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Training for Higher Altitude Event

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Training for Higher Altitude Event

Old 02-12-20, 10:56 PM
  #1  
Bassmanbob
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Training for Higher Altitude Event

I live in SE Florida, which is pretty obviously at sea level. This summer, I plan to ride the Crater Lake Century in Oregon which starts at about 4,100 feet above sea level and has approximately 6,900 feet of vertical climbing. I've don't other rides with 4,800 feet of climbing, 5,000 feet of climbing and 8,500 feet of climbing, but they all started at or neat sea level.

I've researched altitude masks, but they seem to be nothing but ineffective devices for this purpose. My current plan is to train extra hard for distance, climbing, intervals and to continue to lose weight. Are there any other training techniques that I can use to help me train for this higher altitude event? I can't move to the area three weeks before the event. I need to continue to work here in Florida until two days before the event.

Thanks in advance for your input.
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Old 02-12-20, 11:19 PM
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The Lake is only at a little over 6000'. High point is 7800'. Not that high. You'll notice it, but it shouldn't be a gasper. I wouldn't worry too much. Main thing is to have the legs for it. Getting those, you'll also get the aerobic training. Doesn't look like anything over 7%, mostly less. 100'/mile around the rim shouldn't be too bad as long as it's not too hot. Training for distance, main thing I work on is distance with effort. Maybe try to work up to a couple back-to-back 60-70 mile group rides on the weekends. Just getting fit should work.
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Old 02-13-20, 10:25 AM
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I toured on the Blue Ridge Parkway with a guy from Florida. His training was riding the bridges over the Intracoastal Waterway -- up and over, loop around up and back across, repeated until he had it climbing training in. He turned out to be one of the stronger riders in the group.

While some sources say you can't get altitude sickness below such and such an altitude, I've suffered (greatly!) going from 5-600 to as low as 4,000 feet. I'd suggest you get there a day or two early and do some light exercise while you're there -- that's been sufficient to prevent a recurrence in my case.
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Old 02-13-20, 03:08 PM
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Thanks guys. That's pretty reassuring. I have some hills here in my town that I repeated to death when I trained for the GFNY two years ago. It included a small area with hills and we have three causeway bridges (one near the cluster of hills in my town and two together that are only three miles away). In the past, I've trained a combined hills and distance by doing a series of repeats of the cluster hills, the nearby causeway bridge and the other two causeways that are three miles away. I forget how much climbing that provides, but now you can see how we do hills in SE Florida. I may also go to Clermont, FL where the Horrible Hundred is. There's a stretch of 5.5 miles that when riding there and back for an 11 mile round trip will provide about 1,000 feet of elevation. It includes the infamous (for Florida) Sugarloaf Mountain Road. I repeated that five times, two weeks before doing the GFNY. It helped. I'll fit that in again before I go to Oregon and try to do 6 repeats.

I've done some hiking in southern Utah on three occasions and I've noticed that I feel much better after just one full day. I know it takes about three weeks to fully acclimate, but I was surprised how comfortable I felt after only one full day of hiking. I plan to fly out of Florida on Thursday, so I'll be in Oregon for at least 36 hours before the start of the ride. Hopefully that will help.
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Old 02-13-20, 03:41 PM
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I agree with the others. We face this all the time going from Sacramento (elev. 25ft) to Tahoe (6200ft). If you have a couple of sleeps at altitude, that will make a big difference.
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Old 02-13-20, 06:06 PM
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Agree with most of the other posters, the elevation really isn’t high enough to matter for a fun ride. I’ve seen some folks get altitude sickness in Vail ( about 8000ft) and even once at Sun Valley (about 6000ft), so just be aware of the symptoms but odds are that you will be fine.
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Old 02-13-20, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Bassmanbob View Post
Thanks guys. That's pretty reassuring. I have some hills here in my town that I repeated to death when I trained for the GFNY two years ago. It included a small area with hills and we have three causeway bridges (one near the cluster of hills in my town and two together that are only three miles away). In the past, I've trained a combined hills and distance by doing a series of repeats of the cluster hills, the nearby causeway bridge and the other two causeways that are three miles away. I forget how much climbing that provides, but now you can see how we do hills in SE Florida. I may also go to Clermont, FL where the Horrible Hundred is. There's a stretch of 5.5 miles that when riding there and back for an 11 mile round trip will provide about 1,000 feet of elevation. It includes the infamous (for Florida) Sugarloaf Mountain Road. I repeated that five times, two weeks before doing the GFNY. It helped. I'll fit that in again before I go to Oregon and try to do 6 repeats.

I've done some hiking in southern Utah on three occasions and I've noticed that I feel much better after just one full day. I know it takes about three weeks to fully acclimate, but I was surprised how comfortable I felt after only one full day of hiking. I plan to fly out of Florida on Thursday, so I'll be in Oregon for at least 36 hours before the start of the ride. Hopefully that will help.
Very true that one day IME. It's not acclimation as you say, I think it's an automatic adjustment that your brain makes to your breathing or something like that. It's very noticeable though I never found a resource which explained it. It takes me, like you say, ~24 hours to feel good going from sea level to 10,000'. I remember one time when I did Rainier, coming back to Muir at 10,000, I could do jumping jacks. I couldn't when I got to Muir the day before.
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Old 02-14-20, 08:39 AM
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I really felt altitude oxygen deficiency riding from 7K ft to 10K ft in the Eastern Sierra. I had to slow my pace, take a few breathing breaks and really focus on deep slow breathing and exhales. That is the first time I had side stiches on a ride.
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Old 02-14-20, 11:03 AM
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If you're really worried about it, you can do trainer rides in a smaller room with the heat on for your "easy" rides in Z1 recovery or Z2. The adaptation to heat stress is more blood plasma volume. Which is helpful for altitude. Or, for off days sit in a sauna.
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Old 02-14-20, 11:20 AM
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Generally, the 3rd day at altitude is the worst when going from sea level to altitude. After day three, acclimation begins. Without real altitude training, the best result is to sleep at sea level the night before the event and drive to the start and do the ride. The main issue at altitude for sea level riders is the ability to recover if you go into the red. When you go anaerobic at sea level, you have more O2 to use for recovery. At altitude, you can still put in power and it will feel okay...until it does't. Then there is not enough O2 to get a recovery and you suffer longer. Don't do that.

If you sleep at altitude the night before the event, more than likely, you will not sleep well and get up to pee a lot. That disruption will have an impact on your performance the next day. If you are planning to stay overnight at altitude do not obsess about it but try to stay hydrated, eat less, stay relaxed and go for more sleep. Sometimes it is harder to fall asleep at altitude. No alcohol / caffein...very bad. Caffein is okay morning of the ride. Good luck.

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Old 02-14-20, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
If you're really worried about it, you can do trainer rides in a smaller room with the heat on for your "easy" rides in Z1 recovery or Z2. The adaptation to heat stress is more blood plasma volume. Which is helpful for altitude. Or, for off days sit in a sauna.
There is a sauna protocol. 20 to 30 minutes in the sauna after exercise. Google altitude, sauna, adaptation protocol. I take saunas almost every day. The dark side is dehydration. I am not so sure about the effectiveness of sauna protocol to mitigate effects of altitude. However, there is no downside other than dehydration and it feels good and relaxes muscles which is why I do them.
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