The cold that stings

Some training trips are best communicated in pictures. I have lots of words in my head of course but will let these images most of the talking right now. This is a video of our ascent up Gates Pass south of Tucson, Arizona.

I felt so good on the bike I even pulled now and then. Thanks to Tucson Bike Rental for the Specialized Roubaix steed.  And thanks to coach Steve Brandes and Madison Multisport for organizing this great trip.

On our way through south Tucson to the climb to Gates Pass (the video above)

But here’s a weird aspect of the one ride. We climbed twelve miles and 4000 feet up Mt. Lemmon. That was fine. I rode really well and enjoyed climbing through canyons and between the massifs like a Tour rider (on vacation.) I had good legs. It was a peak experience in a multitude of ways. The scenery. The switchbacks. My heart was lifted and life felt good.

An Anna’s hummingbird made an appearance during our last-day hike.

But the descent was so cold I almost could not function. We kept it to about 16 mph and it was still really cold. No one could have anticipated that effect as the day turned grey and the west winds curled around the cliffs. 

Then, out of the sullen sky comes this fucking bee that stings me on the neck. I have a swollen lymph gland today to show for it. Woke up with a puffy neck to boot. My entire chest started to compress from either the chill or the shock of that bee sting. I’ll never know which.

Arizona is a stark place sometimes. But then it’s also so damned beautiful.

I’ll say the entire trip was wonderful. I rode really well every day. Swam decently and got some little runs in too. On the last day we got out for a leisurely hike in the Catalina mountains with my longtime friend Sally who lives in the Oro Valley. That’s where the Anna’s Hummingbird buzzed our heads. 

Sue and I at the base of the mountains in the Catalinas

Had a great few days with a marvelous group of people from who we learned a bunch and laughed a lot. Fun stuff…Except for the cold-ass bee-stingy almost felt like I was going to die the downhill part. (LOL). Well Arizona, thanks for the memories. Every one of them.

About Christopher Cudworth

Christopher Cudworth is a content producer, writer and blogger with more than 25 years’ experience in B2B and B2C marketing, journalism, public relations and social media. Connect with Christopher on Twitter: @genesisfix07 and blogs at, and Online portfolio:
This entry was posted in bike accidents, bike crash, Christopher Cudworth, climbing, cycling, doing pulls in cycling, healthy senior, triathlete, triathlon, triathlons and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The cold that stings

  1. Reblogged this on We Run and Ride and commented:

    I embedded the video using code rather than the URL that WordPress allows you to do. Here is the updated version. Apologies for the techn0-mixup.

  2. Denny K says:

    Looks a lot better than February in Chicago, Madison or southeast Missouri. Awe inspiring video. Thanks for sharing.

  3. It was better. In the 50s and 60s the whole trip. Except for up the mountains, of course. Learned some lessons.

  4. Sally Amundsen says:

    Wow! You got a great shot of the hummingbird! And that panoramic shot of Pusch Ridge (the South end of Catalina Range) is pretty special, too!

    I look forward to hiking with you guys again next year! Stay longer so we can go up into Madera Canyon (or anywhere) and you can stay at my home. The world-renowned Tucson gem and mineral show and some pretty spectacular specimens, too. That’s going on right now and every year about this time.

    I’m so glad to have met Sue finally and it was fun to be with you guys doing something like hanging out at the edge of the mountains in the desert.

    Love and hugs to you both, Sally

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