Altitude, Pulse Ox and possible TR Feature

Good Morning,

I was listening to the latest FLO podcast (only because I was al caught up on the TR podcast of course) and it was a really good one on training/racing at altitude.

One of the things that the special guest Dr. Robert Chapman said was that oxygen saturation during maximal efforts at sea level can be an indicator of how well an athlete will tolerate the change to a higher elevation. Basically using something like a VO2 max test or a ramp test to exhaustion and you look at the O2 saturation during that last minute of effort. Those that are 92% and above seem to not have an easier time making the transition to altitude and those that are under this number have a more difficult transition. I believe his exact words were that under 92% and the altitude is going to kick your butt.

I remember Nate going through all of the prep for proper acclimatization while getting ready for Leadville. There are pulse/ox meters with Bluetooth to android/ios. Seems like it would be a cool feature if you could pair a pulse/ox with trainer road and collect this data. Just another arrow in the quiver and might help folks understand what’s going on if they really struggle with altitude.

Have a great Friday,

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This is the paper. It’s a long read.

This would be helpful to know if you’ve never been to altitude, but there’s no substitute to having direct experience on how you react to altitude.

I moved to Denver three years ago from the DC area and I’ve never adjusted. I went so far as to run through a battery of tests at National Jewish Health trying to pinpoint why…

In Denver my sp02 at rest is in the lower 90s (92-94) and drops to the high->low 80s with exercise. Obviously lower as my level of exertion rises. It hit 78% at the end of a graded treadmill test. No heart abnormalities (did the bubble test with ultrasound to see if I might have a Atrial septal defect which I do not). At sea level this doesn’t happen. Hematocrit is fine (mid 40s). They tried to run an a-line while I did a bike test to exhaustion but my artery kept collapsing so the test was useless, and since it’s mostly a lifestyle limitation the doctor’s just kind of shrugged.

I bought a 10L/min oxygen concentrator a couple years ago and briefly tried using it during intervals, there was definitely a difference (my sp02 would stay in the mid 90s) but it did aggravate my sinus’s and honestly at the time my heart wasn’t into training.

I’m in Florida for the holiday’s and have been riding every day feeling like superman… I can actually feel my legs working again. I’ll be hooking the concentrator back up once I get home for my interval workouts again and try my best to stick with it this time.

I honestly may just end up moving back to sea level. It sucks to go from having fun in hard group rides and races to having troubles with the social rides.