We’re going to do a triathlon training camp in the Phoenix, Arizona area this coming week. It’s been a long time since I did a dedicated training trip. This one is mapped out by Experience Triathlon. We’ll do 75 on the bike first day, followed by a brick run. Then 50 on the second day (something tells me that one will be hilly) and another brick run. Mountain biking on the third day, with beer I bet afterwards. Followed by a brick run (ha ha). And then swimming the last day.
We’ll do 75 on the bike first day, followed by a brick run. Then 50 on the second day (something tells me that one will be hilly) and another brick run. Mountain biking on the third day, with beer I bet afterwards. Followed by a brick run (ha ha). And then swimming the last day.
It’s a great way to kick off the year. I’ll leave my new bike at home for a couple tweaks because we’ve rented bikes out West. Of course, that means a mini-bike fit will be needed on the Specialized Robaix that awaits in Scottsdale. That always makes you nervous. Riding 75 miles on a bike that does not fit can be a real, legitimate pain in the butt.
But the training facility is called Faster, so we must assume that they are accustomed to setting up Flatlanders from snow country (it is still April, and still snowing in Illinois) to ride amongst the hills and desert of Arizona.
We’ll be far better prepared in any case than we were for those college training trips. One year we drove straight through from Iowa to Yellowstone. Jumped out of the van and ran eight miles into the mountains. My head pounded from the altitude and my brain was set on Depression. I was not a happy camper that run. We took a photo at the top of the mountain we ran up and as I recall, I looked like I had swallowed a live trout.
That’s the trouble with training trips. There’s a certain amount of sanity with which you must dispense. And get with the program no matter what. Acclimating to altitude by running eight miles up and back was not the best way to do things. And I knew that. But it doesn’t matter sometimes what you know. It matters what you do.
That run was still not as insane as the 18-miler we plotted from Jenny Lake in the Grand Tetons up to Lake Solitude and back. We had not water to carry with us. Warnings bout giardia, the microbe that can make you sick from drinking stream water, were everywhere.
So we ran 18 miles from 6000 feet up to 9000 feet and back. And I cried a little coming down. I’ll admit that. But I kept running.
Not sure how that training trip helped us exactly. That season we finished 8th in the nation or some middling result. There was potentially as much discord created by the trip as unity. We didn’t believe in “no drop” runs in those days. Several times our slower teammates got left behind in dangerous situations. And we almost let the van slide down the side of a gravel slope on a roadside. There was a tire on the front of the van that had a visible bubble sticking out the side. And we drove all the way from Iowa and back in that thing.
We drank too much one night and almost got into a fight with some Jackson Hole cowboys that followed us all the way back to the campsite in their pickup truck. One of our smallest guys had challenged one of them to a fight over a game of foosball. “I’m a wrestler,” said the 122-lb runner with the fair hair and equally fair complexion. They would have killed him if they had the chance.
So by comparison, this trip out west should be a virtual cakewalk. Except it won’t. Spring training is always challenging. Working your body into shape takes effort. Concentration.
And perhaps some salty margaritas. And ibuprofen. And whatever sleep we choose to get.
See you on the other side, if not sooner.