Two weeks ago I hosted my Second Annual Bad Ass Camp (full name: AspEN Al T ‘Tude Bad Ass Training Camp) at my home in Snowmass, CO. This evolved out of earlier weeks from 2011-2015 where I’d conned one or more EN athletes into spending 4-7 days training with me at altitude. I started doing that in Aug, 2005, and immediately had my best IM race up to that point. While riding in the Colorado Rockies around Aspen is gorgeous and invigorating, I got lonely. Once I joined EN, and learned about value of social interaction and media surrounding our inherently solo sport, I started trying to get folks to come join me. Things grew to the point where I hosted two weeks this spring. First was a “stealth” camp with Tim Cronk/Heather Webber, and Dave Tallo. Those guys enjoyed some of the worst weather I’ve encountered while riding in CO. We routinely had to go 2000′ lower in the valley just to escape freezing temperatures and snow. One day we just gave up entirely and went swimming, as it had snowed 8-12″ over the entire valley, from 5700′ all the way up to the top of the mountains. Looked pretty, but even the Canadian wouldn’t go out for much more than a one hour run…
Two weeks later, and a gaggle of ENers joined me for a week of nearly prefect weather: Scott Dinhofer, Mark Maurer, Mark Stahlkopf, Mark Cardinale, Jeremy Behler, Shaughn Simmons, Danielle Santucci, Dawn Cass Filus, Dana Burns, Rich & Anna Stanbaugh, Trish Marshal, Molly Mysliwiec, Matt Limbert, Carrie Larsen; sadly, expected attendees Steph Stevens, Teri Cashmore and Attila Matyas had to bow out before the camp.
We rode from Sunday thru Friday, with the majority of folks getting 440+ miles and close to 40,000 feet of vertical. The highlight for the most intrepid was on Tuesday, when we climbed from 7700′ up Independence Pass @ 12,100′, down the other side, and back again – 100 miles, over 10,000 feet of vertical, featuring a hail storm, bitter cold rain, and brisk winds on top, with balmy 75F when we came back down to town. (I only rode 7 miles, up the backside to the top, SAGging the group the rest of the time.) The next day was 112 miles from Snowmass to Marble and back, with a stop for lunch at the incredibly funky and friendly Slow Groovin’ BBQ, then again for dinner at their new Snowmass outlet.
What makes this the Bad Ass Camp? After six days of riding on the gorgeous and little trafficked mountain roads surrounding Aspen (including one Lance Flyby), we entered TWO teams in the local Ragnar Trail relay. This takes about 24 hours to complete. One eight person team ran three loops each for 14.3 miles up and down the rugged mountain bike trails behind my house; and another 4 person team (Jeremy, Marks S & C, and Dani) went twice that, finishing second overall and first in their Masters category. About 1000 runners from all over the country converge on this race every year, and I doubt any others do the biking we did, ending a few hours before the running started. In honor of our sport’s iconic workout, our teams were named the Bricklayers.
Next year, I hope to host a couple of weeks in spring, between the week before Memorial day and the second weekend of June. The house holds about 13 people in close quarters, and part of the camp experience is spending time with each other lounging in our party pants and going out to eat in the gastronomes’ delight which is the Roaring Fork valley. Although this is an unofficial (and non-profit) EN camp, I’ll follow the usual protocol and invite previous campers first, then others, trying to get 10-12 in each of two weeks.
Also, I’ll be in Snowmass between about Sept 10 and 30th this year, and hope to attract another camp during that time.
Finally, thanks to all the Campers – you guys are keeping me young, and ready for more.