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Altitude question:

Old 07-24-16, 02:31 PM
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Altitude question:

Altitude where I ride every day is about 1500' with a +/- of 300'. So I have some hills and do ok with them, but in a few weeks I am taking a bicycling vacation to the black hills of SD. Will be in altitudes of 5000' with +/- 500' or so. How bad will my lungs suffer with the 3500' difference in elevation? Assuming I could normally handle the routs I have planned.....Can't wait to ride out there but also a bit worried too.


thanks in advance...
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Old 07-24-16, 02:49 PM
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Susceptibility to altitude effects varies considerably among individuals, but I wouldn't expect you to have any significant issues. I live at 500' and hardly notice the altitude change when riding around Lake Tahoe at about 6500'. I do notice the altitude when going above 10,000' and frequently have a slight headache the first day above that level and shortness of breath while climbing.
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Old 07-24-16, 03:02 PM
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thanks!! I am hoping to have a minimal backlash from it but never having any experience with it makes me scared
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Old 07-24-16, 03:51 PM
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Back in the day, I lived at sea level and did quite a bit of business in Denver. I was a runner at the time and kept up my routine when on the road. I felt the change in altitude effects, surely, but they weren't debilitating. I now live at 6000 ft and conditioned to that have no issue pretty much anywhere. Flatlanders that visit don't seem to have any more issues than I back then did at this altitude, but often do with exertion at our sites at 9500 ft.

Your 3500 ft change in base altitude shouldn't be an issue. It certainly ain't gonna kill you. Just ride along with any decrease in performance.

Last edited by ltxi; 07-24-16 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 07-24-16, 04:52 PM
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In my case I really don't notice 5000 feet. Somewhere around 8000 it is REALLY obvious, so (for me) it matters somewhere in between.

dave
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Old 07-24-16, 05:21 PM
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Thanks all, feeling less nervous about it now. Can't wait to ride in the Black Hills....so beautiful there!!
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Old 07-24-16, 05:22 PM
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Ditto Daves comment

I used to spend my summers in Santa Fe at 7,000. I would notice the difference but could still ride at a somewhat slower pace, especially on hills. It was when I got up to 10,000 and above that I really noticed it.

But 5,000 ft is about the same as hiking to the higher mountains in the southeast as well as the Adirondacks and New England, and I never noticed the altitude in those cases.
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Old 07-24-16, 05:59 PM
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Expect to drop down one gear on your cassette from what you'd normally use for a specific type of terrain (I'm assuming you'll be riding on paved roadway?).

FWIW: Track and field has standards for altitude, where they asterick a time/distance/height set above a certain altitude. I haven't looked it up lately but it used to be 1500m/4900 ft for sprint and field events, and 1000m/3000ft for longer running events.
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Old 07-24-16, 06:26 PM
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Yes all paved roads/highways. Very little out there you would want to be on is not paved.
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Old 07-24-16, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
In my case I really don't notice 5000 feet. Somewhere around 8000 it is REALLY obvious, so (for me) it matters somewhere in between.

dave
I went to CO last year; stayed near Denver at 5,000 or so feet for a couple days. Next night camped at about 8,500 feet and really noticed it. I could go day hiking around the campsite pretty well with no problems, but if I sat down on the ground and got up or sat in a lawnchair and got up it made me really dizzy. Anything from a low position and getting up. I think by the end of the trip I was doing OK at the higher elevations.

sdmc530...You'll have fun out there. Can you squeeze in the Badlands which is not too far away?
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Old 07-24-16, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by jonc123 View Post
I went to CO last year; stayed near Denver at 5,000 or so feet for a couple days. Next night camped at about 8,500 feet and really noticed it. I could go day hiking around the campsite pretty well with no problems, but if I sat down on the ground and got up or sat in a lawnchair and got up it made me really dizzy. Anything from a low position and getting up. I think by the end of the trip I was doing OK at the higher elevations.

sdmc530...You'll have fun out there. Can you squeeze in the Badlands which is not too far away?

Never really thought about the badlands. They are also amazing. Love camping there. Will have to see what wife thinks of that. Don't know if they would wait for me.
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Old 07-24-16, 10:51 PM
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Also, your body will adjust to the altitude change after you've spent a day or two at the higher elevation.
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Old 07-25-16, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by raceboy View Post
Also, your body will adjust to the altitude change after you've spent a day or two at the higher elevation.


+1


If you can arrange to arrive a day early, and maybe do a short, easy (10 mile?) spin, you'll cut the chances of having problems way down.
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Old 07-25-16, 10:57 AM
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Your power output will drop by about 10% initially, and slowly improve until you're at about 95% of normal. You'll go slower on the climbs.

Joe Friel - Altitude and Aerobic Performance

You'll be slightly slower on climbs but beyond that nothing significant. In general, healthy individuals won't have any issues below 8000ft (other than the loss of power).
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Old 07-25-16, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by raceboy View Post
Also, your body will adjust to the altitude change after you've spent a day or two at the higher elevation.
This is my experience. I live in Sacramento (elev. 25) and we have a place in Tahoe City (elev. 6200). After you've spent a night at the higher elevation, you'll be pretty acclimated.
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Old 07-25-16, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by sdmc530 View Post
Yes all paved roads/highways. Very little out there you would want to be on is not paved.

I toured the Black Hills last year. There is actually some nice dirt riding out there, even if you take the Mickelson Trail out of the mix. Frankly, I wish I had done more dirt. The paved roads can be busy and noisy.


