Jack and Sarah’s place w/ ‘Loki’

Here I sit in the Tucson airport, feeling tired, sore, and pretty much everything else associated with a training camp over-load. Satisfaction is high on the list, as I pushed my boundaries and limits the last few weeks out on the roads, mountains, and trails of Tucson. What a time I’ve had, each day being an eye-opener and learning experience to say the least. I’ve made some new friends, which I will most certainly miss (Jack, Sarah, Loki, and the newly inducted Cookie.) I thank them for their hospitality while I was here, they made every effort to make my stay as comfortable as possible, and they also introduced me to ‘Frost’ gelato. What a decadent place. Jack and Sarah live in the south-east part of Tucson, the Rita Ranch area. They rent out one of the rooms in their beautiful house to folks like myself: athletes looking for a training destination, or anyone who is looking for a room to rent.

The end goal @ Kitts Peak!

If you are ever looking for a place to stay in Tucson, you will NOT find a better place to stay than with Jack and Sarah, I promise you that! You also can’t find a nicer bunch, who will only add to the awesomeness that is training in Tucson. You can get a hold of me at nathankillam@hotmail.com, on facebook, or twitter, if you would like Jack and Sarah’s contact info. Guaranteed to make your trip so much better.

Chilly climb to Kitts Peak Observatory

The last few weeks (since Jonna left) have been full of riding and running, the primary focus down here. I had a rather epic day about a week ago, a 200+km ride out to Kitts Peak and back (Kitts Peak is another observatory; like Mt. Lemmon, but only 11miles up, and much steeper.) It was the coldest day yet here, which was made worse by howling winds and high elevations up the mountain.

Amazing Kitts Peak view
Hillenbrant Aquatic Center at the U of A

Before I came here, I was reading up on the local master’s swim clubs, to see if there were any that I might be able to jump in on. There is only one down here, but it’s a biggie: the Ford Aquatics Masters. They swim at the beautiful Hillenbrant Aquatic Center outdoor pool (which almost ALL the pools down here are outdoor) located at the University of Arizona. It was an experience, as I’ve never been to a facility like that one. U of A is fairly OBVIOUSLY big into swimming!

Yeah. Bigger than my noggin!

 Just the other day, I had the chance to climb Mt. Lemmon one more time, and I made good use of the trip; after Jonna and I visited the ‘Cookie Cabin’ at the top of Lemmon, I was determined to make it back there for more cookies. Well, make it I did, and I definitely enjoyed myself some cookies (it was about a 5hr ride to get there,) and I decided to bring a few home for later. Two cookies later, and I was back on the road. I tell you, cookies as big as your head seem to give me super powers (Cookie Monster?) I just CRUSHED it all the way back home, felt great on my cookie high!!

My accomplices. So good!

The ONLY way to recover!!

This camp has been one of the best trips I can remember, just doing something I love day-in, day-out. It was a daily learning experience, and gave me the chance to test out all sorts of nutrition combinations, recovery techniques, etc. I tell you, without my Eload fuel and recovery, and especially my Compressport compression gear (which I practically LIVED in during my trip,) I don’t think I would’ve survived. I’ll definitely miss the hot heat and daily dose of Vitamin D from the sun down here (although I hear in the summer it gets so hot it’s ridiculous,) but I’m thinking we should be getting some half-decent weather coming our way in Vancouver soon, so I’ll just hold out for that. The next month will be chock full of solid recovery efforts, as well as preparing for my first two races of the season: Subaru Shawnigan Lake Half Ironman, and two weeks later, Ironman 70.3 Boise. They’ll be good testers to see where my fitness lies, although after all the long base volume from this camp I’m thinking it’ll be much higher than it has ever been. I have high hopes for this season, and Coach Bjoern and I will be working on some big things. I think I’m MOST excited about doing some motorpacing behind Bjoern’s scooter, perhaps even in Penticton on the IMC course!

Powell starting the season right!

