Sunday, August 1, 2010

La Marmotte, July 3rd, 2010

Dan and Peter enjoying some post-Marmotte Tour de France.

Getting ready for a quick spin, down and up Alpe d' Huez.

La Marmotte is a great challenge for cyclotourists, with its 16.000 feet of climbing in 110 miles, in some of the most beautiful scenery in the French alps. 9000 people toed the starting line at 7.00 am and we were blessed with perfect conditions, sunny skies and 75 F. I found my own rhythm up Glandon, staring at the SRM and trying not to exceed 250 watts and were of course passed by lots of people. Seemingly the morning coffee was still rambling my intestines, so after filling up my bottles at the top I was scouting for a suitable place to pull over and relieve myself. The descent was fast and tricky, and caused a lot of crashes, despite the fact that the organizers had flagmen on every hot corner and neutralized the descent in terms of time. Eventually they produced two result sheets, with and without the Glandon descent, which will probably encourage people to descent full throttle next year... The transition to the bottom of Telegraph/Galibier and the slight uphill saw me in the back of a pack and would have been pretty hard by yourself. My buddy, Thomas Bonne, led the race at this point, but was lead the wrong way and was a little disheartened by the time he got redirected back on course, with no chance to reach the front again... He ended up in 17th place in 6.31, 22 minutes after the winner Michel Snel. Telegraph/Galibier is a +20 miles climb that'll take up to 2645 m/8677 feet. A lot of people were affected by the thin air, but I seem to thrive and passed a lot of people, keeping a good steady rhythm and aiming at 260-280 watts on the Telegraph and a little less on the upper slopes of Galibier, which kept my breathing pattern the same. The descent from Galibier to Lauteret is quite treacherous and caused my back wheel to skid a few times, despite my carefulness. I found a good group on the 30 mile downhill cruise down to Bourg d' Oisans, where the grand finale waited: the ascent of Alpe d'Huez. It was now just past noon and the temperature had risen to 90 F. I peeled off as much clothes as possible and hung my helmet over the handlebars to get as much ventilation as possible, but was on the edge of cooking/exploding the whole way up. I averaged 280 watts on the 8 miles/13 km ascent, with its famous 21 hairpins, and did it in 1.03, which isn't too bad considering the 6 previous hours warm up, but it tells me that I could probably have gone a little harder on the first climb and settled in to a group that would've suited my pace/fitness better, but who knows. My brother Peter blew up big time on Alpe d'Huez, succumbing to the heat, loss of electrolytes and caloric deficit. Not only did he lose a lot of time, but it took him a great deal of time to recover from the effort and we spoke a lot about the arduous efforts of the Tour de France riders, day in and day out for three weeks!!! None of us could apprehend the thought of doing a Marmotte effort continuously for just a few days. Well, Rune Larsen and his brother Bruno Petersen grabbed some quick post race food, showered, packed the bikes in the car and drove on to Italy to partake in another "Grand Fondo" (Great Challenge): 200 km in the mountains, starting at 8.00 am the following day and what looked logistically possible back home now seemed a bit crazy...
Anyway, the official times and placing was something like this (including the Glandon descent):
01. Michel Snel: 6.09.39
17. Thomas Bonne: 6.31.30
68. Henrik Thingaard: 6.59.08
81. Rune Larsen: 7.03.21
89. Bruno Petersen: 7.05.56
92. Peter Bech: 7.06.19
161. Claus Bech: 7.19.39
749. Dan Olesen: 8.10.31

Henrik Thingaard is a fellow Dane and a friend of mine, who overtook me twice and I did the same to him! Henrik started in a group later than me and went straight by me on the middle of Galibier climb, going at pace much faster than me. Big was my surprise when he overtook me again on the long descent at La Grave, som 45 minutes later!?! Henrik had bonked a little on the top of Galibier and had to take a break at the aid station. We rode together to the bottom at the Alpe d' Huez climb and history repeated itself: Henrik took off like a man on a mission and I just took care of myself and my own pace... But with a mile or so to the finish, I suddenly saw him snailing along up the road! So, I ended up ovartaking him for the second time that day, which lead to a lot of explaining at the post race buffet...
My SRM Powermeter showed a netto time of 7.10, but toilet breaks, police enforced traffic stops, aid station stops and redressing on the final climb, apparently added another 10 minutes.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday, Feb 24th, 2010 - Summerhaven - picturesque trip

The snow plow had been working overtime to clear the roads on Mt. Lemmon of the 14 inches of snow they got Monday. Brought the camera and took my time to shoot some of the vistas along the way to Summerhaven. I only wanted to go to mile 15, but since the road was clear, but very wet, I kept on going until I suddenly reached Summerhaven. By far the easiest ascent so far. Got a Cliff bar and some trail mix from a fellow cyclist, Jim, to help me get safely down to the desert floor.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tuesday, Feb 9th, 2010 - Social ride & Ikea...

