Matteo isn’t new to Tucson. It’s a city he’s called home for the last two winters. This year between Christmas and New Year’s Matteo and Alex Cataford headed south once again in search of warmer weather and the opportunity to log a lot of early season miles with friends. However this time, instead of staying in town, like he has the past two winters, the two Silber riders found themselves in a beautiful home surrounded by pine trees and nestled at approximately 8000 feet above sea level atop the legendary Mt. Lemmon.
Matteo in his own words
The Silber Season doesn’t start until March, so obviously the purpose of this trip wasn’t to get you race ready. What type of training did you do?
This trip’s most important task was to have fun riding. This time of year is about loving your bike again, and for me, specific training isn’t that crucial. It’s more about getting base miles to build a foundation for the upcoming season, all while making sure I get sufficient rest. It’s a delicate balance and very important to listen to my body so I don’t come into 2016 fatigued.
So you get arrive in Tucson. What’s the first thing you do?
Well my first day was actually less than ideal. After picking up my luggage that was lost at the airport I went what was supposed to be a 3 hour ride West of town. About an hour in my chain jammed up in the front derailleur and I found myself face first in the asphalt. I made my first trip to an American hospital and got 7 stitches in my eyebrow, I’d say that’s a preety memorable way to start a trip.
Do you grace the notorious group ride The Shootout with your presence while you were down in Tucson?
Of course! We did the famed Shootout twice on this trip. It’s definitely one of my favorite rides.
What other routes were your favorite?
We did these two long adventure rides and one actually almost led us into Mexico and made for a 230km trip. The other traversed Box Canyon via some dirt road. Both rides left us absolutely gutted and silly with exhaustion in a way intervals can’t. Plus they both had some fantastic views.
(Read about Alex Cataford’s favorite hometown ride, here)
After a ride like that, you have to rest! What is a typical rest day like for you?
Last year I probably took 10 days off the bike. This trip really changed my view of rest days. In fact, one of my favorite days of the entire trip was actually a rest day. On the second to last Saturday of the camp we had a snowstorm on the Mountain. It closed the road up to our house so we were stuck inside while the plows cleaned up the road. The four of us staying in the house ended up going for a hike, and playing in the snow until our (way too light) jackets and running shoes weren’t enough to keep us dry and warm. We headed indoors and spent the rest of the day sitting around the fire and watching movies and just lounging around. I always felt that spinning the legs even if it’s just a short ride was better but now I’m thinking that a rest day done right here and there can do you just as much good both mentally and physically.