With some flexibility in my schedule for the summer, I decided to make a trip to Colorado to train at altitude for the first time in anticipation of the XTERRA Mountain and National Championships later this year.
Having raced the Mountain Championship last year, I found the host town Avon to be idyllic and prefect for altitude training. The layout of the town is fantastic, with transit, pedestrian, and cyclist oriented design that allows for comfortable car-free living.
Under the supervision of my new coach and temporary neighbor Josiah Middaugh, I took it easy the first several days at altitude and made sure to fuel up, taking advantage of the outstanding selection of organic produce, with great prices to boot, at the local grocer – City Market.
After five relatively easy adaptation days, I got down to some serious training. The ride from Nottingham Lake in Avon up Red and White Mountain was my first long, hilly training session on the bike at altitude.
I rode through the town center, and north of the interstate to the Singletree Connector trail. The Singletree trail links Avon to the Wildridge and Singletree neighborhoods and is quickly becoming a mountain biking hotspot, with an ever expanding network of blissful singletrack. Be on the lookout for a separate write-up coming soon to do the Singletree/Wildridge trail network justice.
The Singletree connector drops you off on June Creek Road. After a short uphill, I turned left on Singletree Road and found the June Creek trailhead a block later on my right.
The higher you climb, the more breathtaking the scenery gets.
Within 15 minutes of climbing up June Creek, visitors are treated to views of the majestic Sawatch Range to the south.
Both Aspen and Pine populate the lower slopes.
As you can see, I took a few photo breaks to catch my breath in the thin mountain air.
Gaining altitude, it was amazing to watch the climate and terrain change before my eyes.
The slopes were abound with piney meadows above 10,000 ft.
Some views near the summit:
Several aspen groves help me stay calm on the harrowing descent:
On the way down, I caught Metcalf Road down to the Wildridge neighborhood and once again rode the roller coaster Wildridge trails back into Avon.
I’m looking forward to lots of quality training in this stunning mountain playground.