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    How about the high altitudes?  
    Here's one I thought of last night as I was drifting off to sleep... how does one train for the altitude difference? It seems that after training and living in Portland (sea level, less than 1000 ft anyway), to do the ride at 3-4,000 ft (the Wallowas [CO 12] are around 10,000 ft) would leave most of us gasping for breath a bit.

If altitude is something to train for, how would it be done? Can you, say, ride to Timberline once a week, or will your body reset the amount of O2 in your blood as soon as you are back in Portland? Would you have to get there a few days early to acclimate? Am I blowing this way out of proportion?

Julianna Johnson

This is not something to be losing sleep over.

The percent change in oxygen levels from 0 to 10,000 thousand feet can make a difference. However, the elevations of 5000 feet create no significant penalty on performance of the human body. The amount of time spent above 5000 feet on this CO XII ride will not make any difference. I don't have the figures to spout about oxygen percentages, but this idea should be one of the last you should consider training for. Training on your bike consistently is by far the most important thing you should do to have a great CO XII experience.

Training on your bike will enhance both your mechanical and aerobic efficiencies far more than the percentage decrease in oxygen.

It would take two days to fully acclimate to a change of elevation from 0 to 10,000 feet. The ride is seven days long. Not to worry.

I would be amazed if the roads we ride on get anywhere near 10,000 feet in elevation.

For someone who has been training on their bike, there will be no concern about altitude or lack of oxygen.

Besides, if you don't like to breathe hard, just slow down.

I guess one could smoke cigarettes while riding. Seems to me that would be a good way to deprive yourself of oxygen.

If you can do the round trip ride to Timberline from Portland once per week, you should be telling us how to train.

Yes, you are blowing this way out of proportion.

If you were planning on racing the CO XII, then you would have matters to consider regarding elevation training, but your not planning on riding with 100% effort every day, are you?

Bob Mueller

I was worried about this last year coming from Juneau, Alaska, which is at sea level. But I and my biking partner did not have any trouble until we reached around 7,000 ft. Up to that point the training that we did and the miles we covered doing it, over 1500 miles that summer, were good enough for us to meet the challenge of hill climbing in CO IX.

Stephen Sorensen

I agree with Bob.

The last time CO rode in this area we stayed on roads that were below 6000', and I believe that the Wallowas are mostly wilderness with very few roads, so we will probably see similar altitudes.

As far as general altitude training, you will get acclimated on the ride because most of the towns are already at 3000 - 4000 feet, and a couple thousand foot climb from that base elevation doesn't feel much different than a similar climb from sea level.

I know because my wife & I train on 1400 - 2000' climbs from sea level (with 8% grades) here in the SF Bay Area and we didn't feel any altitude effects going around Crater Lake last year, even though we topped 7000'. I guess that shows that if you train reasonably well during the summer you won't be surprised no matter what terrain CO throws at you!

Ron Scheldrup

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  Page Last Updated: Jan. 20, 2003  
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