United Healthcare Pro Cycling Team is in town this week and they invited all cyclists for a social ride, starting at Trisports and going to the loop in Saguaro National park. Including the pro cyclists, we were approx. 40 riders and two support cars. Allan had a flat and immediately got a spare full carbon, deep rim, tubular wheel, now that's service! UHPCT paid the 5$ entrance to the spectacular 8 mile roller coaster ride, very beautiful and lots of fun. We skipped the post ride breakfast and went straight home for lunch. Later in the afternoon I visited the two Arizona Cyclist shops and had them estimate the price of refitting my bike. I went by Bill Peterson, where Allan was having a bike fit, and got my shoes shimmed, after I told Bill about the sore knee. And it felt much better on the ride home. All in all 100 km for the day.
Curtis and Stella invited us over for pizza and we helped assemble an IKEA walk in closet in their new bathroom. It was quite a big project, there must have been more than a 1000 parts and it was actually lots of fun working together.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday, Feb 8th, 2010 - Sonoita

Met with Brent, the liability claims representative from Farmers Insurance this morning. We went through the accident and he took some pictures of the bike and my bruises. We settled the injury claim and now I've got to get a repair estimate for the damage done to the bike.
Allan, Dan and Peter then picked me up and todays ride went to Sonoita, up on the plains near Mexico. It was unusually chilly this morning and we all waited for the long climb, to produce some wattage and heat. I soon found out that I had a sore knee, so I decided to slow down and let the others go. So I ended up doing most of the 175 km by myself, which was fine, considering the beautiful scenery.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday, Feb 7th, 2010 - Super Bowl 44

Woke up to pouring rain, had breakfast and went to sleep again...
Went to Curtis and Stella for brunch/second breakfast.
It was Stella's birthday and we all ended up having a sugar rush/crash from all the pancakes. Went on to the outlet mall to shop for Nike shoes and Levis jeans, lots of stuff and very cheap. Allan got a haircut while the rest of us ran around Randolph Golf course.
At 4 p.m. we entered the Roberts mansion for Super Bowl party.
First we all went to check our pre game body weight and we soon decided not to do a post game control, as the first numbers were scary enough...
We were served tons of chips, tostidas, salsa, guacamole, pretzels, roasted peanuts, M&M's, beers, soda's, wine etc. - and that was just the starters!

Dinner was a very delicious jambalaya; a tribute to New Orleans Saints, who Jon cheered, loudly, for. Side dishes were corn bread and corn caserole and to top it all off, we had peanut-chocolate cookies.
Besides the Roberts family and the four Danes, Greg and Laura was there and we all cheered for the Colts. The Saints got the win and Super Bowl rings and Jon got the bragging rights.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Saturday, Feb 6th, 2010 - Shootout!

Todays Shootout was actually quite enjoyable! Rode in the front of the procession with Tim Carolan and when we hit Valencia, the speed increased in a very gradual way without too many leg trashing surges. Allan, Dan, Peter and I all went over the bridge and the sprint hill in the main group and went with the Madera Canyon group to the gas station in Green Valley. Dan and I quickly got on our bikes again and rode easy out White Canyon Road to find a discreet spot to relieve ourselves. When the group caught up, Peter was missing... He decided to take a pee break, thinking that he could easily catch back up to the slow paced group, only to see a considerable increase in speed just as he started sprinkling... He time trialed for 10-15 minutes to catch back on and unfortunately spend a lot of d power; much needed for the grueling 5 km climb of Madera Canyon. He still managed to get third at the "finish line", but he was well done at the end. Peter, Dan, Frank Barnes (Nor) and I got a head start down the tricky descent and met Gord Frasers United Health Team on the way down White Canyon Road. We departed from the main group at Sahuarita  and went over Helmet Peak and back trailed down the miserably paved Mission.
182 km and 6 hours, with a lot of sunshine and intensity; I've had worse Saturdays...
Got straight in to Brett's car and drove to the nutrition to stuck up on some organic energy bars and 5 pounds of protein powder! Went for a 5 km jog at six p.m. and finished the day with some sandwiches and lots of blueberry/banana/ginger/protein powder/colostrum shake. Skyped Katrine, who was at a party in down town Kolding at 4 a.m. in Denmark!?! Tomorrow's the Superbowl and I can't wait to see what Jon Roberts has in store for us!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thursday, Feb 4th, 2010 Kitt Peak

Todays menu was Kitt Peak,  a world famous observatory that does  some great research in astronomy. It's placed on a mountain top in the middle of the desert, as far away from artificial light as possible. The hors d'hoeuvre was the long straight Ajo Road, spiced up with Gates Pass. Despite knowing that we were on a seven hour ride, the pace was solid. The mushroom-like observatories hovered high up over the valley floor and could be seen the whole way.
The climb itself is a 14 miles/20km rather steep ascent (~ 1200 vertical meters), that goes up to 7000 ft (2133m). We all did our own thing and enjoyed the breathtaking views to the West (California) and South (Mexico). After soaking up some sun at 7000 ft, we went in to the fascinating visitors center to look around, use the rest room and fill the water bottles. The descent was very cold and it felt so good to drop down to the warm desert floor. We had a nice tailwind going back to Tucson and only the bumpy stretches on Ajo could dampen the big smiles. After seven hours and approx. 215 km, we were home at 5.15 p.m., which left us with about 90 minutes before we had to meet for potluck at our house. Hats off to Allan, who did the long ride 12 hours he set foot on US soil.

