Tucson (Mt Lemmon), Arizona




Given the close proximity to Tucson, Mt Lemmon is a cycling necessity when in town. I try to ride Mt. Lemmon once a week, usually on Wednesday, but it varies depending on training partners. Starting at a city elevation of 2500 feet, Mt Lemmon rises into the sky at over 9000 feet. The road to the top of Mt. Lemmon (Ski Valley, yes there is a real ski resort there) stops about 8200 feet after roughly 27 miles of climbing at a gradual 5% grade. This type of grade combined with the nearly flawless asphalt make Mt. Lemmon prime for doing intervals. My favorite Mt. Lemmon set of intervals is 2x15 minutes of work at threshold with a 5 min recovery period in between reps. Wednesday, I headed out from Starr Pass and rode the 21 miles to the base of the mountain, where I stopped to calibrate my SRM and begin the work. I like starting my intervals at mile marker “0” so I can get in the best workout at the lowest elevation. Continuous climbing always makes the second interval a bit harder given you climb to about 5000 feet by the finish. I was super excited about my ride yesterday because my girlfriend, Ashley, was meeting me at the top for some Pizza and Cookies at the Cookie Cabin. The food at the top of the mountain in the small town of Summerhaven is always motivation to get to the top. There is the Cookie Cabin which is my favorite that specializes in very large cookies (Pumpkin Nut is my fav!) and homemade pizza, Mt Lemmon Café is famous for the slices of Pie and then the Mt Lemmon General Store has fresh made fudge (I have another story about a time I consumed a pound of fudge at the top of the mountain, a pound of fudge looks so small when you see it, but density matters). I always try to choose a food spot in advance of climbing to give me an extra incentive. This week it was back to the favorite because Ashley was in town. I told her to meet at the top at 11 AM. I knocked out a couple of solid intervals and for those interested in the data of the intervals check the bottom of the post. Nothing spectacular in the data; just a solid 15 minutes at threshold power

I rolled into the Cookie Cabin at exactly 10:58 AM and Ashley was about 3 minutes behind me. Nice timing. The climb from mile marker 0 to the closed gates at Ski Valley was 2:03, but the goal was not climbing fast, it was getting in the intervals then just having a nice aerobic climb to the top. I had my share of cookie and pizza at the top then started the descent. I didn’t know Ashley waited for me and was following me in the car, but it always help to have a car behind on the decent so cars don’t get too bold in attempting to pass. On the way home, Ashley and I met at FROST, the best Gelato shop outside of Rome. I scarfed a medium Peanut Butter/Banana gelato then finished the last 15 miles of the ride back to Starr Pass just in time to put my feet up before heading out to swim practice to knock out 5000 yards of swimming followed by an easy 3 mile shake out run with Ashley (after she returned from a 90 min Bikrahm Yoga Class at Yoga Vida). Wednesdays are typically a big day for me and I was glad to have Ashley in town with me to share in the spoils of a hard climb by indulging in some great food.  So, if life you gives you Lemmons, I suggest you make the climb to the top.




SRM #1:

Duration:                15:02

Work:                     323 kJ

TSS:                       24.7 (intensity factor 0.994)

Norm Power:          358

VI:                           1

Pw:HR:                   8.26%

Pa:HR:                   1.93%

Distance:               3.672 mi

Elevation Gain:      955 ft

Elevation Loss:      0 ft

Grade:                    4.9 %  (955 ft)

Min Max Avg

Power:                    142      457      358      watts

Heart Rate:            106      163      154      bpm

Cadence:               47        109      93        rpm

Speed:                    9.3       19.6     14.7     mph

Pace                       3:03     6:26     4:06     min/mi

Altitude:                  2913    3868    3374    ft

Crank Torque:       179      618      326      lb-in

Temperature:         68        69.8     69.0     Fahrenheit


SRM #2:

Duration:                15:00

Work:                     315 kJ

TSS:                       23.6 (intensity factor 0.972)

Norm Power:          350

VI:                           1

Pw:HR:                   8.89%

Pa:HR:                   12.84%

Distance:               3.54 mi

Elevation Gain:      938 ft

Elevation Loss:      0 ft

Grade:                    5.0 %  (938 ft)

Min Max Avg

Power:                    220      496      350      watts

Heart Rate:            127      166      161      bpm

Cadence:               60        109      93        rpm

Speed:                    9.3       21.4     14.2     mph

Pace                       2:48     6:29     4:14     min/mi

Altitude:                  4058    4997    4519    ft

Crank Torque:       203      558      321      lb-in

Temperature:         68        75.2     70.5     Fahrenheit