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  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Stupid Flatlander Needs Advice

    In an act of adventure or foolishness (depending on how you look at it) I signed up for the Mt. Evans hill climb in Colorado that starts at about 7500 ft and climbs to over 14k. I live and train near Chicago which is a mere 750ft. I figured Mt Evans would be cold and maybe a little harder to breath but the more research I did on this I am now concerned about Altitude Sickness. I am fairly fit right now and just finished climbing Mt. Mitchell in NC fairly easily but it starts about 1500 ft and finishes at about 6500 ft.

    I can get to the ride no more than a day or two before so my question is would it be better to show up the night before or two nights before. I read something somewhere that if you cannot spend a week acclimating(and I cannot) then show up as close as you can to the starting time.

    Does anyone out there have experience with training at low altitude and then attempting an event at high altitude? Insights greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: R3 Sloth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    I have never trained in L/A attempting a H/A event but having lived in Colorado I have experienced altitude sickness when going to the mountains to ski. I would agree with the last-minute start approach. Having said that, you never know though, it may not affect you as badly as the other guy - you just don't know.

    The only practical advice I would give you is that you make sure you drink plenty of liquids, eat, and bring some Advil with you on the ride just in case you get the headache. Good luck with ride.

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    I'm a flat lander too (Buffalo, NY). I've skied and ski raced all over the country though - with many trips to the Summit County area. I'll admit that the altitude barely affects me with the exception of being slightly winded when exerting myself after arriving at 10,000' where I usually stay. When I go to ski I usually make sure I drink a lot of water and Gatorade in the first 24-hours and make it a point to always stay hydrated. I've never gone out to ride but my preparation would likely be similar. Usually after 24 hours I don't notice the altitude. That said, I've done some hiking for back country skiing around 13,000' and I guarantee that you will feel the altitude up there. Make sure you breathe - long deep breaths and get into a rhythm.

  4. #4
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Tlaloc's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005


    Even if there isn't a summer monsoon, it's likely that there will be orographic precipitation at the summit. It will probably be at least cloudy up there. The rule-of-thumb for estimating temperature in the mountains is that it will decrease by five degrees F. per thousand feet of elevation gained, so even on a nice day in I de Ho Springs it will be cold at the summit. I don't know what you can do about having equipment taken up to the summit but If you can, have a shell, warm jacket and tights up there. You might want to dress more warmly than you would for a race at a lower altitude.

    The climb is not steep but it's long. Stay hydrated and consume some gels.

    I only live at about 4,000 feet but the altitude didn't bother me when I did it. I did have to pace myself to save my legs.

    I would arrive a day early because if you are going to have altitude sickness, it will probably happen on the first night.

    Stay off of your bike for at least three days before the race.

    Enjoy a really great ride.

  5. #5
    Reputation: Creakyknees's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    I once drove up Evans from a sunny hot June day in Denver, to gale force freezing wind on the summit. Be prepared.
    * not actually a Rock Star

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: MarshallH1987's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    A lot of people coming out to the mountains from sea level get dehydrated, so drink a lot more than you would regularly, it is also dry here.

    I think they have people taking clothes up to the top, but i'm not sure how that is run exactly. It will be cold at the top, feel nice while climbing, but freezing on the way down.


  7. #7
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    You need more like two weeks to acclimate. A week is not enough.
    I've done well at altitude by showing up the night before. You will be slower at altitude, but everyone is.

    When I did Mt Evans I got to Colorado five days before. I didn't get altitude sickness at the top but I could tell I wasn't getting enough oxygen. My brain was running at half speed. The view is fantastic but I started down quickly as I could tell it wasn't a good idea for me to stay up there.

    Bring a cheap small backpack and put your winter clothes in it. The organizers take the clothing up to the top. The backpack is to hold clothes as you take them back off on the way down.

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