Idyllic locales? Check. Drool-worthy meals? Check. Elevate your swim-bike-run experience with the perfect pairing of sweat and satiety.
For the ultimate training and dining experience, escape to a seven-day triathlon camp in the Marche region of Italy in mid-June. Renowned Italian chef Fabio Flagiello got the idea of combining good food, wine, training, and culture into an unforgettable travel trek after 36 years of working as a chef and restaurateur in Italy, Los Angeles, Sonoma, and Boulder.
The intermediate to advanced triathlon camp (Fabiotours.com) combines daily swim, bike, and run training, as well as personal coaching and mental skills clinics from pro triathletes. Each day starts with a hearty breakfast and a morning briefing. From there, campers immerse in training with either a single workout or a brick session before a nutritious lunch. Afternoons are reserved for mental skills clinics and nutrition lectures, as well as some optional secondary workouts. Open-water swim sessions are held in the Adriatic Sea, while pool sessions take place at the Olympic Pool in San Marino. Accommodations in a private villa, therapeutic massages, tours of local villages and wineries, and optional beach time are also included in the camp itinerary.
Most of Flagiello’s privately prepared meals start with a glass of Prosecco and a selection of traditional appetizers. Next comes an antipasto selection, such as black kale soup served with fennel yogurt cream or mozzarella tomato caprese salad with pan-roasted zucchini. From there, a mouth-watering first course might be ricotta and spinach ravioli, served with a puree of cauliflower, brown-butter black-truffle sage sauce or clams and baby octopus risotto with fresh thyme and candied lemon. Hearty second-course selections include local wild boar braised in Chianti from the Felsina winery, baked peaches and root vegetable puree or fresh salt cod served with roasted vegetables. Although Flagiello admits he doesn’t like to serve sugary desserts, he does make a delectable flourless chocolate cake, served with pistachio gelato and biscotti, and has been known to craft a variety of tiramisu pastries.
Austin is an idyllic training town for triathletes who love to train and eat. Not only does it have deep triathlon, running, and cycling communities (and relatively mild weather in the spring and summer), it’s also one of the top foodie and craft beer towns in America, with dozens of eclectic restaurants and microbreweries serving up just about everything your palate craves.
The Lady Bird Lake trail and Barton Creek Greenbelt are ideal for all types of runs up to about 15 miles. One of the most popular rides near the city is the 14-mile 360 Loop, which offers stunning views and a grand crossing of the Colorado River. There are great semi-rural rides between Austin and the outlying communities of Elgin, San Marcos, and Dripping Springs, and numerous long, rolling routes in the Texas hill country southwest of the city. For your best bet, join the almost-daily group rides that start from Mellow Johnny’s bike shop at 4th and Nueces. For one-on-one coaching and swim sessions, check out the Austin Triathlon Club (Austintriclub.org), Team T3 (Austint3.com), or Austin Aquatics & Sports Academy (5513 Southwest Parkway; Aasa-atx.com).
Austin is known for Tex- Mex—local favorites are El Alma Restaurante (1025 Barton Springs Road; Elalmacafe.com), and Habanero Mexican Café (501 W. Oltorf St.; Habanerocafe.com). For tasty barbecue, visit Iron Works (100 Red River St.; Ironworksbbq.com) and Franklin Barbecue (900 E. 11th St., Franklinbbq.com). The top-rated restaurant in the city is Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill (303 Red River Street; Moonshinegrill.com), which puts a southwestern spin on classic comfort food like its Range Cattle Texas Wagyu Meatloaf served with brown gravy and its Jalapeño Hanger Steak with salsa verde. For the best local microbrews, check out Hops and Grain (507 Calles Street; Hopsandgrain.com) and Zilker Brewing Company & Taproom (1701 E. 6th Street; Zilkerbeer.com).
Nestled at about 8,150 feet in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Vail is known as a world-class ski destination in the winter months, but it’s also an adventure and endurance playground from May through September, with resort-quality restaurants to please your palate. It’s the perfect place for a self-made high-altitude training camp as you tune up for a late-summer race.
There are hundreds of miles of concrete bike paths and single-track dirt trails for running and riding in and around Vail. For an epic challenge, ride the 80-mile Leadville Loop (also known as the Copper Triangle)—from Vail to Leadville to Copper Mountain and back to Vail—with nearly 6,000 feet of climbing and descending. There is wetsuit-worthy open-water swimming in Nottingham Lake and indoor swimming and gym training available at the Avon Recreation Center. For one-on-one coaching, connect with local pro—and XTERRA world champion—Josiah Middaugh (Middaughcoaching.com), who trains XTERRA and Ironman athletes year-round and offers a three-day training camp every June.
Choose the grilled quail or Rocky Mountain trout from the Mountain Standard (193 E. Gore Creek Dr., Vail; Mtnstandard.com), a rustic and relaxed tavern that does most of its cooking over an open wood- re. The Turntable Restaurant (160 Railroad Ave., Minturn; Turntablerestaurant.com) is the local go-to diner for brunch. For a more intimate experience, consider having acclaimed personal chef Weston Schroeder (Chef-weston.com) bring dinner to you or joining one of his interactive cooking classes.