I woke up this morning to beautiful blue skies at a more decent hour. No 5:30am swim practice to get to today! I did a round of swim tubing to practice strengthening the muscles for a high elbow freestyle catch and pull. My coach has helped me so much with my swim stroke in the past couple years and this one technical fix has made all the difference: having a high elbow catch by engaging the muscles of the shoulder allows you to grab more water with each stroke. I practice it in front of a mirror and with swim tubes. Underwater video has shown what a difference this makes. After swim tubing and a round of core work I hopped on the computrainer for some max power intervals. A set of 6x1' all out intervals with 3' rest might not seem so bad...but they really do hurt! Guaranteed to get you to recruit all those cycling muscles and get you to your max heart rate....oh, and keep a bucket handy because they also make you want to puke!
After a few hours of relaxing it was time for my 4 hour brick workout. I got my newly tuned up (thanks Enduro Sport!) Cervelo TT bike out for its maiden journey of 2013. The ride started out and, to be honest, I felt a little rusty...but it wasn't long before I was getting comfy in my aero position. After about 30kms I was at the base of Mount Lemmon. The upcoming climb up the mountain was a welcoming sight. I took off my tuque, long sleeved jersey and gloves and was ready to climb. Today wasn't meant to be a super hard day so I had to keep my power below zone 3, but I was able to still climb in aero position at a pretty decent speed. The smell of the mountain, the scenery and that "pleasantly difficult" feeling of climbing made for a great ride. When I reached my turnaround point (only 15km up the mountain) I stopped, re-dressed and then descended in about a quarter of the time it took me to climb! Unfortunately, at the base of the hill there was a thumb tack waiting to hitch a ride on my bike wheel. I heard the hissing sound of my tube losing air and quickly set about to change it. In fact, I think I changed that tube in record time (for me)! In less than 5' I was back in the saddle. Perhaps the 3 bike surgeries I had performed in the days leading up to the trip were good preparation for that moment. A few kms later I was getting a bit tired and my butt was starting to get sore. I only had 15km to go, but the wind had picked up so I would have to ride directly into it the whole way home! Plus, there were still a few short and steep climbs ahead. Oh well-that's why I'm here, right? Need to get the mental training in as well as the physical training. So I tried to keep a smile on my face as I tackled the remainder of the ride.
After the ride I had a 30' run to do. I put on my shoes (made sure there was only one insole per shoe) and was off. I actually felt great! Downhill, uphill, into the wind...my legs didn't even notice. I love runs like today's!
Pictures from Mount Lemmon: