The Boulder Experience Triathlon Camp

The Boulder Experience, Boulder, ColoradoThe Boulder Experience Triathlon Camp
Boulder, Colorado

Peak training in one of the best venues, anywhere!

Date TBA: Early arrival & Mt. Evans race weekend options
Race options: Boulder Stroke & Stride, Boulder Stroke & Stride, Mt. Evans Hill Climb

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A fully coached and supported altitude training camp for triathletes of all levels, featuring daily swim, bike, and run workouts in and around spectacular Boulder, Colorado.

Boulder: Get Away to Train

A group shot of the athletes at Carter Lake, Colorado - Discomfort Zone Triathlon Coaching's The Boulder Experience Triathlon Training Camp, July 2014.When it comes to a triathlon camp, Boulder has it all: consistent training weather, open water swimming, scenic trail running, and big mountain cycling in the Front Range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

At 5200ft of elevation, Boulder also has altitude, and that’s before you start climbing into the mountains. With a unique combination of ideal geography and sport-friendly culture, it’s no wonder that Boulder is such a sought-after triathlon camp destination.

Being at training camp, away from the distractions of home, offers the triathlete the opportunity to concentrate on training in a way that simply isn’t possible most of the time. At triathlon camp, we see athletes clocking more training hours than they ever thought they could, simply because they have the time to train, eat healthy, and get the kind of rest that will result in sustainable fitness. Camp also offers consistent big training, access to top coaching, group motivation, and logistical support – so athletes can concentrate on training.

For 2016, we’ve added a scenic new bike route to keep things interesting, and reduced travel overhead so athletes have more time to train and rest up from training. There’s also more opportunity for pool swimming and stroke technique. Camp HQ is once again at the top of Sunshine Canyon, with its relaxed location, mountain views, and great access to mountain training, and we’ve added improved amenities.

Triathlon Camp Details


The Discomfort Zone Athletes after completing a hard run with a steep hill to finish at The Boulder Experience Triathlon Camp 2013
The Area
The Coach
The Training
Typical Training Schedule
Support and Gear (SAG)
Junior Athletes
Accommodation Options

The Area

James hams it up for the camera on the way up Mount Evans, The Boulder Experience Triathlon Camp 2012For sheer volume of triathlon training opportunities, Boulder is the place to be. Being at a camp in Boulder allows athletes to take advantage of those opportunities, like altitude, long climbs, consistent weather, and a fitness-friendly city with racing and training events happening all the time

This year, camp takes place during the lead-up to IRONMAN Boulder, so athletes can expect that Boulder will be even more of a triathlon town than usual.

For triathletes, a Boulder-area camp offers unique opportunities in addition to training. Boulder is home to many of the leading names in triathlon, and it’s not unusual to share a lane with someone we’ve read about, or to meet numerous pros out training. Workouts have been planned to provide the experience of training in some of the most well-known Boulder venues. Not all athletes are going to do all of three-time Ironman World Champion Craig Alexander’s Sugarloaf Mountain workout, but everyone will be able to say, “I trained there.”

Simply put, Boulder is a triathlon training mecca, as shown by the sheer number of triathletes that travel there to visit or live. So come join us to see what all the fuss is about, and get really fit while you’re at it!

The Coach

Head Coach Mike Coughlin runs the 8000-ft Switzerland Trail at The Boulder Experience Triathlon Camp 2014Don’t let the easygoing coaching style fool you: Head Coach Mike Coughlin is a tough competitor and a veteran of over 80 triathlons, more trail runs and ultras than he likes to remember, and precisely one road marathon. (Mount Lemmon, of course.)

Coach Mike has competed at the Ironman World Championships and put in a razor-thin runner-up performance at the Ultraman World Championships in Hawaii, as well as winning the Furnace Creek 508 in the team division and winning the famous Hoodoo 500 stage race outright. He’s currently training hard for another shot at Ultraman Worlds.

Coach Mike is a NCCP Certified Competition Coach and has been coaching triathlon for over 10 years, working with all triathletes from absolute beginners to Olympic candidates. Coach Mike takes racing seriously, but also believes that triathlon is for everyone. Having experienced every level of training and racing, Coach Mike has found triathlon key to a lifelong fitness, health, and balance. His coaching style is relaxed and helpful: there’s no one more likely to quietly offer a thoughtful suggestion to help you train and race better.

Head Coach Mike Coughlin runs a bike skills and fitness workout at The Boulder Experience Triathlon Camp 2013Coach Mike has been coming to Boulder for years to train, and knows all the best training venues and opportunities.

The Boulder Experience is not only a great way to put in a big week of coached altitude training, but also a great opportunity to get to know the Boulder area with an accomplished coach.

The Training

Triathlete group shot during a swim+run workout the Res, The Boulder Experience Triathlon Camp 2013The Boulder Experience Triathlon Camp is intended to provide a getaway week of challenging training in a fun, social setting. The training plan is built to accommodate athletes of all abilities, from beginners to IRONMAN contenders, while maintaining a team feeling and camaraderie.