It was a great potluck dinner, with guacamole, nachos, salad, lasagne, chili con carne, corn bread, braised vegetables, beers and a big fudge chocolate cake. It was a truly international turn out with four Danes, three Canadians and three Americans. Thanks to Jenny for gathering all the people, it was a great night.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wednesday, Feb 3rd, 2010 - Frank's finally

The forecasted heavy rains turned out to be a light sprinkle, but we had designated the day to running. Dan, Peter and I ran around Randolphs golf course, a 3 mile loop, with an option of either asphalt or dirt trail. After putting on dry clothes at he parking lot, next to the car, we headed to the infamous breakfast place/grease pit known as Frank's. Their slogan is "Elegant dining elsewhere" and is pretty much as old school American as You'll find it. We had blueberry pancakes, some scrambled egg and bacon and hash brown potatoes. At 4.30 p.m. we all went to Bill Peterson to see Peter get fitted with his new orthotics. He even went on the treadmill and Bill gave him a quick analysis and some recommendations regarding landing on his forefoot and maybe run in flatter trainers/racers, as that will benefit the natural running gait. Bill was very interested in Dan's shoes from Fusion. They exchanged views on running shoes and seemed to agree on how a shoe should be built. Dan and Peter dropped me off at home and I made a huge pot of chili con carne, which is my part of tomorrows potluck. Peter then drove to the airport to pick up Allan Lundhus, who was so fed up with the cold Danish weather, that he decided to have fun riding his bike in the sun. Allan has been here a couple of times before so he's familiar with the scheduled ride for tomorrow: Kitts Peak, which is approx. 200 km, with a 20 km climb in the middle.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tuesday, Feb 2nd, 2010 - Visit to Colossal Cave

Todays ride went to Colossal Cave and Vail. Beautiful weather, good for the tan lines and 120 km on the bike. The afternoon run was warm and the skies were divided in two; the North was clear, but gloomy clouds was emerging from the South. Looks like we're gonna have some rain tonight.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday, Feb 1st, 2010 Another fine day

Had a good nights sleep and wasn't bothered too much by the flesh wounds. Went to Rancho Vistoso, where Dan did tempo and Peter and I noodled around. I felt painless and with good mobility. Ended up at AJ's, where we cake and coffee in the blazing sun. Then Peter got a bike fit by Bill Peterson, it was very interesting to watch and Peter seemed satisfied. After three Overstuffed Burritos at La Salsa, we went to see Brett at The Running Shop. After a quick shower and applying Neosporin we went out to do some errands, before calling it a nice day.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday, Jan 31st, 2010 - Road Rash

Beautiful weather this morning and a big group went up Mt. Lemmon, starting from Le Buzz. Darien soon took off on his fixie, Frank Barnes(the Norwegian) also grinded away, big ringin' it. Peter Bech closed the gap and made it look pretty easy, I found it hard though and seeing 300+ watts on the display confirmed the intensity. Peter soloed off towards Darien while I stayed with Frank, who was planning to go all the way to the Ski Valley! So was about half of Tucson, as we soon had an endless line of cars passing by, lured by the six feet of snow on the upper slopes. Peter and Darien powered on up ahead, Frank went into spinning mode and I tried to push 260+ watts to Windy Point or where ever we would regroup. Right before the road work at mile 10, a car nearly hit me, while he swerved and crossed both the yellow and white lines! The line up at the red light was twenty cars deep, so I passed them and went up towards Bear Canyon.
All of a sudden I was hit by that same guy and I went flying off my bike. Luckily he didn't run me over and he stopped immediately, to see if I was all right. I was a bit shocked and told him I just needed a break. A bunch of climbers saw the incident from a close distance and they said they would witness if needed, left their names and numbers and took off. But a guy called Don Beckhorn, who had been driving in front of the swerving guy, came to my assistance and said he knew that guy would eventually hit some bike rider as he was all over the road. Don told the man to keep quiet, stand by his car and find his insurance documents, while he took pictures of the car, license plate, the driver, my wounds and the damage done to my bike. He then called the Police and they arrived and interrogated both Don, the driver and me.
I was very grateful for Don to take his time to help me out, as I was a little confused and probably wouldn't have taken all the necessary action. Little by little the other bike riders came by an Dan, Frank and Peter and Darien patiently waited until I was ready to carefully ride down the mountain. I'm pretty sure the guy was DUI (Driving Under the Influence). His speech was a little blurred and incoherent. Hopefully the Police officers didn't let him drive on, but I'm afraid they just filed the case and let him go on. He was in a hurry he said...

I got a bit stiff and very cold standing there for 30+ minutes and was shaking dangerously on the way back down to the warm desert floor. At the bottom the Police had stopped traffic going up the mountain and there was a line of cars of maybe 200 cars, going all the way to Houghton!!!

Back home I showered, assessed the damage, took some photos and called Jon Roberts who told me to get some antibiotic ointment called Neosporin. I felt a bit dizzy and I'll have to see if I've suffered a small concussion. Well a good nights sleep will do good, I hope.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday, Jan 30th, 2010-Riding w Dan, Peter and Lesley

First ride with Peter and Dan went over Gates Pass, McCain Loop and back. It was windy out there today and with a slight cloud cover, 16 degrees C felt chilly. The entertainment was provided by a local Chewbacca called Lesley, who rode in a pair of sawed off Levis jeans. Man, the guy was friggin' ripped, and furry, the dude totally rocked!!!  It was good company for a couple of miles. Later on we encountered the legendary/ (in)famous "Grey Wolf" on an all black bike and his customary pink outfit...
Had an overstuffed burrito at La Salsa and went to see the criterium at U of A. Met with the Riccitellos and saw the collegiate heat.
I didn't bother taking a shower as we headed out for some trail running at the end of Broadway.

