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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just did the Austin Rattler 100 on Saturday and got qualified to Leadville. It will be my first time there and I want to start planning the trip. Flights and Hotels mainly for now. I have done 80Km rides starting at 6K ft going up to 10k ft. On those rides we arrived the day before and felt ok with the altitude. I live in Monterrey, Mexico at 1,700ft over seal level.
I have a full time office job so ideally I would like to fly to Leadville on Thursday of race week....packet pickup and preparations on Friday and race on Saturday. I've read suggestions on either arriving 1 week before the race to adjust to altitude or the afternoon before the race (which sounds risky to me in case something goes wrong with flights or any last minute bike issues).
Anyone out there that lives in similar altitude than me and has done an altitude event like Leadville arriving 2-3 days prior to the race?...felt ok?
Any other recommendations are welcomed. Thanks
 

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Team Velveeta™
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Just did the Austin Rattler 100 on Saturday and got qualified to Leadville. It will be my first time there and I want to start planning the trip. Flights and Hotels mainly for now. I have done 80Km rides starting at 6K ft going up to 10k ft. On those rides we arrived the day before and felt ok with the altitude. I live in Monterrey, Mexico at 1,700ft over seal level.
I have a full time office job so ideally I would like to fly to Leadville on Thursday of race week....packet pickup and preparations on Friday and race on Saturday. I've read suggestions on either arriving 1 week before the race to adjust to altitude or the afternoon before the race (which sounds risky to me in case something goes wrong with flights or any last minute bike issues).
Anyone out there that lives in similar altitude than me and has done an altitude event like Leadville arriving 2-3 days prior to the race?...felt ok?
Any other recommendations are welcomed. Thanks
Look for lodgings in Buena Vista or Salida. Leadville itself is ridiculous, you'll give up on staying right in town pretty quickly. Lots of people look to Summit County (Breckenridge/Silverthorne) for lodgings for race weekend and I think that's a mistake. The drive into Leadville from the south is WAY easier. And rates are better.

As for how soon to get there, I always heard either a month in advance or as close as possible to the starting gun. I live in CO and have for close to 30 years so I can't tell you from experience what's true, and I'm not a physiologist. But I betcha the difference between 1 week and 48 hours isn't nearly enough to justify the lost time from work. I'd recommend arriving in Denver Thursday in time to get to your hotel and check in. Go to Leadville Friday morning for registration.

Good luck. I won't be the last one you hear from.
 

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I've done Leadville twice and was living on the east coast both times (less than 1k feet elevation). The first time I went out a week before and the second time I got out their on Thursday afternoon. I didn't stay in Leadville the second time as I slept better at just the little bit of lower elevation in Breckenridge area (TomP makes a good suggestion on looking south). I have heard that it is not good to go out there three or four days early as this is worse than either the day before or a week before.

If I were to do it again, I would go out on Thursday afternoon. I sleep horribly at altitude and that was not fun doing it for a week. I had no issues either time except for the normal headaches. The one thing that does matter is focusing on your breathing techniques and NEVER go beyond your red line because once you do it is hard to get back. I focused on breathing out for three pedal strokes and in for two. Worked great for me although you will want to hear from faster racers. If you qualified at the Rattler then you are faster than me. I have my two smaller belt buckles and happy for it and was safely in the middle/back of the pack.
 

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... I have my two smaller belt buckles and happy for it and was safely in the middle/back of the pack.
For me the smaller buckles are best, because otherwise my gut gets chafed where it overhangs the belt.

Well, to be honest, I don't know about big buckles because I've never had the burden of carrying one away from the event. And my little buckles dig into my soft underbelly too.

And there is absolutely nothing I can do about that.

Serious content here: Salida is down the Arkansas River Valley ~1 hour from Leadville, 7000 feet elevation. Buena Vista between Salida and Leadville, ~30 minutes from Leadville is 8000 feet. Straight highway between, no passes.

Silverthorne, in the low part of Summit County is around 8750. Breckenridge is around 9500. Silverthorne is about 45 minutes away, over Fremont Pass.
 

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I always arrived the Saturday before.

