I've read a few articles by both you, Joel Friel and a few others about training and racing at altitude. This year I'm racing Leadville and have access to a place in Frisco for training. My plan is to do all of my higher intensity workouts here in Fort Collins and do longer, steady training rides on the weekends in Breckenridge and up around Leadville. I've found discussions of benefits for >4 weeks and your suggestions for racing at >8500 ft:
Utilizing Altitude Training for Racing at Altitudes Above 8,500 Feet
Live at an altitude between 5,000 and 8,500 feet for three to four weeks.
Drive to higher altitudes for some training days and consider occasional overnight stays prior to training days. Keep recovery periods at lower altitudes.
Keep power output high by doing high-intensity work intervals at 5,000 to 8,500 feet or lower. Or, consider using supplemental oxygen during workouts.
But do you get the benefits of living at high altitude by spending weekends at ~9000 ft or is it just not a large enough percentage of time to matter? I've even dug around on a few Everest web sites that seem to indicate that a couple of extra days at higher camps is enough to help while spending the majority of time at base camp (although that might be too extreme of an example to make sense).
Anyway - thanks and I hope to see you at somerides/races this summer,
Hi A.J. ~
First, congrats on your Leadville entry. I am entered in Leadville this year as well, so maybe I’ll see you there – or training on the great trails in Northern Colorado.
For your question, “But do you get the benefits of living at high altitude by spending weekends at ~9000 ft or is it just not a large enough percentage of time to matter? “
In my opinion, yes, you do get benefits from spending weekends or perhaps every three weekends at altitude. I live on the Front Range close to you, as you know from the group ride listing. Here is a blog that I wrote about intermittent altitude exposure.
I too have access to training around Frisco and I continue to collect one-person data on oxygen saturation. I do a mix of alpine and Nordic skiing through the winter and I’ve found the oxygen saturation data stays consistent. If I can get to Summit County roughly every three weeks, I can maintain higher oxygen saturation levels. Like you, I do most of my training at ~5,000 feet which I believe keeps power output high. I may know more about that (real data) this season.
Hope this helps. See you on the trails (or the road) ~
Detailed off-season plans for triathlon and cycling, along with event-specific running, cycling and triathlon plans are found here.
Friday night I watched some of the Opening Ceremonies for the Olympics. What I saw was fantastic, I think the Chinese organizers did a really nice job.
While I wanted to watch all of the ceremonies, I needed to get some sleep. I knew a 4:45 am wake-up call would be the start of a long day on Saturday at the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race.
I posted that Lance Armstrong did indeed show up to the pre-race meeting. He was discounting his race ability, compared to five-time champion Dave Wiens. Dave, however, knew better than to think Lance would do anything other than try to win.
Meanwhile, on the women's side of the race, very few people knew that Susan Williams was racing. Regular blog readers knew Susan was racing, but not many others did. When we were driving up to pre-ride the course, Susan asked what my time goal was and I told her 10:30. She said that was her time goal too, on the advice of someone that knew her.
"No Susan, you will go faster than 10:30," I told her.
She asked if she could line up with me at the start line and I told her, "Of course, you're welcome to start with me...but you ride your own race and do not pace off of me."
I told my husband after the pre-ride that Susan is well-capable of a sub-9 finish; but I don't know how she'll ride this year after running around 30 miles in a 24-hour relay the week before the Leadville event.
The rain the day before the race put the course in perfect condition. Race morning was cool and overcast, not too cold. Perfect!
Below are shots of people outbound at Twin Lakes, getting ready for the Columbine climb...
Roy Gatesman (441)
Todd Kornfield (his fiancé Jen is crewing)
More shots home bound after Columbine Mine....
Del, my husband and great race support with me
The short story is most everyone had a good race. Two guys that missed the cut-off last year, got their shiny buckles this year. They both had plenty of time to spare.
As most of you know by now, Dave Wiens was the first place male. At the awards ceremony, Lance gave a really nice speech and complimented race organizers as well as Dave. "Not many guys can ride me off of their wheel, but this guy did," Lance said. Lance continued to say something else complimentary about Dave, but I don't recall his exact words.
The women's champion was Susan Williams. Did she race faster than 10:30? Ah, yeah...try an 8:40. I guess running more than a marathon the week before the race isn't a bad idea after all.
