Saturday, January 23, 2010

The COLD Southwest and Winter Riding

When you think of the Southwestern United States, what comes to mind? Desert, mountains, cactus, sunshine, warm temperatures and burritos, right? Well, the burritos are still delicious but the sunshine and warm temperatures are no where to be found!

If you've been following the national weather, you'll see that southern California into southern Arizona have been pounded with several days of storms coming off the Pacific ocean. Here in Tucson, we've had record levels of rain. Up north in the Flagstaff region, they've received several feet of snow! Even here, as I look east towards the Catalina Mountains I see gobs of snow on the peaks.

So, today I bundled up for a ride. When I lived in Maryland and during my 'hardcore days', I used to ride outdoors in almost any weather. I can't even begin to tell you during how many sub 30 deg. days you'd find me out on my road bike. I even flash back to the late 1980's, before really technical winter wear was available (and I couldn't afford it , even if it was), I'd go out with sandwich bags over my socks, 2-3 pair of thin 'running' tights and several cotton sweatshirts. Wow, we've come a long way when it comes to riding in cold weather!

Todays ride was a 40 miler (out and back) to a community known as Dove Mountain. The winds were hitting steady 15-20 mph speeds and the temps were in the very low 40's. In the distance, you could see the low clouds dumping snow (or freezing rain) onto the Catalinas and up North towards the town of Oracle. Every once in awhile during the ride, I'd run in to a small group of rain clouds that dumped cold rain and some sleet on me... nice! There were a few other hardy souls out there riding too... but most Tucson based riders (or so I'm told) tend to stay indoors if temps drop below 50 degrees or so. After all, we are 'sort of' spoiled by the great weather the other 350 days of the year!

So, with one more day in the week to go, I've been able to log the following miles:

Cycling: 160 miles
Running: 30 miles
Swimming: 0 yds (yeah yeah yeah, I know!)
Dry land Swim Training: 1 hour

They've all been aerobic base miles... steady Zone 2-3 work. Nothing fancy... just putting in the time. When February rolls around, I'm going to start popping in some tempo work in order to start building my lactate clearing mechanisms. I also need to find a Masters swim program in order to get that 'reality check' of how woefully deconditioned I am in the water and to get my butt back to a respectable level of swim fitness before the season starts. Did I ever mention that I don't like to swim? :)

I hope your training this weekend is going well.

Train smart,
Coach Troy


  1. Tucson is the place to be for Master's swimming. Ford Aquatics is a pretty awesome club. has a list of other clubs too.

  2. Thanks Jon... I'll look into Ford. I appreciate the advice.
    - Troy