I hope everyone’s training has been going great, congrats to Andrew Powell on his win at the Delta Triathlon on the weekend, and congratulations to the Glotman-Simpson Cycling Team for their stage race in Walla-Walla, looks like everyone had tons of fun and got some solid sunshine in! Like I said before, if you’re thinking of going to Tucson and need a place to stay, look no further than Jack and Sarah, as you can’t find better!

Signing off for now, happy training!

Just Some Videos

I seem to have a thing for recording videos while at high speeds coming down Mount Lemmon. Suffice to say, out of all the videos I’ve ‘tried’ to take (emphasis on ‘tried,’ as most of them are worse than a bad ‘shaky camera’ horror film,) a few turned out decent (and by decent, I mean it doesn’t feel like your watching the inside view from a demolition derby!) Here are a few so far:

This one is from the first climb that Jonna, Elliot, Megan, and Jenn all did together. While decending past Windy Point, I decided to snag some video:

This video is from later on in that same decent, while we were FLYING down the mountain. Just had to grab the footage. I had also tried to get some footage while screaming past Jenn, but I screwed it up. Not always easy to film WHILE going over 60km/h:

This next video was me on Easter, my little ‘present’ to myself (yeah, sick and twisted, I know, to consider 30miles of climbing with a vertical ascent of almost 10,000ft, as a ‘gift.’) Just after the video, I rode down into Summerhaven just to be POSITIVE that the ‘Cookie Cabin’ really existed. It did:

This is Jonna and I on our last climb of Lemmon together this trip, as we’re rolling into Summerhaven. As you can see, we’re pretty damn excited:

This is after our gorge-fest at the Cookie Cabin, as I let the increase in gravitational forces (mainly due to large amounts of cookies, coffee, and pizza,) propel me down Mount Lemmon (and past Jonna.) Shaky yet again, but you get the picture:

On the theme of videos, here is one of the songs on my playlist for the decent of Lemmon. It helps me push corners just a wee bit harder, and pedal just a little faster. Pretty much sums up how I like to decend: Bonkers.

Training Camp Survival….Halfway Alive

Team Ossenbrink members, our first ride!

As I sit here, just finished my enormous dinner, enjoying a glass of delicious Merlot, I decided now is a better time than any to shoot up a quick blog post. Why not? It’s one of the few spare moments I have to myself, that I’m not training, eating, sleeping, or stretching. Yup, this is camp. My second BIG camp away from home, and by away from home, I mean AWAAAAAAYYYYYYY (far) AWAY from home. Tucson, Arizona, to be exact. The triathlon mecca, frequented by the sports fastest athletes, and home to the infamous Mount Lemmon (a DAMN solid 29mile climb, but more on that later.) I have been here since March 26th, so technically I’m over halfway done. But really, I feel like the biggest, best, and hardest is yet to come. Already logging some MONSTER mileage (especially on the bike,) all the while enjoying weather that has pushed to the upper 30’s Celcius on many occasions, I’ve enjoyed the company of many.

Elliot and I, Observatory, TOP of Lemmon
The team on top of Lemmon. 27MILES!
Jonna and I at top of Lemmon, Ski Valley
Summit number 2, CRUSHED!

First off, part of Team Ossenbrink was down here during my first week’s stay (Elliot Holtham, Megan Wolfe, and Jenn Kohm,) and I had the pleasure of logging some great days with them. Really learned about the heat with them, as on one occasion I found myself out in the middle of Fricken Nowheresville, smoking hot, and having run out of water. And got a flat. That was an interesting day for sure! We had an outstanding time climbing Mount Lemmon (twice,) and the second time around, Elliot and I did probably 1.25 times up Lemmon. I was sad to see my teammates leave, but will be back with the group soon enough.

Jonna’s first ICEBATH!

