Editor’s note: BLDRfly reported and wrote this sponsored post in partnership with A-Lodge. Learn how to work with us on sponsored content here.
Abby pulled over on the side of the road and poured herself a cup of cold brew which she enjoyed as stretches of plains and mountains rose up ahead.
Over the Fourth of July weekend, athletes and professional runners Abby and Cordis Hall rented a Mercedes Sprinter from A-Lodge and drove it to San Juan National Forest in Southwest Colorado, where they ate, slept and trained all at 11,000 feet above sea level.
Read BLDRfly’s profile of A-Lodge
They wanted a safe way to get out during Covid, and an excuse to train at altitude for a big mountain objective they are working toward — a 75-mile traverse in Rocky Mountain National Park. The thought of keeping to themselves and self-sufficiently prepping their own food felt just right.
The Halls set out on June 27 and drove to Silverton and Ouray where for the next eight nights they nested amid Colorado’s mountain gems completely off-grid.
A-Lodge gives Boulderites and travelers easy access to van life starting at $199 per night with 100 miles per day included. Users pay 35 cents for each mile over that amount.
Immersing at altitude
Because an important part of ultra-running lies in the ability to spend long days in the mountains, having a way to actually remain among the peaks without having to leave for food or a hotel room appealed to Abby and Cordis.
“It was awesome,” said Abby who told BLDRfly she couldn’t think of a better way to get a week of intense training. “We parked at these great places and would go on big runs in the mountains and come back and cook dinner.”
Rather than driving home at the end of the weekend of staying in town, having everything they needed in the van right in the mountains allowed for a completely immersive experience as Abby and Cordis could integrate their training seamlessly into each day.
With the van’s built-in shower, they could clean up at the end of each day, get cozy and dive into their mini fridge stocked with the huge box of delicious food that local, performance-oriented company Rad Boulder prepped the athletes with.
Comfort made easy
From a training perspective, you just can’t beat sleeping in a real bed at night — “And it’s not a little cot,” adds Abby — where you can get a true 11-hour rest after finishing a big run and having sore legs.
As all of us who have camped for long stints know, doing that in a tent is just not … the same. The sun wakes you up early, baking through polyester walls, and the clock on needing a shower starts ticking after a handful of days!
Although they didn’t always have the most glamour spots available to park the van, Abby and Cordis loved how low-key it was to park. (And it really made no difference when they got into their little cave at the end of every night.)
“We expected it to feel more like camping,” said Abby, “when in reality it felt more like a charming little cabin we’d move from location to location each night.”
The A-Lodge luxury van experience left a lasting impression; Abby and Cordis now dream of getting their own van one day.
About A-Lodge: Founded in 2016, the A-Lodge operates an adventure hostel, hub on the banks of Fourmile Creek just a few miles west of Boulder in Boulder Canyon. It just opened a new location in Lyons, and, of course, rents adventure vans.
Learn more about the A-Lodge here, including its new Lyons location.