I left off after Emily and I’s journey to Colorado Springs and our first week their. We took in as much of the area as we could in the first couple weeks before training kicked up again. We checked some cool restaurants, very cool hikes, invested in XC skis and tested them out when the weather went sideways.
I must say I think I have fallen in love. I thought very highly of Banner Elk coming from Pennsylvania. Colorado is simply the next tier up. My favorite thing about the area is the convenience of living in a city nestled up against mountains, which translates to endless adventures. I can’t tell you the number of times I lay awake at night envisioning the plans I have for later this spring and summer, camping, hiking, pure adventure.
Ok, enough rambling…
Training started up and I was fortunate enough to have big miles to do when the weather was consistently in the 40- low 60 range, for about 3 weeks. The weather turned but it was tolerable. I was able to sneak in some good interval days when it was nice. When the weather was not so great I would pair a quick trainer ride with either xc skiing or the incline.
I am that guy that takes pride in dusting his girl friend up the incline…
I actually favored this over just riding long days all the time. With a short off season it was good for me mentally to be able to mix it up and throw different training in with riding.
Emily and I dabbled in a few yoga classes taking advantage of a lot of free weeks of yoga at different studios.
Emily has been reaching out for dog sitting and baby sitting opportunities to make a little cash. We were luckily to take care of Renae Eastman’s beagle-basset hound mix, Maggie. She was such a sweet dog and we both probably became too attached by the end of the ten day stint of watching her.
Then news came out that I have been waiting for! Of course, I had known for a while but I was eager to tell friends and family of my official joining of Raleigh-Clement Professional Cycling team! Check out the full write up here.
With that short description of our time in the springs that brings me to present day. I traveled to Tucson on Thursday, March 5. I wanted to escape the weather in the Springs, while also taking advantage of a local race in Phoenix on Saturday. The man with the plan, Jim Lehman, suggested it as a good opener prior to the big Bonelli Park HC season opener of the US Cup. I wasn’t opposed to it especially after talking to Russell and hearing about possible 80 degree temps.
I got in the car Thursday morning and it was 6ºF in the Springs. I landed in Tucson during the afternoon and it was 76ºF.
I settled in with some lovely folks in the Catalinas that a friend set me up with. I couldn’t have asked for better people to stay with. They go out of their way to take care of me and they hardly know me. I sometimes forget how fortunate I am to be dealt the cards I have been dealt. However, times like these really remind me that most of the time I am working with a “straight flush”!
I contacted Howard for a ride up to the race on Saturday morning. Russell bailed cause he is a girl, actually he was feeling under the weather. Probably because we rode together on Friday and I worked him over too hard.
I felt bad for Howie because my place of residence was a little out of the way and he already had to get up super early so we would make the 8:40am start time. Howie was a good sport though.
We got there with plenty of time to spare, 40min. I cant remember the last time I raced at 8 in the morning. It had to have been back in the day when mom and pop would chauffeur me around the mid atlantic region to race the MASS series.
The course was a 7mile loop of gradual climbing, with two technical slower descents and the majority being flat and fast. We were slotted to do 4 laps to take a little under 2 hrs.
There weren’t many guys signed up for the pro race so I got on the front row. I wanted to treat the race as a real race and get a good workout so I went hard off the line. I strung it out some until Howie came around me on the first climbing section and pulled some. We got away by halfway through. Then on some flatter sections I came around Howie and took my turn at the front. Drafting was actually a player in this race. I think I got away from Howie just before the end of the first lap in a section he may have bobbled in and I applied some pressure.
I rode the rest of the race as hard as I could, navigating lap traffic, marathon racers, and other categories. I think I ended up averaging 16+ MPH for the race, like a hilly road race!
The course was fun for our length of race time but I don’t think I could have finished the marathon race, 7 laps! ouch!
Post race Howie and I headed home, grabbed some lunch at Chipotle and I relaxed the rest of the evening. The first race of the season in the bag I was tired!
Sunday I rode some of the same trails Russell and I rode on Friday. The 50-Year trail and Golder Ranch Trail system. I managed to find some Cholla Cactus as well as an agave point hooked my tire. Dessert riding is touch on my arms and hands too. I spent the first ten minutes after my ride yesterday picking cacti burs out of my gloves and knuckles. I should trim my 740mm bars down I suppose…