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Train Like an Olympian at a USA Triathlon Foundation Fantasy Camp

By Khem Suthiwan | Oct. 23, 2019, 5:28 p.m. (ET)

This story originally appeared in the Summer issue of USA Triathlon Magazine. 

USA Triathlon Foundation Fantasy Camp Colorado Springs

Ever wanted to train and live like an Olympian? If the answer is yes, you’ll definitely want to check out the next USA Triathlon Foundation Fantasy Camp!

Thanks to the USA Triathlon Foundation, 27 lucky athletes (including yours truly) spent a weekend at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center (OTC) in May. This training camp was definitely not like any I have attended.

Here are some of the highlights:

Coaching & Workouts

Our weekend was headlined by a star-studded coaching staff that included six-time Olympic running coach Bobby McGee, Olympian and USA Triathlon Hall-of-Famer Barb Lindquist, Olympian Joe Maloy, and elite triathlete Erin Storie.   

One would think since this was a training camp, we would be busting out tons of hours and miles. Not the case! Each session was focused on learning and practicing drills for proper technique and form. 

Coach McGee conducted drills each day to help us improve our running form. Even USA Triathlon CEO Rocky Harris joined the fun! We had our form analyzed and were given tips on how to run more efficiently. 

Swim sessions in the were no different. Lots of helpful drills, open water simulations and individual swim video analysis! Just when you think you’re a decent swimmer, Coach Barb gives you a paddle to stick on your forehead, a pull buoy to hold between your ankles and tells you to swim without losing either. Good times.  

Our first bike session took us through beautiful Garden of the Gods to practice climbing, descending and cornering. The scenery was absolutely stunning and the roads within the park provided plenty of ups and downs. We then spent a morning riding up Cheyenne Canyon Road to Helen Hunt Falls for another fun photo op! On our last day of riding, we had the choice to do a hammerfest ride with Erin or bike handling with Barb. As a coach myself, I never pass up a chance to practice bike handling! In addition, we did a strength and conditioning session with Team USA strength coach Walter Grandez and hike up the Manitou Incline. 

Staying on Campus

Camp attendees stayed in the athlete dorms on the OTC campus. The food at the athlete center cafeteria was awesome and plentiful. Everything was made fresh, onsite, with nutrition information Open from 6 a.m.-9 p.m., athletes have full access to the cafeteria.

Technology

Triathletes are known to geek out on technology, and the OTC was full of fascinating gadgets. The High Altitude Training Chamber (HATC) was by far the most fascinating and can simulate training conditions for athletes — adjusting various conditions to include altitude, temperature and humidity. Elevation ranges of 1,000 feet below sea level to 21,000 feet, temperatures of negative 5 to 115 degrees, and low to 100 percent humidity. This room could do it all!

Other Highlights

In addition, we had the privilege of working out Olympic hopefuls from Boxing and Judo. It was definitely a treat to be able to meet these amazing athletes and wish them luck in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games!

USA Triathlon Foundation Fantasy Camp in Colorado Springs

The Campers

With any training camp and experience, it’s the people that make the biggest impression. Our diverse group ranged from some fairly new to the sport to veterans. Attorneys, engineers, physicians and even a former reality TV contestant. These people, ranging in age from 23 to 73 and representing 19 states, were the heart of the fun of this camp experience and many will remain lifelong friends.

What’s Next?

Fantasy Camp was a memorable experience to live and train like an Olympian, and it’s probably safe to say that many of this year’s attendees will return. This camp wasn’t about training volume. It was about learning fundamentals that will serve you well throughout your athletic career. If you have an inkling of wanting to attend, you definitely should make it happen.

2020 Camps

Fantasy Camp registration for 2020 is open!

Camp dates include:

  • Jan. 25-28 in Tempe, Arizona, with Project Podium
  • April 23-26 at the Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado 
  • July 30-Aug. 2 at the Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Register here: usatriathlonfoundation.org/pages/fantasy-camp-info.

For more information, contact info@usatriathlonfoundation.org.

Khem Suthiwan is a staff content editor/media correspondent with 303 Endurance Network. She is a triathlete and USA Triathlon Level I Coach. 

USA Triathlon Foundation Fantasy Camp in Colorado Springs