‘Fraser Valley, triathlon training mecca – has a nice ring to it | SkyHiNews.com

‘Fraser Valley, triathlon training mecca – has a nice ring to it

Kristen Lodge / Outdoor Adventures
Grand County, CO Colorado
Courtesy photoLuis Vargas and Mark Allen pose at the Fraser ball fields, where they have filmed triathlon training videos.

In February I was searching the internet looking for triathlons in Colorado. I found a training camp in Winter Park on the American Triathlon Calendar (www.trifind.com) website, but I needed more information.

It turns out, Luis Vargas is coaching the training camp. I met Luis for coffee at Mountain Bistro in Winter Park to talk about the three day training camp. I have to admit, I was star struck.

Luis qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Kona five times and is a business partner with Mark Allen. If you’ve ever watched the Ironman Championship on television or ever read a triathlon magazine, you know Mark Allen. Luis met Mark in 1990 while swimming in a Boulder pool and has many (painful) memories of training with him. Together they developed an online training program called markallenonline. As the top training organization in the country dedicated solely to triathlon training, they have clients in over 50 countries participating in their personalized training programs.

Luis lives full time in Boulder and has a second home in Fraser. He trains in Grand County regularly and in July will coach the Winter Park High Altitude Training Camp at the Grand Park Community Recreation Center. This training camp is geared toward athletes training for an Ironman or Half Ironman. Athletes are expected to be able to ride up to 5 hours and run up to 2 hours comfortably.

Here’s what he said about the camp: “The Winter Park camp is an opportunity to train at high altitude and immerse triathletes in three days of triathlon training. First and foremost participants will learn how to combine swim, bike, and run training for performance in triathlon. It will also be an opportunity for a guided tour of Grand County and the places I trained when I lived full time in Winter Park and trained for the Ironman Championship.

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“We will ride Trail Ridge Road to the highest point in Rocky Mountain National Park. For those who live in Grand County it’s no big deal, but I still remember when I first biked it and my jaw dropped.”

I asked Luis why he likes to train in Grand County and why he chose it for the training camp.

“It is definitely the altitude training but it’s also a safe place to train. Route 40 has a wide shoulder and the trails are great for running. Now with the Recreation Center we have a beautiful pool for training and a great weight room.”

One of the benefits of training at high altitudes, such as biking in Winter Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, is that when they go down to sea level they can race hard and not be out of breath. The negative aspect is that while you live and train at altitude one’s ability to recover is much more difficult. High altitude training works best when athletes can recover at a lower altitude.

Luis’s training camp will teach athletes how to train at altitude and what to be cautious about while swimming, biking, and running at 8,000 feet. Training methods will be adapted based on skill level.

Luis Favorite Triathlon Training Road Ride:

The road from Tabernash to Fraser mimics Kona. The long stretch of highway can get windy and it’s good mental and physical training.

Luis Favorite Best Triathlon Training Run:

Running loops on the Fraser to Granby Trail and Fraser River Trail into Rendezvous and Winter Park since it is a mixture of road and trail running.

Go here to view more details and to register: http://tinyurl.com/ykfuqus

Members of the Recreation Center will get a discount.

I know that training at 8,000 feet helped me finish my Ironman and contributed to feeling good during the entire race. Perhaps Luis is on to something: The Winter Park / Fraser Valley – a triathlon training mecca. Has a nice ring to it.

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