By the time we were done the sun was setting and we had a gorgeous display of warm, reddish colors.
Dan and Peter raided Trader Joe's, stacking up with all the good stuff, that'll fuel the engines for the next couple of days.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday, Jan 29nd, 2010

Full moon tonight, the brightest in 2010, hope I'll get some sleep. I'm pretty energetic at the moment, 8.45 p.m., despite having done a 100 miles/161km today and spent 5.40 on or close to the bike. Went over Gates Pass/McCain Loop and north on Sandario with Jenny, then we split after sixty km, she went back home on Twin Peaks and I headed further west on Avra Valley. Stopped to get water at 70 km, at "The Waterhole", at Avra Valley and Anway. Had a banana as well and broke the fast. South on Anway, East on Manville and South on Sandario, all the way to Ajo, where I made a u-turn and went up Sandario to Mile Wide and back over Gates Pass. Felt really good coming back and wanted to go for a run, but decided to save some energy for the upcoming weekend, which should be long and somewhat hard. Dan and Peter escaped the snow storm and got all their luggage through customs in Denver and they're now in Tucson, getting hold of some kind of transportation. Hopefully they'll get all their stuff right away, so we can go riding tomorrow. Maybe the Shootout or some more humane and then go and see the crits down at U of A - we'll see.
When I have trouble falling asleep, I often look at this picture... It's Peter and his adorable wife Katrine, aka the she-dragon, discussing the color of the wall paper and if they should get have another child, which they apparently decided to, as they've just got their third kid, Ludvig. If he's just half as enjoyable as their other offspring, he's gonna be a great kid.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thursday, Jan 28th, 2010

I don't know where Wednesday, the 27th went, but I remember it was a good ride. Two loops of Rancho Vistoso, 260w and 259w average. I thought it was uphill only, going North, but I was surprised to find out that both North- and Southbound were kind of undulating. But it feels much harder doing the wattage, going downhill, that's for sure. Uphill and a power meter is a sweet combination. 110 km in 3.30.

Right before I went to sleep it was time for a Birthday greeting to Katrine, since she'll be waking up in the next hour or so, probably making muffins. She's got' em on her mind (lucky me!) and makes blueberry muffins worth killing for, or making just going back for. She had so many greetings on Facebook that it's gotta be real, in an unreal way though... It feels kind of weird to constantly be eight hours behind, when you start to think about it, which I better not. I went to bed to the sound of heavy rain and to my big surprise it was still pouring down when I woke up at 7 a.m.. Canceling the planned ride up Mt. Lemmon wasn't too hard as I'm on a "want to" program over here, compared to a "have to" program. The inclement weather was supposed to wane about noon, but it kept on drizzling and I was having none of it. Instead I kept snacking and peaking out of the window to see some clearance. It never happened, so instead I ran for 30 minutes, feeling bloated. Peter and Dan are about to board their first flight of three, to Amsterdam, then Denver and finally Tucson, which should see some nice warm +20 degrees weather for the next ten days.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday, Jan 26th, 2010 - another nice day

The primary task of this morning was getting my bike fixed. After changing a few tyres and cassettes I finally ended up with a rideable bike and a few blisters on my thumbs, soft skin? The test ride was a nice 3 hrs low intensity trip to Rancho Vistoso with jenny. Beautiful weather and smiles were had. Fruit smoothie as recovery drink, a 15 minutes power nap and a trip to Trader Joe's and then it was time for 30 min jogging. Had sushi for dinner and grapefruit and chocolate covered almonds for desert, yum yum. Spoke to Dan Olesen on Skype; he's coming to Tucson on Friday and offered to bring me a spare wheel, helpful as always, a man to be trusted and it'll be great to get some riding with him and my brother Peter for the next 14 days.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday, Jan 25th, 2010 - One of those days...

I've got a clarification to make: the nice and patient gentleman at control 171, was Eric Bone, Cascade Orienteering Club, who also happens to be a member of the USOF National Team... Well Eric, thanks for taking Your time, and loosing 20 seconds in the middle of a race, to some total stranger in the desert! That's Eric running away after posing - guess you could call it pose running?!?
This was just one of those days where everything went wrong! I should've known it when I felt asleep after breakfast and didn't wake up until 11 a.m. feeling as lethargic as ever. I ate second breakfast/lunch and had a double shot of very strong coffee. I probably should've stayed in bed, but the spoke in back wheel would probably just have broken tomorrow. Anyway, I limped home from Catalina HW on a seriously crooked wheel, brakes rubbing and the whole thing threatening to collapse anytime. I spend the rest of the afternoon hunting for a fitting spoke, but after visiting four (4) bike shops, I went to Jon Roberts and borrowed a rear wheel from him, thanks Jon. With everything going haywire I thought I might as well announce my relationship with Katrine on Facebook... Hey what is that thing anyway? Like things ain't real if it's not been published on Facebook! I even doubted Jennys recent marriage, cause it's not on Facebook... And once you're going down Ball 'n Chain Avenue, the next thing will be the question about which pet to get, cat or dog, or even complaining about the fact that there's four bikes in your apartment. Most of the bikes are pretty clean, which can't be said about most domesticated hairy furballs, including women, or men, with long hair . Okay, enough ranting for now, sure some sleep will help my grouchiness...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday, Jan 24th, 2010 - The Desert Flora

Just a quick guide to Sonoran Desert flora, which would appear white on the orienteering maps...

