Tucson…the great escape!

22 12 2011

There are certain times where we all daydream, yearning for a place and time in the schedule that would permit a chance to go to paradise. That paradise for our very own Jim Weinstein, and some fellow Bike Doctor riders, just happens to be Tucson. You would think they would have the common courtesy to not rub it in, but all shame has been thrown out the window. We awoke to this note from Jim…rude smiley faces and all.


I have a few moments this morning while everyone is sleeping to update you all on how things are going here in Tucson…warning, this may cause insane jealousy and if you are that type you should stop reading now!!

OK….if you are still reading.  Sunny, Me (Jim), and the Giles family machine (that is Scott and Katy) attended the Tri-Service Academy Cycling Training Camp in Tucson, AZ.  I started the camp a few years ago to bring the military academy cycling teams together for some good training and friendly competition.  Over the last few years I’ve expanded to invite mentors who help to keep things safe, organized and fun.  Oh…and the mentors get to impart some wisdom and the occasional “on-the-bike” ass kicking.

Riders are lodged in TLF’s which are military houses with full kitchens, nice bedrooms, and we put about 3-4 in a room so we get some good team bonding going on.  This year we have 46 people here.  31 are cadets/midshipmen from USMA, USAFA, and USNA…the rest of civilians and military mentors.

The riding plan is ambitious and very challenging.  It’s a combo of “good training” and some pinnacle achievement type riding.  Because of the wide ranging abilities we split the groups by ability.  This year we have had 4 groups.  Group1 (row the “A”) group does the longest hardest miles and that’s where our bike doctor folks (myself, Sunny, Scott, and Katy) have been helping and leading.

The first day of camp was a 75 mile ride that followed the famous shootout loop. We started very, very easy to just get folks used to riding together.  The roads here in Tucson have taken a pretty big hit (combo of bad weather and poor financial conditions) and as such, riding slow was also probably safer as we leave town from base.  But, once out on the false flat climbs south of the city, we lit it up with some hard riding …at the end my quads felt like hamburger meat 🙂

Sunny getting ready

Day 2 was a favorite ride of mine to a place called Madera Canyon.  The Canyon is a 4 mile climb that comes after about a 10 mile solid false flat.  The climb is brutally steep at the end, upping in the 12-14% range and the road is about 12 feet wide as it winds up the hill.  The ride out to the climb is about 40 miles so it turns into a long day.  We have some great riders here from the academies and from the US Military Elite Team and I knew the climb would be a blast.  Sunny decided to ignite things a little early by attacking on the false flats and getting some good distance before the climb…I know he suffered and made for a great carrot for the leading climbers behind.  Scott and a couple other riders destroyed that climb!!  The ride down is where I got to have some fun–56 mph (which wasn’t my fastest of the week) 🙂

Day 3….rest day.  Most folks had tired legs so I let folks do what they wanted, some road, some rested.  I chose to go out for a ride up Mt Lemmon to the 10  mile point.  Scott, Katy and Sunny went up much higher as sunny is leaving on Friday and won’t be able to make the climb with the group…..  They hit the snow and ice a few miles below the top and posted a great picture!!

Toward the top of Mount Lemmon

Day 4 was the queen stage.  For the A group, it’s a 120 mile ride out and up Kitt Peak.  Kitt is a 13 mile climb up to an awesome telescope observatory.  The ride out is about 50 miles and thus tired legs are a guarantee.  Scott and the BD company helped try to ensure our young folks got their money’s worth!  The ride home was a long trek where we got to demonstrate the powers of a cross wind and how best to work together in such situations.

Enjoying the moment at the top of Kitt Peak

I’ve never seen so many college kids go to bed so early.  It’s true – none of these guy’s will do a 120 mile race so why train them so long….but I’ve found that completing this ride is a “right of passage” for folks and they really like the challenge so I’ve kept that ride in there at that length.

Today is Day 5 and for the brave souls. We’ll do an 88 mile loop with 2 climbs.  One is Gates Pass which is a short 5 minute effort with a 20%+  1/4 mile at the end.  I promised Scott I wouldn’t go easy on him 🙂

Friday is our big climbing day….we will climb Mt Lemmon with the group.  It’s a 26 mile climb of about 6% all the way to the top.  But…at the top is a place called the “cookie cabin”….I usually begin thinking about it at mile 16….. 🙂

One Big Happy Family

I think when the week is done I might have close to 30 hours.  I have 22 right now!

Cheers oh…and in case you aren’t jealous yet….I’m getting a sun tan 🙂  Weather has been in the 50s to 60s ….(except for some rain the first 2 days)….LOVING IT!!


Thanks Jim. We really needed that rubbed in!




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