Results 1 to 14 of 14
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    754

    Race on vacation(at altitude)?

    We are doing a Colorado vacation this July and wanted to do a race while I'm there. I'm coming from sea level so is it better to show up the day before the race or a week early. I've read some say if you show up the day before the elevation has less time to wear on your body than being a few days before. I don't guess there would be any advantage to 7-8 days before? I know it take a long time to be fully acclimated. I'm trying to figure out if I want to do the race at the beginning of my vacation or the end. I know the elevation thing has been covered, I was wondering if 1 to 1.5 weeks would help or hurt.
    I was think about the Firecracker 50, Breckenridge 100(68 mile version) or Silver Rush.
    Small ring in front makes it easier. Small ring in back makes it harder. That blows my mind.

  2. #2
    The Original Suspect
    Reputation: HitmenOnlyInc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    1,296
    I haven't done a race at altitude, but I recently moved from the Phoenix area (about 1100 ft) to Loveland, Colorado (about 5000). I can say that my first rides were brutal! It took me a couple of weeks to become acclimated and after a couple of months I have better stamina than at 1100. I am on a trip now back to the Phoenix area and found myself to be a bit sluggish while riding for a couple of days.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    549
    You'll get arguments and evidence that point to both ends (arrive day of and several weeks out). What doesn't change is that even living at ~6k feet for the past 10+ years, I still struggle when I ride up in Breck/Salida. Like any endurance event, you just need to limit your anaerobic efforts as it will take a hell of a long time to recover from them. Just keep dieseling along and keep your hr in check and ride your ride.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    59
    Quote Originally Posted by Lenny7 View Post
    We are doing a Colorado vacation this July and wanted to do a race while I'm there. I'm coming from sea level so is it better to show up the day before the race or a week early. I've read some say if you show up the day before the elevation has less time to wear on your body than being a few days before. I don't guess there would be any advantage to 7-8 days before? I know it take a long time to be fully acclimated. I'm trying to figure out if I want to do the race at the beginning of my vacation or the end. I know the elevation thing has been covered, I was wondering if 1 to 1.5 weeks would help or hurt.
    I was think about the Firecracker 50, Breckenridge 100(68 mile version) or Silver Rush.
    I suspect you do not have 3 weeks to acclimitize to the altitude so I would just show up the day before the race, give it a whirl and then RELAX. Just go into it with low/no performance expectations and see what happens.

    Couple reasons. The 6-7 days would not do much to help you acclimitize plus if you are like me you might obsess the whole time and not actually enjoy your vacation - not great for spouse/kids either. Also you could then do more aggressive/fun riding the rest of your time with no impact on your race.

    I did Leadville from sea level a couple times (both with a week to acclimitize) and going into the races I felt equally crappy. The two years were drastically different from a suffering/results perspective but I attribute that to starting slower and riding into my pace the second year rather than ignoring that I had 1/3 less (or whatever) oxygen to breath and trying to hammer like I would at home.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by 8Shakes; 11-26-2012 at 10:16 AM.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    79
    Quote Originally Posted by Lenny7 View Post
    We are doing a Colorado vacation this July and wanted to do a race while I'm there. I'm coming from sea level so is it better to show up the day before the race or a week early. I've read some say if you show up the day before the elevation has less time to wear on your body than being a few days before. I don't guess there would be any advantage to 7-8 days before? I know it take a long time to be fully acclimated. I'm trying to figure out if I want to do the race at the beginning of my vacation or the end. I know the elevation thing has been covered, I was wondering if 1 to 1.5 weeks would help or hurt.
    I was think about the Firecracker 50, Breckenridge 100(68 mile version) or Silver Rush.

    I've had guests visit who on the first day or two have altitude sickness, and I live at 5600. I'd at least give yourself a day or two before the race, and make sure to drink plenty of water. As far as race selection goes, the Breck 68 is quite brutal, and the Silver Rush you feel the elevation even if you do live at altitude (not to mention it involves quite a bit of hiking). I've done the Firecraker 50 several times and it's a pretty fun race. It's going to hurt regardless which you do, but this one would be the most enjoyable in my opinion.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    754
    Thanks everyone. The Firecracker 50 might works best for the beginning of the trip. I'm gonna try to get in it. When does the registration usually open? Early spring?
    I live in Texas but have skied most of my life and never had a problem with sickness. I did a backpacking trip 2 summers ago with a 40 lb pack. Went over 4 12,000 foot peaks and one 14er with no sickness. Now, stopping every 5 steps and gasping, yes. I would just like to do a race up there with out walking every incline.
    Small ring in front makes it easier. Small ring in back makes it harder. That blows my mind.

