important to not fry yourself from this camp, but instead make sure you absorb the training. They are all listening which is odd. I always have a few who's egos get the best of them and they blast the first part of the week only to be spent midway through camp. These guys are getting stronger as the week goes by.
I was alone a few minutes into the ride - I wanted the guys to ride their ride today since everyone is feeling the fatigue from a full week and the last thing they want is their coach looming over them for a 27 mile climb. It was a perfect day and I settled into a comfortable tempo. I'll admit my legs didn't feel that snappy today, but they felt good enough. Afterall, it is very early and before this week, I hadn't ridden more than 1 hr at a time in a few months.
The weather was perfect - sunny, warm, and low winds. the views were spectacular and I stopped a few times to snap some pictures. There were some other riders going up that I came across, and quite a few heading down. Near the top, it was getting cooler so I put on a long sleeve jersey. There was snow at the top and many of the sightseers were out of their cars in their t-shirts, having snowball fights. From mile 0 to mile 20 is a steady grind, then it rolls until mile 25. Most stop here at the mountain top little town where there is this dirty little pie shop that we hit last year and that people rave about. The true ride though finishes at the ski area which is a right hand turn and two more steep uphill miles. In fact, these two miles are the steepest of the day. I made it to the top and gave John Brennan a call to see how the tracking went with MyAthlete. Gus came rolling up caked in salt and dazed! He did great though and said that he felt strong for the most part.
We rolled back down to the pie shop and waited in a very slow line, only to find out that they were pretty much out of pie. The pie might be good, but the place is pretty gross, so we shot a few blocks up the road to the Cookie Shack for a huge cookie and some fluids.
This descent is great. There is the climb back out from the small town, then you begin and the turns are big sweeping s turns with just stunning views. At one point, I was trapped behind two harleys and two cars, and when I found the opportunity, I shot around them. I had a blast although 20 miles of descending in the drops tightened up my back a bit, but the spin back to the hotel loosened things up. I reminded the boys that Mt. Lemmon is one of the most famous cycling climbs in the US, and that they just did it. Some of them have done it twice now since they were here last year. That's pretty cool.
Another amazing day - when you get the opportunity to do the things you love with like-minded people all day, how can it go wrong?
Cheers,
EH

6 comments:

Eric said...

EH....it looks like you are ready to beat down those mountain lions. They would have to catch you first.

Great training week.

Eric said...

Hi Eric,

Thanks a bunch for reading. You'd love it down here. It was a great, great training week - and no mountain lion encounters. At least I don't think so... We haven't seen Bruce since that trail run on Tuesday?.

Cheers,

EH

Anonymous said...

Great picures especially of you and Bruce.

- Brennan

Notebooks said...
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alan said...

Man, it looks like you got right weather out West this time and I know that sitting on my bike in the basement this morning, I was sure wishing that I was there.