Winter Training in the Tucson Desert (Part II)

posted in: Food | 0


With training seemingly endless hours per day and week, one builds up quite an appetite and even without riding, I already eat a lot.  A good thing for me is that I love to cook so every day would be something different from the day before but I do tend to get into a rut of cooking the same things, just makes it easy I guess.  A few of the best dishes I eat for dinner are as follows:

Homemade Pizza (perhaps my favorite) made with a little bit of rice and oatmeal in the crust for added carbohydrates with plenty of vegies on top with diced chicken or steak.  Perhaps a bit different, I don’t put cheese on my pizza as I don’t eat much dairy, but it is still pretty awesome.


Chicken or Steak Rice Stir Fry is probably what I tend to eat most as it’s pretty easy and hits all the nutritional requirements pretty well.  I make mine by first grilling the steak or chicken in a frying pan and then sautéing the vegies in the same pan to get the meat flavor further into the dish.  I then add rice and the cut up meat back into the pan with a scrambled egg or two as well as a handful of different spices depending on my taste for the evening.

Chicken or Steak Burritos are another one of my favorites.  In Tucson, tortillas are wicked cheap as well as salsa and avocados so you can make a ton of burritos for pretty cheap.  I’m good at overfilling the tortilla though and often end up with a big plate of burrito stuffing’s.

Did a lot of eating of burritos but not taking pictures of them so this one is an improvised burrito with a homemade tortilla.
Did a lot of eating of burritos but not taking pictures of them so this one is an improvised burrito with a homemade tortilla.

Pancakes are great for breakfast as well as for ride food.  I’ll make mine generally with oats, perhaps some rice, eggs, cut up bananas and apples, and topped with peanut butter and jelly when I’m not at home with pure homemade maple syrup.

Hardy Vegetables are a good source of carbs, not from grains, and a good source of nutrients.  One of my favorites is sweet potatoes made any which way including: hash brown style for b-fast, roasted sweet potatoe fries (best on the grill), mashed sweet potatoes with sautéed vegies and ham (pictured below), and baked in the microwave is good for on the go with some maple syrup or brown sugar.

Squash, sweet potatoes, with Brussels sprouts.
Squash, sweet potatoes, with Brussels sprouts.

Salads are also a big part of my diet especially in the pre-season as slimming down a few pounds always helps that power-to-weight ratio.  Lots of good toppings is key along with a good salad dressing.  If your salad is bland, you’re not going to want to eat it every day.  Also, spinach is favored over lettuce as it’s more nutrient dense.

Winter Training in the Tucson Desert (Part I)

posted in: Adventures, Cycling, Training | 0

Every winter many pro cyclists head to that of a warmer climate and here in North America, one of the places frequented is Tucson, Arizona.  Having spent all of my past pre-seasons in central Pennsylvania I was eager to get to someplace new, to escape the cold, and just have people to ride with every day.  The past month and a half can be categorized into three parts: training, eating, and recovering (which will each have its’ own post to keep things short).  It can seem to be a bit monotonous, but approaching each one differently everyday can keep things interesting.

Twilight from River Path
Twilight from River Path


Normally the first two months or so of training is a “base” period where hours are spent just riding, not at a hard pace, but just endurance and sometimes coupled with endurance strength intervals.  Following this is a “build” period with more structured intervals at a higher intensity closer to that seen in races.  This is a great approach to a solid season but when your first race is in February, things have to be adapted a bit.  Tucson is pretty good for endurance rides, higher intensity group rides (the shoot-out) and endless intervals on Mt. Lemmon (A 27 mile climb to 8000+ feet).  So with these assets, a full pre-season can be fit into a month and a half, hopefully, we’ll see how the first race goes…

Redington Pass
Redington Pass

To mix it up there are some sweet places to ride, perhaps a list of “must rides” if ever in Tucson: Redington Pass (pretty gnarly on a road bike), Mt. Lemmon(what most people come for), Mission Road to Madera Canyon(the shoot-out), and Kitts Peak(a 115+mile ride to a solid climb up to an observatory).  I’m more of a get out into the middle of nowhere and ride as if it’s more of an adventure than training so these rides do an alright job of that but Redington Pass in particular gets you out into the middle of nowhere.  Getting there however, and around Tucson for the most part, requires riding on busy roads with lots of traffic.  Something I’ll never get used to, but there are numerous bike lanes and a handful of pretty good bike paths, but riding in rural PA and New York will always be some of the best riding I’ve done.

In the future, I’ll battle the cold for great riding, and not having a full winter is lame with no downhill skiing, cross country skiing, and hockey for great cross training but to get quality time in on the bike, Tucson is the place to go.


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