Saturday, July 31, 2010

I'm a Believer

The song lyrics 'I'm  not afraid of anything, I just need to know that I can breathe' (Avril Lavigne) have been on my mind during my entire preparation for Leadville. Those of you who have been following along might recall that I got short of breath DRIVING to Leadville last year. This has been weighing heavily on my mind and I have been doing everything I can to prevent that from happening again. Recently, I was in Leadville for 5 days of training and course reconnaissance. Instead of slowly moving up to elevation I went from sea level to Leadville in one day. Well, that is not quite true because I have been sleeping at altitude and training at altitude in the comfort of my own home. Imagine my delight when I discovered that my princess canopy bed  actually provided benefits other than isolating me from outside noise allowing me to sleep soundly. Yup, I found out that it also prepared me well for my time at altitude.

Up over 11,000ft and feeling fine!

I was still breathing heavily on the climbs, but I do that at sea level. I was able to keep up during camp and slept well at night. No shortness of breath at rest, no headache, it was a miracle. The guys at Hypoxico had prepared me wonderfully to ride and race at altitude. I may have been a little, okay more than a little, skeptical that sleeping in this contraption was working. I kept trying to get Me Hearty in there to see if he felt the effects of altitude, neither he nor the dog would oblige, so camp was the first evidence I had that I actually had been up over 10,000ft every night. 'Now I'm a believer, Not a trace of doubt in my mind'. 

View looking down from Sugarloaf climb

Once I discovered that I would be able to breathe, all my other fears vanished and I could take in the magnificent views from the course. Just looking at the photos makes me want to fill my lungs with clear mountain air.

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