My second adventure out to the USA in as many years has been as exciting and stimulating as the first if not more so! Boulder, CO is again my base and living with Dan has brought even more colour to this awesome experience. He has traveled here enough to regard it as a second home so allowing him to show me around town and treat me to his favourite 'Boulder experiences' has been a lot of fun as well as meeting a whole new group of people who I now consider my friends. Shortly after our arrival in Boulder and being welcomed with open arms by our gracious host Shelby Katz we made our way up into the intimidating Rocky mountains to try and survive a race both these Africans were entering with serious reservations as previous attempts had not gone as planned and both had sworn never to return! Xterra Mountain Championships. I will keep the explanation brief as a wise man once told me... "When you win say little and when you lose say less" I lost this battle so all I shall say is altitude is a bitch! Thankfully the beauty of this amazing location in the mountains made up for another two mediocre performances up in the heavens and we returned to Boulder with renewed motivation to get this next block of training right.
Once settled back 'home' I began a long 6 week block of training. Conditions here are absolutely phenomenal for getting the most out of any athlete and the main reason so many professional athletes call Boulder home, at least during the summer months anyway. Being in a pool with multiple world champions surrounding you creates an environment unlike any I am able to recreate back home. This added motivation is often very necessary to get through a tough midday swim squad with 3-4hours of work already in the body. Aside from this daily dose of inspiration the key to performing well is consistency in training, having 6 weeks at my disposal I was determined not to miss place even one day. The hard days we break ourselves, the easy ones we eat plenty and allow the hard work to be absorbed. Dan reminds me everyday, building layers is the key to success.
Have spent more time in the kitchen than previous trips and loving the slow build of confidence with certain utensils I previously had no clue how to operate. Our nutrition here is rather exceptional although not cheap, regular trips to the local Whole Foods franchise is a strain on even the most flush of wallets never mind this poor African's empty pockets! Sticking to a predominantly gluten free diet we have managed to throw together some rather tasty meals even enjoying some high praise from dinner guests, something very new to me! Dan did purchase two bags of Quinoa on arrival which has been a staple at most meals including breakfast on the odd occasion, desperate times? As most of you already know regardless of the hours you put in during training if your diet is poor you will be going nowhere slowly, so get this aspect of your life in check and soon you will reap the benefits of some seemingly insignificant changes to your daily diet. Being Boulder there is of course a weekly farmers market which seems to include every man and his dog... Literally the dog is there to! Always such a fun, relaxed family affair we struggle to stay away and never pass up on the opportunity of the relatively affordable but oh so delicious food which is on offer.
Our host Shelby is a part of a farm share, something we need a lot more of back home. The idea is to support local organic farms by buying into either the full or half portion options depending on your families weekly fresh produce requirements. On a weekly basis we receive the most delicious freshly grown fruits, vegetables, lettuce leaves etc and being the hungry athletic boys we are it often does not hang around very long! I was lucky enough to have the opportunity of joining Shelby at the yearly function where the farmer hosts all his clients at his house on the farm who have bought into the farm-share for the season and treats them to a full meal. It was a night to remember with plenty laughs between as much food and wine as we could handle.
Another really fun experience was joining Courtenay Brown, Joe Gambles and his girlfriend Sage to one of the most intimate and entertaining concerts I have ever been to. Colorado is well known for the Red Rocks Theatre which has hosted everybody who is anybody within the music industry, you name them they have played there. We however were treated to a much smaller and more intimate experience, there was no security holding the crowds back as there were not more than 300 of us shoulder to shoulder inside the Fox Theatre which boasts a rather astonishing list of past and present rock stars who have graced their stages. After a couple of opening less well known bands got the vibe going I got my second opportunity this year to watch The Head and The Heart play live after first seeing them in Richmond, VA. They have become a house favourite and opened with my favourite song of their set list 'Down in the Valley' needless to say I was in my element. They were followed by the French band Phoenix who's music I was not entirely familiar with but after an awesome performance they have definitely won over a new fan, plenty of electro and energy and even at one point it seemed as though the whole crowd was on stage after a somewhat unintended invite from the lead singer! Too much fun really ;-)
As I am sure you have gathered life is good here in the USA and I really am embracing all that Boulder, CO has to offer. Time to get back to some training. Rev3 Maine race report will be up next.
I will leave you with my favorite track from that evening... Enjoy