Sunday, Jan 24th, 2010 - Orienteering - the maps

For all the map hungry guys out there, here's a photo of the Orange (long-easy) and Red (long-difficult). The colour on the map means fast running/terrain and in Denmark that would typically be a forest where you can maintain a high speed without having to fight your way through vegetation. Same thing here, except the ubiquitous plants are extremely hostile and makes blackberry bushes feel like soft velvet! The greener the color, the more you have to fight to get through it and over here it's literally impassable. The blue dotted lines are washes/riverbeds and they're all dried out so you can run in them as canals and they're great guidelines in a terrain that lacks other details than height contours. Often they are lined with nearly impenetrable walls of sticky vegetation, so you've gotta find an entrance, find an exit or wear body armor!

Sunday, Jan 24th, 2010 - Even more orienteering photos

To the left is Cristina Luis, ready to take off. She went to the Orienteering World Championships in Silkeborg, Denmark, 2006, to help out Team USA, so she knows the beautiful forests in the lake area of Jutland. Today she did the red course in 1.01 and said she never fought as many chollas before in her entire career! To the left is timing manager, Leif Lundquist, from Stockholm, Sweden and he kindly answered any (many) I had! He also provide me with maps of the red and blue courses, so there's some late night map reading for the next week. Leif's got an American wife, so he spends the winters here in Arizona. He's even written a book about his adventures here:

Sunday, Jan 24th, 2010 - More orienteering photos

Raffael Huber, who ran 48 minutes for Saturdays 9,7 km(!) and started this Sunday by getting second in the "Sun Run" 10 km in Reid Park, running 32.40. Then came out to Ironwoods to do another 10 km orienteering course at noon! He's had a heavy training week already this week with 12-13 hours of running... And the guy who patiently posed and waited for me to take his photo...

Sunday, Jan 24th, 2010 - Orienteering!

What a splendid day! After three days of freak weather, we woke up to zero degrees Celsius, but bright sunshine throughout the day - time to go orienteering! Brett decided to come with me to Ironwood, to see the West part of town and the magnificent nature West of gates Pass. When we got to Ironwoods there were about 30 guys getting ready for for some orienteering in the desert scrub. I clearly didn't have the proper equipment for perambulating the omnipresent sticky vegetation. I decided to pick a orange course, meaning long-easy (5,2 km), as I could then stay on the trails as much as possible. They claim this terrain is fast and a Swiss guy, running for Goteborg, Sweden, Raffael Huber, ran yesterdays Blue (long-difficult) 9,7 km in 48 something!!! The symbols follows the international standard and if you didn't know the symbol of a wash/riverbed, you would definitely have learned it by end of the day as they were abundant and kind of the only natural guidelines out there. I pretty much followed the plan and stuck to the trails until I was absolutely forced to get in to the wild. Halfway I came close to the start/finish area, so I got some water and picked up my camera to get some action pictures. I actually asked one fast looking guy to go back and pose at the control he just sprinted to, so i could get a shot - he told me to hurry! There were national team members from around the world and a lot of hiker looking ladies and gentlemen, dressed in jeans and big shady hats, enjoying a day of desert searching. When I finally finished I asked the timing guy if they had some left over maps from yesterdays event and I got some to bring back home to my club, Viborg Orienterings Klub, where I know there'll be some map-o-fils waiting to see some very different terrain. The guy was called Leif Lundquist and came from outside of Stockholm, Sweden, also escaping the icy Scandinavia. All in all a very pleasant experience and thanks to all the folks who put so much time and effort in to organizing such event. I was sorry I couldn't help retrieve the controls afterwards, but Brett had some important Divisional Finals to see at 1 p.m.. I had a quick lunch, watched the first quarter of Colts vs. Jets, skyped Katrine and then went for an easy 2.15 spin with Jenny. Unfortunately Brett Favre and the Vikings lost in overtime to The Saints, good for them though, they've never been been to the Superbowl - Good Luck and Good Night.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday, Jan 23, 2010

Got up at 6 a.m. to get some coffee and porridge started, hoping for pleasant weather for the Shootout. But to my dismay it was all wet, cold and dark outside... Had a quick council with Jenny and we decided to buy ourselves another hour and join the SWHC at 8.30 instead, hoping for things to clear up. The ride was really good, my new insoles/fixed cleat felt awkward at first, but I things that, once I break the in, it'll make a big difference. There's definitely less floating around and much more power seems to be directed into each pedal stroke. Todays ride went out West past Twin Peaks and Rattlesnake Ridge. I was adviced not to go long or hard for a few days and I really tried to sit in at the back, but then things got a little crazy at the front and since I was feeling really good, I decided to share the work and it was a good effort for 20-30 minutes. Coming back on Silverbell, I went with Shawn Daley over Gates Pass, where he was gonna do McCain Loop. I turned left on Kinney Road and went into Ironwood to check out the orienteering event. The whole set up actually looked a lot like home, with the maps, symbols, SI-timing system and so on. I think I'll ride out here tomorrow, buy a map and jog around very slowly, as the terrain is very unfamiliar! Went back over Gates Pass with Shawn, whom I miraculously met at Kinney/Gates Pass Rd, and with a strong tailwind it was pretty easy negotiating the 14% part. I ended up with 125 km and a little sore feet, but nothing too serious. After some snacking, SRM down loading and a nap, I ran for 25 minutes on my 333m trail... The mountains look gorgeous, all capped in snow and the sun set made them glow pink and orange; kind of funky back-drop, with the palms and saguaro's in the front.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday, Jan 22nd, 2010

