Boulder, CO Train-Cation - travel day

After a challenging 4:15 hr workout on Saturday morning (3:15 interval ride + 1 hour descending pace interval brick run), the rest of the day was devoted to packing, cleaning and preparing for our 9-day trip to Boulder, CO.
Yay - a train-cation!! 

Although Boulder is claimed (for great reason) to be a great place to train if you are a triathlete, especially for us being less than 8 weeks til the IM World Championship, we actually put together this trip a year ago thanks to our Gearlink cycling friends in the Tampa Bay area who have been coming out to CO for the past few years to watch the US Pro Cycling Challenge  and to ride in the mountains of Boulder, CO.
Back in 2006, a few of the Gearlink cycling team members wanted to set-up me and Karel as two single athletes and our first "date" was a group ride on my b-day (5/31).
Since then, we have remained close to several of the Gearlink members who continue to train and race bikes. 

When Karel and I were dating in 2007, we took a trip to Dahlonega, GA to watch the Tour of Georgia and ride our bikes in the mountains. 

This picture was taken just over one year of dating.
Who knew our love of mountains would only get stronger, just like our relationship.
My cycling skills were oh-so-not-good back then. Thank goodness I married a cat 1 cyclist and expert bike mechanic. 

The GA trip was only my second training trip to the mountains (the first one was when Karel and I went to Lake Tahoe to visit my grandpa and we rode our bikes around the entire Lake Tahoe) and since then, Karel and I have wanted to take another trip with our cycling friends to the mountains.
The past few years did not provide us with the opportunity to travel for a train-cation so last year as we were putting together our 2015 race schedule, we decided that this would be the year when we would make the trip out to CO. 

This is Karel's first trip to CO and my first time really seeing Boulder, CO. I have been to several places in CO (including Boulder) but it's always extra special to make memories with Karel while doing what we love....which is exploring nature on two wheels. 

Around 8:30am we made our 2.5 hour drive to ATL to board our direct flight to Denver, CO.
To pass the time, we watched/listened to the LIVE footage of IM MT Tremblant on Ironman.com from my phone. Karel registered to race IMMT next year and I am so excited to travel to Canada to watch him and my athletes race. 
For lunch, we ate at Willy's (in terminal B) which is one of my favorite places for lunch when we travel through ATL. We both got salads and Karel got steak and I got tofu.

With free WiFi at ATL, we continued to watch the LIVE Ironman footage on my iPad. 

Oh, I forgot to mention about traveling with our bikes. So, to make things easier for us with 2 checked bags + a bike case and carry-on luggage, we often park in short term parking (which is a direct walk to the terminal) and check in only our bags and bike case. We then go back to our car (a short walk to the garage across the street) and then drive to economy to park our car for the duration of our travel. This makes it easier than lugging everything all at once and it gives us a little more time to not feel rushed especially since the airlines can be a bit insensitive to athletes who are traveling with a bike case.
Since we are all checked-in by the time we park our car, we do not have to rush or have to struggle with all of our bags and can bring in only our carry-on luggage with our boarding passes to security. 
We did this for our trip to Europe which a big time-saver and stress relief and all went smoothly this go around.

Our 2.5 hour flight to Denver, CO was very smooth and we watched 1/2 of the movie McFarland, USA with Kevin Costner on my iPad with the free GoGo in-flight service on Delta. What a great, inspirational movie about running. We can't wait to finish it on our flight home. 

After getting all of our luggage and taking the shuttle to the rental car area, we picked up our rental car from Dollar and then headed to our athletes' house (Kristen and Trent) in Boulder, CO. We are so thankful to have a few friends in the area to stay with until our Gearlink friends arrive on Wed (where we will be staying in a group house until Monday). 

Although we experienced a little rain coming into Boulder, the mountains were stunning. 

After a quick change, we headed a few minutes down the road to Pearl Street to enjoy a delicious dinner at WestEnd Tavern. We met up with our athletes Lisa and Curt, who just moved to CO and it was so fun to catch up with everyone. 

I ordered the veggie burger (which was SO good) and the arugula salad with pecans, apple slices and goat cheese. Karel got the mushroom burger special and the FishWater double IPA (which he said was SO good). 

After dinner, we walked around Pearl Street. Thankfully the sun came out and it was a beautiful evening. 

I didn't have any room in my belly after dinner but Karel got ice cream from Sweet Cow (which I plan to visit this week when I do have some room in my belly!).

Our travel day is now complete and it's time to officially start our train-cation in Boulder, CO. Excited to make some memories with Karel.
Stay tuned on my Trimarni Facebook page for updates and pictures as well as a few blog posts throughout the week.