I might be kind of crazy, but I love training in Vegas! AZ and I have trained there a bunch,( I even met Wattie and HJ here once!) plus I raced at Vegas 70.3 last year, so I am pretty familiar with the area. Follow up a long day of training in the desert with some pool time and a casino night and that is a fun day!
This trip though, I went with a couple of friends from my local tri club Multisportmadness.
Sue and Danny
Sue is training for Kona, me for Vegas, and Danny is kicking off his IM CoZ training. We came up with the idea of training in Vegas mostly for a change of scenery mid season….. because long rides around corn fields for months start to get old, and some heat (um yea we had that). So while AZ was jetting off to the wind tunnel and having play dates with pros ….I was getting pretty revved up for my own little training trip to Vegas! Truth be told however, .........I even got to hang out with the IM World Champion some before I left to include an easy 1 hr 20 min ride from our house! Luckily it truly was and easy ride, but I was still nervous as hell with him riding behind me. He did actually think our flat open roads through the corn were cool and good for riding!
We arrived out at Lake Las Vegas which is the start of the race…and from here you can easily ride out from your hotel door and be at the start of the bike course, have good roads to run on and be about 10-15 min from Henderson where there is an awesome outdoor pool, Whole Foods and some other great restaurants. After putting the bikes together we made sure everything was working right by taking a little spin at about 3 in the afternoon when it was 105. To get out of the resort you must climb a very long hill (yes this is the first 3 miles of the race). We were all choking on our own throats because it was so hot and dry. For sure we had to start early in order to be able to do a long ride. So we started our first big workout Fri morning at 5:30 to be the heat.
lucky for some cloud cover early on
Because much of the riding is within Lake Mead National Park, there isn’t a gas station every 5 miles so we were timing the heat and 1 store being open on the return. We road the first part of the Vegas 70.3 course and then beyond to a lookout on Northshore Rd. at the top of a big climb (I secretly wish this hill was in the race) On the return we took a detour off the course down to the lake for more drinks. And yes it was down, because it was a long climb back up after our pit stop. These roads are in perfect condition, there are very few cars (esp. early in the morning) but there is absolutely no protection from the elements. You are completely exposed once the sun starts to really heat up.
a smidge of shade by the lake
We road about 4 hrs followed by a 3 mile T run. By this time it was 100 plus . Day 1 also included a trip into the STRIP for amazing food at STACK and the Beetles Cirque show …”LOVE”.
my toes are curled up because my calves were still cramping!
if only all recoveries could be poolside with people serving you
The second day we road the other way around the lake toward Hoover Dam. Danny was doing a long run and had the car with a cooler at Boulder Beach which was very tempting to just leave the bike and take a swim. A little bit of a later start, and no cloud cover like day one and it felt much hotter, so the idea of swimming in the lake was so tempting.
I rode from there back towards town and added in the back half of the Vegas course which heads in towards Henderson and T2. When I did the race last year this is the part that actually caught me off guard with some false flats, wind, and a few more decent hills. This was a Saturday and I was surprised how many people were out biking and training on the course. And for some reason, I felt better on day 2 than day 1!
Sun morning I got up early for my long run. We had hoped to run the course but the logistics of driving to where T2 is running and coming back to pack up and get to the airport seemed like so much work at 5:30 am Lake Las Vegas provided plenty of big hills to run on, just like the run course for the race which is basically 3 loops of either going up or down. I was happy and relieved to feel great running again and even pushed it the last few miles. I had to skip Racine 70.3 because of a hip that wasn’t happy. I rested it some, treated it nicely so I could do this training trip and have some good training weeks going into Vegas. Training Vegas style was a success for me….I’ll be back for more of the desert in September!
Thanks to my Multisportmadness friends crazy enough to brave Vegas in July with me!!! You guys will be tougher! KSWISS for making the KRUUZ of which I ran 12 hilly miles around Lake LV on tired legs (luv them!) Bike Shop GE for reassuring me my bike wasn’t cracked when I unpacked it, TBC for my tough workouts, and WattieInk and BettyDesigns for the training clothes that survived the heat of the desert!