Wednesday, January 13, 2010
My Favorite Aerobic Endurance Ride!
One of my favorite rides here in Tucson is one that takes me north on Oracle Road to a town called San Manuel. We've used this ride at our training camps now for several years, and it's always epic.
The ride starts in Oro Valley, about 2500 ft above sea level. With the Catalina Mountains to your right and the Tortilitas to your left, you ride up a steady 'false flat' for about 15 miles up to a town called Oracle, around 4000 ft above sea level. Typically, there's a stiff and sometimes gusty headwind as you climb this 'easy' but relentless uphill... and it really wears on you. The great thing about this for training is the absence of stop lights or signs for so many miles... you just ride 'tempo' uphill and into the wind.
Once you 'crest', you plunge down a 5 mile descent where the road caution sign claims a 7% grade. Speeds can reach 40-45 mph at times! Eventually, you make a right which takes you over a series of rollers (incredible mountain views in the distance) to the local gas station/convenience store for refueling and at this point, you've ridden around 35 miles.
On the way back, you have to climb that 5 mile beast! If you're lucky, a tailwind is pushing you along... but even if that's the case, the climb will take a solid 20-30 minutes. Once back at the top, you're in for a super fast 20+ mile downhill ride back into Oro Valley, aided by a tail wind. However long it took you to climb to Oracle, it'll take you only 60% of that time to descend. Of course, your legs are barking at you by now to get off the bike!
Overall, the ride covers about 70-75 miles, depending on some alternate routes you can take. It's the 'perfect' longer aerobic endurance ride... and the terrain, conditions , and even the scenery, makes me flash back to the Queen K highway in Kona!
If you've attended my Tucson camp, you know the ride well! And if you'd like to experience it, come out this March. I know I'll be doing this ride frequently throughout the year in prep for IMWI!