05 January 2010

Training camp: days 6 and 7

Day 5: Mount Lemmon. It's 26 miles. Uphill.

Well, mostly. After 8,000 feet - and remember, it starts at 2500 - there's a little descent. Which makes it all the worse when you see the sign that says "Elevation: 8,000" the second time. "Didn't I already do this!?" But there's still a few miles to go.

The first three or four miles were brutal. Every time we rounded a bend, a gust of wind met us straight in the face. MSgt E was on my wheel for most of that. Then he passed me, but I knew he wouldn't stay away. It's 26 miles! At least, once we got back into the mountain, the wind died down.

From BO Training Camp 09/10

The fast group was long gone, and the girls were behind me, so I was climbing by myself for most of it. Stopped to pee at mile 13, starting catching glimpses of MSgt E around the bends soon after. Caught him at mile 16 and gave him an encouraging but-slap. "This sucks," he said. "Only ten miles to go," I replied. "Ten miles!?" Yeah.

Not long after that, I passed Capt B and ran out of water. I grabbed some clean snow from the side of the road, stuffed a little in my mouth and a lot in my bottle. But before it melted, Adam came down in the van and hooked me up with a fresh bottle.

At the top, I took a right turn to climb another mile or two to the ski resort. That was steep, and unlike the rest of the climb, unfamiliar - I didn't go up to the resort last year. But it was worth, and when I went back down to Summerhaven, I finished of my teammates'plate sized cookies and pizza. Wouldn't want that to go to waste.

There was snow at the top, so it was bound to be a chilly descent. But Cody put our bag in the wrong car, and I had to borrow stuff from three different people so I'd be warm enough. Made it down warm and safe about 45 minutes later.

On Saturday, only five of us got up for an easy ride to and through Saguaro National Park. It's one of the most beautiful places I've ever ridden: three or four different types of cacti, mountains, and plains all together.

From BO Training Camp 09/10

I guess it takes a lot of riding in a week to make 35 miles at 18 mile an hour seem like an easy ride. Wound up with 405 for the week.

Worth it.


  1. Well, I know I'm impressed. My butt hurts in sympathy, though.

    Nathan, am I reading this right? You say you did the descent (26 miles) in 45 minutes. My math is terrible, but that has to be close to 35-40 miles an hour on a bike. That is fast on a windy, mountain road. (I guess I'm making the assumption that it is windy). How long was the ride up?

  2. Yep, that sounds about right. The road wasn't straight or steep enough to go full aero - and thus top 50mph - but it was still pretty fast.

    The fast guys made the top in under 2 hours, I think I was up in about 2:45.