5 REASONS TO HEAD TO ARIZONA
Those looking to escape winter for a week of intensive swim, bike and run training will no-doubt be thinking of making a trip to warm weather destination this winter. Last spring, we attended the Pace Performance training camp in Tucson, Ariz. in early April to get some ideas on how a big week of training might kick off the race season.
The camp offers Canadian triathletes the chance to escape winter in a warm climate with an ideal landscape to make some serious gains on the bike. With Mount Lemmon just a short ride away, plenty of off-road trails for soft-ground running and lots of quiet, open roads, here’s why Tucson is worth a look if you’re thinking of a training getaway.
You’ll be impressed by how safe the roads in Tuscon and the surrounding area are for cycling. Cars are accustomed to seeing large groups of cyclists – or even solo riders – out at any time of the day and leave you plenty of room on the road. There are also wide shoulders making it an easy place to safely get in lots of miles on the bike.
Tucson has an abundance of trails for mountain biking and running on soft ground. Not only do these trails pass by beautiful mountain scenery for your daily workouts, they also provide an alternative to pounding pavement for hours, giving your joints a break during the week of intense training.
The iconic Mount Lemmon is a climb that will test your legs and your mind, but one that will no doubt make you a stronger cyclist. Mount Lemmon is a must for any triathlete visiting the area. The sense of accomplishment you’ll feel afterwards is not unlike that you’d feel after finishing a big race. But, in a training camp environment, you get the benefit of a coach giving you tips along the way. Greg Pace, the head coach of Pace Performance, schedules the Mount Lemmon climb for his group towards the end of the week leaving plenty of time for triathletes to adjust to the warm climate and get in the right mindset for the climb. There’s a support van up the climb which is a welcome feature for any new athlete or anyone not accustomed to the dry air and hot temperatures that are normal during spring in Tucson.
A WEEK OF DISTRACTION-FREE TRAINING.
Scheduling a training camp over the winter or spring not only breaks up the monotony of training at home (and likely indoors) while it’s cold – it also gives you the chance to train without the normal burdens of day-to-day life. Logistics planned for the week of workouts and adjusted to meet your needs. There’s little, if any, travel time between workout locations. Your days allow for some rest time so you can recover between sessions and hard days. And one great feature that makes Pace’s camp unique is that bike travel is taken care of. Pace has a van drive his athlete’s bikes down for them, so flying down is easy.
TRAINING IN THE HEAT.
There’s a reason this location is a training hot spot for triathletes from around the world. For those targeting a hot weather race (even in Canada, where some races can be well above 30 C by midday), training in Tucson gives you the perfect preparation. Even if you’re not planning a warm race, training in the heat makes you a tougher athlete.