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I dont have the 2-3wks to spend out there prior to the race. I live at 800' elevation
Race elevations are from 9,200'-12,xxx something.
Distance and the climbing doesnt have me really worried but the altitude sure does.
Also any equipment recommendations would be helpful as well. My current bike is a 2003 cannondale hardail sram xo mavic crossmax disc brakes.
Thanks for any help.
Budget 26" HT build viewtopic.php?f=10&t=110956
I have ridden up to 11,200 ft but never stayed at that elveation for any length of time. Just climbing and descending. Whats worrying me is a 9hr ride at that elevation.
What about equipment choice. I am leaning toward a hardtail 29er would be best, but not sure. I may just ride what I have
Without approximately 3 weeks to spare at altitude before hand physiological benefits are not actually going to happen. (Caveat: The time that your body will take to acclimate will vary between people.) Either way it is probably going to take more time than you have.
Another important thing to do in such a long race at altitude is to not go into the red zone. When I say red zone I am speaking in terms of HR not altitude. You will suffer the rest of the day if you do. Plus eat early and often.
The body will go through a period of fatigue etc while acclimating, a process which will require weeks - as stated above. So, the worst approach is to show up in the middle ground, where your body will be at the dip of most fatigued come race day, but without any significant acclimation. If you can't show up in advance, best bet is to leave it as late as possible.
Regarding equipment choices, I would look at last year's top 5 or 10 places and see what they rode. Most pros have the option of 26/29" wheel and FS/HT, so that might be a good bet as to what's best.
Also on the bike front. I certainly wouldn't go buy something new just for the race (unless you really just want an excuse to get a new bike!). It's basically a race on dirt roads and pavement.... it's just the altitude that kills you. If you are comfortable and confident n your current bike. Just go with that!
You can definitely feel the difference, but I rode it without an issue, it just takes far longer to recover after a big effort.
I arrived the day before the race.
I did some reading before and most people agree that unless you have weeks to acclimatize just show up on the day and race. Many say that is can actually hurt performance to arrive 3-4 days before racing because your body's stressed from the altitude, but hasnt had time to adjust.
My tip- Just show up and ride!!
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Not doing that and you'll feel like you're riding with flat tires.
My background in experience doing this practice has been successful:
-Alta Alpina Challenge (that's 200mi, 23,000+ft climbing at a base elevation of 6000')
-Death Ride (129mi, 15,000ft climbing supposedly) 5x. Starts at base elevation of 6000'
-Climbed Mt. Whitney 7 times from the portal, one-day ascents and returns. This is speedy-hiking, true, but the elevation is a significant factor.
I live at an elevation of 500ft.
On my first attempt at a 50k XC race (running) that started at 7000' I arrive the night before. Let's just say it did not go well. Where did I learn my lessons? There - both in action, and the advice from a pro XC runner (I see her all the time in running catalogues now).
A friend of mine gave me almost identical advice. He did some crazy off road iron man type race in Utah. He said that worked for him although he was hospitalized afterwards
That is my plan. Atleast I think. I feel pretty good about it now.
Today I did 150 miles in 8 hours and still had gas left for Atleast another hr. 500- 1000' elevation though.
Cristallo, good luck. I am saving up for a 29er but if not...no big deal. I am thinking a niner carbon or maybe ORBEA alma.
I arrived on Thursday evening, picked up my packet on Friday, did a short ride, and went to bed early. Race on Saturday went pretty well... got to the top of Columbine in 4:30ish, but at the 7 hour mark my stomach shut down and I lost over an hour in the last 10 miles. Finished in 9:53, an hour slower than my goal.
Anyway... I never really felt the altitude cardiovascularly or aerobically, but it could have contributed to my GI issues. So, make sure you're taking on energy/calories AND plain water during the race. Too much of just one can backfire. Badly.
My teammates for the race were current NAVY SEALs who have spent a lot of time acclimating to altitude in Afghanistan; their advice was to arrive as soon before the race as possible (i.e., the day before) or to spend 3-4 weeks acclimating to the altitude. Anything in between would likely hurt your performance.
You could also get a Rx for Diamox, as prophylaxis against altitude sickness AND altitude induced pulmonary edema - getting an IV and O2 after the race is a total bummer.
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