Below is a shot of Susan Williams and her two girls, Dave Wiens, his wife Susan (DeMatti) and their three boys.
Several of my buddies got more good photos, but I don't have them yet. If you're a subscriber to the blog, you will be notified when new photos are posted to this blog or to a new one.
As for my race, I did make my 10:30 goal with a bit of time to spare at 10:27. I could have lived without an hour of rain near the end of the race, but given the rest of the day's weather, I won't complain.
My second goal was to get on the podium to score one of those nifty mining pans. I managed to do that as well.
I can't say/write enough about the incredible support I received during the race. The crowd support was fantastic. At the base of Columbine Mine there were two little girls standing on the edge of the road screaming, "Girl power!!! You rock!!!" That was really cool.
Lots of people got me to smile with their encouraging words. It's nice to smile during a ride like Leadville.
I rode with some really terrific guys that helped me achieve my race goals. I told several of you I owe you a beer post-race and I'm more than willing to pay on that promise. Seriously, you guys were awesome.
I think people can post photos in the comment section. Give it a shot. If you can't send me your photos and I'll post them in the blog.
She missed our first July pre-ride because she was vacationing in Mexico for 10 days with her family. We hooked up last Friday and headed up to Twin Lakes for a pre-ride of the Columbine Mine climb.
Below is a photo of the gang at Twin Lakes. Left to right: Roy Gatesman, Dave Newman, Susan Williams, Ernie Wintergerst, Jeff Bruno, Scott Ellis, Stewart Pomeroy and Todd Kornfield. (Roy, Todd and Stewart work at Peloton Cycles, my favorite bike shop.)
Catching up with Susan, she is enjoying time with her two daughters, Syndey and Elysia, along with husband Tim. She is coaching other athletes to be successful out of her home base of Littleton, Colorado. She stays active by doing some racing and training.
The weekend before the Leadville race she is doing the 200-Mile Colorado Wild West Relay as one member of a six person team. While not optimal training and rest for the Leadville race, she's enjoying doing different kinds of events and staying fit. For Leadville, her biggest goal is to enjoy the event. (She says her mountain bike skills are still in the development stages, especially the downhill.)
The group enjoyed the Columbine climb that is not quite as enjoyable on race day. A map of the event can be found here, with the Columbine climb being the high pointy spot in the center.
On race day, there is two-way traffic on the road. In some places the road is in good shape (like where the hare is crossing below at about 12,000 ft. elevation) and in other places there is still snow.
Okay wildlife experts is this a common hare (I think this is not a rabbit, but is a hare - verify for me) or a snowshoe hare? Seems big for a snowshoe hare, but those are incredibly furry hind feet. What do you think?
Above the hare photo location on the mountain, remains a giant snowfield. The group estimates it is at least a couple of feet deep and we wonder if it will be gone by race day.
Roy is beginning to cross the snowfield and Todd is pushing through on the next photo. Roy and Stewart are taking in the view post-snowfield in the third photo below.
At the top is an old structure that reminds me of how hard life would have been in the rich mining times of Leadville. Imagine living and working at 12,600 feet in the late 1800s. Tough people, really tough.
A second view at the top shows surrounding peaks and clouds threatening to drop rain. Time to get off the mountain.
We did beat the rain and had enough time to stop into race headquarters and introduce Susan to Merilee (the race director). Susan is so humble and unassuming that she didn't bother to tell the race directors of her past accomplishments. I have no problem telling others about Susan's great accomplishments - she rocks!
I must admit that I planned to see aliens and spaceships on the group ride today. My first encounter with the spaceship was in 2000 or 2001 and I'm a believer. Yes, a spaceship landing pad is just outside my hometown of Loveland, Colorado. Hard to believe, I know.
Steve Douglas, one of my riding buddies from the Ft. Collins Breakfast Club group ride, was not a believer-until today. And we have photos.
Before I get to today's ride, I must go back to August and the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race. Steve had mechanical difficulties that day and it wasn't such a good race for him. Similar to others that have had no-so-good races, he proclaimed the day after the race, "I will NEVER do Leadville again."
