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Living at 750 ft above sea level, is there a way I can train for a one day ride in the 5,000 to 11,000 ft (i.e. Denver's Triple Bypass event in July), without access to an altitude simulation system?

I've heard that in the first day or two at altitude your body somehow adjusts and endurance performance is just fine. Is that just wishful thinking? It seems pretty counter-intuitive.
 

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In short, no.

paluc52 said:
Living at 750 ft above sea level, is there a way I can train for a one day ride in the 5,000 to 11,000 ft (i.e. Denver's Triple Bypass event in July), without access to an altitude simulation system?

I've heard that in the first day or two at altitude your body somehow adjusts and endurance performance is just fine. Is that just wishful thinking? It seems pretty counter-intuitive.
There is the rebreather thing that you can pick up for like $1500. I don't know anybody that used one or if it works very well but in prinicipal it should work. It consists of a face mask that you wear for about an hour a day while sitting around and watching TV or whatever.

With that ride, which is a great ride by the way, your biggest concern is climbing endurance. Those climbs are long, not real steep but very long. I think if you're not used to climbing your legs will give before you notice the elevation. I think the highest elevation is around 11500. You'll notice that you get winded a little faster and it will take you longer to catch your breath. But it isn't a race so just take your time and keep your HR at or below LT and enjoy the scenery. It is a really good ride and this may be the last year they do it if the Colorado State Patrol has their way.

And you are correct, your body does go through some changes after about 12 hours at elevation that will effect performance. Don't worry about the altitude though. I've seen lots of racers from the flat lands come up and do the Mt. Evans race that goes up to 14000 ft and they're ok.

Good luck.
 

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triple shot espresso said:
And you are correct, your body does go through some changes after about 12 hours at elevation that will effect performance. Don't worry about the altitude though. I've seen lots of racers from the flat lands come up and do the Mt. Evans race that goes up to 14000 ft and they're ok.
I don't want to be the voice of dispair, but different people react differently to the elevation, I knew someone that it took them over a week to feel normal, having headaches, and feeling sluggish, after about a week they were fine again. And then there are others that don't have a problem with it at all, and it dosen't even take 20 min for them to adapt. It depends on the person, but I would say that if your in good shape, your probably going to be in the second group.
 

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I've heard your best off either coming at least a week ahead to acclimate or the day before. If you are in good shape you shouldn't worry to much. Besides it the goal of finishing it right? It isn't a race...
 

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paluc52 said:
Living at 750 ft above sea level, is there a way I can train for a one day ride in the 5,000 to 11,000 ft (i.e. Denver's Triple Bypass event in July), without access to an altitude simulation system?

I've heard that in the first day or two at altitude your body somehow adjusts and endurance performance is just fine. Is that just wishful thinking? It seems pretty counter-intuitive.
I remember reading one of the mtb pros would drive his car up a mountain to sleep in his truck at above 5000 feet and drive down the mountain to train at sea level.
 

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bike with a snorkel

its the same affect on your body. there used to be a low-tech training device that was basically an adjustable double snorkel.


Woofer said:
I remember reading one of the mtb pros would drive his car up a mountain to sleep in his truck at above 5000 feet and drive down the mountain to train at sea level.
 

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drugs

Not sure if you're worried about altitude sickness or performance? There is a diuretic called acetazolamide that is used to prevent altitude sickness. It changes the pH of your blood as a 'side effect' and is prescribed to some prior to ski trips etc to prevent the sickness. I believe you have to start taking it about 3 days prior to altitude. I have no idea if it will change performance for the better or worse but should prevent feeling nausous and sick. Also beleive it has to be prescribed by physician (not over-the-counter).
 

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It's the opposite.

bauerb said:
its the same affect on your body. there used to be a low-tech training device that was basically an adjustable double snorkel.
Training, high end training actually, should be conducted with as much O2 as possible so your body is pushed to the max. Olympic track racers are training with extra oxygen. The rule of thumb is live high and train low.
 

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FWIW: my experiences

Is there a poor man's altitude training?
In my humble opinion there is, it's called gearing your bike properly to climb mountains! Case in point, last year I completed the Everest challenge event in the recreational category. Prior to the event, I had no altitude training whatsoever; I reside at sea level. It was a two day event in the Sierras in northern California.
Here are the facts about the event: Day one: 120 miles with three sustained climbs, two of them summited at over 10,000 ft. Total climbing of day one was approx.15000 ft. Day two: 100 miles with three sustained climbs in the 8000-10,000 ft. range with a total of 13000-14000 ft. of climbing for the day. No doubt I exhibited the signs/symptoms of exercising at high altitude: shortness of breath was my chief complaint. I also experienced intermittent minor headaches accompanied by minor spells of dizziness.
As stated in the previous posts, arriving a day or two early to the event can help you acclimate to the thin air conditions, but also gearing your bike properly can maximize the enjoyment and performance factors. At Everest I assumed incorrectly that my bike was properly geared. This assumption was based on previous events I did involving mass quantities of climbing, including the death ride (128 miles and 16,000 ft, of climbing) and the climb to kayser (155 miles and 14,500 ft. of climbing). My gearing for those events was a 38 front chainring and 12-27 rear cassette. At Everest I customized my cassette by adding a 30 tooth mountain bike cog to it. My 38 X 30 felt like a 53 X 12 on the last and biggest climbs of the day(s). I specifically remember averaging 2.5 mph for over 2 hrs. on the last climb of the day at Everest, mashing the gears over and breathing like darth vader with asthma and for good reason. It was a grueling 15 mile climb with an average 8% gradient and 10,000 ft. summit. On the descent near the top of the "White Mountains," the air was thin enough to attain high rates of speed, but with noticeable less air resistance. For the record, I'm a tad incredulous about riders claiming they have reached speeds in excess of 60 plus miles an hour on the bike. At two hundred and 10 pounds and on my E. Merckx MX leader, a bike weighing approx. 20-22lbs, my fastest speed attained was 55 mph in an aero tuck, smooth roads, and a fearless mindset. A tailwind would have been nice!
In a nutshell to prepare for this event I would, stating the obvious, train frequently on hills, especially long mountainous ones if possible, and gear your bike properly to help maximize your performance on the bike at altitude.
 

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Aside from training, don't forget that your hydration needs will be increased at the higher altitude as well. I've hiked the Rockies, never cycled, and getting up to 12,000 feet (Long's Peak) took me about twice as much water as an equivalent sea-level effort. (Reference: http://www.mydr.com.au/default.asp?article=417 )
 

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Flatlanders experience

I'm from Charleston SC which is at sea level. Last year I attended a conference in Beaver Creek, CO., and took my bike. The day I arrived I did a short ride from Beaver Creek to Vail. The next day I did the Leadville Loop (102 miles over 4 mountain passes) that reaches a high point ~11,000'. I had no problems. I had a 12-27 gear and keep it slow and the heart rate below 150. Drink lots of water and take it easy.
 
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