C is for cookie, it’s good enough for me!

February 21, 2013 § 5 Comments

It’s not every day that you get to look at a training day and classify it as one of your favorite of all time – but I can do that after Tuesday!

I wasn’t quite sure what all the hype is over Mt. Lemmon here in Tuscon. Coming from where I ride, I had never done a climb over maybe 5 miles at the most before last Saturday’s ride. So while I kept hearing about Mt. Lemmon, it was hard to truly understand what a 25 mile climb was going to be like. I was about to find out though! It’s probably a good thing I didn’t think about it too much and didn’t see an elevation profile beforehand, because I think this may have intimidated me somewhat:


Team HPB headed out to the mountain in style, only to have our eagerness damped by an early flat – tacks on the road! Lucky for us that was the only one on the day. I felt good riding, but heading into the unknown I made sure to pay close attention to how Hillary was riding. If I have learned anything from group rides, it’s that being observant can pay dividends in cycling. When I would hear her shift, I would shift. If she surged a bit, I went with her. She has ridden that mountain many a time so I knew she knows how to do it right, and as long as I had the legs I was going to hold on!

The first half of the mountain flew by. Hillary and I were climbing side by side very evenly. A few times we would come around a bend in the road and were hit head on with some pretty intense winds! While we weren’t taking turns pulling each other on the front, it was really nice to have someone at my side through the sections when the constant grind was getting old.

You can see from the elevation profile that just after mile 20 you get some downhill before the final climb, and that’s where things really started to get fun. Up at 8,000 ft there was plenty of snow, cold and wind — I felt right at home after a winter in Baltimore! Feeling that the end was near, we kept pushing and before I knew it, our final destination was there: The Cookie Cabin! Yes people, I would do that climb every day if this was my reward:


All of  Team HPB rocked the climb, and we had some fun on the descent back to Tucson as well.


We were also blessed with good weather – today there were blizzard warnings at the top of the mountain so that certainly would not have made for ride-able conditions. And I have to say, Mt. Lemmon is a must-do ride if you are in Tucson – even if for no reason other than the cookie at the top!


Welcome to the Dirty T

February 19, 2013 § 3 Comments

It’s hard to believe this is the end of my third day here in Tucson already! I am so lucky to have a coach willing to take in some athletes for a training camp early season and disrupt her life and routine. Being in Tucson has spoiled me a bit with winter weather.  You can see that had I been training in Baltimore the past few days life would have been a little different – or at least I would have been wearing more layers!



So far we have been hitting all of the highlights here for Tucson training:

-A climb up Madera Canyon on Saturday – The last few miles here reminded me of the climb up to Skyline Drive – loved it!!

-100×100 in the University of Arizona pool! It was a very special day to get to do this with Hillary in attendance, PLUS a special guest Sam McGlone! They may or may not have swum their own intervals…….small details.

-A Reid Park long run! At just under 3 miles per loop, this park serves as  a great spot for controlled efforts during a long run. AND proved to be a great day to also get some much needed sun on my pale face.


In addition to all the training, my training partners are also straightening my style out…..within minutes of touchdown they determined I needed an upgrade and we were shopping within the first hour. There is also a lot of recovery time going on in this house – boots, waffles, and quality time with the puppy:

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More updates from camp later this week!

Tea Time

February 11, 2013 § 5 Comments

Five weeks out means that this girl is putting in quality time on her legs and leaving very little energy to type – let alone have to think of something to blog about. But for now I did want to share about something that makes me so happy at the end of a long training day: tea!

First, I have to give credit where credit is due. My love of tea has always existed, but living with Carly last year was what really fostered it and made it grow. Carly gave me carbonated water, tea, Carlyssa bars, and a fast running partner – seriously is there anything amazing she didn’t contribute?

Anyway, Carly gently steered me away from the teabags I had been using, and showed me the light with loose tea and a steeper. I would recommend this one, as it’s easy to clean and perfect for just making a mug for one. I have found tea is perfect for a post-ride warm up (or a pre-ride bev as you get yourself psyched-up to be riding in 25 degree weather!). But, what I use tea the most for is bedtime.

In general, I survive pretty well on very little sleep and have no issue getting right to bed. But, there are some nights when a workout isn’t finished until 9 or 9:30pm….and with a 4:30 or 5am wake-up call the next day, that means I have about 1 hour to get done from my workout, eat and get into bed. With all that scrambling, it’s easy to trick your body into not getting tired – exactly the opposite of what I need. So, chamomile tea is my secret weapon! My favorite is Cha-Cha, from Adagio teas. I also like the rooibos vanilla blend (I mean, it says it tastes like cookies in the description so that was an easy sell.) And I’ve discovered that some of the chocolatey blends are decent substitutes for dessert cravings.

Happy tea-ing!



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