Arizona Camp wraps up.
Sun, 25 Feb 2007 20:19:39 -0800
Well, the weather gods were very good to us for this Ironman weekend in Tempe. Things started out a little cool first thing on Saturday morning as the first group rolled out from the Holiday Inn around 6.40am to tackle a loop of the bike course, plus a little extra through the hills of Fountain Hills. The groups kept heading out at 5-minute intervals until just after 7.00am - with Michael leading the final group of self professed fastest riders.
Each group under the watchful, pace setting eyes of their leader went on slightly variations for their 5 hour rides. I can only speak for my own group whom I headed out along the course, up the B-Line High and into the hills of Fountain Hills and on to the small town of Rio Verde. On the way out the wind was relatively mild on 9-mile climb up the Highway. Everyone was feeling pretty chipper and gave folks the sense of what it would be all about. This climb comes 3 times during the race, and my goal was soften up everyones legs in the hills past the course, let the wind pick up a little and then head back to the bottom of the grade and then do it again, a couple of hours later.
It certainly was an eye opener for all of us after 4 hours of very steady riding, to turn and go back up that part of the loop. Suddenly it seemed a lot longer and the pitch at the top steeper, and the wind had certainly picked up. As always pacing is going to be the key first time around when it is cooler and calmer. The other thing that has changed out in Tempe, is the relaisation that the cammunities now know about Ironman and we had a lot of honking (the good kind) as we rode around the course. There was also no shortages of local superstars out training on the course who came blazing by our groups. I had to chuckle under my breath to know there were a couple who probably did not realise they had blown right by last years fastest man - Michael L.
As always once we had our 90- or so miles done, it was time for the t-run. Heather, Michael, Huddle, Jimmy headed out toward the course. Myself and John Duke ran our group over to the beautiful ASU track to make them run at least 2-miles at their goal Ironman race pace. There were a couple of superstar sprinters working out right then - we looked like a bunch of turtles going around and around compared to them.
The rest of the afternoon was a mixture of everything. Lectures, a TRX demo by Steve Katai, Danny helping out anyone with nagging injury problems, massages, shopping and so on. It was a packed filled day and everyone was happy to see their pillows.
Sunday was a run version of Saturday. The group headed out together for the 2-mile jog down to the venue for race day orientation. Then as always everyone set their pace and did a full loop of the run course and then some depending on who they were chasing. Michael and local Dan Beaver managed to squeeze in 22 miles and still get back in time for breakfast brunch.
What a wonderful weekend it was with an amazing group of athletes from all walks of life. It never ceases to amaze me, what an equalizer this lifestyle is and what a mix of people it not only brings together but bonds in it'sown quirky and disfunctional way. You have to love it!