After the GMU law and economics program in Estes Park I stuck around in Boulder for a week, finishing with the Boulder 70.3 (half-ironman) triathlon last Sunday.
Boulder is a ridiculous town. If you'll forgive the analogy, it's exciting in the way that Angelina Jolie or Hugh Jackman are attractive. All are caricatures of real life that are exciting from afar but when actually encountered (I can speak here for Boulder and not for Angie or Hugh) are so unrealistic as to be frightening. I was on vacation and spent my mornings in coffee shops and my afternoons riding, running, or walking around. Other people were living real life and did much the same thing.
Overheard while sitting at one coffee shop (conversation between two tall fit women): "You running in Leadville again today?" "No, I've been up there the last five weekends; running Leadville [the 100-miler] this year. By the way, congratulations on Hard Rock [the world's hardest 100-miler]."
At Amante's, a different coffee shop that is the hangout of the local triathlon professionals and the jumping off point for workouts, I saw several bikes that came near to out-valuing my car. I succumbed to the culture a little bit and ended up with a new frame for my triathlon bike. It was a lot cheaper than the complete bike I nearly bought.
At the starting line: the age group field in Boulder looks like the elite field at any other race I've run. One guy I floated next to before the swim start had qualified for, and competed in, 13 Kona (World Championship) Ironman races. My finishing time, modest though it was, would have placed me 8th in my age group in Lawrence, Kansas, the other race I had scheduled (but bagged) this year. In Boulder I was 25th.
Re: the race. I did much wrong. I did not train for speed this year, and it turns out the half-iron distance is more like the international distance (1.5K/40K/10K) than it is like the iron distance. I have not been in the water since my last triathlon in early June. I had no idea how fast to run, proved by my running the second lap of my half marathon more than a minute/mile faster than the first.
A note to Gunther re: international diplomacy: If you're going to flip a guy off when passing him on the bike (not sure what I did to you to bring that about), probably better make sure that pass sticks. And certainly don't get caught walking 3 miles into the run.
Coming home: I like a good road trip. But wow is that a long way to come back after a long few weeks away.