Feb 27 - 55 miles.
The world-famous Tucson Shootout. Bob, Kyle, and I rolled out of the Pedal Power Training compound in the infamous Pedro's van at the painfully early hour of 6am. For those who aren't familiar, the Shootout is the weekly Tucson local "world championships". These types of rides are fast throughout the country, but since Tucson is the winter home to many professional cyclists, AND the location of training camp for many domestic professional teams, the Shootout is pretty much a blazingly fast sufferfest. So with 400+ miles in the legs from the past week, I knew this was going to be one painfully brilliant endeavor.
The group that showed up wasn't full of heavy hitters....only 2 national champions (Todd Wells, the current national cyclo-cross champion....and Gord Fraser, who has been racing and winning probably longer than I've been alive), the Under-23 US National Mtn Bike team, and a few other fast dudes. I felt pretty good, and tried to jump in a few moves early on....none of which stuck, but it was some great work for the legs. Later in the ride, after the pace died down, Kyle looked and me and motioned me to come with him. He accelerated away from the field, and for the next 7 minutes we had a 2-man breakaway in motion. We laid down some good power, going about 30mph until the field eventually reeled us in. A few miles later a bunch of guys jumped to a sprint line, but we didn't even know it existed. Then we all rolled back into town, got changed, had some coffee, and basked in the glory of out 430 mile week of training.
So Tucson training camp is over, and I head back home to DC and the real-world tomorrow afternoon. I'm superbly pleased with how this camp has gone. Pedal Power Training, Sara Bresnick-Zocchi, and Kyle Wolfe put on a great camp. The organization was spot-on, the food was great, the rides were the perfect combination of distance and intensity. I learned a tremendous amount from them...all things that will make me more successful as a bike racer. I will definitely be returning to Tucson next winter for another chance to build fitness and spring-board my season.
Race season 2011 is on. Fire in the eyes, victory on the horizon.