We've been getting questions all week about why a group of Canadians is down in Tucson while the Olympics are back at home. And as much fun as camp has been a lot of fun, I am looking forward to getting back to Vancouver to take in some of the Olympic atmosphere and events (and to Canadian coverage; some NBC has been alright but getting stuck watching ice dancing during the US/Canada hockey game was the straw that broke the camel's back).
I can barely remember all the went on over the past week but there's some pretty entertaining blog articles from the other cyclists on the CCA website.
One of the highlight rides of camp was our summit of Mt. Lemmon. We split up into a few groups to go up based on pace. Rob Jones from Canadian Cyclist and the Louis Garneau rep for the CCA were also on hand for a couple days and they were busy going between the groups on the moto getting lots of action photos and video. Definitely the longest continuous climb I've done in a while. It's a pretty awesome climb though. 25 miles up to over 8000 ft. with just a little bit of descending along the way. The views are pretty amazing too. Over the course of the climb the surroundings change like crazy. I found out after that the change in vegetative zones (6 of them) is equivalent to the change you would experience going from Mexico up to Canada. Yes, I'm a science nerd.
We were met at the top by the support cars with these awesome cookies. I don't think anything could taste better after climbing for almost 2 hours. The descent down Lemmon was almost as hard as the climb if you were at the front...mostly b/c of the crazy winds we were hitting.
We had a photo shoot day the next day as well amongst the cacti and a generally entertaining ride. Check out Andrea's blog entry for full descriptions. It also involved a coffee shop stop with the most amazing cookies ever! For people that spent ~ 10 days in Tucson, we could probably collectively give a local's review of the coffee shops in the area.
Unfortunately our weather luck turned for the last day of camp. After straight sun and blue skies we found ourself riding into hurricane force winds with a black wall of clouds. Even with a little route adjustment we still found ourself in a deluge. And let me tell you the desert that is Tucson is not equipped to deal with the rain that can come down here. Always a little scary riding through the streets when you can't see the pot holes or cracks, your wheels are maybe a 1/3 under water at times and you can't feel your legs or fingers. Fun times.
While most of the group left yesterday there were some of us staying on a little longer. Today we decided our last ride would become a Tour de Coffee Shop. Our plan started out a little bit more ambitious but with weather warnings again we cut our route down to two...back to the favourite near our hotel and then downtown to the University of Arizona to Clara Hughes' favourite coffee shop in Tucson- The B Line. She may be a speed skater now... but still has the cyclist coffee obsession.
Time to ween myself and go back to my non-coffee drinking habits. But its always a good part of camp!
Another cool thing to come out of camp. Geoff Kabush and the CCA are working together to develop a clean-sport initiative starting at the National Team level. We got hooked up with some sweet socks, sweat bands and stickers this week.
Time to head out of America's Friendliest Airport (thanks for having free wi-fi Phoenix). Back to Vancouver and head long into the season. Looking forward to getting a little further inspiration up in Whistler