Several days after the race was over, he posted the gory details of the event on an August 21, 2007 posting titled, "Leadville, Aliens and Suffering". You can find that posting here and you will have to page back to find the August 21 post.
The most critical piece of that post is:
"Would I ever do this again? ... Mark these words: I will only do this one again under 2 conditions: 1) When Aliens announce their presence to this planet or 2) If my brother says he wants to do it.Keep in mind there is little chance of either of these things happening!"
I present to you photographic proof that Steve has met with the aliens - well, at least one alien. Below is Steve posing with the handcrafted spaceship and one small green alien, who's name I did not catch.
This alien spaceship was handcrafted by Russ (Russ's Machine Shop). In all of the alien excitement, I did not get a photo of Russ and Rick, who I assume is Russ's son. We'll have to go back another time.
In addition to handcrafting the spaceship, Russ has a garage filled with ever-so-beautiful Indian motocycles, a gas pump, a handmade three-seat motocycle (Ed, help me with that engine again in the comment section) and even a John Deere bicycle. Check out the photos below.
Now I think the aliens may have been a bit peeved at non-believers because our 45-mile ride had five flat tires, one mechanical chain drop/jam and time in the ride when the group was separated by a series of errors. Apparently the aliens were testing us.
When the group got split, I received a call from Ryan in the other group asking if our group had been abducted by the aliens. This was proof to the aliens that people are indeed believers.
The ride finished safely, with several people talking about aliens. I think we will have great rides from this point forward because we have full alien support.
And Steve, I'm sure you'll be cutting a check and sending in your entry form for Leadville in January of 2008. With alien support, I'm certain you'll be selected in the lottery.
In a previous post I alluded to a bike race I am doing this year. That race is the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race. This will be my third year battling the course. I wrote a couple of columns about the event in 05. At some point I will disclose how it is someone manages to cross the finish line with only five seconds to spare; but not today.
Today's story really began late in 2006. The story line has all the ingredients of a good western movie, set in an old mining town with a history of heros, power disputes and clandestine plans. Leadville is the perfect setting for a showdown between Lance Armstrong, Floyd Landis and the lesser-publicized Dave Weins.
Late in 2006, the Leadville Chronicle released a story that confirmed Lance planned to race in the 2007 event. His interest in the event was sparked by his long-time coach Chris Charmichael's participation in the 2006 event. Chris apparently lost a bet that he would complete the event under nine hours, the special time cut for "La Plata Grande" the BIG belt buckle.
Race Director Ken Chlouber invited Floyd to do the race after Lance decided to do the event. To have two strong horses race though the middle of town is a good opportunity for the race and the city. For many, these guys remain heros of the American cycling movement. Yep, a grand opportunity for a good showdown, horse race or both.
After press, stories and the ususal hype expected from this kind of a race, Lance announced that he had a "scheduling conflict" and would not be able to do the race after all.
Last week Chris Charmichael reported he rode the Leadville course with Lance and hinted to the possibility that Lance may still race at Leadville. Ah, clandestine plans.
Also last week, Ken Chlouber made it very clear he wants Floyd on the start line and is willing to find an independent insurance company to insure the event. The race is sanctioned by NORBA for insurance purposes. NORBA is the National Off-Road Bicycling Association and a division of USA Cycling. USA Cycling falls under UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) rules. Floyd is currently under investigation for doping charges and if found guilty will be ineligble to compete in any UCI events for two years. Chlouber will do whatever it takes to have Floyd on the start line at Leadville.
Floyd said in a press story last week that he still plans on doing the event and has been busy whipping that new hip into shape.
Meanwhile, quietly preparing for the event is Dave Wiens - I'm guessing. There has been some press about the four-time Leadville winner, but not much. He is a Colorado native, former World Cup racer and a 2000 inductee into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. Leadville racers love him. He is approachable, friendly and shouts encouraging words to racers as he passes them when he is returning on the out-and-back course.
Now that you have the basic story, belly up to the bar and place your bets.
Will Lance do the race?
Will Floyd's new hip work as well or better than his old one?
Does living in Colorado and knowing the course give Wiens an advantage?
Which horse will charge across the finishline first?
On Wednesday I go to Leadville for my pre-ride of the year. If I see any secret training going on, I'll let you know. You may want to change your bet...