But that's the thing with good friends. Lives get busy and you may not talk to each other for months and months, but when you reconnect, it's like nothing has changed. It's nice.
The last time I came out to Colorado to visit Betsy, she was pregnant and living on the end of a cul-de-sac in a subdivision in suburban Denver. Now, she has a daughter who's almost two-and-a-half, and lives in a house in the mountains. Things change. When I first floated the idea of coming out to Colorado for a bit, Betsy told me that they'd moved "a little outside the city," but I had no idea what I was in for. They are legitimately mountain people. As in, you need to go several miles up a windy, steep, dirt road to get to their house. Dodging deer, elk, and whatever other wildlife I've yet to see. All I can say is, good thing I brought an SUV. I'd be stuck on the side of the road somewhere if I hadn't.
If you think I'm joking, take a look at these pictures.
Anyway, my trip so far has been filled with hours of amazing training, and, because my hosts live so far from anything, also hours of driving on terrifyingly windy, hilly, mountain roads to get to said training. And my driving is terribly slow....I'm not used to the roads, I don't really want to tumble down a mountain, and who knows what other lions, tigers, or bears could pop out. This seems to really irritate the natives, who have no trouble navigating single-lane, hairpin turns at 11% grade without braking.
I've been hitting up all sorts of training locations -- Aurora, to swim and ride around the Reservoir; Boulder, where I did a ride that included a hill that I very, very seriously contemplated getting off my bike and walking up; Lakewood, for an awesome, 5:30 A.M. open water swim in a private lake; Centennial, for lap swimming; and right here in Evergreen, 8,000 meters about sea level, where the altitude truly kicked my ass during an hour-long run. I've taken lots of pictures because training in such beauty is just such a novelty for me (and maybe, with respect to Evergreen, because I needed a little break to try to find some oxygen, and taking a picture seemed like a good excuse).
Tomorrow, I head to Boulder to try and ride 120 miles without collapsing or running out of oxygen. It could get ugly, but at the very least, I'll have some amazing views to see!