Sunday, March 05, 2017

The Cycling House - Tucson Arizona

 I was the incredibly fortunate guy to attend a bicycle camp at The Cycling House in Tucson, Arizona. I've been prodded to go to one of these things for years, so I had to take advantage of this chance.  The Cycling House has been hosting cyclists for years, a warmer-weather alternative to normal winter riding.  Spectacular accommodations, spectacular riding, an incredible staff...you truly have to experience it to understand just how amazing this past week has been.
 The bikes are waiting for us in the garage, along with a full service shop and nutrition station.  That's my bike in the stand, and the fine Cycling House folks offered to build it for me but, you know...
 Yes, the house is every bit as awesome as I am telling you.  That table goes on for twice this length, it didn't fit in the photo.
 All of us riders were treated to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, cooked by the staff.  Get this:  not only are they great cooks, but every one of the staff is an accomplished cyclist, triathlete, climber, etc.  No, you can't beat them.  And yes, they are fantastic people without ego and are only at the Cycling House to usher in your awesome cycling experience.  Solid, solid people.  I should also note that the attendees of this camp were some fine people, as well.  We had people from St. Louis, Montana, Colorado, California, Baltimore, and New York.  I had a great time meeting and riding with them!!
 This house is nothing short of stunning.
 Very large patio.  I didn't get a photo of the pool or the hot tub just beyond.
 On the first night, I opened up my suitcase and this is what I found.
 My view in the morning.  There is the pool.
 Just one of the cool prints that dot the walls of the House.
 Morning Yoga.  I believe I was the only one who didn't participate.
 I couldn't contain my enthusiasm on the first day.  Such a diverse ride with a little bit of everything.
 Me, atop Mt. Lemmon.  Hell yes, I suffered like a pig.  I stayed with the tough guys for 16 miles, and then entered into some kind of personal hell at 17 miles, corresponding with the 7000ft of altitude.  I made it to the top, all 20.7 miles of it.  I wanted to crack the 2 hour mark and I didn't.  Around 2:05 after I backed out the slow start at the bottom.  There were so many groups attempting Lemmon that day, more than cars actually.
 Yep, over 5000 feet of climbing in one bite.  You know what was more fun?  Going down.  It was a killer, killer descent.
 We walked our legs out one night and came upon a strange little park situated on a spring.  I thought this sign was really interesting.
 Day one: Super cool ride with some awesome climbs and some great speed work.
 Day two: Mt. Lemmon needs no further introduction.  It won this time, maybe I'll crack two hours next time.
Day three:  Gates Pass.  I think this was my favorite day.  We hit a stretch of road that was so fast it was scary....followed by a return up Gates Pass...all 18 percent of it.
 Last day: Parker Canyon Lake.  Pretty far south of Tucson, so we shuttled down to the Sonoita Winery as a launching pad.  Windy day, but gorgeous scenery and a blazing fast return route.

 Yes, my room mate texted me to stop snoring one morning.  Sometimes I snore.  Ooops.

 The mountains await us as we are suiting up at the Sonoita Winery.
 Parker Canyon Lake.  Mexico is just over those mountains.
 Sometimes the sky in Arizona is so picturesque it makes you take random photos.
Last view of Tucson, from the airport entrance.  It's a week I won't ever forget.

If you find yourself longing to take a cycling adventure, be sure to check out thecyclinghouse.com.  Tucson is but one of the adventures.  There are tours in Montana, Solvang, Mallorca, a tour to Yellowstone, as well as an MTB camp with Todd Wells.

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