2020 Arizona Triathlon Camp Highlights from Coach Shannon

Oro Valley, AZ – After 15 years of coaching HFP’s annual training camp in Helen, GA I decided to head to warmer climates in Oro Valley, AZ in 2019. To better get to know the area and local training facilities I hand selected veterans of our camp to do the first year recon. The consensus from the 2019 camp was overwhelmingly positive to make the move to Oro Valley, AZ permanent. For 2020, we opened up the field to include more athletes and provided on course mobile support during all bike rides, giving campers the opportunity to stockpile nutrition and apparel needs. This became an important upgrade to the camp as athletes from A to C group riders were able to be fully supported on rides that took some more than 5 hours to complete. A huge thanks to Infinit Nutrition for their awesome support of the camp keeping us fueled (Infinit Nutrition GO FAR) and alert (Infinit Nutrition COLD BREW) the entire week.

I sincerely appreciate the continued support of this camp and have personally created long standing friendships through this annual camp that will last a lifetime. If you want a true epic test and a week to push you past your limits than mark your calendar for February 28 – March 7, 2021.

I look forward to pushing you to another level.

Coach Shannon Kurek

2020 Daily Camp Blog
Monday, March 2 (featuring a 9 mile Sabino Canyon run)
Tuesday, March 3 (featuring Dove Mountain 60 mile ride)
Wednesday, March 4 (featuring the Assault of Mt. Lemmon ride)
Thursday, March 5 (featuring the Gates Pass 62 mile ride)
Friday, March 6 (featuring the Kitt Peak Mountain 58 mile ride)
Saturday, March 7 (featuring the El Tour Tucson 100 mile ride)
Sunday, March 8 (featuring a 9 mile run at the Catalina State Park)

Arizona Triathlon Camp – Day 7

Sunday, March 8 – Only a handful of campers remained on Sunday to take on the 9 mile run at Catalina State Park and the 40 mile ride through suburban Oro Valley. Many campers had early flights or other plans to end their week.
Klaus, Karen, Jaret, Curt and Coach Shannon get ready to head out on the final run at camp in Catalina State Park

Kurt Molter opted for a solo hike of Bear Canyon Falls in Sabino Canyon

Bear Canyon Falls

Beautiful Bear Canyon Falls

Justin Sanker opted for a relaxing afternoon watching the Reds play a spring ball game before flying out of Phoenix airport  

One mile to go for the run at Catalina State Park

Coach Shannon and Curt Haywood were the only two to complete the entire camp

Coach Shannon completely nuked after 7 days of intense training…now he can rest

 

Arizona Triathlon Camp – Day 6

Saturday, March 7 – Saturday is the camp century ride that features an awesome tour of Oro Valley, Tucson and Old Tucson. Campers gathered at 6:45am at the Oro Valley Aquatic Center to head out at 7:00am on the roads along the Catalina Foothills. The route was most of the roads used on the course for the El Tour Tucson (an annual 100 mile bike tour attended by over 10,000 participants every November). We added an awesome 6 mile section through the Saguaro National Park East.

A chilly start has riders bundled up but it quickly warmed up by rest stop #1

Our awesome support driver all week…Glen Bucy

Beautiful scenery in the Saguaro National Park East

More beautiful scenery in the Saguaro National Park East

Riders stop to take photos of this interesting bicycle warning sign in the park

And the winner is….Justin and Coach Shannon celebrate their ride in the national park with a unique trinket Glen picked up at a garage sale in between support stops

Coach Shannon and Nate Riggs head to the restroom at the Saguaro National Park

35 miles left and all on the super smooth (and flat) Julian Walsh Bike Way

Justin Sanker super happy to wrap up his 100+ mile adventure

It’s official (it’s not real until it’s on Instagram)…Justin Sanker completes the 100+ mile ride in fine form

Arizona Triathlon Camp – Day 5

Friday, March 6 – With the Arizona State Swimming Championships going on at the Oro Valley Aquatic Center we were forced to jam our campers into a few lanes at the Thad Terry Aquatic Center…nice pool but half the lanes were being used for water aerobics. We made the most of it as only about half our campers showed up with the others choosing to take Friday off or opt for an easier day. After a spirited 60 minute workout campers drove 45 minutes to Three Points Veteran Park to start a 58 mile ride that was highlighted by a 12 mile climb up Kitt Peak to the Observatory.

Jaret Johnson gives a thumbs up for the proposed workout of Kurt Molter

Nate Riggs and Coach Shannon are all smiles for the proposed swim workout

Catherine Paulson opted out of Kitt Peak and took on Dove Mountain

Justin Sanker also opted out of Kitt Peak to take on a longer run session on A Mountain

Justin Sanker’s workout today got mentioned on USAT National Champion Justin Lippert’s Instagram story “slow zoom”…you’re famous Justin!

