Above is a picture of the house cat, Nick - very pretty and acting like a dog!
So today is Saturday and when you´re in Tucson riding your bike, you don´t wanna miss the Shootout. It´s the local weekly World Championships and a very sure way to get a hard ride and most certainly get your butt kicked as there´s always a lot of strong riders.
The Saturday Shootout is an open groupride, starting from the University at 7.00 am and steadily grows in numbers as riders will join the ride all along Mission Road untill the lights at Valencia. That´s the end of the "neutral zone"/warm up and you´d better finish peeing or redressing as you wanna find your place in the 100+ riders peloton. The speed will quickly increase, the peloton will get strung out and people will start peeling off from the back. The smartest thing is to stay close to the front and watch for potholes and people who are swaying or falling back. Don´t look at your speedometer or heart rate monitor; the latter will be alarmingly high, while the first will be surprisingly low, due to false flat nature of the road. There´s an unofficial finish line at a crest somewhere after the bridge at 13 miles, but don´t relax too much as the pace will be kept high all the way to Duvall Mining Road, where there´s usually a small break. If you´ve been dropped by the fierce pace, you´re best bet is to cut it through Helmet Peak and join the group at the store at Old Nogales, where you´ll be zooming back towards town with a high quality 50 miles in your legs. A highly recommendable ride.
But today I decided to miss out on the suffer fest for, at least, three reasons:
1. The time of day(night?), it´s still dark at 06.15 when I have to leave the house in order to be at the University at 7 am.
2. The temperature: this morning it was 20 degrees F/-5 degrees C and there was no way I would expose myself to that kind of temperature. I might as well have stayed in Denmark.
3. Lack of fitness: with my current fitness I would be suffering like a roasted javelina the whole way, including the warm up to Valencia... I would probably have to let go very early and if I have to ride by myself, I would rather wait a few hours till the temperature gets up to a decent high forties.
So at 9 o´clock I donned my running shoes and ran out east, till the end of Speedway, in 31.31 minutes and got back after 61 minutes. My mouth was very dry as the humitidy is very low here in the desert. I ran on the gravel shoulder most of the way and only met about ten cars. At the end of Speedway I stopped to pee and do some push ups and recognized an unfamiliar silence. It´s so quiet out here in the desert, on the very outskirts of town - unimaginable. A weird kind of serenity fills you, even though your heart is pounding and your gasping for air. One of my nicer runs ever!!!
Well, time for a quick shower and on the bike to meet the Roberts downtown, where they´re taking care of a yard sale...
Tonight I will be going to a New Years Party at Curtis and Stella - looking forward to seeing them and their to sons, Oscar and Sebastian.
So basically my afternoon spin on the bike, was an easy trip through most of Tucson, visiting people...
I was away for 5 hours, but only got 2.45 of actual riding - good ride anyway.
Went home and had a shower, watched Patriots vs NY Giants and borrowed Jons car to go to the party.