As 2012 rolled around, I was quickly off to Tucson, Arizona to begin my 2012 season and carry on with my winter training.
The trip down to Arizona was long, with a plane ride and two shuttles, but I eventually made it. I couldn't wait to hop on my bike and start some getting in some endurance miles. The past couple weeks had been slow trying to brave the indoor roller training by myself, which we all know that a 30 minute ride is nearing death from boredom.
Tuesday Morning, January 3rd, was my first ride here. All prepared, cycling pockets loaded up, I was ready to brave some Tucson heat and the mountains. First up; Madera Canyon. I was a little timid about having a 160km day up first, being my first ride and all, but I had tow truck Chris to draft. I was just hoping I would make it back home without having to tie the bungee cord I rode over to Chris so he could tow me home if I completely bonked. Luckily I never had to use it! The ride out was pretty flat, but the roads were pretty rough. I'm glad I brought my kevlar tires for inside the city limits! Once we got outside of Tucson, passed the Cactus fields, we made our way into what seemed like a pecan forest. All I saw for 50km was rows and rows of pecans trees, enough pecans to feed the world I'm sure. Once past, we started to ascend up to Madera Canyon. It was one of the most gorgeous climbs I have done. We figured it was about 8-10%, which did not keep my legs happy. Once I got to the top, I was almost cracked, but the breath taking view made up for all the hurt. The descent was fun, but once we arrive back on the flat roads, but body was not happy with me, that's for sure. I quickly felt like I had been beaten with a baseball bat, everywhere. Arms, legs, chest, and neck. My heart rate wouldn't drop below 170bpm no matter how slow I went. I tried to stretch, but the antagonist muscles would cramp up, so that didn't work out in my favor. I had never hurt so much before from riding my bike...but whatever makes me hurt, just makes me stronger. I JUST barely made it home. It was a very tough six hours on my bike, but once I ate and threw on my skins, it felt like a great day on the bicycle, except for my aching bum.
Yesterday, Wednesday, we toughed out Mt. lemmon. I was anxious to see what the climb was all about. I started off climbing really well, but I slowly faded with the strong winds after about and hour and a half of straight climbing. I learnt today that when life gives you Lemmon's you can't always make Lemmoaide when you are suffering, which is quite dissapointing (yes mom I'm intentionally spelling Lemons wrong so you don't have to email me with my spelling errors on that). My back is doing well too. I think all the yoga is really helping. I am trying to keep it up as much as I can on my own here as well. It gave me no problems yesterday, even with almost three hours and 8000ft of climbing. My legs on the other hand, they're a different story. I felt pretty destroyed once I got to the top of Mt. Lemmon, but we found a famous giant cookie to re-fuel. The descent was breathtaking and cold. I carried a lot of warm layers up to the top with me, as they have more snow up there than Winnipeg does. We ripped down the mountain, reaching up to 80km/hr. It was a tough seven hour ride, but I was starting to feel a lot better on my bike than the previous day. Homemade pizza, a movie and lots of sleep finished off the day.
Today we had a great recovery day. We started off our day trying to make some pancakes. The first mistake was adding a cup of extra water to the mix...which eventually just made for fourteen extra pancakes, which we of course finished. The second mistake was definitely the frying pans fault. They looked more like hockey pucks we were making, and the kitchen was a big cloud of smoke. I never have much luck with making pancakes for some reason.. After our long ritual Skype calls to teammates, we headed off for a ride at around noon. We road to Agua Catalina Park. I saw my first pond of water in Tucson thus far. It was a gorgeous park full of palm trees and cati! I only got a couple thorns stuck in my fingers today...just preparing myself for lactate tests. From there we headed off to Le Buzz cafe to sit in the sun, work on our tanlines (Chris is turning into a Mexican), enjoy some coffee and meet some other cyclists. We've met a lot of cyclist so far, a few from Canada, and a lot from the U.S. It's interesting to meet so many people all here for training. Maybe we'll hit up some Mexican pawn shop tonight to see how much they'd buy our bikes for, or to see if we can buy some Mexican shoes so we will fit in a little better.
The days here go by fast, eat, sleep, ride, eat, see Mexicans, and sleep. Riding 6-7 hour days doesn't make much time for anything else, but a recovery day here and there will allow me to catch up on school, writing my blog to keep all of you updated, and anything else there is to do. Keep checking back, I will try to write as often as I can! Tomorrow we have another long ride, and the shootout ride on Saturday morning!
Here's a guest entry from...
So this is the first guest appearance on Karlee Gendrons blog. So i am gonna set the bar high. Your probably thinking "Oh who is this that's writing in Karlee's blog. I will give a hint, I'm tall, smart, good looking and fast on a bicycle. Well when Karlee arrived in Tucson she came baring gifts. By gifts i mean pictures of Tom Boonen and Emilia Fahlin the two best looking cyclists in the world. Anyway the first ride we did was out to Medera Canyon. About 75km south of were we are staying. 75km doesn't sound like much but it is also 75km back as well. For those of you who don't like math that is 150km. The profile for the day was up for 75 km (first 50 gradual, last 25 slowly getting steeper) the top was the steepest part about 10% for the last 3km. Probably the best 3km of climbing i've done. It was beautiful, brand new roads and no traffic and the legs were moving good. So no complaints. But for Karlee this was her first ride back after slacking over Christmas break. Even though she could draft me, she starting hurting on the ride back from the climb. I was holding a respectable pace and whenever i looked back it was like a zombie was following me. The good part was it was all downhill home (Maybe not looking like it though) so it was faster than getting there. But she blew up pretty hard with 20km to go and we slowed down through the town. I was impressed she made it though, I thought she would have died long before!
Yesterday Tom (Karlee) and I decided to climb up mount Lemmon. Actually we didn't, jay told us to and we did not have anything better to do (we didn't feel like hanging out with the mexicans in the pawn shop). For those of you who don't know what mount Lemmon is i will fill you in. It is a very long climb (40km). I climbed up it then turned around and did the last 5 miles with Karlee again for some extra training. At the end of the climb we climbed more to the ski run because of a lack of anything better to do and the shared a large cookie which gave us enough calories to get home. After a long day we made another great meal and then just lazed around letting our legs heal after a couple long days. Luckily Keebs didn't bonk yesterday and the ride home wasn't a struggle for us. We picked up 907kg, not grams, of pancake mix on the way home, which made us a nice breakfast this morning.
Today we started off by skyping our good friend Ari Robinson and we talked about the large mexican influence in Tucson, girls, food and cycling. We are very cultured young people. Then we went for a nice coffee shop ride and saw the first water in Tucson and some ducks with mad afros going on. Then we visited a coffee shop were we sat out in the sun working on our tan lines and talked to a surprising amount of Canadians and cyclists. Now we are getting ready to make dinner and watch some movies. We are also really scared for our ride with Gord Fraser tomorrow, he is one of the few men in the world who have beat Mario Chippolini in a sprint. Anyway hope you enjoyed Karlee's first guest appearance, i will do it again in Penticton.