Justin Sanker at his non Kitt Peak solo ride

Support driver, Glen Bucy is amused at the group before the start of the ride

Coach Shannon a long way from the top of Kitt Peak

Wildlife at Three Points Veteran Park before we take off to Kitt Peak

Kitt Peak amazing view!

Coach Shannon readies himself for the ride to Kitt Peak

 The view as you ride toward Kitt Peak

Coach Shannon runs into a Team RWB member at the base of Kitt Peak that has raced HFP races…he most appreciated the pre-race Sunday prayers lead by Coach Shannon

Coach Shannon at the top of Kitt Peak

This giant wheel was a place holder until the actual Observatory glass was placed during the construction of the Observatory (the things we learn…)

The A Group at the top of Kitt Peak (Nate Riggs in foreground) 

“Add caption here”…yep that’s Kurt Molter revealing himself next to an open air toilet

Kitt Peak amazing view!

 

 

Arizona Triathlon Camp – Day 4

Thursday, March 5 – Another beautiful morning arrived to greet the campers as we arrived at the Oro Valley Aquatic Center for a 9:30am swim. No pro sightings this morning and the traffic was light at the pool as they prepared the facility to host the Arizona State Swimming Championships starting later in the afternoon through the weekend. This made today’s workout the last workout at the aquatic center and our Friday workout to be held at the Thad Terry Aquatic Center in Tucson. After nearly 4000 yards in the pool we gathered together for a 62 mile ride across Gates Pass and the Saguaro National Park.

Beautiful sunshine bears down on the pool deck on Day 4

Coach Shannon and Curt Haywood enjoy the sunshine before the workout starts

Riders prepare for the 62 mile Gate Pass route with temps heading to close to 80 degrees

Riders await the start of another long day in the saddle

Curt Haywood and Kurt Molter consider a “new” energy source for the ride

Coach Shannon shoots a Arnold pose a top Gates pass

Sadot, Josh and Justin are all smiles a top of Gates Pass

Jaret Johnson celebrates Gates Pass with a Hostess Apple Pie

Coach Shannon and Nate Riggs enjoy a quick stop as they enter the Saguaro National Park

The A Group poses at Saguaro National Park

Arizona Triathlon Camp – Day 3

Wednesday, March 4 – Today campers took on the most EPIC bike day of the week…the assault of Mt Lemmon. This 30+ mile climb up Mt Lemmon features 8812 feet of vertical gain. The best part of this amazing day of climbing is the decent back down which features 30+ mph average the entire way with very little pedaling. The riders met at Safeway Supermarket which is next to McDonald’s which offers very nice pre-ride bathrooms. The scheduled start time was at 10:00am and the riders rolled out at 9:55am under beautiful sunshine and low 50’s temperatures. Temperatures at the 8000+ feet summit were a balmy 44 degrees.

Campers ready to take on the assault of Mt Lemmon

Coach Shannon explains the challenge of Mt Lemmon to Justin Sanker and Curt Haywood (who seems quite happy to hear of the difficulty that awaits them)

The view from about half way up Mt Lemmon

Another amazing view from Mt Lemmon taken by Nate Riggs

A photo capturing another person taking a photo from a frightening vantage point on Mt Lemmon

Dallas, TX native Catherine Paulson makes it to 7000 feet before heading back down

Nate Riggs stops to take a selfie just a couple miles into the climb…24 miles to go!

Justin Sanker enjoys a view from about a 1/3 of the way up on Mt Lemmon

Josh Wiseman’s bike at the snowline of Mt Lemmon (where are you Josh?)

Another bike selfie…this time it’s Nate Riggs bike near the summit

Kurt Molter and Klaus Grimm celebrate reaching the 8000′ mark of Mt Lemmon

Nate Riggs makes the summit at Ski Valley…8000+ feet of climbing in the books

 

Arizona Triathlon Camp – Day 2

Tuesday, March 3 – Another epic swim workout at Oro Valley Aquatic Center started off day 2 at the Arizona Triathlon Camp. Another Paula Findlay sighting and what looked like the entire Wattie Ink age group team (but not confirmed) killing in the pool when we arrived. Our main set today was 6 x 200, 6 x 150, and 6 x 100. Great workout! On to the bike for a 60+ mile urban ride in and around Dove Mountain.


Pre-ride photo before taking on the Dove Mountain 60 mile ride

Sadot Zuniga and Josh Wiseman at the base of the Old Ranch House tunnel

Jaret Johnson is all smiles after completing his transition run following the 60+ mile bike

Nate Riggs focused after completing his transition run…next up; recovery meal!

Coach Shannon, Curt Haywood, Kurt Molter and Nate Riggs enjoy an end of the day soak in the hot tub with the beautiful mountains in the background