Boulder – Mecca of triathlon
In triathlon folklore and culture, Boulder is regarded as mecca. A small town nestled up against the Colorado Rockies which has hosted many of the sports all time greatest list. Great elevation, weather and accessibility. I’ve been based there for the past two summers and plan to continue using Boulder as my Unites States home base.
Boulder has roughly 100 000 people sprawled around the small downtown and Colorado University Campus. A number large enough for good diversity of people, arts, dining, but small enough to keep roads quiet for riding and easy to get to. I can bike across town in twenty minutes, and all of that will be on bike specific paths.
In many ways Boulder is a destination town. If you’re there, you’ve chosen to be there. I meet very few who were born in Boulder. Thirty minutes away is the city of Denver, home to one quarter the Colorado State population. Work opportunity is better there, and cost of living is lower. This keeps Boulder living for those determined to make it happen.
For me personally the feel and ambiance of the town is really important. I need to enjoy my surroundings since it’s my office really. And since my favourite pastime is kicking back at a coffee shop or restaurant, there needs to be a good subculture supporting it.
Boulder is incredibly progressive, and can afford to be with its general affluence. From farmers markets with local produce to a bike path network that allows every kid to safely cycle to school. Many renewable energy initiatives are visible throughout town, so too a huge community vegetable garden. Many of these philosophies resonate with my own.
My mix of training partners and friends are from around the globe. Kiwis, Aussies, British. Many of whom live the six month / six month lifestyle as well. We become each others’ support and ‘home’ in a way that would be harder with a community of more normal habbit.
With all that as foundation, the training terrain around Boulder is phenomenal. Many swim groups to join. Countless quiet roads for long rides. And well maintained running paths through surrounding farms.
Boulder ticks more boxes than most places, and feels to me as European in culture as anywhere in the USA. It’s an anomaly, a bit like Manhattan. Well travelled and more liberal.
I’m part local part tourist now. Recognizing friends in the grocery store while still discovering new favourite hangouts in town.
The truth is, a place is what you make it to be. But I feel Boulder in an inspiration, and offers back twice what I give to it. I used to distress at the idea of being away from my family and real home for half a year, but Boulder has shifted that expectation.
I’ll be returning to this mile high town for a few years yet.