Tucson Travel, Tucson Swimming, & Tucson Adventure

Last week’s trip to Horst Engineering de Mexico brought me through Tucson, Arizona. I hadn’t been there in more than three years because I’ve been taking a connecting flight through Phoenix. This time, I flew to Tucson and drove all the way to Guaymas where our operation is located.

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Tucson has always been one of my favorite places. When our plant was in Nogales, Sonora, I passed through Tucson frequently. It was fun to go back, particularly in April. I was only passing through again, but I spent a night on each end of the trip. The weather was cooler than normal, but when the sun shone, it was brilliant. Tucson is known as a great winter and pre-season spot to train for endurance sports. I know a lot of athletes who attend training camps in Tucson. The swimming, cycling, and running are awesome. Tucson also has great trails for running and mountain biking.

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I wanted to swim while I was there, so I searched Google for options. Thankfully, I came across professional triathlete, Hillary Biscay’s blog. We first met Hillary at the 2010 Ironman Brazil. I already had her blog on RSS, but hadn’t previously seen her post about swimming in Tucson, where she often trains. It was a great resource and led me to the Tucson Parks and Recreation website. Early on Tuesday, I swam at the Clements Pool; and early on Friday, I swam at the Archer Pool. Both pools were open at 6:00 A.M. and with the time change, it was easy to get up. Clements was definitely the nicer of the two facilities, but the lifeguards were friendly at both pools and you can’t beat $2/day for an out-of-towner. The City of Tucson aquatics program is highly recommended.

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When in town, I visited several customers, but I also had a chance to visit a non-profit that Thread Rolling Inc. and Horst Engineering support through our 1% For The Planet membership. The Sonoran Institute has always been an interesting organization to follow. I had previously been invited to visit their headquarters in Tucson, but since I’ve been connecting through Phoenix, I never made it. Since that initial invite, they moved to new shiny downtown Tucson offices. Their presence is part of the downtown redevelopment. I met with a wonderful project manager who was doing passionate work in the Colorado River Delta and on both sides of the border. We compared notes about our work with conservation oriented non-profits and I learned more about the institute’s current projects throughout the US west, in Sonora, and in Baja California.

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While in town, I visited three vegan friendly restaurants. Top of the list was Lovin’ Spoonfuls, an all vegan place. The service was fantastic and there were some wonderfully creative food options. I went back twice. I also had a meal at Renee’s Organic Oven. The service was excellent and I had the gluten free/vegan pizza. I also had lunch at Sparkroot, a cafe near the Sonoran Institute’s headquarters. All three restaurants are highly recommended. I found Lovin’ using the Happy Cow app on my iPhone and I was referred to Renee’s, though it also shows up on the Happy Cow site with good reviews.

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Next door to Renee’s was Sabino Cycles. I checked out the bike shop (I love bike shops) and as soon as  I walked in, I came across a Seven. That pumped me up. It was fun to randomly come across a Seven dealer because I’m part of Team Seven Cycles and if you read this blog, know that Debbie and I are fortunate to have several Seven’s in our stable. I chatted with a few of the sales guys at the store. Sabino is geared towards road, but they have been expanding their mountain biking lineup. It looked like a nice shop with solid inventory including three Seven’s on the floor.

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Posted on the wall was a newspaper article about Tucsonian Max Morris, who is going for the Triple Crown of ultra-distance mountain biking. He is currently doing the Arizona Trail 750 which I wrote about a year ago when Debbie ran the Zane Grey 50 Mile Endurance Run in Payson, Arizona. I was crewing for Debbie and shooting pictures when a Jill Hueckman, a female mountain biker, emerged from the woods. She was headed up the trail to the Mogollan Rim and I chatted her up. She was in the middle of the AZT 750. I immediately put it on my mental bucket list.

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I followed her through the rest of the race and then forgot about it until walking into Sabino Cycles last week. I was back in AZ and it felt good. If Morris finishes the AZT 750, Tour Divide, and Colorado Trail Race in 2013, then it will be quite an accomplishment. Those races are the big three in “bikepacking.” In the new story I saw, Morris is riding a titanium Seven Sola, which is pretty cool.

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On Saturday morning before I caught my flight back to Connecticut, I ran the SAR Spring Cross-Country Classic 5K. I still had 90 minutes to kill, and it was on the way to the airport, so I toured the Pima Air & Space Museum, which has always been on my list of places to see in Tucson. I love aviation and this place is fabulous. Seeing a Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird up close was an intense experience. Powered by Pratt & Whitney engines, this aircraft is a beast. Seeing technology like this makes me proud that our family has been in the aerospace components business for 67 years.

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It’s hard to believe that I did all of this stuff in my spare time on a business trip! I spent hours working, but somehow managed to do this stuff. There was no downtime, no TV, just adventure.

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