Can Day 5 of the Grand Western Tour began with a beautiful view of the Colorado Rockies. With sunny skies, Pikes Peak and the surrounding mountains were just a quick look outside our hotel window. What an awesome location!
The first activity of the day was a trip to the National Olympic Training Center. With the 2016 Rio Olympic's approaching, there was a buzz of excitement around the center. We watched an introductory video about the training complex and the support it gives to nearly 15,000 athletes per year.
During the guided tour, we saw facilities for weightlifting, wrestling, gymnastics, riflery, and swimming. We also toured the sports medicine complex that has some of the most advanced technology available for athletes. The most intriguing technologies were the elevation chamber and the anti-gravity treadmill.
The crew was lucky to see several winter Olympic athletes that were crosstraining. The tour guide also pointed out some potential bobsled team members!
In the afternoon, we headed to Pikes Peak Cog Railway. The breathtaking train ride to the summit took about 1.5 hours and covered 8.9 miles of track to the 14,110 ft summit. The crew went crazy over the yellow-bellied marmots that were running around near the train track. They were also stunned by the quick change in scenery as we ascended to the peak.
When the train left the railroad station in Manitou Springs, the temperature was around 83 degrees and at Pikes Peak Summit, the temperature was a chilly 42 degrees. Once inside the Summit House, the group indulged in delicious mile high donuts, hot chocolate and a little souvenir shopping.
The last stop of the day was the Garden of the Gods. The rocks supposedly form two "kissing camels". Can you find them?