Before every cycling workout on the hilly, winding roads at Garden of the Gods, a recreational area with stunning orange rock formations just west of the city, Romas Bertulis gave the same plan to the athletes he coaches as head of USA Triathlon's elite development program.
Work the uphills hard, go easy on the downhills. Don't take risks.
The triathlete least likely to follow that advice was the most talented in the group, 2011 world junior champion Lukas Verzbicas, Bertulis' stepson. His plan was to go faster on each loop of the 5-kilometer circuit.