Wednesday, April 16, 2014


If you go to Tucson, Arizona to train for triathlon, chances are a ride up Mt.Lemmon is on the agenda. I attended a training camp back in 2010 with Coach Jen Harrison and we did this ride. I was looking forward to doing it again after a few more years of experience. 

My legs were no longer fresh and sitting on the bike for another 4+ hrs was definitely going be a challenge after the big ride and climb on day one. But hey, that's why I traveled across the country! Hard work was part of the plan! 

Our coaches changed our original plan and decided to load the bikes into the car and drive to the base  ( 5 miles away ) of the Mountain rather than ride over. GOOD CALL! The roads on the way there were horribly rough & very busy with city traffic and construction. It was a 45- 50 min ride in addition so it would have been a very long day with that too. I consider myself to be pretty organized. I am also very rarely late. I packed my bag the night before and had everything ready to go so I could swim, eat, get dressed and be at the van ready to depart without any issues. yeah... I did do just that but I am embarrassed to say that after driving about 30 minute in the car with 3 of my friends ( multiple vehicles drove) I had a sinking feeling and shouted out, " OH NO!!!!!" 
Ugh. My helmet was not in the car. @^%$^$$^#$&&**!!!!
I was horrified. And a little stressed. Now what? 

Well, I'll tell you what happened. 
On that same ride, just a few minutes before, my friend that was driving, Pat Kelley, said, " You know what one of the best things about this sport is? The camaraderie." We all agreed and chatted a bit about how great all our friends in the sport are and how everyone looks out for one another. 
Well.. I Insisted we drive to the meeting spot without any stops. I knew the stores weren't open yet and I had to own this one. I thought I would drop them off and either go back for my helmet or get to a bike shop once they opened. I would have to do the ride alone and catch up later, somehow. 
My three friends in the car with me, Dave, Pat and Jenny wouldn't hear of it. They started searching shops on their smart phones and before I knew it, Pat and I were running through a super Walmart in our bike shoes for a new helmet for me. I think we lost about 10-15 min. I took a little ribbing from the other groups, but not much. My friends totally rallied for me and made sure I got on the road for that ride. It was really really cool of them. Sadly, we couldn't find a Dora or Spongebob helmet to don instead of a boring Bell. We had laughed that that would have been a much more memorable way to remember my slackness. 

I decided to cut off the giant tag in the end. 

 With that taken care of.. it was time to climb. 

 Mt. Lemmon is about 25 miles up! I must say, I did enjoy this ride. I started out alone, then hooked up with my friends Bob and John for a few miles and pushed just a wee bit harder than I would have alone, and then I let them go. As I said on the post about day 1, I rode alone for most of this camp. I was fine by myself this day. I knew some were ahead and some were behind but we were essentially all out there together challenging ourselves up a long long relentless climb. I worked hard this day but stayed at a steady state. I didn't stop once. I was proud of that. The temps were great... warm and sunny. Towards the top, as you can see on the chart, the road dips down and it gets cold!! I did quickly pull over to pull the arm warmers back on for that part. Finally... I was at the corner to turn Right for the final ascent. Bob was there to alert us of the turn so we wouldn't miss it. Let's see..what did he say? " Less than a mile!"  I think that was what he said. HA! It was Much longer than that! That final climb was Brutal! Steep and never ending. Little did I know.... Madiera was the next day. 

Some shots taken on the way down... 

I stole this from my friend, Pat, who watched these crazy kids on Longboard Skateboards descend the Mountain!!!!!????

I made my way back down in slow careful fashion. I was very very bundled after nearly freezing on my way down Kitt Peak the day before. I had too much on for Lemmon. It wasn't that cold. After getting off the hill, I stopped to take off all the layers. I had a 5 mile ride back to the van. My feet hurt too, so I took the shoes off while I peeled off the jackets etc. Why does that matter? 
Well... I thought I heard some more bikers coming. I heard a low frequency strange humming-like noise behind me. 
I turned-- straddling my bike, shoes on the road, layers 1/2 way off 1/2 on..NOT ready to go anywhere fast and I saw this: 

I was SCARED!  I have never seen anything like it. A HUGE HUGE swarm was behind me and the buzz went RIght into my gut. Thoughts of the swarm engulfing me and stinging me to death freaked me out and while I panicked, I did react. 
I grabbed my shoes in my hand, left my clothes and started to just ride off with my sock feet on the pedals. But in a moment, the fear turned to oh PHEW as the swarm 'took a left and headed off towards the desert. The sound of that loud buzz was very very unnerving. Very quickly I put my shoes on and grabbed my shirts around my waist and BOLTED back to that van. I had a cold sweat with a high HR for a while.... 
But I was fine. 

The group all came together, we gobbled some calories, put the vans in the car and made the long drive back. 

Once again, it was time to run. 

Ouch. We were staying on a hill so the runs were all up up up, down down down. My legs were trashed, I was tired and it was hard. But, a few miles were in the book and another great day was logged. 

1 comment:

GoBigGreen said...

Ahh Lemmon:) I heard about those longboards fun to see them but wow that is nuts. We had Lemmon after a long day too and while it was hard ...its always hard isnt it:)
I am sorry we missed you but there is no place like Tucson for riding. Lots of smiles. And DAMN on those bees! scary.