  7. #7
    DLd
    DLd is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    980
    Quote Originally Posted by 8Shakes View Post
    I suspect you do not have 3 weeks to acclimitize to the altitude so I would just show up the day before the race, give it a whirl and then RELAX. Just go into it with low/no performance expectations and see what happens.

    Couple reasons. The 6-7 days would not do much to help you acclimitize plus if you are like me you might obsess the whole time and not actually enjoy your vacation - not great for spouse/kids either. Also you could then do more aggressive/fun riding the rest of your time with no impact on your race.

    I did Leadville from sea level a couple times (both with a week to acclimitize) and going into the races I felt equally crappy. The two years were drastically different from a suffering/results perspective but I attribute that to starting slower and riding into my pace the second year rather than ignoring that I had 1/3 less (or whatever) oxygen to breath and trying to hammer like I would at home.

    Good luck!
    This is great practical advice for both the race and your family vacation.
    "Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion."-Jack Kerouac

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    1,421
    Everyone's body reacts differently to the altitude. I say just show up and give it a go.

    I have done all the races mentioned. The silver rush 50 is awfull! Lots of hike a bike and barely any single track. A must skip in my book.

    The Breck 68 rides more like a 100 mile race. Super fun but an ass kicker.

    The firecracker 50 is awesome and a great event for your family to watch you lead out of town. The 50 is two loops so if you are cooked after one you can call it quits and it wont be a big deal.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lenny7 View Post
    We are doing a Colorado vacation this July and wanted to do a race while I'm there. I'm coming from sea level so is it better to show up the day before the race or a week early. I've read some say if you show up the day before the elevation has less time to wear on your body than being a few days before. I don't guess there would be any advantage to 7-8 days before? I know it take a long time to be fully acclimated. I'm trying to figure out if I want to do the race at the beginning of my vacation or the end. I know the elevation thing has been covered, I was wondering if 1 to 1.5 weeks would help or hurt.
    I was think about the Firecracker 50, Breckenridge 100(68 mile version) or Silver Rush.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    17
    Quote Originally Posted by Lenny7 View Post
    We are doing a Colorado vacation this July... I was wondering if 1 to 1.5 weeks would help or hurt.
    my opinion: It helps.

    I was confronted with a similar problem this past summer coming from my home at sea level and doing the High Cascades event in Bend, which could range from 5000 to 7000 feet (intermediate altitude). My wife was very interested in visiting Bend and so I didn't want the whole trip consumed by my goal, but also didn't want to waste the ride due to altitude problems.

    The solution was to split the difference and do it in the middle to balance my obsessive preparation against just having a good time. Simpleminded answer, sort of, but three nights at altitude including one day of good activity turned out to be perfect. A first day hike at high altitude (9000ft) seemed to really help a lot and I wasn't tempted to burn up my legs. Not riding the first day means I didn't risk blowing the whole trip by crashing (good argument for doing risky stuff last).

    In my experience 10000 is a LOT different than 7000, but I do think getting up there a bit ahead of the ride gives you a chance to do well and cuts the risk of screwing up the whole vacation.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,428
    Lighten up, you will be on vacation. The Firecracker50 is a great event. It has one of the best starts in all of the mtbike world, at the front of the Brekenridge July 4th parade, thru downtown Brek, with the main street lined with a flag waving crowd. I live up here in Colorado, and have done the event many times and even acclimated, it kicked my ass just going up French Gulch twice. I consider it a success to just not have to walk. Do the race, don't worry about the result, and enjoy the great scenery, and support. Remember you are on vacation, results shouldn't be the top consideration, have fun, and the F50 can count as a great training race to help you kick your friends ass once "vacation" is over.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    754
    Trust me, I'm in it to finish, not place. Even my local races, if I'm winning no one else showed up. The Firecracker 50 sounds like a blast. Does it usually sell out fast?
    Small ring in front makes it easier. Small ring in back makes it harder. That blows my mind.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    79
    Quote Originally Posted by Lenny7 View Post
    Trust me, I'm in it to finish, not place. Even my local races, if I'm winning no one else showed up. The Firecracker 50 sounds like a blast. Does it usually sell out fast?
    No, it's one of the rare endurance races in CO that doesn't tend to sell out too fast (fast being usually in 15 mins), but I'd keep an eye there website to see when registration opens. It isn't displayed quite yet.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: steadyflow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,036
    Do one of the Breck events....skip the Silver Rush. The riding in Breckenridge is awesome.....enjoy!!

  14. #14
    Tailwind Nutrition
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    52
    Yep, the Silver Rush is brutal...especially the start. If you have any problems with altitude, the start alone will kill you. It's all the elevation gain of the Leadville 100 but in 50 miles.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •