The Everest Awards

This year I had the honor of being nominated for an Everest Award at the Teva Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado. Thanks to Joel Health and the crew at the Teva Games, I was convinced to change my plans for the second and third stop on the XTERRA tour in order to accommodate the awards night. Since I was already going to be in the US for the awards, I decided that I would also take part in the Oak Mountain Bump and Grind mountain bike race put on my BUMP on the same course that the XTERRA will be on in one week. Accommodating both the awards night and the mountain bike race meant a bit of in and out travel but nothing unmanageable. In fact, because I was in Colorado I decided I might as well go visit my friends at Descente in Boulder to do a bit of a fitting/fashion show of my new triathlon outfit. The weekend thus far as gone to plan so here is a bit of a recap…

Thursday night I flew into Denver five minutes early. Of course the plane was rocking and rolling the whole last hour of the flight which is basically par for the course any time you fly to Denver in the afternoon. Once on the ground I headed to the rental car counter to pick up a car. ONE HOUR LATER I finally left Thrifty rental car. A combination of slow and sloppy service was basically the reason and instead of the nice little compact car I needed I ended up with an enormous SUV that I was very embarrassed to drive since I really did not need it. Anyways, I rolled into Boulder where Hugh from Descente had booked me into the St Vincent hotel, pretty much the nicest place you could stay in Boulder. It was fantastic! When I pulled up to the front I noticed there were four Audi W12s parked out front with a Q7 so I wonder if some kind of Audi event was taking place? I dumped my bags and headed out to dinner with Hugh and his wife Susie at a restaurant called The Kitchen where the food was good but the seats were horribly uncomfortable. We retired to some couches before the evening was over but had a good time talking about the state of the union in sport, competitors in the clothing industry and having kids after 34 (which is obviously going to be my reality if there is to be any kids at all). It was a great time and I drank two glasses of Firestone Red, a nice Bordeaux from Oregon (at least, I think it was a Bordeaux?)

The next morning I had a coffee with my friend John at a cute little coffee shop on Spruce, checked out of the hotel and went to Descente. I had a chance to try on my new tri stuff, discuss some ways to improve it and develop a better one piece for women, raid the sample racks and meet that whole gang. Marco, you are hilarious. Anyways, after Marco hooked me up with a pass to Rally Sport I joined Wes Hobson’s masters group for some swimming. Unfortunately, Friday was time trial day so the sea level girl was gasping while trying to sprint with no acclimation. The group was nice to me anyhow and I managed to do the 500 yard time trial pretty easy since I had feet to swim on. My times were nothing to write home about so I will not repeat them.

Of course I ran late after the swim practice and got into Vail a bit later than I expected and missed my hair cut that I am desperately in need of. I was staying with Ingrid and Josiah Middaugh and had planned to go for a pedicure with Ingrid that afternoon. Luckily, Ingrid and I had lots of time to grab a coffee (I actually asked for a “red tea” latte, something available at home but apparently not in Vail since they thought I asked for a “venti” latte) which we took to our pedicure appointment. It was so fun to sit and chat while we had our toes polished. I chose a raspberry creamsicle color that I am quite fond of and still admiring (mountain bike race is tomorrow so my feet are still okay ). Before we left a group of very primped women came in for their mani/pedi appointment and Ingrid told me they were all part of a local mountain bike team. It looked more like a stagette! Only in Vail would this be the members a mountain bike team. Their team is aptly named “High Maintenance” which is cool.

The Everest Awards were held that evening and it was fun to catch up with some people from the mountains I haven’t seen in a while. Josiah and I were both nominated for Multisport Athlete of the Year. Unfortunately, he was up against Michael Tobin, whose multiple World Championships in adventure racing netted him the award. It was great to see Monique Sawicki win women’s Mountain Biker of the year and I was the lucky winner for the women’s Multisport Athlete of the Year category so I now have my first “Oscar of the Climate Sports Industry”. It was a great crowd of outdoorsy, young and fit people. Lots of amazing athletic achievements were celebrated. Floyd Landis was there to raise money for prostate cancer with a relay so we had a chance to say hello and catch up a little after I accepted my award and headed backstage juggling my pashmina and an ice axe for the photos. I wore the most inappropriate outfit for an outdoor awards ceremony in the mountains. Now I know for next year!

Too quickly it was over and I was up at 5:45am to drive to DIA for my flight to Alabama. I went out to my car to notice that the passenger side rear door was open. “Did I forget to close that” I thought, since I had gone out to get something from the car the night before. No, I didn’t forget to close it, but I did forget to lock it. Someone had been into my car rifling through my stuff the night before, someone with really muddy paws and a lot of fur. A BEAR had opened the door of my car and snuck in to eat the loaf of cinnamon bread I forgot in the front seat which he promptly washed down with the remnants of my venti latte from the night before. Luckily he wasn’t into cycling because all of my clothing from Descente and my bike were in the car as well but it was untouched. The car was fine except for a lot of mud on the passenger side and paw prints all over it and I think the Thrifty agents really didn’t believe the story.

Once at the airport I had a fun time trying to figure out how to pack an ice axe into my overloaded bag along with my gluttonous treasures from Descente (the new waffle fabric for the run tops is kick ass!). Many pounds later and a bike charge of a whopping $85 and I was good to go. Now I sit in the plane on my way to visit my friends Mark and Dianne in Pelham, Alabama. The next part of this crazy weekend will take place tomorrow, the Oak Mountain Bump and Grind mountain bike race. Wish me luck!

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