It’s January- it’s actually almost February.. (actually it’s now February- I am publishing this after getting back home from team camp.) The first month of 2019 has flown by.

As I reflect on my “off-season life” and training, I am encouraged, refreshed and ready to rock. During that time I was able to catch up with family and friends, hit my base training, weight training and early intervals with determination and strength! Feeling far ahead compared to last year. I am confident and believe 2019 will be a great year for me! I am blessed by the support and encouragement from my husband, family, friends and of course, team. Logging base miles in Alabama has been a little different this year- we had a semi cold January and I have to admit, I have been a bit soft with the weather. I used to not be this way… I grew up in Michigan with frigid winters filled with feet of snow! Alabama gets “cold,” it snows lightly, but nothing compared to Grand Rapids. I’ve become “accustomed” to the heat and humidity and a pre-madonna to the cold! 

After all the base miles and intervals, weight training and stretching, cold rain and random heat waves, I was able escape to a more stable climate - Tucson, Arizona. The desert treated us well at team camp! I’m pumped to be joining the ShoAirTWENTY20 squad once again. Below is a glimpse into my time at team camp!

Day 1 - The team started out with a longer day, 84 miles at endurance pace through Oro Valley. We took this time to get to know one another a little better and learn how each other rides in the group. I definitely enjoyed the warm sun and the laughs that were had. After the ride, Jake Deuhring from FELT Bicycles gave us the run down on our race machines, the changes we will see, and the background on Felt as a company. 

Day 2 - We went pretty hard up Mount Lemmon. We “raced” up it, actually. Over the 21 miles, and the elevation increased from 2,600ft to 8,100ft according to my Wahoo Elemnt Bolt. (I think the views were nice? I wouldn’t know, I had my head down, going full gas as I clawed my way up the climb.)

Day 3 - A slightly easier day, the team rode out towards Saguaro Park and we practiced a few lead out drills. I have to be honest, my legs were heavier than a bag of bricks after the workout I had the day before. I still had fun, the girls all communicated well, and we smoothed out the lead outs after each attempt. Afterwards, we rode through Saguaro National Park- an 8 mile loop in the middle of hundreds of Cacti. Man, it was beautiful. 

Day 4 - I took an active recovery day- I needed it. I used this opportunity to get comfortable on my Time Trial bike once again- (haha comfortable on my TT bike- does such a thing exist?) Later in the day I took my road bike out for a coffee spin (I love coffee and coffee loves me. I don’t know about you, but it’s a non-negotiable, I need it.) As much of a “people person” as I am, my alone time is cherished and a necessary part of refueling my tank.

Day 5 -  The team set out for a 60 mile ride on “The Loop.” This is a 60 mile bike path loop! I typically stay away from bike paths, they’re often clogged with people unaware of their surroundings. BUT, this bike path was awesome. I truly enjoyed my time, there is nothing like feeling safe and not have to worry about cars and frequent stops at intersections. After the ride we were invited to the Homestretch Foundation for lunch. This place was incredible. The Homestretch Foundation is a non-profit, charitable organization that provides free temporary housing and other support for working women living or earning below the poverty line, with a focus on women who have careers in endurance sports. It was nice to see some familiar faces, get to know new ones, and enjoy lunch in the sun. After lunch, Athlos, our new kit sponsor dropped by to share all about our new kits! I am looking forward to our new look- Keep your eyes open!

Day 6 - Okay, for real. “The Shootout,” group ride was by far the hardest day of camp for me. We started at 7:40am in the freezing cold (which is fine, but you know…) and we charged the ride with several other Saturday morning champs. It’s definitely a lot easier to know a ride before you jump in head first… I was clueless. Wake up call, I was floating wheels, staying safe, and hanging on for dear life. The second half of the ride consisted of a very, very long false flat that lead into a climb that finished in the Mount Wrightson Wilderness Area - 25,000 acres known for it’s “nature viewing.” People were not kidding when they said I would see bird watchers with their binoculars. We climbed up, and descended fast with everyone, rotating and keeping the speed high. Eventually our team split off to ride all the way back home. We rode a total of 108 miles (give or take) and it’s safe to say I have my tan lines back. 

Day 7 - This day was particularly wonderful. A few of us set out early to for an easy spin up Sabino Canyon, an area closed off to motor vehicles until 9am (the peace of mind that this provides cyclist is incredible.) Cycling without worrying about cars is so enjoyable. We returned home from riding and headed straight to the spa at Canyon Ranch Tucson! Of course we enjoyed the spa and ate incredible meals, but one of the highlights was our time spent with Karen Malkin. Karen is certified in just about all areas of health and wellness you can imagine. She spoke to us about establishing good eating habits as athletes, healthy choices on and off the bike, and how giving our bodies adequate rest can serve us in the long run. It was refreshing and encouraging to hear it all, it’s so easy to lose sight of those things in this sport.

After a nice week with the girls it is important to give a shout out to a few people; Pam Alexander, Canyon Ranch Tucson, Karen Malkin, Jake Deuhring, Nicola Cranmer, Mari Holden, and Adrian Hederman- THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING YOU DO!