In this final installment of my “Reviews of Training Locations” series, I’ll look at Boulder, CO, which is my current home. There’s a reason I live here, and it will become pretty obvious as you read my review of the area…
Swimming: 5/5. Tons of swimming options, take your choice. Colorado Athletic Club, Flatirons Athletic Club, and Rallysport have outdoor pools open year-round. I choose to swim at one of the town Rec Centers, and the deal is hard to beat. A year pass gets you access 25 yd indoor pools at any of the three Rec Centers, an outdoor 25 yd pool in the summer (Spruce), an outdoor 50 m pool in the summer (Carpenter), and the Boulder Reservoir in the summer. Also, every Thursday evening in the summer, Underground Racing lays out a 750 m buoyed course in the Boulder Reservoir and puts on a Splash n’ Dash race (750m or 1500m swim, 5k run).
Biking: 5/5. Where do I start? It really doesn’t get any better than this. Boulder is right at the interface of the high plains and the Rocky Mountains. So if you go west, you’ll be climbing in the Rockies. There are 5 different climbs up to 9000+ ft. within a 25 minute ride from my front door.
If you go east, you’re riding on flats and gentle rollers. All of the roads have good pavement (no potholes or cracks), and most have shoulders. Even the roads without shoulders are safe because drivers here are accustomed to cyclists and are generally courteous.
I won’t list all of the great rides/routes, because it would take too long. A few of my personal faves are long aerobic rides up towards Fort Collins, long aerobic rides on the Peak to Peak Highway, intervals up Lefthand Canyon, and invervals on route 36. But don’t worry too much about specific routes in this area. If you get on your bike and ride any direction besides southeast (i.e. towards Denver), you’ll find yourself a great route.
Also, don’t worry too much about the snow in the area. While it does snow in the winter, the snow tends to melt and evaporate quickly, so the roads are dry and safe (i.e. rideable) for most of the winter.
Running: 5/5. There is a very long network of trails within a 3 minute jog of my front door. I rarely run on the roads, because there is no need to. There are running trails just about anywhere you go in town (Chautauqua, Switzerland trail, Wonderland Lake, Hogback Ridge, around the reservoir, etc..).
Overall: 5/5. This is probably the best place in the world for triathlon. Not only does the area have great facilities, trails, and roads, but endurance sports are ingrained in the culture. There are always plenty of other riders out on the roads, even on weekdays. And on the weekend? There will be almost as many bikes on the roads as there are cars.
Here is a short list of some of the triathlon/running/cycling greats that either live here full-time, or spend a large part of their time here: Chrissie Wellington, Craig Alexander, Dave Scott, Mark Allen, Tom Danielson, Jenny Barringer, Emma Snowsill, Tim Deboom, Constantina Dita, Matt Reed, Joanna Lawn, Belinda Granger, Greg Bennett, Gordo Byrn, and Laura Bennett. And that’s just a partial list. There are plenty more pros and badasses. If you’re the fastest in Boulder, then you’re probably the fastest in the world.
There’s a reason pro triathletes flock to this town…