So I could attend Leadville's Boom Days celebration and do some epic rides like Monarch Crest, Copper to Cooper, Breck to Copper, or Commando Run/2 Elk.

You might check to see if the Leadville Hostel has space, I kind of doubt it though. I enjoyed staying there. Show up there in the morning and join people for rides.

Enjoy Leadville and the race.

Oh, you are better than you think you are and you can do more than you think you can.
 

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You're not going to be flying into Leadville. You'll most likely be flying into Denver. Plan accordingly.
 

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I've done it twice, once arriving the Thursday before, and once the Saturday before. I preferred the Saturday before, as I got to ride all the climbs prior. No issues arriving on Thursday, but I did sleep better the night before getting a few days at altitude.

Copper mtn is a close option with lots of availability. If you want to stay in town, keep checking and keep an eye here and on the yahoo leadville group. Sometimes stuff opens up close to race date.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys. Good feedback. Kids will be on vacation that time of year so I might take the whole family and get there a week early. That will burn some vacation days from work but I guess the Leadville "sacrifice" starts way before the race. :)
 

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I went out the Friday before (8 days before) last year and felt great on race day. Also got to ride the whole course while out there which is a big advantage. The bottom line though is this: everyone's body reacts differently at altitude, some people are more affected by it or affected in different ways, and some people can acclimate quicker than others. I'd say a week minimum if you want to acclimate.

Above all, have fun and enjoy the amazing camaraderie that is part of Leadville. Its a really special race.
 

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I raced it last year for the 1st time and live in Orlando, Fl. I went out 10 days before, rented a 30' RV with some buddies and we rode around riding and acclimating. We started in Fruita (6k') and rode Kokopelli. From there we swung around and hit Crested Butte (8k') and rode 401 Trail. Our last big stop was Salida (9k') where we rode Monarch Crest.

That in itself was a crazy trip with absolutely epic rides. From there we headed up to Leadville on Thursday to get the final bit of altitude. We spent the final couple days up there. As we stepped up on altitude it got better for each of us. By race day I was pretty good. Obviously not completely acclimated, but still rolled 8:25. You can't go into the red at all and its 100 miler- all you do is eat, drink, pedal. One thing that really surprised me is how you have to drink and eat strategically. It takes a few seconds to catch your breath after you eat or drink. That, and you'll get loopy on Columbine- its pretty dang high at a really good effort.

Have fun!!!
 

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What is the logic between arriving closer to start time? Your blood is still oxygenated from being at lower altitudes?
Basically. Either day/night before or 2-3 weeks before is what most studies indicate is best. Most still recommend you sleep as low as possible and drink crazy amounts of water. Its still very individual as to how you adapt.
 

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I live in Durango (6500ft) and train on trails up to 12K in the weeks leading up to Leadville. I STILL have issues when arriving in Leadville and trying to sleep/ride at 10,200ft. Because of that, I prefer to get there on the Tuesday or Wednesday before, because my body can then work out the headaches, fatigue, and I can fine-tune my hydration needs and watch how my body reacts on the bike on some pre-rides.

One great thing that happened to me: I found a great friend and host by joining the Yahoo group page called LT100MTB. I asked around about hotels and housing, and a fellow racer responded who lived in Denver but owned a house in downtown Leadville. He has let me, my husband, and dog stay for free with his family as long as we bring some wine and help cook some meals. That would be one thing to try; I know a lot of people have vacation homes that may have spare rooms in town that would be willing to host an athlete. Not promising you'd get lucky staying for free somewhere, but its worth a shot, and the LT100 Yahoo group has a lot of good Leadville-specific advice.
 

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The logic of arriving as close to the race as possible is that your body immediately begins to breakdown at altitude. If you are going to acclimate, you need to be there long enough for your body to breakdown, adjust to the altitude, and recover. Studies have shown something like 10-15% decline in performance day 1, 20% on day 2, 25% on day 3 (I'm guessing at these numbers here). Point is, your body breaks down at altitude and doesn't recover at altitude. Less time spent before the race equals less time for the altitude to negatively affect your body. I have always found that I feel great after a week at altitude. Other studies have shown that it can take up to a month to acclimate and rebuild.
 

