5 REA­SONS TO HEAD TO ARI­ZONA

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - GEAR - BY CLAIRE DUN­CAN

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.

CYCLING-FRIENDLY EN­VI­RON­MENT.

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.

SOFT-GROUND RUN­NING.

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.

MOUNT LEM­MON.

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.

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