Monday, March 10, 2008

Tuscon & TriFest

Last week I had the opprtunity to attend TriFest in Tucson, AZ. I had never been to Tucson, so Paolina and I decided to head down a few days early to enjoy the warm weather and the great cycling in the area. Tucson has been a favourite winter training area for many top cyclists and triathletes. The picturehere is more or less the view looking to the north and out the back window of the house we stayed at. The desert scenery in the area was stunning!

We rented a house with some friends in the N. Eastern part of Tucson near the foot of one of the famous mountain road climbs - Mt Lemmon. We progressivly made it up higher and higher on Mt Lemmon. On the Friday towards the end of the week we made it right to the top on a ride that was orgaized by and TriFest. It turned out to be a great ride with over 70 people at the start. There was a core group that went all the way to Summerhaven - 27 miles and over 5,000ft up Mt Lemmon. Here are the bikes siting the on the front porch ready to go.

To the left is a picture of Paolina in her Timex Team kit and Ben Bigglestone of TYR at Windy Point - the 14 mile mark of the climb.

Here's another shot of the smaller group that went on to the top taking a rest and stretching the legs a bit at Windy Point. Beyond here, about 6,000ft and I really started to feel the altitude - I wa sable to keep up and keep going but getting enough air into my lungs became a challenge.

After coffee and some outstanding Rubarb pie at the bakery in Summerhaven near 9,000 ft it was time to head back down. Here's Paolina starting the descent. On the way down we were hitting speeds close to 50 mph. I was able to follow one of the well known Tucson locals, former top ranked Pro Triathlete Jimmy Riccitello, who knew all the best lines in the turns on the descent.

Despite it being the desert, they had some rain and snow at the higher elevations on the mountains earlier in the week. On a couple of our rides we had to cross washes that had water flowing right across the road. Paolina and Vince try not to splash each other as they go through the wash on Soldier Trail that we had to go through to start almost every ride.

Now it was not all play in Tucson I had some work to do while I was there! - is one of Nineteen wetsuits's newest accounts and it was a pleasure to be able to meet many of the staff. It says something about an organization when you give a PK session and almost the entire company of 35 people shows up - even the shipping staff. Impressive! Nineteen also had a booth at the TriFest Expo which you can see in the photo here. This was an outstanding first year event, that I hope grows into something much bigger in the years to come.
Too soon the time in Tuson was over and it was time to head back home to the Toronto area - Aurora, Ontario to be precise, and this is what we had to some home to. Here's my son Matthew survaying the Mt Everest size snow bank in front of the house and this was before the road was ploughed out and Mt Everest added to! It was great to be back home.

No comments: