Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tucson Training Camp: Day 5 and 6

After a mid week recovery day, we were ready to push the next few days a little bit harder. It takes a few days to get your body wound up and used to doing this much daily training. After the initial adaptation occurs, you go into combat mode and you are able to take it a bit further.

After a few cups of coffee, I was in a better mood

We awoke early on Wednesday morning. It was going to be a long day so we got our run in. Sean and I ran a brisk 50-minute tempo run on the trails of Canyon Ranch at sunrise. We were flying at a 6:00/ mile pace at times. Dana ran on her own. The sun was coming up and reflecting different shades of orange and purple shadows off the mountains. The sky was a pastel blue. My legs felt a bit loaded at the start of the run, but were revved up and ready to roll for the rest of the day by the time we finished.

Owen went all out to make us huge pancakes!

After the run, we had another wonderful cycling house breakfast then loaded the bikes onto the Hammer van for the trek across town to the Pima Community College parking lot. The plan was to start on the west side of town and ride up and over Gates pass, then ride loops on the other side of the Rincon mountain chain. I hadn’t ridden over there before, so it would be some new scenery. These roads were familiar because they were in the movie "The Wraith" with Charlie Sheen. I was living out here in the 80’s when they filmed that awful movie. Anyway, we hit a few 15 to 20 minute threshold efforts up Gates Pass, and then we did some longer tempo efforts on the way back. We rolled it back to the house to complete our 4 hours in the saddle.

Sean and Brendan power over Gates pass with Matt and I a few yards back

Dana was so strong that she bent her chain! Here's the link Owen removed.
After the ride, we were led in another core session then packed up our bags and made our way to the Catalina High School for another swim. I managed to get in 3000 yards in with a decent set of 10x100, but most of us used it as a recovery session.

When we returned, a nutritious meal was prepared and waiting for us. It was a full day of training from sunrise to sunset. This would have been impossible to do without the support from the cycling house and the support crew.

That evening we downloaded data, talked about the day, kicked back, and watched the movie documentary ”Overcoming” There is nothing like watching the pain that pro cyclists go through day to day to toughen you up.

Geeking out over the day's data
Day 6 was set to be one of the toughest days on the schedule. The plan was to leave the house, which is located in Sabino Canyon, then ride to Saguaro Monument East, then through Vail, down to Green Valley and up to Madera Canyon. Madera Canyon is a steady climb to 5400 ft. The last 3 miles pitch up to a 20 percent grade, so there is a steady tightening of the screws as you move further into the ride. It ended up being 70 miles and taking 4 hours.

After the ride, we did a trail run to the top of the mountain, tacking on another 3000 feet. The slope of the trail was unrelenting on rocky terrain that soon turned to ice and snow as we climbed further. I felt stiff at the start but I soon started to feel euphoric as the air became thinner and colder. It was a great way to end the camp and it put an exclamation point on what we had done this week. It was reminiscent of last years “Epic Camp” when we did the triathlon to the top of the mountain.

This kind of finish is something that builds confidence and pushes you to a new level. On the run, I started a little slow then caught some of the younger guys, Matt and Sean, walking. I overheard them saying “I’m Cracked” I ran on ahead alone. On the way down, I ran into Sean. He had regrouped and had started running again. I told him” Never tell yourself that you have cracked. No negative thoughts!” Sean has a deep well of untapped talent; he had a great camp and has pushed his game up a few notches this week, as did everyone else.

After the run, we had a picnic lunch then drove back to the house with the bikes on top of the van. Everyone was tired, but felt a sense of accomplishment.
When we returned we had another data download sharing session, then it was time again for another wonderful cycling house meal. The task that I wasn’t looking forward to was packing up everything.
Below is a shot of Madera Canyon and Doug Leib finishing strong. We had a great meal when we returned.

On the final day, Lisa and Dana went on a final run while I rested. I had a 48-hour call weekend ahead of me when I returned and I anticipate that it might be more brutal than this camp. Matt, Sean, and Doug’s plane left later in the day so they got in an extra ride. Some folks just cant get enough.
It was a successful camp as evidenced my WKO cycling performance manager chart. Take a look at this!

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