Greetings from the U S of A where I’m a little oxygen-starved here at 9,000ft in Keystone, Colorado. I’ve now been in the States for three weeks and it’s been an action-packed time. I flew into LAX and spent a week or so there, firstly in Santa Monica, and then a little further north in Agoura Hills on the purplepatch pro camp. That was a lot of fun – and A LOT of work! Whoever dubbed Matt Dixon the recovery coach needs their bumps felt! It was great to meet and train with some of the other purplepatchers, including Meredith Kessler, Luke Bell, Jesse Thomas, Sarah Pimpiano, Jen Tetrick and Belinda Harper.
After a week of punishment there, it was time to head over to Boulder, Colorado, a place often referred to as “Tri Mecca” because of the sheer volume of pro triathletes who call it home. Of course, there’s good reason why so many pros train there and it’s undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places on the planet to swim, ride and run. At 1800m above sea level, it is also perfect for altitude training. Oh, and then there’s the coffee shops – how had I got 200 words into this blog and not mentioned coffee?! I am most definitely in the wrong place to be trying to cut back… Boulder’s java scene is awesome and it’s not hard to while away a morning in a coffee shop or three.
The past few days have been spent in Keystone, a small ski resort two hours’ drive south west of Boulder where the air is even thinner and the vistas even more impressive. I’m up here with good friend and fellow purplepatcher Rachel (Joyce) in a bid to boost altitude adaptation before returning to Boulder at the end of the week.
Needless to say we’ve had a lot of fun: eating elk, packing in plenty of training while also seeing the sights. One ride saw us climb up to the dizzy heights of 10,000ft (that’s 3,000m back home), but what these rides lack in oxygen they certainly make up for with breathtaking views. Most rides have had to be nice and gentle because doing much else will render you a breathless, useless mess, faceplanting your handlebars at 15mph.
Running is also quite hard work: the first mile or so usually feels much harder than it should, as you struggle to catch your breath, but as you gently settle into it it gets a little easier. We have not used heart rate monitors, Powertaps or Garmins on purpose – it’s best not to know! Swimming is the one discipline I am still finding very difficult at altitude. It’s almost like someone’s filled my arms and legs with lead – not good! I brought a vast supply of High5 Nutrition with me from home and the thinner air must make you consume more calories because my High5 bars and drinks are vanishing at a rapid rate.
Head spins and random dizzy spells aside (just kidding!), it’s all good fun and will hopefully yield strong physiological adaptations as we work towards Vegas and Kona respectively. Huge thanks to Dr Garret Rock who has a great place here in Keystone and whose advice, expertise and experience continues to prove invaluable. Big thanks also to Wiggle who continue to supply me with kit and equipment from across the Pond. Wiggle’s delivery service – regardless of where I am in the world – never ceases to amaze me. I want that speed!
Hope all’s well back in Blighty and Olympic fever is still buzzing. More from me once I’m back “down” in Boulder.