Don't miss Needles Highway. It's easier if you climb up SD 89 from Custer and then make the right on SD 87. The ride up from Rapid City to Nemo is also very pretty and pretty quiet assuming you don't go on something like a Friday afternoon. The first day I did Rapid City to Deadwood via Nemo and then to Spearfish. Spearfish is a nice and prosperous area without the tacky tourism and crowds that you will find in Keystone (just awful, but pretty much a necessary evil if you want to see Mt. Rushmore), Deadwood, Custer, Hill City and, to a lesser extent, Hot Springs. From Spearfish, the ride up through the canyon of the same name is gorgeous.


Here is the needles loop I did while staying in Custer for a few days:


https://ridewithgps.com/routes/8771954


Wind Cave N.P. and Custer S.P. are also nice. Watch out for severe thunderstorms. The night I stayed in Hill City there was hail up to the size of golf balls. That was in mid-June. With those storms, temps can drop 20 degrees or more very quickly.


Here are some photos from my trip:


https://www.flickr.com/photos/105349...57655263744881
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Old 07-25-16, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
+1


If you can arrange to arrive a day early, and maybe do a short, easy (10 mile?) spin, you'll cut the chances of having problems way down.


Yep arrive on a Sunday wont do anything till next day but its weather dependant and what my wife will let me get away with..



Originally Posted by raceboy View Post
Also, your body will adjust to the altitude change after you've spent a day or two at the higher elevation.
Originally Posted by gsa103 View Post
Your power output will drop by about 10% initially, and slowly improve until you're at about 95% of normal. You'll go slower on the climbs.

Joe Friel - Altitude and Aerobic Performance

You'll be slightly slower on climbs but beyond that nothing significant. In general, healthy individuals won't have any issues below 8000ft (other than the loss of power).
Originally Posted by caloso View Post
This is my experience. I live in Sacramento (elev. 25) and we have a place in Tahoe City (elev. 6200). After you've spent a night at the higher elevation, you'll be pretty acclimated.

thanks all, feeling much more confident about this.......although I don't think I can climb any slower
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Old 07-25-16, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I toured the Black Hills last year. There is actually some nice dirt riding out there, even if you take the Mickelson Trail out of the mix. Frankly, I wish I had done more dirt. The paved roads can be busy and noisy.


Don't miss Needles Highway. It's easier if you climb up SD 89 from Custer and then make the right on SD 87. The ride up from Rapid City to Nemo is also very pretty and pretty quiet assuming you don't go on something like a Friday afternoon. The first day I did Rapid City to Deadwood via Nemo and then to Spearfish. Spearfish is a nice and prosperous area without the tacky tourism and crowds that you will find in Keystone (just awful, but pretty much a necessary evil if you want to see Mt. Rushmore), Deadwood, Custer, Hill City and, to a lesser extent, Hot Springs. From Spearfish, the ride up through the canyon of the same name is gorgeous.


Here is the needles loop I did while staying in Custer for a few days:


https://ridewithgps.com/routes/8771954


Wind Cave N.P. and Custer S.P. are also nice. Watch out for severe thunderstorms. The night I stayed in Hill City there was hail up to the size of golf balls. That was in mid-June. With those storms, temps can drop 20 degrees or more very quickly.


Here are some photos from my trip:


https://www.flickr.com/photos/105349...57655263744881



thanks for the routs. Been working on routs for about a week now. Great pictures by the way. The needles highway I think is what I am most looking forward too, great drive so I can't wait to ride it.....great pics!
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Old 07-25-16, 02:05 PM
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At Legion Lake, between mile 19 and 20 on my Needles Loop map, there is a nice restaurant. Sounds like your wife won't beriding but maybe driving around instead. If so, I highly recommend Spearfish Canyon to Cheyenne Crossing with the little tail up to Roughlock Falls (unpaved but pretty smooth dirt):


https://ridewithgps.com/routes/8789073


There is another nice place to eat in Savoy right about mile 17. If you want a tough climb, continue on the route up the hill from Cheyenne Crossing.
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Old 07-25-16, 05:55 PM
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You wont notice a thing, not enough change to bother hardly anyone.
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Old 07-26-16, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by bykemike View Post
You wont notice a thing, not enough change to bother hardly anyone.


thanks!!
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Old 07-26-16, 01:10 PM
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I live at 150m above sea level.

I've ridden my mountain bike close to 2500m, and for more than 2 hours without descending under 2000 with no issues. I dind't feel any difference, and according to my heart rate monitor I had my usual heart rate. One of my mates said he noticed the altitude, but he rode at his normal pace without issues too.

I suppose it's something that changes from one person so another, but 5000ft are only 1600m, so I doubt you'll notice anything at all. It's a farily low altitude after all.
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Old 07-26-16, 05:02 PM
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You will notice, but it won't be bad. When I moved to Denver from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, I took my bike out for a ride. I felt great and thought the 5400 feet was nothing. This was until I hit the first hill. I felt it. Now it's good but I have been here a few years. I work at the airport and watching people running to catch a flight, there are many that get winded fast.
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Old 07-26-16, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by kermie View Post
You will notice, but it won't be bad. When I moved to Denver from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, I took my bike out for a ride. I felt great and thought the 5400 feet was nothing. This was until I hit the first hill. I felt it. Now it's good but I have been here a few years. I work at the airport and watching people running to catch a flight, there are many that get winded fast.
Yeppers....I've lived at high plains altitude for 23 years now. Conditioned to it and like it that way....especially with age.
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Old 07-27-16, 06:12 PM
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+1 agree that you will notice but it won't stop you from having great rides.

-1 disagree that you acclimate in any way in a day or two. I don't have a link but research has shown that after a few days the cumulative effects actually wear you down as you acclimate, which takes a couple of weeks or more. So either get there a few weeks early or hit the hills as soon as you get there before the altitude starts to wear you down.

Btw I live and ride at 200' and I've been in Colorado for about a week riding at between 9,000 and 11,000 feet or so (Breck / Vail area). If SD is anything like it is here you're gonna have a great time.
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