Colorado has so much to offer for triathlon training. There are very few places around that mix altitude, mountains for climbing, a climate that allows for intensity, and not to mention the spectacular views. Although it is not a secret that many pros are moving to Colorado for the training benefits, many of them choose to travel to training camps to escape a little portion of our year called winter. We see many of the athletes running in the snow, but when there is more than a foot lingering on the ground and ice clinging to the roads, it seems to be the time when the pros hit the road out of town to get in some quality training as the race season starts to beckon.
The place where many pros end their season has now become a popular haven for many pros to kick off their big training blocks and escape the Colorado winter. Recently, coach, professional triathlete, and multiple world champion, Julie Dibens, took a group of her Boulder athletes including 2-time Kona podium finisher Rachel Joyce, ITU athlete Michelle Mehnert, and 3-time Olympian and Ironman Mallorca Champion, Tim Don, to Kona for a two week training camp. Professional triathlete, and Ironman champion, Patrick Evoe of Boulder also escaped the snow for some training in the island sun.
Of course Kona is beautiful and the weather is warm, but that’s not what draws these athletes to the big island. For Don, who will be racing his first Kona this October, it was a chance to evaluate and practice on the swim course, the Queen K, and the always blazing hot Energy Lab. For Joyce, who has proven time again she knows how to perform on race day in October, it was a chance to reevaluate her previous races and tweak the areas on the course to help reach the top of the podium this fall. Evoe said that “going to Kona is very valuable because you are somewhere that you can focus, have good terrain, and consistent weather for a long period of time. That kind of training is too difficult in Colorado this time of year.”
Another group of athletes took a little farther trip with their coach, and former ITU world champion, Siri Lindley all the way to Noosa, Australia for an early season training camp. Siri, who is one of the most positive people you will ever encounter, has a definite all-star list of clients training with her including three-time and reigning world champion Mirinda Carfrae, Ironman champion Rebekah Keat, 2012 Olympian Paula Findlay, and top-ten 2014 Kona finisher Mary Beth Ellis, to name a few. Siri, who calls Boulder home and loves all the beauty and training opportunities it affords, says, “Nailing the off-season is a very important part of having a great year. If you do everything right in the off season building up your endurance and strength, you lay the foundation for a great racing season.” She goes on to add that having the ability to train in Noosa gets them outside and has great, quiet roads for riding. They also have a 50 meter pool, amazing running trails, and a track at their disposal. The work for Siri is abundant as she notes that each of her athletes trains differently, although they sometimes train together, she has to focus on all of their different training plans, from Ironman to Olympic distance races. No matter where Siri’s group trains, it’s safe to say they are getting the support and encouragement they need, but it doesn’t hurt to get that under the Australian sun.
While some pros rack up the airline miles to go to a training camp, some even pack up their car and hit the road cross country. Professional triathlete Dede Greisbauer did just that and even took her four- legged friend Piper along for the fun. Greisbauer, who trains under Siri, decided to go to Tucson and stay with Hillary Biscay, professional triathlete and owner of the stylish tri apparel Smashfest Queen, and her husband Maik Twelsiek. Greisbauer, who will be doing a lot of traveling for races this year to places like San Juan and Taiwan, had heard about the great training in Tucson and knew it would guarantee her some outdoor riding time.
Greisbauer kept her training similar to what she would have done in Boulder, but with the amazing weather in Tucson was able to hit some epic rides like the Shootout Loop, Madera Canyon, and Mount Lemmon. The University of Arizona aquatics center was nothing less than amazing and allowed her to swim and do her gym sessions.
“My training wasn’t drastically different in Tucson. There was a logical progression as my first race of the season inches closer, but it wasn’t anything crazy.” Greisbauer added, “My goal for camp, and I feel I achieved it, was to take a pulse on my cycling because the outdoor riding in Boulder is inconsistent this time of year and I had only done a lot of trainer rides. Getting to Tucson let me see how much those sessions transfer to the outdoor cycling performance and I am pleased at where I am at.”
Knowing Dede, I am sure she’s ready to roll! Other Colorado natives that take their training camps to Tucson include second place Kona finisher Ben Hoffman and Ironman Boulder champion Justin Daerr.
Near or far, groups or individual, it seems that getting away to a training camp works for these successful Colorado pros. They get the chance to test themselves in race-like situations, test new and old courses, and put in a full day’s work without worrying about eating the pavement. Not a bad idea!