Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tucson Training Camp Day 5 - Kitt Peak

QOTD: "You don't go to Taco Bell for the quality of the meat. You go there because you're drunk or high out of your mind.  It's also where you hit on the girl behind the counter no matter what she looks like" ~ Kyle before dinner.  I'm not exactly sure what he was getting at either, but this was after a relatively epic 103 mile day on the oxygen debt is likely somewhat to blame.  That, and Kyle's unpredictable and sometimes plain scary thought processes. There is NEVER a dull moment around here.

So, the ride...  (Bob's ride data but the route and elevation are the same)
Today's route took us 103 miles from the top of Gate's Pass to the top of Kitt Peak (about 7000feet) and back.  5 of us parked at the top of Gate's Pass for a 25 mile leg to meet up with a few others at a little gas station in the middle of nowhere.  Only 15minutes into the ride Kyle was feeling adventurous and decided to run over something sharp, slicing his tire.  About 10minutes, and one business-card style ghetto tire patch later, we were cruising. (He really did use a business card between the tube and tire and it held up for another 4 hours...well played, sir)  We made great time, smoothly rotating and setting a solid tempo.  We picked up the rest of the group and headed into the desert towards Kitt.

This ride is pretty cool because from about mile 10 onward you can see the large white domes of the observatory on top of Kitt.  As you pedal it gets bigger and bigger, until it disappears for a while, and you begin the actual 12 mile ascent, zig zagging up the mountain.  It's probably more of a 16 mile climb, because the few miles leading to the actual access road are a steady 2-3% grade.  Then Kitt itself averages 7-8% for 12 scenic miles.

As has become the norm, Bob displayed his climbing prowess, and from mile 3 onward was in front of me.  I kept him in sight for about 6 miles, but that 30lb weight advantage he has eventually kicked my fat ass and he disappeared up the mountain.  The descent back down, however, was where I exacted my revenge.  Sweeping turns, 30-40mph, and incredible views. Although I wasn't really taking in the scenery as I was navigating the turns and trying to avoid becoming a human projectile at 6000feet.  I won the descent...can you even claim that as a victory?  Then somewhere around mile 75 I was challenged to a sprint, which I handily lost...but I was still pleased with how much power I was able to generate after that many hours in the saddle including the climb.  So basically I was 0 for 2 today.  Thus, as a penance to the cycling Gods I pulled for something like 10-15 miles at the end of the ride, which I loved because it was an incredible workout and the kind of stuff you have to do if you want to win races.

So after 5 and a half hours we made it back to the car.  A great training day in the books.  As one of my teammates likes to say, we were "making watts" for sure.

Oh, yesterday I promised more info about the run in with the law at the park.  Well here's the abridged version.  We went to do a recovery ride in this beautiful park full of cacti with a great rolling loop.  Sara had purchased passes for riders to use the park, and we got in no problem.  So we finish our loop, and over comes a ranger from the National Park Service.  Apparently Pedal Power Training is a "commercial organization", and thus the National Park Service(NPS) wants extra money for a commercial use permit.  Ignore the fact for a moment that it's the same number of people using the park for the same purpose, whether it's a commercial venture or not.  I could care less about the policies and politics, but what stood out most was this Ranger's 'combat load'.  She had a taser, mace, AND a pistol.  Now I understand it's a job that can take them into the wilderness and lead them to deal with many different situations, but I had fewer weapons choices when I was stationed in a combat zone in IRAQ!  So Kyle and Sara went off with Ranger Betty to work out the details, and the rest of us began trying to decide who was going to bail out Kyle when he got tased and arrested for doing something ridiculous.  Luckily (or not depending on your perspective...I've always wanted to see someone get tazed), everything worked out great.  Sara handled the situation like the consummate professional she is, and the park can now be used by riders at her camp for the next 3 weeks.  

No pictures right now.  A few people have some of Kitt but I haven't gotten ahold of them yet.  When I do, I'll post them.  Time for stretching and sleep.  Tomorrow is assault #2 on Mt.Lemmon.  I'd rode it conservatively on Monday, well within my comfort zone, so tomorrow it's time to "make watts" and feel some more pain.

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