In the eastern Rocky Mountain foothills at 6,100 feet elevation, Colorado Springs is home to some of our country's most beautiful landscape, fastest athletes, and bravest military personnel. Snow-capped mountain crests, rolling hills, and meandering streams set this city's stage, and Pike's 14,000 foot Peak is its most dramatic actor. Overwhelming to many, Pike's purple mountain majesty inspired Katherine Lee Bates to pen "America the Beautiful" after her ascent to its summit.
Colorado Springs is also center stage for the United States Olympic Training Center whose ample props sharpen America's quickest swimmers, strongest weightlifters, most accurate marksmen and fastest runners. Olympic hopefuls live and train year round in these multi-million dollar facilities which house over 500 amateur athletes and coaches. Most of the property is open to the public for daily tours, call for times (888) 659-8687.
However, all is not fun and games in Colorado Springs. With the military as this city's largest employer, about 1/3 of all working residents set their alarm clocks for 0600 hours instead of 6:00 a.m. Five military bases occupy the resolute side of town, including the 18,500 acre U.S. Air Force Academy as well as the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), perhaps the most secretive military organization known to exist. NORAD is the primary tracking and defense alert station for missiles, space satellites, and aircraft attacks. Unbelievably, it is situated inside and below Cheyenne Mountain (just like in the movies!). NORAD's 15 steel buildings are constructed to withstand either massive shelling or nuclear attack and are capable of supporting for 30 days 800 personnel with an independent supply of air, water, and power.
Though not quite as secretive, Colorado Springs' workout options will support athletic-minded travelers for well over 30 days.