Introducing some of Boulder’s fastest & fittest women.
Triathlete Flora Duffy has life hacked. Born and raised in picturesque Bermuda, the CU Buff alumni splits her time between training in Boulder through the warmer months and then heading down to Stellenbosh, South Africa, to spend her winters. “It is a beautiful place and reminds me a lot of Boulder,” she says of Stellenbosh. “A lot of triathletes, cyclists and mountain bikers base themselves there during December through March because the training environment is amazing.”
Competing for Bermuda, Duffy finished 8th in the Women’s Triathlon in Rio this summer. During the time of the games, the three-time Olympian was ranked number one in the ITU World Triathlon Series. “I am still trying to figure out if I enjoyed the Olympics! I am not 100 percent happy with my performance. I just didn’t quite feel like my usual self, racing for whatever reason … just a bit flat. I’m content with 8th but was hoping for more. Not every race goes to plan.”
Duffy is also a two-time Xterra Racing World Champion, which are ultra-tough triathlons that include a burly open-water swim, mountain biking and a trail run. Duffy joined the pro circuit at age 18 but started competing in triathlons at a very young age. “I was already in a swim club. I loved running, and there was a local triathlon club—and so I joined in.” As of early September (when Boulder Lifestyle Mag spoke with Duffy), she has two races to complete in September in Canada and Mexico, and if all goes according to plan, she will be named the World Champion.
Best way to spend your downtime? Hanging at my house watching Netflix
Spirit animal? Butterfly
Preferred recovery meal? Protein recovery drink immediately after a workout
Favorite place on the planet to train? It’s always between Boulder and South Africa
Cyclist Mara Abbott has arguably spent more time than most people riding her bike up and down the canyons surrounding Boulder. The Boulder native finished 4th in Rio in the Women’s Road Race, just barely missing the podium. Abbott attended Whitman College in Washington and was a contributing member of the school’s cycling team when it won the National Cycling Association Division II Championships two years in a row. After school, she went on to be the first U.S. Cyclist to win the Giro Dome in 2010 and snagged the title again in 2013. She’s most proud of these Giro wins, her trip to the Olympics and “being able to consistently compete on the highest level as a legitimate contender for so many years.”
Aside from cycling, Abbott works at the farmers’ market for Cure Organic Farms and is on the editorial advisory board and writes for the Daily Camera. She’s also a certified yoga instructor. Although she hasn’t been teaching yoga due to her busy cycling schedule, she practices regularly and sees the benefits when she’s competing. “Yoga helps physiologically in terms of stretching, breathwork and balancing out the strength of your body. It calls you to slow down and focus on your body in a different and less demanding way than traditional training.” Now that the 2016 Olympics are over, Abbott says she’s done racing and “we’ll see what comes next …”
Best way to spend your downtime? In Boulder!
Spirit animal? Chickadee
Preferred recovery meal? Green Juice from Wonderpress, if I’m feeling indulgent
Favorite place on the planet to train? Boulder
Track star Jenny Simpson was introduced to running as an elementary student via an after-school cross country program, from there she “took off running and never looked back.” Earning a bronze medal in Rio in the 1500-meter run, Simpson’s athletic career has also seen strong performances in the 3000-meter steeplechase, 800-meter run, 3000-meter run and cross country. Recognized for her smart decision-making on the track, Simpson relies on a healthy combination of strategy and instinct. “I usually know my competitors well and have a sense of how they might react to different race developments. I practice and visualize races so that, once the gun goes off, I don’t have to make any decisions; I just have to react.”
Simpson attended the University of Colorado, made the first of her three visits to the Olympics while a student there in 2008 and received The Bowerman award in 2009 for her impressive achievements as a student-athlete. “My best memories running at CU are by far the cross country seasons racing as a team. Both the men’s and women’s teams began the season with a team camp and often ended the season with conference and national titles. From beginning to end, each cross country season was so special to me.”
Now that the Olympics have wrapped up, she’s looking forward to life in Boulder and time with family so she can meet her brand new niece and nephew. “Because of my schedule training for the Olympics, I wasn’t able to travel to see them. As soon as my season is over, I’m flying directly there to meet those amazing and adorable babies!”
Best way to spend your downtime? Reading in a hammock on a beach
Spirit animal? Ralphie the Buffalo!
Preferred recovery meal? Literally, the closest food available. I am so hungry after training! I love stopping at Great Harvest on Folsom for a sandwich and coffee.
Favorite place on the planet to train? Boulder
Personal hero? My “baby” sister, Emily, who serves in the U.S. Army at Fort Stewart