We had a huge thunderstorm last night, torrential rain and fierce winds. The reported wind gusts from Mt. Lemmon was 85 mph!!! All the big palm trees were swaying and doing limbo and I just loved being inside, listening to Mother Nature freaking out. This morning all the usually dry roads, water canals and rivers were flooding creeks and all of a sudden the "DO NOT ENTER WHEN FLOODED" signs, made sense. I had decided to, finally have a rest day and the weather seemed perfect for just that. A thick cover of cloud hid the mountains and it was still pouring down at 7 a.m.. But, like always, the sun came through and at 10 a.m. the roads were drying up and the rest of the day was nice and sunny, despite some strong winds. I went to Bill Peterson at 2 p.m. to pick up my custom made insoles. Bill is a strong believer in fixed cleats, so he aligned up the cleats and I was ready to ride the rollers while he made sure that my knees, pelvis and spine were all aligned. The final piece of advice was to try and take it easy the first couple of days to allow the body to adapt to the new set up. Well, there's a Shootout tomorrow morning, so we'll see... I was driving Jennys car, so I drove by "The Running Shop" to see Brett. He showed me around in the shop and I ended up buying a(nother) pair of Nike Lunar Racers. 80 USD compared to 200 USD in Denmark makes it a sweet deal and it's one of the most snug shoes I've ever worn. I'll use them for training, which should be fine, considering the low mileage I'm doing. For the last year or so, I've only run in Nike Free, Nike Lunar Trainer and -Racers, which seems to work out just fine. It's kind of funny how I used to swear to Nike shoes in the 90'es and then completely abandoning them, favoring Adidas and ASICS. I think the lighter, not so cushioned, low heel idea is the way to go. And don't forget the bare foot running too! Besides Denmark in the winter time, Arizona trails, full of spines, is not the way to run unprotected either... Anyway, the 50+ stability shoes I've got stored back home got a time out for a while.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Jan 18th - Jan 21th, 2010

Monday, Jan 18th, 2010:
As bad as i felt yesterday, I was more or less flying today and did a nice 100 km ride with some tempo riding.

Tuesday, 19th, 2010:
Had pretty heavy legs today and the only memorable thing was two big javelinas crossing Old Spanish Trail - a big dream come true for me. I have now seen a wild boar in Girona and javelinas in the Sonoran Desert, a big goal is met. So enlightened, I went with Kathryn to Costco, which is big shopping galore, and checked out a Panasonic zs3, which should be interesting to try out. It has a great zoom, 25-300mm, and HD video with zoom.

Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010:
Ran 11 km through the neighborhood and ended up on my 333 meter trail, doing 5 km going back and forth....
Went to lunch with Jenny at Bison Witches at 4th Ave, where I had a delicious sandwich and Jenny had the biggest salad I've ever seen. After a brief visit to the Food Conspiracy COOP, surrounded by hippies, we went to Curtis for some software updating so I can download video in the AVCHD format. It's annoying that it plays the action at double speed, while the audio is normal#@*&%%. Gotta be a Mac or Panasonic bug --> get it fixed pronto, You nerds!

Thursday, Jan 21, 2010:
I've spent three weeks in Tucson now and it feels like I've just got here, which I guess is good. I've been wanting to have a rest days for some time now, as I see a pattern in my tiredness and energy levels over the last week. The weather forecast has warned thunderstorms and all day rain, but it never seems to happen. It's been raining the last few nights, but at 10 a.m. it' dry and sunny again. This morning was different though, with gloomy, ominous skies and quite a strong wind. Jenny and I decided to start riding at 9 a.m., despite the somewhat wet roads - not enough to make a spray though... It was 15 C, so by no means cold, but the went made it a bit chilly. We went up Mt. Lemmon and I've never seen so few people on the road, which was nice and a bit weird. Going uphill was easy, but the strong gusts of wind made it quite sketchy going down. We met with Chloe, another Canadian rider and got of the mountain as the wind picked up. I was really tired when I got home and I think I'll better take a day of or I'm about to fall ill. Jenny and i stocked up at Trader Joe and Albertsons, where I bought a roasted chicken and ate half of it when I returned. Phew, I've finally caught up with this blog and from now on I'll try and post a daily report, goodnight Y'all.

Jan 14th - Jan 17th, 2010

Thursday, Jan 14, 2010:
90 km easy ride with Jenny, quick lunch, shower, new bike kit and then on the bike and 10 miles down to Bill Peterson at, where I had a bike fit. I've had some lower back pain in my right side, which is also where I have all my running related ailments, so it'll be interesting to see if I can get some help to relieve the problems. I was put on a wind trainer with shiny patches on my lower back and vertebra and got recorded and was aligned by laser lights. Bill measured my arch height and length of my feet and looked for structural and/or functional leg discrepancies. Bill seemed very competent and told me he would make a custom insole for my cycling shoes, so I'm ready for a revisit in a week. He raised my saddle and took it as far back as it could, which will be interesting to feel over the next couple of weeks. My cleats were positioned further back, which is right under the ball of my feet.

Friday, Jan 15th, 2010:
Ran 40 min. in the morning and went for a 2.30 spin in the afternoon. I had some pain in my neck and shoulder after the new position, but hopefully it'll be absent at tomorrows Shootout.

