Thursday, September 29, 2011

Colorado Springs and USA Triathlon

A few weeks ago I moved to Colorado Springs to work for USA Triathlon at the Olympic Training Center. I’m sure it will take a while to get used to working for eight hours in my cubicle but there are millions of other people doing it in the United States so I should be able to survive. So far living in the ‘Springs’ has been uneventful. I have begun to explore some of the parks and trail systems which seem pretty nice. There is a definite southwestern feel here that is obviously absent in Minnesota. Colorado Springs is said to be the most dog friendly city in the country which is quite apparent. There are dogs everywhere! It is pretty crazy.

Today I went for a ride and was passed by a group of riders from the Garmin Cervelo Team. It is pretty amazing how many elite athletes reside here (though it is not surprising as it seems to be a great place to train). Working with the elite triathletes has been interesting. I don’t get much interaction with them outside of swim practice but that time has been fun. Watching them train is the same as watching any other group swim, be it the U of M, or a high school practice, these guys just go faster and farther. This brings up the statement that there are no secrets to training. People claim to have them but they are not out there. Great coaches are able to identify what workouts and periodization will allow each athlete to reach their potential. They are good at using the information at hand, no secrets. Central Cross Country Skiing has the motto of ‘Dream. Plan. Execute’. This motto is applicable at every level. The difference with the athletes at the OTC is that they dream a little bigger, make their plan harder, and execute it with more precision that most other athletes. These factors coupled with the drive and ability to handle this amount of stress allows them to be the best in the world.

Last weekend I went to the Elite National championships in Buffalo, New York. It was fun to travel with my co-workers and get to see an ITU draft legal race. It definitely plays out different than your typical non-drafting tri. After the race three of us ran back to the hotel to grab our swim suits and headed back to the course for a swim. This made Lake Erie the third of the great lakes I have swum in. After a quick lap around the course we headed to the Anchor Bar to experience the original buffalo wings. We got there and there was an hour and a half wait! We decided to skip it so we would have time to visit Niagara Falls. The falls were less impressive than they are from the Canadian side but still fun to see, especially at night. The next day we scheduled plenty of time for the Anchor Bar!

After the triathlon Sunday and Monday were filled with a coach’s summit. It was very interesting to sit and listen to the coaches of national team athletes and how they all interact with each other and their athletes. After a day and a half of meetings we tried to head home but were delayed an hour on the plane in Buffalo. We made it to Chicago just in time to miss our connection but finally made it back to Colorado Springs. We were the lucky ones; one of the people in our group was delayed overnight and did not get home till Tuesday!