Heading DOWN for better training?

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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LeDuke
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by LeDuke

I live at 7400ft (2250m) or so in the Front Range of CO. For anyone that has ever been to Denver, I'm most of a half mile higher than most of Denver. Or, 2000ft higher than the city center of Boulder. I regularly do rides up to 9200ft (2800m) and get up to 10,000ft/3000m pretty often as well.

I find myself struggling of late: Because of the elevation, I don't think I'm getting enough quality training hours in. It's really hard to recover, it's hard to hit the numbers I'd like to see, etc.

I know lots of people head to altitude for training camps. I understand why: big climbs, and the impacts on blood composition from living at altitude.

But, does anyone who lives at altitude ever go DOWN to get better training, recovery, etc? I know that when I visit my in-laws in Fort Collins (5,000ft/1525m), I'm able to ride a lot harder, recover better, etc. Anyone have any views on how to maximize the hematological benefits of high and moderate altitude living/training?

JackRussellRacing
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by JackRussellRacing

Like him or hate him, Phil Gaimon's new book "Draft Animals" has a really good section on exactly that topic and his intentional training up (then down) elevation scheduling.

by Weenie


romalor
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by romalor

Actually for a few years most of the pro in training camps
they often stay the night in altitude and train down in the valley
Most of the time

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LeDuke
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by LeDuke

Unfortunately, I have to drive several hours away to get to "low" altitude. And at that point, there are no climbs. Just gentle 1% grades heading west to CO.

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Conza
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by Conza

Altitude tent w/ lower altitudes and an indoor trainer w/ the Wahoo climb? :lol:

BTW - really appreciated the metric numbers.
It's all about the adventure :o .

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LeDuke
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by LeDuke

Conza wrote:Altitude tent w/ lower altitudes and an indoor trainer w/ the Wahoo climb?

BTW - really appreciated the metric numbers.

I remember seeing someone doing training with an oxygen mask a couple years ago. Think it was a Liquigas-Cannondale guy. Timmy Duggan maybe?

I've actually thought of that. A bit impractical, maybe.

But, at this altitude I anticipate lots of trainer time in the winter. No fat bike yet.

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JackRussellRacing
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by JackRussellRacing

Having just completed a VO2 max test, I can safely say that anything which covers your mouth/nose/face only adds to the epic awfulness of a hard indoor workout. #feltlikesuffication

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Lelandjt
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by Lelandjt

Yes, I drive from Breckenridge down to Denver/Golden/Morrison or Fruita/Moab to get some low altitude, high intensity riding in. I can go much harder down there which is good for building muscle. It's tough to build power at 10,000ft+ because your breathing is always the limiting factor. That's why (along with less snow) there's lots of pros living in Boulder but not many in Summit/Vail.

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LeDuke
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by LeDuke

Lelandjt wrote:Yes, I drive from Breckenridge down to Denver/Golden/Morrison or Fruita/Moab to get some low altitude, high intensity riding in. I can go much harder down there which is good for building muscle. It's tough to build power at 10,000ft+ because your breathing is always the limiting factor. That's why (along with less snow) there's lots of pros living in Boulder but not many in Summit/Vail.


Makes sense. It's actually pretty amazing how much more power I can produce down in Denver or Fort Collins compared to Palmer Lake.

I'm kind of surprised that TvG lives and trains in Aspen year round.

dmp
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by dmp

Yes, "live high, train low" works, for exactly the reason that you suggest- hypoxia limits performance at altitude. If you can follow the science, take a look at this paper: Levine BD, Stray-Gundersen J. “Living high-training low”: effect of moderate-altitude acclimatization with low-altitude training on performance. J Appl Physiol 1997;83:102–12. It's an old paper, but the science is sound. Several studies since have found that you need more than 2 weeks to make a big difference in hemoglobin concentration, whether you are in a hypobaric (low pressure) or normobaric (normal pressure) hypoxic environment.

The tag on your location says VA- how long have you been living at altitude?

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LeDuke
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by LeDuke

dmp wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 6:14 am
Yes, "live high, train low" works, for exactly the reason that you suggest- hypoxia limits performance at altitude. If you can follow the science, take a look at this paper: Levine BD, Stray-Gundersen J. “Living high-training low”: effect of moderate-altitude acclimatization with low-altitude training on performance. J Appl Physiol 1997;83:102–12. It's an old paper, but the science is sound. Several studies since have found that you need more than 2 weeks to make a big difference in hemoglobin concentration, whether you are in a hypobaric (low pressure) or normobaric (normal pressure) hypoxic environment.

The tag on your location says VA- how long have you been living at altitude?
Since May. Finished up grad school at Virginia Tech. My wife is a professor at UCCS.

I've spent the last three summers in Fort Collins, so I know ~5000-7000ft well enough, but my front door is at 7200ft and it's only up from there.

dmp
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by dmp

You should be well acclimated then.

I’m a professor at CU, too (at the medical school)

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LeDuke
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by LeDuke

dmp wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:54 am
You should be well acclimated then.

I’m a professor at CU, too (at the medical school)
I think I am.

Do you think it would be worth it to try to configure my schedule such that harder rides or interval days happen to coincide with the days we go up to Denver or Fort Collins?

I'm not training for any particular race, and don't have a set schedule (no coach at the moment) but I'm a "pro" MTB racer (in license only) and would like to make the most of my training hours.

by Weenie


dmp
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by dmp

Maybe for the interval days, but I'm not sure that it would make much difference for the usual training days. I suspect if you are doing distance or climbing days it won't matter as much, just for the high output days. I'll ask a friend and colleague who's the chair of the physiology dept. at UCCS who does exercise physiology work at the olympic training center to see what he thinks.

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