Altitude knows no forgiveness.
Although Aspen is simply a beautiful place, it has one thing wrong with it (minus that whole snow and cold thing in the winter). It sits at 7945 feet (lets round up and call it 8100 feet). Yes. That is where this little slice of heaven on earth resides. It is that much closer to heaven than Marin. Is this a good thing? Perhaps if you enjoy a rapid resting heartrate, dehydration, insomnia, and shortness of breath. Other than that, I would say no. I don’t mind being at sea level height to heaven.
How pretty can those Rocky Mountains be in such conditions? Still pretty darn beautiful, but I wouldn’t suggest racing your bike there. Or if you do, do this with extreme caution.
Not only do you decrease your normal power by at least 15%, your body also loses its ability to clear lactate as quickly. You gulp in air and get no satisfaction. It redefines your “threshold power” to comical levels. It makes you reconsider your life dream of being a bike racer. It makes you human.
I learned my lesson with altitude. If you tip over the threshold point, there is no going back. No passing “Go”. No collecting $200. You are done. Cooked.
Altitude takes no prisoners. Good luck getting out of there alive.
After an incredible humbling experience in the hill climb, the circuit race proved to be even more entertaining than my crawl the day before. While racing, I could only come up with these comparisons.
Racing in altitude is like:
Altitude destroys the faint of heart, the strong of muscular endurance, and only allows for the few who have either prepared for such conditions, or live up where the mountain goats and marmots do.
Altitude is brutal.
That being said, Jessica Phillips organized an incredible race for the women. 3 days. Aspen. Aspen Snowmass Professional Women’s Stage Race presented by United Healthcare. I look forward to watching this event grow over the years. I was very proud to be in Aspen supporting Jessica’s efforts and women’s cycling. Thank you to all who helped to make this race a reality.
Also, thanks to Jack and Suzy Apple for being the best hosts, ever! My week was enriched through their energy, hospitality…not to mention the chalk on the TT course (we are calling that a hill climb that didn’t happen) with my name on it!
But still. Altitude knows no forgiveness.