I hook up the tubing with the air reservoirs to the generator unit. I can then choose the altitude that I wish to work out at. The first three weeks I am to workout at 9000ft. I then hop on the bike trainer, since I am training to bike at altitude that seemed the best exercise of choice. After a 5 min warm up I put on the mask.
Mask as it goes towards me
As seen from the outside
Now that the neoprene face mask is strapped to me with velcro, the real workout begins. The whole system reminds me of work because it sounds like a ventilator or CPAP machine. I have to drown it out with tunes, that is until I am working so hard I can't hear! The instructions all revolve around maintaining a certain oxygen saturation at different stages. Very technical for a girl who doesn't even use a bike computer! I am committed to doing this though, so I follow the guidelines. In order for me to know my oxygenation I am required to wear a probe on my finger. Yes, I feel very much like a lab rat during this time. They also explicitly say that if you are emptying the reservoirs you are breathing too hard. I keep a close eye on those, at least as long as I can. Once I am seeing black spots there is no focusing. I haven't even come close to being able to empty them. Perhaps, a challenge to work towards.
So far the sessions on the trainer haven't been too hideous. I only have to drop my saturation's to 86%. I have already noticed that I am having to ride a harder gear at a faster pace to do this. I guess that means it is working. If nothing else I am expanding my lungs while gulping for air. The sessions are also only 30 minutes at a time, to be followed by an actual ride outside. I can only imagine what it would be like to ride outside in traffic or on a technical trail while experiencing lightheadedness! Pretty sure it is going to be extremely uncomfortable when I progress to the final three weeks. At that time I am to be over 12,000ft and drop my saturation's to 74%. When that happens I hope that my old instincts don't kick in and I start to bag myself and prepare for intubation!
For now, I am putting my faith in the experts and believing that this will prepare me to race at elevation. The blond isn't real and I don't want the dizziness to be real either. I would hate to end my day as the dizzy blond!