If you live and ride in the area, the level of elevation doesn’t even cross your mind, but for those of you coming to visit from places that aren’t that high, not being in proper condition can cause your trip to be less than stellar. Here are a few tricks to help you get prepared for your altitude vacation!
High-Intensity Interval Training – incorporate this type of training into your routine to help expand your exertion threshold. This type of training will help increase your respiratory rate and heart rate – both things that will increase when you ride at higher altitudes. You want to start making your body work harder at your current level, so when you get to a higher elevation your body will already be used to working hard and it won’t feel so daunting.
Breathing Exercises – there are masks and apps that you can get to help you with breathing exercises before your trip, but basically, you will just want to work your lungs to inhale deeper/harder, hold on to that breath longer, and then exhale. Lung capacity is the other problem that happens when people aren’t used to riding at altitude. It is harder to take a deep breath when the air is thinner, causing you to not get as much oxygen as you’re used to. Breathing exercises can get your lungs in shape to ride at a higher elevation.
Get Your Iron – while this isn’t a training technique, iron is crucial in moving oxygen from your lungs to your muscles. Women typically start out lower in iron than men, so they are already at a disadvantage. Taking a supplement before you head to higher grounds will put your body in a better position to not get the double whammy of lack of oxygen from the start and elevation.
Get There Early – you’ll have the best riding luck if you let yourself acclimate to the area a few days before you start riding. So, if possible plan your travels to arrive a few days before you intend to ride your bike. It isn’t just the elevation you need to adjust for, it could also be time zone, sleeping patterns of a new room, or more hydration in a desert environment (like Fruita!). The ideal time is a full week early, but if you’re like us, that would be your entire trip! Just let yourself get used to the area before hitting it hard.
Riding your bike should be fun – not tedious, so don’t set your expectations at the top level when visiting from a lower altitude. Have fun! Enjoy the scenery. Enjoy those post ride beers and snacks. This is still a vacation after all. If you need anything while you’re on vacation, stop in! Our staff is happy to help you find your next favorite trail, fix that flat, or anything else that comes your way during your Fruita vacation.