Another athlete I had the pleasure of enjoying my first few weeks of camp with was Jonna Trexler, an exceptional triathlete who is relatively new to this sport, but is already tackling her first season as a professional. She is already a force to be reckoned with, and you should keep your eyes on her, as she’ll really be tearing it up out there this year! We spent many long days on the bike together, and made Mount Lemmon a regular ride. Our most memorable moment was just the other day actually, when we discovered there was a ‘Cookie Cabin’ up at the top, in Summerhaven, that sells (try and guess THIS one) GIANT COOKIES!!! I, of course, had to ensure that this place actually existed, so before Jonna and I’s ‘date’ at the cabin, I rode up there to check it out. Oh boy, did they EVER exist!

Our Cookie Date, and my PIZZA!

Yeah. A monster. PLATE-SIZED ‘Sampler.’
Post Lemmon treat: MEXICAN!

 These are no ordinary sized cookies, they are friggin RIDICULOUSLY HUGE! The size of a plate, literally! We decided we would have a monster climbing day, and reward ourselves with a date lunch at the Cookie Cabin. Not only did we BOTH polish off a monster cookie (Jonna, the chocolate chip, and I, the ‘sampler,’ consisting of all 6 flavors combined into one cookie,) but I also had 3 cups of coffee (because it’s NECESSARY for dipping the cookie in,) and an ENTIRE pizza to wash it down. I absolutely SMASHED the rest of the bike, I’ve never felt that great on the roads. Unreal. Perhaps my secret weapon for racing should be eating cookies! It’s a nutrition strategy that’ll have NO complaints from me!

Jonna’s 703 and my P3C. Perfect match.
Eload Camp Kit

But seriously, I’ve had some MAJOR help since I’ve been down here. They say it takes a village, and in my case, the village is the most outstanding team of support that anyone could possibly imagine! For starters, Eload Nutrition sent me down a huge Camp Package consisting of Eload, FLY, Emend, Eload GELS, and ZONE CAPS, all of which have been instrumental in keeping me hydrated, fueled, and recovered for the heat and intense training load (pushing 40hrs a week.) The amount of sweat that I’m letting go out here would leave me crippled without Eload products to replenish it all. Seriously. Ask Jonna, I look like frosty the snowman at the end of every day from the thick layer of salt coating my face!

How I get ‘BAJONGED’

Choco-blueberry Recovery!

 Jennifer Bajus of BAJONG BAR shipped me a few boxes of bars to train with, and not ONLY do they give me a good hit of energy for the LOOOONG hours on the bike, but they also taste AMAZING! They are like a treat out there, I was using my favorite (Chocolate Peanut Butter Chew) as my reward for climbing Lemmon! All natural and nutritious, they help me get fuel in throughout the days.

Recovering as HARD as I can. Tough Life.
Speed Theory induced cockpit

Another key ingredient in my recipe for camp success has been my Compressport gear. I’ve been practically LIVING in my full leg sleeves, calf guards, and quad sleeves (not all at the same time, of course!) They have kept my legs fresh for the repeated abuse that I’ve been putting them through, whether it’s been 35k runs, or 180km bike rides, they haven’t let me down.

The ONLY way to start the day!
Frequent view of the Mount Lemmon start, Mile 0

My butt wouldn’t be the same without my Belgum Butter, Assos Afterride gel (both from Speed Theory,) and my Speed Theory Vancouver bike kit. It’s so comfortable, and unlike last year’s Las Vegas camp, my rear hasn’t felt better (along with the PERFECT fitting Cobb V-Flow Plus Saddle.) Ever. Along with the goodies Speed Theory has provided me for this ‘journey,’ I’ve been shredding apart the desert in some epic runs with my New Balance 1400 race flats and NB 890 V2 shoes, all from New Balance Vancouver. Without my support team, I don’t know how I’d survive here (with the workload from Coach Bjoern, I probably wouldn’t.)

It feels THIS good EVERY time I climb to the top of Lemmon!

Anywho, time to hit the hay, getting ready for some more massive miles tomorrow! I hope everyone is enjoying the start of Spring, I’ve heard it’s starting to get a **little** nicer back home. Happy training everyone, and be safe!


The ‘Theme’ of camp. Words, and rules, to live by.