The beauty of the venue is that both beginner and advanced triathletes will find the right levels of challenge, technique development, and endurance training, all in the same place. Training offers a challenging but not overwhelming level of difficulty.

Training emphasis is on building endurance, which takes full advantage of the mountain environment. Route plans carefully allow for beginner and intermediate athletes to safely enjoy scenic mountain training. At the same time, strong cyclists and runners can find unlimited challenge with epic climbs, hair-raising descents, and technical trails.

Juliana puts in a run at 10,000 feet of altitude during the Brainard Lake trip, part of the biggest day of training at The Boulder Experience 2013Training at The Boulder Experience typically starts with an early morning, joining the Boulder Aquatic Masters for an organized open water swim at the Boulder Reservoir, or heading into the mountains for some fitness-building climbing. Whether cycling to a high-altitude destination like Brainard Lake, or returning to run one of the many trails, the scenery is incredible.

Rides begin with an easy bike check/skills assessment and progress steadily to endurance climbs and descents designed to challenge any athlete. Technique, skills, and endurance coaching takes place throughout the camp.

Coaches can provide a variety of options, from minor changes in difficulty to extensions and additional workouts, to accommodate athletes’ individual goals. Athletes can also take advantage of a number of informal information talks on a variety of triathlon-related topics.

Typical Training Schedule

Note: This schedule is very tentative. In fact, it’s the schedule from 2015. We’ll be changing it quite a bit, but it definitely gives you and idea of what to expect.

  • Saturday:(Optional):
    13:00 – Arrive
    13:00 – Open time, grocery shopping, acclimatize to altitude (recommended)
    15:00 – Optional Bike Safety Check, Skills Workout & Assessment

  • Sunday:
    13:00 – Arrive
    14:00 – Open time
    15:00 – Introductions & Camp Briefing: Camp HQ
    15:30 – Coached Pool Swim: North Boulder Rec Center
    18:00 – Dinner out: Reuben’s Burgers, Boulder
    20:00 – Grocery Shopping

  • Monday:
    05:30 – Athletes’ Training Briefing: Camp HQ
    06:30 – Bike Safety Check, Skills Workout & Assessment: Wonderland Lake
    09:00 – Bike+Run MultiBrick: Sunshine Canyon Ride + Bald Mountain Altitude Run
    15:00 – Daily Coaching Debrief & Next Day’s Activity: Camp HQ
    15:30 – Optional Coached Pool Swim: North Boulder Rec Center

  • Tuesday:
    05:30 – Athletes’ Training Briefing, Camp HQ
    06:10 – Open Water Swim with Boulder Area Masters: Boulder Reservoir
    08:30 – Rabbit Mountain Ride from Boulder Reservoir via Ice Cream Shop
    15:00 – Daily Coaching Debrief & Next Day’s Activity: Camp HQ
    15:30 – Optional Evening Run: Bald Mountain

  • Wednesday:
    05:30 – Athletes’ Training Briefing: Camp HQ
    06:00 – St. Vrain Canyon / Peak to Peak Highway Ride to Brainard Lake
    10:00 – Run & Optional Swim: Brainard Lake
    12:00 – Return Ride from Brainard Lake
    15:00 – Daily Coaching Debrief & Next Day’s Activity: Oskar Blues Brew Pub, Lyons
    15:30 – “Mental Conditioning for Triathletes” – Will Murray, Author & Triathlete

  • Thursday3:
    05:30 – Athletes’ Training Briefing: Camp HQ
    06:10 – Open Water Swim with Boulder Area Masters: Boulder Reservoir
    08:30 – Carter Lake Ride from Boulder Reservoir via Ice Cream Shop
    11:30 – Carter Lake Run
    13:00 – Return Ride from Carter Lake
    15:00 – Daily Coaching Debrief & Next Day’s Activity: Camp HQ
    15:30 – Optional Stroke and Stride Series Aquathlon: Boulder Reservoir
    20:00 – Celebratory dinner out: Sherpas’ Restaurant, Boulder

  • Friday:
    05:30 – Athletes’ Training Briefing, Camp HQ
    06:00 – Mt. Sanitas Sunrise Hike or Run, Camp HQ
    11:00 – Depart

Support and Gear (SAG)

Mikhail takes a break at the TriTripper support vehicle, top of Rabbit Mountain, The Boulder Experience 2014As should be the case with camps in challenging mountain terrain, long distance training is fully vehicle supported. Athletes can have plenty of extra gear in the support vehicle, which is encouraged as the temperature can change with altitude, or in case of bad weather.

There’s also plenty of water and INFINIT sports nutrition, so athletes can simply mix what they need to refill during long training rides.

In addition to safety, the combination of vehicle support and two coaching staff allows great flexibility: long distance training starts can be staged at different points on the route.

Early-morning swims start the day at The Boulder Experience!Open-water swims with the Boulder Aquatic Masters (BAM) are fully organized complete with buoys, boats and lifeguards, as well as two measured-distance courses. Athletes are checked in and out for safety, and the venue offers consistent good swimming.

