Essential Sports Nutrition


Scottsdale, AZ Train-Cation - Day 1

I remember not too long ago when I was very afraid to ride my bike down a hill. I'm not talking about mountains but hills - anything that went down was scary for me. It was an uncomfortable feeling that brought me great anxiety and stress.

Overtime, my skills improved and I felt more at ease on downhills and what was once unnatural an scary, became familiar and comfortable. I soon found myself descending on mountains and switchbacks and although I don't have skills like Karel, I am no longer afraid to descend.

Descending in windy conditions, on the other hand, is way out of my comfort zone. Because we don't get a lot of wind in Greenville when we ride (we are tucked away between the mountains on our country roads), anytime I experience a gust of wind, I feel unstable, tense and scared. I have no problem admitting this because it's something that I know I need to work on. Thankfully, I have an expert cycling coach in Karel who always gives me great advice and calmly talks me through my fears. For me, wind is an enemy and I want to avoid it at all costs but since I love riding my bike, embracing the wind and working on my skills is something I need to constantly work on.

Well, today in Scottsdale, AZ, for our first official day of our "train-cation" I had 4 hours to work on my riding the wind. Not only did I get to descend in windy conditions but we had chilly, slightly wet conditions to make things even more "interesting" for me. Talk about an epic day of camp!

After a morning pre-workout meal around 7:30am, we got our gear ready and headed out for our 4-hour ride around 9am. Emily led the ride as we made our way out to Bartlett Lake at Tonto National Forest. It was so great to be able to settle into a rhythm on the bike with little car-traffic once we got out of town. Like I do in Greenville, I felt very safe on my bike in Scottsdale where we rode. In Greenville, we stick to our hilly conditions as we have no safe "flat" routes to settle into a rhythm. If you like hills - come visit us in Greenville!

The first two hours and about 15 minutes, we made our way to Bartlett Lake. It was an endurance effort out which allowed us to enjoy the scenery. Despite some windy conditions, I felt strong and comfortable on my bike and managed to snap some pics in route to the lake. 

With the lake in our sights, we started a two-mile descend to the lake and suddenly I found myself mentally and physically uncomfortable. Karel was there with me to help me out although I don't think his tips went into my ears as I was so focused on staying up on my bike. I suppose it's the same "out of control" feeling that I use to feel when descending that I feel when I go downhill in the wind. Descending with the gusty wind was not fun for me but somehow, I made my way to the bottom - relieved to put my feet on the ground.

For the next 13 miles (1 hour), we had a specific set (provided by Matt Dixon of Purple Patch) which included some nasty efforts at different cadences - all strong efforts. It was super challenging to change the cadence on different types of terrain and after the end of the set, our legs were spent. For the rest of the ride (46 minutes), we were flying home as it was net downhill and we had the windy (mostly) at our back.

In total, 3 hours and 55 minutes, 69 miles and ~5300 feet of elevation gain.


After the ride, it was time for our brick run from Emily's house. We all ran on our own around her neighborhood which included a few small inclines/declines in the road. From the first step, I felt amazing which was such a welcomed feeling. We had a specific set for the brick run which is one of my favorite runs off the bike:

3 min form focused, 2 min strong
3 min form focused, 2 min stronger
3 min form focused, 2 min very strong
5 min 70.3 effort
5 min form focused
5 min 70.3 effort
5 min form focused

Overall - this was a quality brick filled with specificity and working on skills, nutrition, mental tricks and stretching the comfort zone. It's been a very long time (since last race season) since we have performed this type of workout so it's no surprise that we spent the rest of the day working, while feeling super exhausted and tired.

Day one is complete. Now time to get a good night of sleep before day two of our mini train-cation which includes a swim, strength and trail run workout.

A few more pics from today:
Sport nutrition that we brought with us to help fuel/hydrate our workouts.

Bartlett Lake

Climbing back from the lake.

Regroup before our ride back home. 

Settling into a rhythm. 

Ready, set, brick!