When I decided to make a training trip to Colorado, I was most excited about its famed mountain biking. I soon realized it’s also a runners paradise. Sojourning in Avon, CO, I’m just a bike ride away from the perfect trail or dirt road to execute any workout my coach Josiah Middaugh can cook up.
One of my favorite runs was the La Sportiva Vail Hill Climb: a 7.5 mile race ascending 2,500 ft from Vail Village to the top of the Lionshead Gondola. It was a great test event to find my threshold pace at high altitude and to savor the views of the Gore Range. I wanted to take pictures of the view from 10,500 ft on Vail mountain, but couldn’t bear to carry more than my body weight up the climb. Any time you can run or hike up a mountain and relax on a ski lift back down is a blessing.
For controlled speed work, there are several tracks in Eagle County with stunning views. The closest to Avon is in Eagle Vail. The setting is very conducive to pushing physical limits.
Not surprisingly, it is rather difficult to find a long, flat dirt road in such mountainous terrain. Fortunately, Josiah took me to Homestake Reservoir, perhaps the most scenic and tranquil pace I’ve ever run.
My time is Colorado is quickly coming to an end, but the memories of such life affirming natural places won’t soon fade.