Wow, wow, wow, I love Colorado!!! I came here 9 years ago as a wide-eyed 20yr old looking to live the life of a ski bum, and although my motivations for being here this time are a little different, the wide-eyed state has not changed. This place is beautiful, I could totally see myself living in Boulder, it has everything I love and a great supermarket called Whole Foods….but more on that later. I’ll start at the beginning.
We had a late Friday night flight from Auckland to LA and because I’m off the juice at the moment I was a little concerned as to how I would get to sleep without my usual bloody-mary tonic, but all was good. We had a spare seat next to us which meant we could stretch out and I actually got a solid 8hrs sleep. Have to say I was pretty pleased I cut myself off from the show ‘Air Crash Investigation’ about 6 weeks ago as the little turbulence we had didn’t put me into a head spin LA airport was uneventful and uninspiring as usual, spent most of the time convincing Hayden that this is NOT what the rest of America is like and to wait till we get to Colorado before judging the country, and it didn’t disappoint. We woke up Saturday morning (at about 10am…I’d told Andy I’d get up and join him on his 6.30am morning run, didn’t quite happen!) and it was stunning, we headed out for a walk with the family: Andy, Erin, Cameron, Emily, Makenna and Fresno the Labra-poodle, and had views right out over the Colorado rockies. Didn’t feel the altitude, but something tells me training at intensity at 5,600ft might be a different story.
Had a nice early night as I had my first ‘race’ the next morning. This ‘race’ was an indoor triathlon which involved a 15min swim, a 15min cycle and a 15min run, have to say I was a bit of a burglar, probably shouldn’t have turned up in my NZ tri gear…what a hard-out! What a small world though, the guy who was counting my laps in the pool had on a Taupo Ironman t-shirt, turns out he did it in 2008, crazy! Taupo is a big Ironman destination for triathletes here, I think because it was the 2nd Ironman after Kona and because it’s flat(ish). The triathlon was heaps of fun and afterwards we got a great protein shake and a whole smorgasbord of free Ironman candy…I mean energy gels. Little disappointed with the café though as when I asked what kind of coffee they had the response was “oh it’s just free over there in the pot”, hmmm guessing no trim Flat White then! That afternoon took Kawasaki out for a bit of a spin, man I love the roads over here, they are so smooth and they have these signs that say ‘cyclists use the whole lane’ – how awesome, don’t have to ride in the gutter with cars almost hitting you with their wing mirrors.
On Monday Andy took a half day at work and then took me on a guided tour up Lookout Mountain, a favourite for cyclists, and actually used for a pro-race earlier in the year…hence why ‘Go Hincanpie’ was chalked all the way up the hill. It was stunning and had views all the way to Denver, really tried not to get competitive, but with so many other cyclists out it was hard not to try and pick them off on my way up. After the mountain we headed out to Red Rock, another awesome cycling spot that goes right up through these amazing rocks, that you guessed it, are bright red. Pretty knackered at the end of that ride, it was about 30 degrees and I finally got a cyclist tan – no more wet winter days here, or so I thought… Monday night was my first swim squad, and it went from 8pm to 9.30pm, a bit hard to be swimming that late, but the squad was great. I think everyone was a bit amazed that this random girl from NZ had turned up at their swim squad, the swim squad is quite small and run out of the local Broomfield gym, I would kind of relate it to if a random American triathlete turned up at a local Timaru swim squad! I finally found what made me feel the altitude too, butterfly, oh mi god each breath was really not getting in enough air, it was a struggle!
Well this is really turning into a day-by-day account but there has been a lot going on this week. Tuesday Hayden and I rented a car and headed into Boulder for the night. We went out for Mexican, note: not on the Nutritionist handbook that Mikki gave me before I left, but it was great…however didn’t get my appetite back until lunchtime the next day, not sure my body is used to all that American cheese! What was the most amazing thing about being in Boulder though was that it started to snow!!!! So we’d gone from record high temperatures on Monday to snow on Wednesday, it was beautiful. The next morning we went out to the Boulder Running Company, OH MY GOD, what an experience…picked up some awesome bright green (of course) old school running shorts and even scoped out a new flavor of energy bar…Margarita, not kidding (still on the hunt for the elusive gingerbread man flavor GU though)! What was such a highlight though was as I was checking out the Steve Prefontaine poster on the wall the shop guy said to me “oh yeah the owner of this shop used to run with Prefontaine” – the owner was in the shop so I got to have a chat to him, great story. He lived in South Africa during Apartheid times and decided to immigrate to the States, once here he totally killed the running scene and runs a 2.08 marathon, legend! As if the day couldn’t get any better, we also headed to Whole Foods, a bit of a Boulder legend, it sells all organic, healthy, yummy food…BUT surprisingly has the most amazing pick n mix I have ever seen. I’ve grabbed a massive bag of pick n mix which will be waiting for me at the end of the race, hmmmmmm.
From Boulder we drove up into Breckenridge, a very cute little ski town, that with the fresh snow was really awesome, a great place to spend our anniversary The next day I had a 1hr run on the programme, so we headed up to a local trail and I went for my first snow run, not as hard as I thought, however running at 10,000ft was pretty challenging. The run was interesting for the fact that I saw a guy leaving the trail as I was going in and just thought I’d ask whether there were any animals I had to watch out for, verbatim his response: “oh yeah, well we have a big 500 pound bear around here at the moment, but don’t worry he’s really friendly, just don’t surprise him. You should watch out for mountain lions and also there is the odd cougar, well that’s about it, enjoy your run!” – holy hell, not quite the animal encounters I wanted to come across…thank god my breathing was so loud that I scared off the potential ‘when animals attack’ moment – however I did see a fair few tracks left in the snow that were definitely not human! As a count now these are all the wild animals we have seen: ravens, deer, elk, eagle, coyote and prairie dogs, something tells me we won’t see many wild animals in Vegas (maybe some cougars?!).
Today went out for a great ride up a local mountain called Flagstaff, nice 40min switchback climb, with mr hardcore man doing hill repeats up it….made me feel like I was standing still. I swear that it was Craig Alexander, but after just checking his twitter account it turns out he is in Dubai, gutted, no celebrity sighting Now we’re back in Broomfield as we get set for the pre-Halloween weekend, bought my massive pumpkin today to start carving tomorrow, as well as building a snowman (yes I’m living all the American stereotypes). Another early morning start with the temperature below 0, good times, so off to bed for me.
Next blog…Vegas Baby!