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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Maybe I should ask the coach..

My main concern is the short term approach to the event itself. I'll take care of my conditioning, but what's the accepted protocol to go from sea level for a couple of days of high altitude racing? The last time at this same event I arrived the afternoon before the race at altitude.

A few years ago, I raced the Masters Nats in Park City..a base elevation of 7000' and that time, I slept down in SLC at below 4000', having heard that short term, altitude sleeping might make you lose performance. I felt pretty bad in the so-called Road race which was more like hill repeats from the Deer Valley Ski area around a short residential loop..

My original post is below. Any insights, Coach(s)?

Best plan for high altitude race results?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What is the best way for an amature (masters) racer to aclimatize for a two day climbing race at very high elevation?

The base elevation of the event is around 4500-5000' and it involves immediate and repeated climbs, both days going over 10'000' and repeatedly over 7000'.

I *could* budget enough time to spend just about a week at elevation just prior to the race. I've been training on my local climbs, but the highest elevation is just around 6k-6500 feet nearby and my home elevation is only 150'. I am not concerned with my actual training, but more with what I should do leading into the weekend of racing..

So what's said to be the most effective approach to an event like this, (end of Sept) the best plan to optimize performance for a racer coming from essentially sea level and racing above 5000' in the thin air?

Get there day before the race and just suffer? I did that last year and had some altitude sickness symptoms both days. I also climbed, during the race, with some guys who lived and trained in Truckee, Ca. at around 6000'...they had a distinct advantage, being more used to the altidude.

Should I go a week early and do my pre-race taper at high elevation, adapting as best I can? Is a week at elevation going to net me any improvment? What is the time study on how high elevation affects one's performance over the short haul? I know when I lived and raced out of Jackson, Wy. I had an advantage at elevation over the sea level guys..But now I am a sea level guy looking to go up and race in the Sierras.

Anybody care to opine? References? Reading and or studies available?

Thanks,
Don Hanson
 

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Everyone's response to atltitude is different.
While it normaly takes abotu 3 or more weeks to get used to it. If you don't have the time the best bet might be to get there as close as possible to (time wise) to the event, race and leave.
You may want to stay as low as possible(within a resonable distance travel wise). This has worked for some of the athletes I work with.
Theres a very good book on the subject by Randy Wilbur (I forget the name).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks,

I have two responses. As mentioned, I've used the "arrive shortly before the race, and sleep low" method before. The first answer suggests some time and low intensity work might be beneficial..Two different answers. I don't have 3+ weeks to go to elevation and adapt for the race (Everest Challenge) so maybe I'll flip a coin...heads-get there a few days ahead of time..Tails-roll in the afternoon before (race roll-out is around 5 or 6am).

Either way, for a sea level rider, repeated climbs like these will be more difficult than for someone who lives and trains at high elevation, I know that..

Don Hanson
 

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from what i've heard, i don't think a week is enough time to acclimate. I'd go with the show and go method.

some tips...

avoid red meat,
drink lots of liquid (you do that already right?)
no booze :cryin:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ericm979 said:
I think based on my reading and limited experience that arriving a few days ahead of time would be the the worst possible way to go.
I'd read that somewhere also, but I'm wondering.
It seems, from my own experience, that I feel the worst about one day after arriving at altitude. Up above about 6000' is where I get symptoms of 'altitude sickness'..mild, but during my last attempt at this event I am training for, the 3rd climb of the first day at about 9200' I had an excrutiating headache and decided to bag the last climb (another one from 5000' elevation to 9800') I slept a couple of hours and lost the headache for the next day's racing. It didn't return on the second day..

That first day's symptoms were quite alarming..I suppose combining altitude sickness with hypoxia by trying to match some repeated attacks after a lot of climbing in very cold thin air...some discomfort was to be expected. The scary and deciding symptom was a sort of "tunnel-vision" during the descent...a blackness around the edges of my vision, and of course, hypothermia in a mild form..Causing me to be a dangerous descender on sometimes ice-glazed roads...Sounds fun, eh?

I would like to avoid the headache this fall...If it is possible to change my 'approach' with any positive effect...Sounds like not, though.. More reading and Googleing needed, I guess.

Thanks, all.
 

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There's two different things- athletic performance decline due to the effects of altitude, and altitude sickness. Performance decline is what I was talking about above. Re-reading your post, you were concerned with altitude sickness. My bad.

I think for avoiding altitude sickness you want to ascend slowly. There's not much to do about the race itself as you have to go at the pace the race dictates, but you could acclimatize either by getting to Bishop early or by driving to strategic places on the way over. But the same acclimitization that will help the altitude sickness would hurt performance some. The headache may have been from dehydration. I used to get that often when I was doing motorcycle trials events at altitude- high altitude makes you lose water faster, and it seems like the dehydration headache comes on easier at altitude for some reason.

I have gotten the tunnel vision when hypothermic (even at sea level). I don't think that it's a sign of altitude sickness, at least for me. It was especially cold at EC last year. I don't expect it to be that cold this year. At least I sure hope it won't be! If you can't get a ride down, send warm clothes up to the top in the clothing truck.
 
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