Jan 5, 2010

Winters Cycling Paradise

I’ve been in Tucson for a few days now and I don’t think I have stopped smiling the entire time. Lately, I’ve felt guilty talking to people from Cleveland. They are getting snowed in and frozen stiff, while I am cruising around in a jersey and shorts. The weather this time of year is unbelievable. When the sun is down, it can be a little chilly, like in the 40s, which is actually very comfortable compared to Cleveland. Once the sun comes out, it heats up fast. Lately, it has been in the low 70s for most of the days. When the sun is shining and the sky is blue, it’s hard to not be outside enjoying life.

On Sunday, I headed out for my first ride here. I waited until noon to head out because I wanted it to be warm. The weather felt like the most beautiful summers day in Cleveland, no wind, blue sky, and a warm sun… hard to remember that it was Jan 3rd.  It’s hard to know where to ride when you are new to a city. Luckily, I got in contact with Doug Friman, a member of the US Olympic triathlon team. He gave me the low down on the entire cycling scene in Tucson. Sundays ride headed north towards Mt. Lemmon. On a side note, my favorite part of living here is walking into my back yard and staring up at Mt. Lemmon. It is incredible. It took about 30 minutes to get out of the city limits. Even though there are way too many stop lights, the city riding isn’t horrible because of the wide bike lanes. Once outside of the city limits, I headed into the foothills of Mt. Lemmon. It was a fairly flat ride that headed straight through some really beautiful neighborhoods. I rode all the way to Oro Valley before swinging back towards town. The ride ended up being a little longer than I thought it would be, but I couldn't get myself to turn back home. I ended up riding about 60 miles in a little less than 3 hours. My legs were super heavy towards the end of the ride. It was a subtle reminder of how out of shape I actually am. My legs will come around soon enough.

On Monday, I headed out a little bit earlier. I was in the low 50s when I began, so I got to try out my new leg warmers. Monday’s route was much different. Instead of heading northwest towards Oro Valley, I headed northeast. I found this route way better for riding. I was out of the city in less than 20 minutes and within 35 minutes I was cruising by ranches near the base of Mt. Lemmon. This ride may be my new 2 hour loop. It was perfectly isolated from traffic, the views were spectacular, the road was rolling, the road was well paved, and the loop was fast! The only tough section was the 4 mile stretch heading south towards the Air Force base. It was up a gentle 3-4% grade but into a nasty headwind. Although, I wasn’t complaining much when I turned right onto Valencia and started ripping at 26-28mph all the way home. The weather was perfect again. It was a little cooler than Sunday, and I was fine with keeping my arm warmers on the entire ride. I ended up getting in 43 miles in less than 2 hours. My legs were heavy again towards the end.

Today, I am finally getting settled into the new place. I finally got some groceries and am getting around to putting all my stuff away. My roommates won’t be here until this weekend, so I still have a little bit of time to get fully settled. Being alone it great for now, but I am sure I will be able to use the company in a few days. The plan for today is pretty simple. A have a second interview this afternoon, then some swimming and running. I am pretty excited for my first outdoor practice since the summer. With the temps in the 60s, it should be a nice evening for a swim.

For everyone in Cleveland… enjoy the snow.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE your palm tree!!! And the place is great! Have fun getting settled in, looks like a dream:)