Colorado Fall Vacation

These escapes west are starting to become a regular thing :) This time my primary excuse was to attend NEXT, the Biennial conference of the American Institute of Graphic Design in Denver. I went a few days early, stayed a few days late, and got inspired by everything around me, both professionally and personally.

A brief overview is below; skip right to the photo galleries here.

Monday Oct 8th: arrive in Denver, exhausted

Tuesday & Wed: I stayed with Hennie, so I was able to hang out & relax while I soaked in the elevation. Actually, I spent the mornings working on final details for the YMCA Strong Adventure Race I was putting on (a mere 2 days after I get back from vacation!). In the afternoon, I was able to join the Denver University Nordic Ski Team’s practice. Cool stuff! Hennie is the assistant coach and his roommate Dave is the head coach. (So was this sorta like hanging out with Urban Meyer??) Tuesday the team roller skied up Lookout Mountain. I borrowed a road bike and pedaled up…. with one damn foot, as I couldn’t figure out Look pedals, especially with no flat ground to practice on. Luckily my body was feeling ok after the big run only a few days before. We got a great few of the city and saw some crazy guys skateboarding (?!) downhill.

Wednesday we went on a run around nearby city parks & old neighborhoods for 1.5hrs. I was happy with how my legs were feeling and that the altitude wasn’t effecting me.

Thurs: Amanda came into town last night, so today we went to Boulder. It was a quick trip, primarily to pick up Johanna’s bike (so she could race 24 Hrs of Moab that weekend). We did get to drive around and see a good bit of the city and had a great 2hr hike around Mount Sanitas.
Thurs pm – Saturday pm: conference activities! long days, great speakers, old & new friends, good contacts, and open bars. There was a great installation of banners downtown called the Denver Urban Forest Project, all designed by local talent.
Sunday: was cold & drizzly (what a treat for everyone running the Denver Marathon) and therefore lazy for me. (more work on the Strong race). Lorraine & Susan drove down from Steamboat and after a mega shopping session, they picked me up and we headed back to SS. The rain of Denver equated to an early season snow in the higher altitudes. Luckily the roads in the pm were much better than their morning experience.

Monday: Our 24hr boot camp began with a 6:30am yoga class followed by a hearty oatmeal breakfast. Lorraine, Sophie & I went on hike around noon for a few hours, to the pools above Upper Fish Creek Falls. We topped out right around 9000′ (starting elevation around 7100′). We had a picnic up at the top enjoying the view until our shivering forced us back to our feet. Yes, we had a bit of snow up there. I think Sophie liked it just as much as me!

Tuesday: began with a 7:30am 20/20/20 (20min pilates; core; aerobic). after bfast settled, Steve took me up in his plane! The offer has been on the table the last few trips, but I just wasn’t ready until now. I did better than I thought and enjoyed it! That afternoon we returned to Denver, as Steve & Lorraine were flying out early in the morning to the east coast.

Wed: My flight wasn’t until the evening, so after some work on the race, Hennie took me on a tour of LoDo (Lower Downtown). I think I found heaven :

a 3-story REI with a Starbucks inside!

The trip as a whole was fab (as expected), although it ended poorly with my luggage not arriving until a day later. I’m already scheming on my next winter trip… hopefully to see/support Amanda in an XC race!

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