Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tucson Shootout

Kris taking advantage of our sweet digs after yesterday's long ride

Breaking usual habits, I was up at dawn today, to meet fellow teammate Nick for the famous Tucson Shootout group ride. It's somewhat of an unofficial race, with visiting pro's and wannabe's duking it out, like Victoria's Wheelers/Burnside ride on 'roids. First the old dudes left, and half an hour later our group of 50 rolled out out. Apparently they often get up to 200, but there was a crit this afternoon in town.

We cruised out of town for about 30 minutes, before the standard street crossing signalled a start to the action. A serious headwind made life hard at the front and for all the attacks. In one breakaway when it was my turn to pull, I was hurting pretty bad - I looked down to see I was doing around 400-500 watts, youch!

The fast pace lasted about 45 minutes, and ends with a sprint atop a small (but actually deceptively longer than it appeared) climb. I wasn't hitting it 100% on this first time out, but nearing the top the road was littered with blown up riders and I reeled in a few spots as I nearly exploded myself.

After that, there's more cruising while the pack got back together, up to the turn-around for the short version (still totalling 80-100km) and the turn-off for the nut-jobs looking to do Madera Canyon (for a totally of 150km). Today I was one of the nuts.

This part of the ride has a false flat for about 25km, before kicking up for a "4 mile slut of climb", as another rider described it. Nick, Troy Wells who I hear is a pro MTBer and brother of a CX superstar, and another guy eventually dropped the rest of us, but we all made it to the top before heading back, including a Victoria tri chick, who I suspect did not pay for her championship stripes or Shiv.

Now that we'd turned downwind, we easily hit 85kmh down the hill, and averaged around 55kmh all the way back into town. I made it back just in time to have a bonk-induced brain shutdown, miss my turn, and give Nick and I a few unneeded km's. Still, great day on the bike - I earned the beer festival trip this arvo. :)

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