Friday, April 11, 2014


Last fall, my friend  Bob invited me to join his group in Tucson, Arizona for their annual training camp.He's a coach with E3Training Systems. I'm not an E3 Athlete, but they were allowing non-E3'ers into the camp.  While the invitation was much appreciated, I admit I wasn't sure it was what I wanted to do. 
Why was I so unsure? It's a lot of work to go away without the family! Getting things all organized to continue on while I'm gone really takes some time and prep. And, it requires a lot of time off for my husband &  of course, there's the big expense of travelling across the country with a bike to boot. I went to TX for a training camp last year and really wasn't sure I wanted to take the time away to do that type of thing again. 
I waited until after Ironman Cozumel so I would at least know what my 2014 season would be focused on. After securing my spot in Kona, I knew it was probably  a good choice to kick off the season with some strong training out west. Maine is unpredictable this time of year and as it turns out, our winter was very snowy and even though it's mid-April, I'm still not able to ride outside safely here in Western Maine. 
Taken a few days before I left! :) And, we'll be back there again tomorrow! {that's Mark, my husband..}

I'm home from the AZ camp now. And wow, I am So so happy I went!!! I worked my tail off everyday, I spent some much needed time by myself &  away from the daily grind, and, I had a Blast. Seriously.... so much fun. I laughed to the point of almost tears almost every day I was there. Perfect. 

Day 1-- 3 a.m. wake up call and out the door by 3:30 en route to the airport. My 6:15 flight was delayed 2 hrs so that messed up the entire itinerary. Great start! But, lucky for me, the lady working the counter was quick and rerouted me on another airline with the same schedule! Bam! I had to hurry and haul a lot of gear by myself ( bike, suitcase, carry-on, purse) but I made it happen and was on my way by 6 a.m. Three flights later, 4 hrs next to a guy I think was on his way to rehab somewhere {yikes... what an interesting flight that was.. }, a  shorter trip with a young guy who believes in aliens and was sure the crop circles we were looking at were put there by them and I landed in Tucson HAPPY to see a familiar face! Our on site bike mechanic, sag vehicle driver  Josh Freeman, picked me up and shuttled me over to the group at our great resort in Tucson. I was really happy to visit with Josh & then arrive at the hotel with the rest of the crew. By 4:30 p.m. ( 7:30 Maine time...getting to be a long day since I started at 3:00!), we were off on our 1st little run to kick off camp. I can't say the legs felt good. But I didn't expect them to after the long trip. Heavy and tired. No big deal.... shake it out and get to bed. 

Day 2-- My 5:00 alarm didn't seem too bad even though the day before was nearly 21 hrs long. I was pretty excited.After all-- this is what we were doing by 6:00: 

Swimming outside!!!  Yes! The air was cool but the water was warm and the sun rose over the mountains off in the distance as we worked out. You can't beat that!!! 

Seriously!!! That was our view!

After the swim, we hustled back to our rooms to eat and prep for the long ride. A few of the groups made breakfasts in their rooms for the group or we could just eat what we had on our own. I did a bit of both. Borrowed some peanut butter, grabbed a few bites of pancakes, and took care of myself with a bagel & coffee each day. 

8:30 a.m. and the group gathered for the first ride of camp and MY first ride outside since that 112 spin around the Island of Cozumel on 12/1. I was a little nervous....we had a 100 miles ahead of us. Not only was it my first ride outside ( was for most of us ) but it was a LOT longer than I have been riding so far this spring.  
We headed off together but we all split up into small groups or on our own pretty quickly. When there are 17 people, there's a good chance you have a lot of different ability levels. I was with some people for a while, but then they went ahead. Some were behind me. After a while, I was by myself. And  honestly, I spent a large part of camp riding by myself. I was fine with that. I knew my friends were around me. Some of the guys were just too darn fast  & I rode ahead of some others. It gave me a lot of time to take things in and concentrate on my own riding. After about 50 miles, we came to the turn for Kitt's Peak. All I knew at that point was it was about a 12 mile climb. As we got closer, this is the view we saw: 

I wasn't sure where on that mountain  we were headed but the peak was clearly significant.  Game on! 

I liked this climb. It was steep, but not too steep. I felt strong. It was day 1 so the legs weren't trashed yet. I found a few friends to say Hi to on my way and that broke things up. E3 Coach Jorge rode by us at the top blasting: 

Seriously!!! How great is that? I had about 2 miles left to climb and one of the most kick ass songs from the 80s is being played next to me as I pedaled! haha.. totally made me smile. 

 Alright, That is the pretty elevation profile of this day 1 climb. Nice huh!!  The ride up wasn't horrible really. It was hard, dont' get me wrong. I was just still fresh at that point. As I neared the top, it got COLD! The temps dropped dramatically as we were blocked by big  cliffs. Snow was even  seen in small piles along the road. Brrr.  It was fun to reach the top, high 5 with a few others who were already up, eat some boiled potatoes ( new thing this week for me ), get some encouragement and a warm coat ( only one? !) and then head down. 
Kitt's Peak Obervatory-- this is where we met at the top. You can see the road we were on leading up to the peak.

The ride down this peak, while only 12 miles, was possibly one of my hardest parts ( just one ) of the week and certainly the least enjoyable. ( well....maybe...more to come on the week  ) It was FREEZING!!!!!  It was scary with tight turns, steep sides, and because I was so cold, it was hard to brake. I stopped a couple times just to shake my hands out and regroup. I went so so slowly but was miserable from the hard cold descent. At the bottom, Jana and I actually got into Jorge's car to warm up for about 10 minutes. I was really happy to be done with that part. 

From there... we rode about 35-40 miles back to the resort. Only a handful of us made that final trip back. It was long, but my legs were fine. The biggest issue were the road conditions. Who would ever think that Maine roads would be in better shape than AZ roads? It was horrendous through a few sections. Just extremely rough and beat up.  
103 miles later...... I climbed off the bike. Finally. Hot, tired, and Happy to be done. 
Almost- time to do what we triathletes do next! 
It was actually a little pathetic. The road around our place was just up or down so that hurt. And made it even harder. It's one thing to ride 103 miles after a long winter on the trainer but it's another to ride 103 then run uphill in the desert. Ouch. There were a few little walk breaks to catch my breath. There were a few little breaks to bend down and stretch out the legs, or at least that's what I was telling myself I was doing. :) It was just hard. 
But, I did it! 
After that-- recovery time! The treat about that? It was truly my recovery time. Most days, my long workouts end with a rushed shower while gulping down whatever my post-wko food is IN that shower or at least in the bathroom then off to get the kids and move along to whatever that afternoon activity is. This post-wko chill time is part of what made this training trip a vacation for me. In addition-- the guys next door made us dinner!!! BONUS! I got to relax AND someone else made dinner. Voila-- a perfect day 1. 

That's enough for one post. I accidentally deleted all the photos I uploaded to use so I'm giving up for today. 

1 comment:

crittoria said...

It sounds like a fast and furious start to training camp! I suspected as much from some of the recovery photos that I saw on Facebook. ;-) I can't wait to hear about the rest of your adventures. That is some incredibly beautiful countryside. I just love it out there. Now I'm itching to go back...