For the Arizona spring training camp Sandi Robinson will be the guest blogger for the week..Day 1, Sunday: At last, the long awaited day of departure has arrived. Family members, fellow cyclists and colleagues are all tired of hearing about the warm temperatures awaiting us in Arizona, as the weather continues to be way too cold in the GTA.
We all eagerly arrive early at Pearson for our flights, preparing to do battle with our nation's most unfriendly and unhelpful airline (which shall remain unnamed). Not only that, but US Customs officials decided to do a work slowdown. Through a combination of Nexus passes, Elite members and running through terminals, we all made our flights. Flight was mostly uneventful except for the ever-present intoxicated partiers en route to greener pastures.
We were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by both Petrina and Darin at the airport. All 9 participants arrived safely, then we waited anxiously by the over-sized luggage door for our bikes to arrive....five came, then two more...and finally the last two. To our amazement, Petrina managed to squeeze all 9 bikes boxes into the back of the 15 seater van (thank goodness for inflatable/deflatable bike bags!)
The heat outside the airport felt wonderful, after long months of cold temps. As we drove to Carefree Resort, we all admired the countless types of cacti seen outside our windows. As none of us know the names of the cacti, they will be named "the one with Mickey Mouse ears, the tall one with arms" etc.
Petrina and the resort are certainly ensuring that we have a "Carefree" week. Upon arrival we immediately sat down for a terrific lunch, and Petina gave us goodie bags filled with treats, as well as personal notes welcoming us. While we ate, Petrina and Allan, a local mechanic, put our bikes together. After we settled into our rooms, we headed out for an easy hour long bike ride. That is, if you can consider it easy riding with a full belly, while still jet-lagged, and trying to adapt to the sudden onslaught of a full-on heat wave. Oh and did I mention that we started off riding uphill?
Nevertheless we all survived and are looking forward to many more rides, perhaps with the exception of tomorrow, when winds of up to 90 kph are forecast!!
The day ended with dinner out at a local resort. We ate outdoors (sigh it was wonderful) and were serenaded by the night noises of local coyotes fighting over their dinner. Petrina was quick to reassure us that the coyotes don't like the taste of humans. We were all very tired by this time, especially with the three hour time difference, and headed back to the resort, after the obligatory stop at Safeway for libations.
Tune in Monday night for more tales from the road!