Where am I?

I’ve been in oxygen debt the past two weeks. Today is my 13th day in Colorado Springs, and I really do feel almost normal. The past 12 days, however, have been a bit of a blur. In order to put in the intensity that this camp requires and adapt to the climate I’ve pretty much done nothing besides train eat and sleep. I am a firm believer that it’s the really abnormal things that make the best stories, and so far my time in Colorado Springs blurs together in one swimming biking running eating sleeping experience. What does make a good story, however, is a description of the resident athlete lifestyle, which is pretty abnormal. For those of us staying here it may be a blur, but this is nothing like the rest of the world.

image The pool is what I remember most from my visit to the Olympic Training Center as a teenager. It’s an indoor 50m x 25m pool. There are ten lanes, and each has a digital clock of its own (I’ve never actually seen it set up for short course like it is in the picture here). When teams practice here they can program the workouts into a computer and each lane will have a clock set to its individual sendoffs. So say the set is 10x500m and three lanes are on six minutes and three lanes are on seven minutes. The clocks will put up a 10 and then count down from 6 minutes or 7 minutes, and then count down until you have none left. It really takes a lot of mental effort away from the workout, but since swimming is pretty repetitive anyway, this may not be a good thing.

When we’re at the pool we share it with the junior national synchronized swimming team. They play music on the underwater speakers and have their coach saying 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 1, 2, 3… and so on for pretty much the entire time we’re in the water. I try to ignore it and get my own song stuck in my head (they play the same one over and over and over…), and it is less obnoxious than you would think. What was obnoxious, however, was walking to my room last night and hearing the synchro girls gathered in a room together listening to the same song and all counting together: “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 1, 2…” I had a strong urge to burst into the room and yell, “NINE!”

The pool also has some great filming equipment, which we’ve barely used. I am working hard to improve my stroke efficiency, and we’ve done a little video work with it which helped. I’m hoping to get a few more pointers before I leave.

I was rooming with Greg Billington and John Dahlz, but was moved upstairs into another room with Kevin Collington and Jeremy Gimlour. Kevin was the 2007 Colligiate National Champion, while Jeremy is from the UK and has yet to switch from the British Federation. He’s hoping to get into college in the US, and his top choice is…

…(wait for it)…. 


I love my alma mater.

Jeremy left yesterday, and was replaced today by Peter Mallet, who races for Riptide Multisport in Denver. I haven’t gotten to know Peter yet because we’ve both spent the day napping and training separately.

I wish I had some dirt on these guys that I could write about, but pretty much everyone here is awesome. We eat tons of food, we watch movies at night, we take power naps when we get a chance, we all have fancy bikes (my Beyond Fabrications is definitely the nicest, though the new SRAM Red groupo looks pretty awesome compared to my Dura-Ace setup.), and we all like to stand in ice water every day (I’ll probably write more about that when I post about the running here).

Published by Ben

Ben Collins Professional Triathlete

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  1. i am appalled at your intimation that DA is inferior. sram red may be light but it’s retarded. yeah it “looks” good but most people i’ve met who use it would be more than happy to go back to DA or campy. also, since everything anyone writes is always about me, i noticed your embedded suggestion that my boring blog is boring, however i am not appalled because you are a little bit right. it’s just that nothing out of the ordinary is happening to me!

    you, on the other hand, have great stories. i want to hear more about synchronized swimming. what is the song they always play? do any boys swim synchronically or is it only girls? are they of the “hannah montana” age set or what? do you have your camera cable yet so you can show us photos of their practices? also how big is your room? are you in BUNK BEDS?!?!!?!? is there air conditioning? do you go to a cafeteria for all your food or are you allowed snacks?

  2. The Synchro girls are all girls, and they’re like 14, maybe. There were also a bunch of 14 year old Volleyball players in our dorms, but they were more interested in the Tri girls, which is strange because all our girls are older and much worse at swimming. The beds aren’t bunked, but if they were there would be a bit more room. The rooms are like 12×12 with three twin beds, a dresser, a mini-fridge and a desk. There is NO extra room along the walls. I’ll write a whole post about the food. Seriously people, the food requires a whole post to itself. All I can say as foreshadowing is, “wow.”

  3. Don’t be so hard on the synchro girls! I grew up with synchronized swimming and have a lot of fond memories of the sport…wish I were there with them.

  4. P.S. Real men do their altitude workouts *after* the daily blood draw. You *are* getting bloodwork, right?

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