Pool swims take place at the North Boulder Recreation Centre, a first-class facility with a 25-meter pool. Lanes are booked ahead of time so athletes are not crowded.

Sports Nutrition Supported

Discomfort Zone athletes have access to professional-level nutrition from INFINIT CanadaThanks to our longtime partnership with INFINIT Nutrition Canada, Discomfort Zone triathlon camps include INFINIT fueling and recovery products for athletes’ use during the camp. A variety of professional-level sports nutrition is provided, so athletes don’t need to worry about bringing their own hydration.

From JET FUEL for short-distance, high-intensity workouts to RIDE for longer training and RESCUE for recovery, Discomfort Zone and INFINIT have our athletes’ sports nutrition needs covered.

Junior Athletes

A junior athlete leads the pack on the ride to Carter LakeWe welcome the occasional junior athlete age 14-17, by invitation only. DZ coaches have worked extensively with juniors and can provide excellent targeted training, as well as a great camp experience. We have found that camp can not only be a great fit for the right junior athlete, but also that juniors often bring a great attitude and plenty of experience which makes camp better for everyone.

Junior athletes should be fit and experienced triathletes able to handle the training load, have a mature attitude toward training, and need a local, responsible adult who can act as their legal guardian in case of an emergency.

Use the Contact Form to inquire if camp is a good fit.

Accommodation Options:

The Sunshine House, Camp HQ for The Boulder Experience 2015, is located on one of Boulder's famous mountain climbsCamp HQ is a Sunshine Canyon vacation rental property with a spectacular view and all the amenities. Many workouts will start from Camp HQ.

Athletes have the option of staying at Camp HQ or seeing to their own accommodations offsite. Athletes often attend camp as part of a family vacation, training with us during the day and returning to spend the evening with family. Local athletes are also welcome!

Camp Venue Accommodation:

The Sunshine House, Camp HQ for The Boulder Experience 2015, is a 5000+ square foot vacation property with a relaxed, rustic mountain feelCamp HQ is located on Sunshine Canyon Road at over 7000 feet of elevation – ideal for altitude training. The venue offers athletes the opportunity to ride one of the premier scenic climbs in the Boulder area, right from the front door.

There is a full kitchen with cookware and appliances so athletes can prepare meals. There are plenty of bathrooms and laundry facilities with washer and dryer are on site. Outdoor facilities include a large deck, hot tub, and an outdoor barbeque for athletes’ use.

Bunkroom at the Sunshine House, Camp HQ for The Boulder Experience 2015A variety of rooms are available at Camp HQ at a range of price points depending on the type of room.

Athletes can stay in a coed bunkroom (pictured), a single bedroom, a double room, or a master suite. There’s also an early arrival option, recommended for those who would like to acclimatize to the altitude and relax a little before formal training begins.

Off-Site Accommodation

The Sunshine House, Camp HQ for The Boulder Experience 2015, is located on one of Boulder's famous mountain climbsAthletes are welcome to join us for training while they stay elsewhere. Athletes often attend camp to train during the day, then join vacationing family afterward. Local athletes often join us to take advantage of coaching and group training.

Those who weren’t early enough to reserve accommodation at Camp HQ can still join us for training, while others simply prefer to stay elsewhere. Athletes staying off-site are welcome to share the amenities and join us for social time at Camp HQ.

For those who prefer to find their own off-site accommodation, there are a wide variety of choices in the immediate area. Boulder is very visitor-friendly and many athletes previous years have found great accommodations online.

Camp HQ

After a hard day's training, triathletes can relax on the large deck or enjoy the hot tub at Camp HQLocation: Sunshine Canyon Road
Athlete capacity: 11
Master bedroom with ensuite: 1
Double bedrooms: 3
Bunkroom: 3 beds
Bathrooms: 3 bathrooms
Parking: plenty on site
Laundry: machines on site
Food: full kitchen, barbecue for athletes’ use
Deck: large deck with hot tub
Mountain/forest views: spectacular all around
Decor: Rustic wood
Garage: Bike work stand, tools on site
Outside amenities: Patio tables, barbecue, recliners, hot tub
Altitude: 7200 ft.
Nearby venues: Trail running & mountain biking trails, Sunshine Canyon climb
Training opportunities: limitless


All costs are US$

$995 triathlon camp only (accommodation not included)

Onsite Accommodation Available

July 17 – 22, 2016
Coed bunkroom: $300
Double room (double bed) $600
Master room with ensuite bathroom (king bed): $800

Athletes are also welcome to stay off site and still participate in camp. Athletes staying off site join us at Camp HQ every day for meetup, briefing, and activities and are welcome to cook, recover, and do laundry, as well as socialize and join us for a hot tub! This option works particularly well for families, minors, and local athletes. Don’t hesitate to ask us about any situations we haven’t thought of!

Early Arrival Option

Accommodation July 16, 2015
Bunk room single: $60
Double room: (double bed) $120
Master room with ensuite bathroom (king bed): $160

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