Annual Altitude Adventure and the Fall Classic

I am back in Vail, Colorado for my annual “Get yer lungs in shape” altitude acclimatization block for the US XTERRA Nationals which will be on September 25th at Snowbasin.  My friend Kevin and I have a good deal going.  He lets me stay in his Vail palace on the golf course and I in turn make sure he eats a year’s worth of vegetables and greens during my stay.  Not a bad trade, especially for me given I just cook what I like to eat and he pretends to like most of it.  Ross decided to come for part of this trip because he is not a dummy… Vail house on the golf course in sunny September, anyone?  So for now I have Kevin and RT entertaining me while Jacky doles out the heinous training program that is making me lie down on the floor in the middle of the day due to maximal hypoxia.  Fun fun.  Track workouts at 8,150 anyone?  Thanks to Ingrid Middaugh for coming to help me get through it!  (there is a lot of running talent in the Middaugh household).


Running with Ingrid on the track in Eagle.

Read on for more ……………


Part of the plan was to go sacrifice myself to the altitude mountain goats at the Breckenridge Fall Classic race.  Josiah warned us in advance that he thought the race had “a lot of granny gear sections” and wow, wasn’t that the truth.  First off, the race starts at 9,600 feet and goes up to around 11, 500.  Coming from 0 feet, that is a lot of elevation gain in four days, two for Ross.  Despite my pleading and cajoling, Ross wisely chose the half distance race which was a sensible 90 minutes for him.  Me, nosomuch.  I did the full race and was racing reasonably well for, oh, 90 minutes.  I think I held second for that long, mostly due to my descending skills and ability to ride flats in a paceline of men well.  My team mate Sara went off the front at the beginning, I got her on the downhill along with another lady and rode in second with both of them right behind me.  Then the granny gear climb forever started.  The Tokyo Joe girl got me there.  Two hours and thirty minutes of racing and I was finished.  I hadn’t eaten so I bonked.  I hadn’t mentally prepared to suffer at altitude for 3h10mins so the last 45 mins or so were fairly poor while I wondered where I was “riding” in relation to that elusive finish line.  Altitude is tough for me.  Sara and Brian rode by me like a bullet train and that was the happiest part of my day.  Seeing my teammates looking good in their flashy kits telling me it was mostly downhill to the finish.  Oh and riding the entire race without having to unclip once.  Small victories.  Ross was stoked… he was the fastest sea level racer in the Cat 2 Men’s category and he wasn’t last.  Not bad for a non-racer.   He was happy he didn’t listen to me and race the long race.  I looked fairly grumpy and wasn’t that fast on my hour of running off the bike which was adjusted to 45 minutes because of the elevation.  I had a chance to try out some new Maxxis tires which I am happy with and will ride them in Snowbasin.

Monday we decided to go visit Lance in Aspen.  Only he wasn’t home so we went to the Aspen Meadows Resort which was a super cool subsitution.  Wicked lap pool, lot of midcentury modern design, yummy food, great room… we loved Aspen. 


My own lap pool in Aspen

We went for wine and pizza on Monday night then rode the Government trail to and from Snowmass on Monday.  Gorgeous.  I also had a 25m lap pool to myself to get my swim workout in.  Easy peasy.  Our little getaway was a huge success.


Riding on the Government Trail

A nice view in Aspen

Finished the ride 🙂

Breakfast on the terrace


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