Friday, March 21, 2008

Day 6 in Tucson

Hope the video didn't make anyone motion sick.

I decided that we would do our last run of this camp the same we started the first run of this camp – in Sabino Canyon traversing the telephone line trail. I described this trail in an earlier post, and how we’d run up the mountain and along the route until we descended and ended up at the trail end on a road approximately one hour later. From here, we would run the 40 minutes back to the start area on the road. Today, I turned everyone around and we ran back up the mountain and did the trail in reverse, making it a two hour run. The rain earlier in the week, combined with the sun later this week made the desert absolutely beautiful. There were blossoming flowers in yellow and purple all over the place. Bruce was especially excited for some reason about the beauty here. I swear I thought he was going to break into “The Sound of Music”. The views on the way out are amazing, however, the return trip was more spectacular. You could see the thin trail snake along the mountains edge, overlooking the canyon and river that were far, far below. Way off in the distance, you could see the city of Tucson in the valley.

My legs felt good and I was moving along at a good clip. The trail is rocky and you could easily become distracted with the views, not paying attention to the footing. The drop offs are more spectacular running this way as well, since you are seeing them directly in front of you on a descending grade. At one point, I stumbled just a bit catching my toe on a rock, but was able to secure my footing quickly. I realized that if I were to truly trip, I’d drop right off the cliff! So I backed off the pace a bit and made sure to pay attention to where my foot landed besides just the scenery.

The last few days of this camp, the weather could not have been better. The mornings were cool in the high 50’s to low 60’s and by 10am, it would be in the high 70’s to low 80’s. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. It was ideal for training.

I was soaking my ankle in the ice cold flowing water in the bottom of the canyon as the rest of the boys rolled in. They had just run six days straight, with the shortest run being an hour, yet the trails, the good weather and the scenery had them feeling good.

We drove back to our breakfast spot, and then went to suit up to ride – our last cycling session of the trip. Since we did the two huge back to back rides on Wed and Thu and since we just ran two hours, I planned an easy spin over to Saguaro National Park and back. This is the park that we often ran in this week as well. There is a freshly paved road that circumnavigates the park, you view part of the ride in the video above. In the first mile of the ride is a steep descent with an extremely sharp right hand turn. You take this one too quick and you’ll be picking cactus needles out of your ass. Jill descends like a demon and took this risky corner with ease. Even though everyone had ridden for six days straight with some huge ascents in there, they still opened it up a bit in the park. It’s hard not to on this road – this road is begging to be ridden hard. Everyone really paid attention at this camp. They started out the week easier, staying aerobic and in their B zones for most of the training. Because of this, everyone finished the week riding and running better than they were at the beginning. Typically people get a bit anxious early on and blow themselves up, struggling to keep it together the last few days.

We packed up the bikes after our ride to ship them home and later in the afternoon, went to the pool for a swim. There are a lot of professional athletes training here at the moment. At the pool was Spencer Smith. We also ran into Peter Reid, Samantha McGlone, TJ Tollackson, amongst others at some point during the week. After training here, you can understand why so many top pros gravitate to this area in the winter.

I don’t need to post how many miles we covered or hours we trained this week. I’ll leave that for the machoman camps that like to boast on such things. Instead I’ll comment by saying that we trained the right amount this week, given the time of year, the capabilities of the athletes, and the amount of time we had to train and recover. The athletes were tired, yet still doing well in their training sessions. They were laughing and having fun still. That’s how you know if it’s the right amount.

If you prefer to ride indoors on your trainer in March, run in tons of layers on frozen roads, and swim in an indoor dungeon… If you lack a sense of adventure, don’t like challenges, are turned off by nature… And if you don’t like laughing, or having great meals with likeminded people, and like the monotony of your typical training routes, then you wouldn’t want to come to this camp.

I’ll be back next year – and I’m making sure to bring Big Rocks and Baker. They need to experience this. You hear that Baker? Start formulating your sick day excuses now my man!




triguyjt said...

spectacular stuff..

glad you didn't become breakfast for a mountainlion...

Eric said...

JT, we need to get you at one of these camps!