I live and work in beautiful Boulder, Colorado, USA. One of the reasons I love living here is the active, outdoor culture here. As a wannabe runner and cyclist, I appreciate all the ways the city actively supports those activities and the breadth of the healthy lifestyles represented here.
These Boulder characteristics, combined with its elevation (5000 to 6000 feet) and Colorado's sunny climate (300+ days of sunshine per year), make it a favorite training home for elite athletes. American examples include bike racers Tyler Hamilton, Davis Phinney, and Ron Kiefel, and runner Uta Pippig. I recently heard that Boulder has about 20 Olympic medalist residents. One Olympic 10K runner, Colleen De Reuck, lives in my neighborhood and I often see her running by at a blistering pace; a pace that is probably her everyday, easy pace that I couldn't match on my best race day.
The Japanese national marathon team owns a house in my neighborhood, as well. Many of the top Japanese runners, including Naoko Takahashi (Q-Chan), 2000 Olympic gold medalist, have lived and trained there. They spend several months in the house, then the house is empty for several months. They have been here all summer, and you can see them running everywhere around the city. Most of the time, they're running quite slow (my kind of speed), but when they're moving, they're really moving.
Their coach, Koide Yoshio (Koide-san), also lives in the house with them. From what I understand, Koide-san is a very famous coach in Japan, sort of like Phil Jackson or Bill Parcells here. My neighborhood friend, Eric, occasionally takes Koide-san out for sushi. Eric once offered to bring the athletes along, but Koide-san pointed out that with the number of calories the athletes eat at every meal, Eric couldn't afford to take them to sushi.
I recently found out that the Japanese athletes keep a blog about their life in Boulder. It's all in Japanese, but I enjoy seeing pictures of my neighborhood on it. It's strange to think about my little neighborhood being discuss on a Japanese blog.
It's just one of the great things about Boulder.