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.
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.
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.
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.