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Basically. Either day/night before or 2-3 weeks before is what most studies indicate is best. Most still recommend you sleep as low as possible and drink crazy amounts of water. Its still very individual as to how you adapt.

I was recently listening to a podcast and the guest on it all though being a bit older does very well at ultra running. pretty sure he has run over 100 of them and he said the exact same thing. if you can't get there three weeks before then you are better off getting there as close to the race as possible. he explained it as getting the race in before you body even knows it is at altitude.
 

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I'm in RI at sea level and this will be my first race at Leadville too. The altitude has been on my mind, so I was glad to find this thread. My plan is to fly in on Thursday and hope for the best. Check out The Twin Lakes Inn in Twin Lakes, 25 minutes south (the race passes through it).
 

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Quick physiology lesson here...

-As soon as you are at altitude: because of lower air pressure than @ sea level, less oxygen gets in to your blood when you breathe. The acute response is to increase heart rate and breathing frequency.
-Within 24 hours: plan A, mentioned above, still can't saturate the blood fully with oxygen, so the endocrine system is activated and releases a hormone that tells your kidneys to begin removing more water from the blood in an effort to concentrate the blood. (this, along with the ease of "insensible" water loss through breathing & sweating in very low humidity is why you've been instructed to drink a ton of water when you're at altitude)
-Within a few days: plan B makes you feel like crap within about 48 hours, and still doesn't really get the job of oxygen saturation done very well, so your body starts to adapt. EPO is released, telling your bone marrow to produce more red blood cells, and, as they're released, your body also replaces that plasma volume you initially lost. It's a slow-going process compared to the first two, though, so that's why it takes a week or two before you're back to near 100%.
 

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Different people react differently to altitude. Some struggle while others don't have much of an issue. Some acclimatize relatively fast, while others take longer. It's better to know how you will react before heading up there. My suggestion is to make a couple of trips to altitude well in advance of the event, to see how you respond.

I know that there are a lot of options out there for those who are training for this event. There are free options, and there are locals willing to help out just about anyone who wants it. I am just throwing out there another option, one that I have put together, it's a great value. Whether you choose to utilize my camp, or another option, do something! Failing to prepare is preparing to fail!

SpeedWorks has put a lot of time and money into making this camp something that is going to be very beneficial to anyone who can attend. This camp will feature riding and living at altitude for 5 days, working on mountain bike specific skills, learning from Professional cyclists and USA Cycling Certified Coaches who coach at several Talent ID Camps, and evening training and educational sessions. We are bringing in Licensed Dietician Nick Fischer of Fischer Nutrition to prepare meals (which are included in the camp pricing) and educate all of us on how to prepare quick and easy training meals. Lodging is also included, in an ideal setting in Granby, CO, centrally located to great trails, lots of dirt roads, and at altitude. You won't find any other 5-day camp that includes all of these great features for a price close to this! Help us fill the slots of this camp, share this with anyone who might be interested. If you're training for any races at altitude this year, this camp will be a benefit to you!

https://www.bikereg.com/leadville-training-camp
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks everyone for the input. Given that I don't have 1-2 weeks of vacation time from my job to put into this event I will be taking the "as close to the starting gun approach" as you can. We will sleep in Cañon City (elevation 5.3K) Thursday night and Buena Vista (7.9K) the night before the race. I will be training at altitude 2 months prior to the race and hope for the best. In case anyone is interested, I will report back on this thread to let you guys know how I felt. Thanks.
 

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... In case anyone is interested, I will report back on this thread to let you guys know how I felt. Thanks.
Good luck. Do report back, relevant information.

EDIT: one thought I have--don't know what your dietary habits are, but you may want to consider focusing on eating iron rich foods including red meat, in the weeks prior to your trip. Iron helps production of red blood cells which is what helps you deal with thin air. You don't need to eat a side of beef every week, but I'd consider three helpings a week.

The paragraph here has some interesting beta about iron:

Iron Rich Foods | American Red Cross
 
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