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Altitude Training

jerry3571jerry3571 Posts: 1,532
An issue in Procycling talked to a Pro rider who spends his time up the top of a mountain in Tenerife. I was told by an Olympic Doctor that altitude training should consist of living up at altitude for a few weeks with training taking place at lower levels. The principle is that twiddling a tiny gear at 2-3000m is a good way to lose any muscle mass or previous condition you had on arrival.
Training at lower altitude means that your body will be going as hard as usual; just like back home. As time goes on through the weeks, living at altitude, your muscles adapt to the gradual increase in red blood cells that will occur. So when you head for your first race at home your muscles will not need to adapt to riding at the oxygen rich lower altitudes. You'll be flying!!
Me and a mate went to Sierra Nevada in Spain and were up at 1600m (not high enough really) for a week and a half and we had some really good form when we got home. The Sierra Nevada Resort is at 2500m and due to me cocking up the bookings we ended up miles from anywhere. Try the Hotel Mont Blanc; as it is an altitude over 2000m. In the summer it is a bit dead; you'll need a car to go to Granada to see some life. Also, the highest road in Europe is above the Village but beware!!
I went up to the top, and in Granada (start of the climb) it was 28c and at the top of the climb it was 0c. My mate was a mountain biker/roady who liked fast motorbikes went there once and only once. We froze to death up there. If you're tempted, leave piles of clothes up the climb; 0c in light cycling gear is not funny (I had a Gillet, arm warmers and leg warmers and I froze; my mate was in shorts :shock: ) Take great care!!
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”- Albert Einstein

"You can't ride the Tour de France on mineral water."
-Jacques Anquetil


  • Anyone interested in effects of altitude on training, this book would be worth reading:

    Also, for a summary of the effects on altitude on power, have a look here:

    In short, and depending on what you are targeting, one of the most effective strategies is to live high and train low.
  • KléberKléber Posts: 6,842
    Or buy one of those tents, probably the same cost as three weeks living in the middle of nowhere?
  • jerry3571jerry3571 Posts: 1,532
    Bit cheaper to head to Spain but I do know of a bloke that got an Oxygen Tent for £7000. He was a Bournemouth wheeler, who's times for a 25 went from a 58 min to just over 50 mins.
    I guess if you've got one then the effects will be throughout the whole summer.
    Much better to get this tent than buy a new Colnago.
    “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”- Albert Einstein

    "You can't ride the Tour de France on mineral water."
    -Jacques Anquetil
  • jpembrokejpembroke Posts: 2,569
    You can synthesise altitude training by drinking too much and cycling with a hangover. Cheaper than going to Mexico.
    I'm only concerned with looking concerned
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