Saturday, Jan 16th, 2010:
went to the Shootout with Jenny and we decided to take it easy with George and Kathryn. I got a little carried away and stayed at the back of the peloton as the fired up the engines out towards the bridge. In my position at the back of the pack, I could tell we had a stalking police car and all of a sudden he went to the front and ordered the peloton to stop. He had gotten a complaint for careless riding... He was nice, though and when he let us go again, the group immediately exploded and I decided to TT to the bridge by myself and the regroup with George, Jenny and Kathryn. Jenny went back on Old Nogales and the rest of us went towards Madera Canyon. George went up by himself and after having shed some clothes, I took on the challenge of the steep 4 mile climb. Halfway I thought it was a lot easier than remembered, but then I was forced out of the saddle and into survival mode. 280 watt average and a I promised myself to get a 12-25 cassette asap.
Bonked a bit with 15 minutes to go; 110 miles/171 km, 5.48 and 3500 kcal on two 240 kcal Powerbars. I tried to get in some calories, while trying to save some appetite for tonights dinner at George's house. George has five cats an they have their own castle like construction occupying most of the big living room. We had a lovely, so called, Italian Wedding Soup, consisting of big meatballs, vegetables and rice - yum yum. A Norwegian, called Frank, who's studying hydro technology at U of A and a passionate bike rider came over and it was great talking about Norway, bike riding and life in general. All in all a very pleasant evening.

Sunday, Jan 17th, 2010:
I was pretty wasted when I went up Mt. Lemmon with SWHC at 8.30 a.m. I was struggling in my new 25, which was a sig of things to come. My ride was pretty miserable and I happy to get home with 70 km in 3 hrs...

Jan 11th - Jan 13th, 2010

Monday, Jan 11th, 2010:
Wanted to have an easy day, so went on an rather uninspired 45 min. run before noon and basically just relaxed the rest of the day. Brett's working everyday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., except Wednesdays and Sundays and Jenny is trying to log some base miles and listening to her body if she starts feeling too tired. I wish I could do the same, but it's hard to keep the mileage down when you have all day and the weather is brilliant outside. I saunter over to Trader Joe's for food and then read a little bit at Bookmans, where you can sit in comfortable chairs and read books and magazines for free. I don't have a camera for the moment, but I've borrowed Jennys for a few gallery shots.

Tuesday, Jan 12th, 2010:
Hill ride with SWHC and some easy spinning up around Rancho Vistoso afterwards; 125 km/4.40 hrs. American television is really awful and I have absolutely no urge to turn on the TV and luckily my roomies seems to feel the same way so it's pretty quiet in the evenings and usually we're all sleeping at 9-10 p.m.!!! As Brett says:" Early in, early out", so he gets out of bed at 6 a.m., eats his cereals, rests for a while and then go for a morning run. He managed to get lost the other day, which takes quite some effort regarding the grid system over here! The other morning a pretty mean coyote stared him down...

Wednesday, Jan 13th, 2010:
Went trail running with Brett in the morning and went out for lunch afterwards. I had my favorite: The Overstuffed burrito at La Salsa; a huge meal for 5 USD. I've set up a Skype account and try and juggle the time difference and getting in contact with Katrine and Peter on a daily basis. I've even talked to Mom and she seems to be doing just great and she doesn't complain about the weather, which we totally understandable, considering the unusually long lasting snow and cold over there in Denmark. It's pretty sweet to read all the complaints on Facebook, but hey it's a free country, so why not do like this guy: Escape the Scandinavian Fimbul winter and enjoy running at altitude in sunny and warm South Africa.
Speaking of South Africa, then it's well worth the time, as always, reading Tucker and Dugas post on weight maintenance:

Jan 6th- Jan 10th, 2010

Wednesday, Jan 6th, 2010:
Slept terrible tonight, due to the so called bed in my room, which is basically too short and soft.
Joined "The Wednesday Ride" from Le Buzz with SWHC. It's a nice double pace line tempo ride on Old Spanish Trail, Pistol Hill and back at Houghton. Thanks (!) to Jon and Jo on the tandem, we barely went under 30 mph going back to town. My SRM is working sweet, thanks Dan, and it's pretty interesting to play with the draft distance and see the effects on the wattage. Staying very close to the guy in front of you hardly requires any energy, sometimes even a bit of braking, while it takes short bursts of +500 watts to close a 10ft/3m gap, going 30mph/48 kmt. Days total: 105 km/3.30 hrs.

Thursday, Jan 7th, 2010:
Had another terrible night of turning and trying to find a way to rest, but with little success - gotta find a better way of sleeping or I will soon be exhausted and in lack of much needed recovery.
Drove to the East end of Broadway this morning and hit the beautiful trails with Brett this morning. We did 55 min./appr. 12 km on the soft undulating trails, between giant saguaros, ocotillos, barrel cacti, prickly pears and a plethora of other sticky manifestations.
Did an easy 2 hr. spin on Old spanish trail in the afternoon.

