Written by: Triathlete’s Editors
We didn’t use a scientific formula to put together this list. We didn’t worry whether or not certain areas of the country were adequately represented. We just put a few of the world’s biggest tri-geeks in a conference room and asked ourselves one question: If you were moving, and triathlon training was the main criteria dictating your decision, where would you go?
No. 1: Tucson, Ariz.
Median home price: $200,000
Why it’s on our list: There’s a reason names like T.J. Tollakson, Peter Reid, Sheila Taormina and Lance Armstrong have made the college town of Tucson a training base, and why tri camps make annual pilgrimages to the city. And it’s the same reason why current pros Samantha McGlone and Leanda Cave call it home: high quality, year-round training.
The variety of training options on predominantly sunny, warm, rainless days is astounding. Want flatland work on the bike? Head south along Old Nogales Highway. High tempo? Madera Canyon. How about a beautiful rolling cruise in the Sonoran Desert? Try Gates Pass and ride smooth and serpentine Kinney Road. Serious hill work? Make the 19-mile ascent up Mt. Lemmon. There are simply no shortages of options for any level of cyclist.
Running options are equally rife, with many school tracks having open access, and desert trails providing great technical trail running—just keep an eye out for the local flora (cactus) and fauna (rattlesnakes, bobcats and mule deer). Tollakson’s staple run is along the ephemeral Santa Cruz River Park on the city’s west side.
Live here if: You begin to twitch when you think about another winter of riding the trainer, running on the treadmill and doing indoor swim drills while staring at a wall and waiting for your spring race.
Don’t live here if: You can’t take the heat. In the summer, be sure to get your workouts done before 9 a.m., when 100-plus degree temps make you fodder for one of those postcards of a skeleton clawing his way across the desert, the caption reading, “Yeah, but it’s a dry heat!”
Click the numbers below to see the rest of the top 20.