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  1. #1
    The Original Suspect
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    Lower altitude sluggishness.

    I am trying to figure out if it's just me or there really is an issue. Currently I live in the Ft. Collins, Co area and at about 5000 ft. I don't necessarily "train" hard but I do ride and exercise regularly. My problem is when I travel to the Phoenix area, roughly 1000ft, when I ride I feel totally sluggish and while using a heart rate monitor, my rate is always about 10 bpm more for the same type of activity.

    Is there a term for this? I have been looking and I just seem to find info on high altitude training and nothing that addresses this issue in particular.

    Anyone else?

  2. #2
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    Maybe the air quality sucks in phoenix or there is a temp difference you aren't used to.

    Or quite possibly, your legs feel better and you push it harder till your heart rate reaches a point you aren't used to, but at the same time you may be riding faster.

    I've had days where I feel great but my average speed is slower, and days where I feel like crap and my average speed is faster.

  3. #3
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    Air quality really did suck over the last week, but this seems to happen every time I go. I usually need a few days to acclimate then I feel like myself.

  4. #4
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    Strange... it normally happens the other way around. (low alt to high).

    Are you sure you are giving out the same effort? Your performance should in fact be better due to more O2 in the air.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlienRFX View Post
    Maybe the air quality sucks in phoenix or there is a temp difference you aren't used to.

    The brown cloud over Phoenix can be debilitating. Also when it's hot in the lower deserts I sometimes feel like someone put a Quelude in my water bottle.

    Like JoeP said you should in theory get an energy boost going down to the thicker air.

  6. #6
    B.Ike
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    are you latino? My heart beats a bit faster when I'm in AZ.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by HitmenOnlyInc View Post
    I am trying to figure out if it's just me or there really is an issue. Currently I live in the Ft. Collins, Co area and at about 5000 ft. I don't necessarily "train" hard but I do ride and exercise regularly. My problem is when I travel to the Phoenix area, roughly 1000ft, when I ride I feel totally sluggish and while using a heart rate monitor, my rate is always about 10 bpm more for the same type of activity.

    Is there a term for this? I have been looking and I just seem to find info on high altitude training and nothing that addresses this issue in particular.

    Anyone else?
    Yes I've noticed this, I've always just cracked it up to be my mind telling me I SHOULD be able to ride harder (so I do). I bet if you compared your #'s on a power meter, or even a GPS, you would be producing more power (or traveling faster) in phoenix while at a lower heart rate. To compensate for the lower HR, you push harder to make your body feel "the same" as at home. Could also be changes in soil conditions, tire pressure, unfamiliar riding that makes you FEEL slower when in fact you are not. You can push your body harder at lower elevations, your legs might have some catching up to do with your lungs.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cm374 View Post
    Yes I've noticed this, I've always just cracked it up to be my mind telling me I SHOULD be able to ride harder (so I do). I bet if you compared your #'s on a power meter, or even a GPS, you would be producing more power (or traveling faster) in phoenix while at a lower heart rate. To compensate for the lower HR, you push harder to make your body feel "the same" as at home. Could also be changes in soil conditions, tire pressure, unfamiliar riding that makes you FEEL slower when in fact you are not. You can push your body harder at lower elevations, your legs might have some catching up to do with your lungs.
    Kinda makes sense. But I lived in the Phoenix area for over 20 yrs and it has only been in the last 7 or 8 months of traveling back and forth every 6 weeks or so. I ride familiar trails with the same people.

  9. #9
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    Are you changing your diet at all while you're traveling? That, combined with the poor air quality, should do it.
    I've made some bad decisions like taking the gears off my bike. So here's the warning: Do not as I say, nor as I do.

  10. #10
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    Diet and Air Quality at extremes could definetly have an impact however my experience has been the opposite...

    I played Jr. A Ice Hockey out West in Jackson WY my first 2 seasons of Jr's when I was 17/19 and had the typical oxygen starved altitude effect in my performance during the first week or so of training camp.. It was torture... Then I acclimated as would be expected..

    What I did not expect and was blown away by was when I would fly home for Christmas and/or after the season was over and hopped in a Mens league game of an open Ice time.. I literally felt like I was super charged in the comparatively oxygen rich air here on the East Coast dead at Sea Level...... Taking into the consideration the shape I was in from playing hockey at that level for an entire season I was sure to be faster than the guys from home but I was like an animal...Power, Speed, Endurance and even Focus was way way up...

    After all The Team USA Traing facility in Colorado Springs was selected in part due to its High Altitude and the positive effects of High Altitude Training... Its literally like legal natural doping...

  11. #11
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    ^^ Yes, that is typical when traveling from high altitude to low altitude. My school cycling team has an advantage because of this -- we're at ~4500 feet in the Sierra foothills, and all the other schools that we compete against are at sea level.

    However, that's not what OP is experiencing. Thus, his starting this thread to figure out what's wrong.
    I've made some bad decisions like taking the gears off my bike. So here's the warning: Do not as I say, nor as I do.

  12. #12
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    Make sure you catch Lances interview on Oprah - I hear he is going to give some tips that will fix this problem

  13. #13
    The Original Suspect
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    Thanks all. Yes, I am aware of the benefits of training at high altitude. This is the opposite though. I don't really know if what I do is considered "training" per se, I am just doing normal exercise and riding.

    My diet is really no different in either location and like I said, I usually ride on trails I am familiar with and therefore I know how I should perform by comparison. I totally understand how I would and did feel when I moved from Arizona to Colorado. It took a good couple of weeks to feel "normal" while exercising in the higher elevation.

  14. #14
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    The heat can get you exhausted easily, don't know if it will raise your heart rate though.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by santiagomo87 View Post
    The heat can get you exhausted easily, don't know if it will raise your heart rate though.
    No heat there last week. Record cold temps.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by HitmenOnlyInc View Post
    Air quality really did suck over the last week, but this seems to happen every time I go. I usually need a few days to acclimate then I feel like myself.
    This.

    Normally O2 is thicker at lower alititudes, but smog negates and does more to mess you up.

  17. #17
    B.Ike
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    road trip diet? I tend to eat a lot more crap away from home.

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