Friday, Jan 8th, 2010:
Jon came by at 7 am and I helped him translate some business meeting via Skype, translation is a bit more demanding than I thought!
Afterwards we went to a breakfast place called Mimi's to get some food, and boy, did we ever get food! The waitress was kind enough to mention my accent and when she discovered I came from abroad, I was greeted a BIG four pack of muffins to bring home. I said thanks and instantly made a firm decision not to touch those caloric bombs and offered them to Jon in the car, but he refused and told me that I would eat them eventually...
Ran 9 km after a few hours of heavy digestion and rode 70 km easy on old Spanish Trail in the afternoon.
Jon picked me up at 5 pm in his 1973 Porsche convertible and we stocked up on beers and steaks and headed for the Roberts mansion for Happy Hour and dinner. UK Susy was there as well, indeed a happy and amiable person, and it turned out it was her birthday!!! Well, just another good reason to celebrate I guess. I had the biggest T-bone steak ever and every two pounds of it was just sooo delicious. Might go into meat comatose tonight...
I borrowed a futon from Jon and we threw it on the floor and hopefully this will make me sleep a lot better.

Saturday, Jan 9th, 2010:
Despite, or because of, passing on some serious lethal gas, from trying to digest the exorbitant amount of meat, I slept like a baby all night, until the alarm clock bellowed at 6 am. Coffee, oatmeal and then off to the Shootout with George and Kathryn. As expected, the group went crazy as soon as we hit Valencia and I had a hard time keeping my position in the group. All of a sudden a guy to my right hits some gravel and he literally comes careening sideways through the peloton, taking my front wheel out. How we all manage to stay upright I don't know, but that sealed it for me and I voluntarily went to the back of the group and made sure I had good clearance to the guy in front of me. Eventually gaps opened up and soon I was rear guarding one of the many groups getting shelled from the main group. Along the way we swallowed up all the drop offs and catched up with the front guys at Duvall Mine Road. I went up White Canyon Road, but stopped at the steep slopes of Madera Canyon, as I reckoned I would be a pitiful sight trying to ascend the steep section with my 39/23 (next week I did it though, but it wasn't pretty). Went home by myself getting 155 km in nearly 5 hrs.
Watched Play offs with Brett in the afternoon.
Todd Mion came by at 8 p.m. and picked me up, to go to Curtis birthday party in the Foothills. I was pretty tired when we got there and it only got worse as I tried to taste all of the delicious snacks that Stella had prepared. I think Curtis was the only one to get really drunk, but then it was his party after all. Rob took me home at 1 a.m. and I found Brett sleeping the living room, because the neighbors had had a pretty loud party going on all night. Brett had called the Police and then things seemed to settle down so he could return to his bed.

Sunday, Jan 10th, 2010:
Met with SWHC at 8.30 a.m. to go up Mt. Lemmon. I did 30 min. @ 288w and then added another 10 min to get 40 min. @ 280w. I was doing fine with the 23 as my "go-gear", but when I tried to go easy afterwards, I was hardly able to turn 70 rpm. It's way more than Darien though, as he rides a fixed wheel bike with 52/15 , gear 90, which seems painful for the knees, but hopefully it'll make him a stronger rider. Or a knee replacement candidate before he's 50...
We got a new resident in the house today: Jenny Trew from Canada, who got married 10 days ago and decided to leave the cold and dark Ottawa and her newly wed husband, Chris, to come and take advance of the brilliant weather for riding her bike. She's coming from a swimming/triathlon background, turned to track racing on the velodrome and is now a sprinter on the Canadian National Team. She did the Tour of L'Aude (Female Tour de France) last year and then went into some serious overtraining, which she's now trying to recover from.
Kathryn has moved to George's house way out on Ajo/Kinney for the time being, so now it's Brett, Jenny and me left to take care of the house and get the training, eating and resting don.

Jan 4th - Jan 5th, 2010

Monday, Jan 4th, 2010:
Went with Curtis to drop the kids off at school. Hardly any kids ride their bikes to school, almost everyone is being transported by one of their parents. Unfortunately it's the same trend we see in Denmark, partly because of the shutting down smaller schools and thereby increasing the distance. And the more traffic around the schools, the dangerous it seems to let your kids go by themselves and it's full circle.
Curtis and I had a nice cup of coffee at Rage'n Sage and I barely made it back home, to heed Natures call! Went for a 30 min run in the 22 C, sunny weather - so nice!
Went for an easy 2 hr. spin to Saddlebrook to round of the day.
The diet is pretty simple: try to avoid all processed foods, i.e. buy and store whole foods that your ancestors had access to, and preferentially organic products. Last meal at 7-8 p.m. and an bacon omelette and coffee for breakfast.

Tuesday, Jan 5th, 2010:
Met with "The Dawgs", aka South West Hand Cycling (SWHC) at Sunrise and Swan, at 8.30 am. It's cold in the morning and I'm probably overdressed, since I resembled a mule, 30 minutes in to the ride... In the afternoon I packed all my stuff and Curtis took me to 2nd St, near Speedway and Wilmot, where I'm gonna stay for 4 weeks at Kathryn Bertines house. I met Kathryn on the internet in my search for a place to stay. She's a very versatile person and I hope to introduce more thoroughly in a future post, but here's a short introduction: she was a former rower, ice-skater, triathlete and is now a pro cyclists, representing St. Kitts and Nevis at the World Championships in cycling. She's a journalists/writer and is expecting her second book to be ready in April. Besides that she plays in a band, has a boyfriend called George and seems to be very friendly indeed.
Besides me, there's a guy called Brett, from Cincinnati, Ohio, who's a very active runner. Brett's moved to Tucson to enjoy the nice weather and is working at "The Running Shop". Brett is a huge fans of "The Steelers", but to his big dismay The Steelers are out of the NFL Playoffs...