Thanks to Tyler Hamilton at Tyler Hamilton Training for sharing with us this tip on Training at Altitude if you are not from here...listen up visitors or new arrivals.
Thinking about the beautiful ride I’ll be leading up Independence Pass this weekend during the Outside In Aspen event got me thinking about cycling at altitude.
It’s important to take into account the physiological toll an increase in elevation takes on everyone’s body. I was quickly reminded of the grueling impact of pushing myself at elevation on Memorial Day. A full day of ski touring at 12,000 to 14,000 feet took its toll as I dragged myself up Torrey’s Peak. Believe me, intense exertion at high altitudes is tough on even the most seasoned athletes.
To be clear, when I use the term ‘cycling at altitude’ I’m not referring to a predetermined height above sea level. I’m simply talking about working out at an elevation your body is unaccustomed to.
For example, I’ve been back in Boulder for the last several months living at 5,400 feet above sea level and I feel well acclimated to the altitude. However, for the athletes arriving from lower altitudes and heading out for a training ride here, it can be PUNISHING. That being said, most of the ill effects experienced at altitude can be significantly reduced with some simple preparation.
Under ideal circumstances the best way at acclimate is by spending time training at the increased altitude in preparation for your event. So, if at all possible, arriving a few weeks early will give your body time to naturally adjust.
However, when you find yourself in a situation that calls for you to race or train at an elevation you’re unaccustomed to I have a few recommendations.
Most importantly, HRYDRATE! I can’t over emphasize the importance of adequate fluid intake. Consume a minimum of ten 8 ounce glasses of water per day in addition to the fluids you consume while on your bike.
Be sure to eat lots of fruits and vegetables; and to cut back (or eliminate) both caffeine and alcohol.
Also, never underestimate the importance of getting plenty of rest while you’re not on your bike. What you do in your down time can be just as important as what you do when riding.
The next time you find yourself in the ‘high country’ be smart, enjoy the beauty and have some fun.
and…if you’re in the neighborhood, let’s get out for a ride.