LEADVILLE What is the Solution?

Good Morning All,

Leadville is definitely a well documented topic. TR and many people have rrecommended the workout/training plans required to get me physically fit enough to get there.

The only problem… how to get my body ready for the altitude effect…

I live at Sea Level in the polluted London (uk) air. At best I can probably get to altitude about 7days before the event, which looking at graphs etc leaves me some/little benefit.

Firstly what are the side effects of altitude…

Secondly how do I tackle each potential side effect… boost blood plasma, hemoglobin in the next 19weeks? Lots of V02max work on top of SS?

I’ve tried researching the topic, but I can be very opinion based plus swayed by individual adaptions.

Is it worth getting some tests done?

Any help/ advice is much appreciated.

There are a couple of TR podcasts on using saunas to help prepare for altitude. Also search the forum.

1 Like

I think most of the altitude “issues” are in peoples’ heads. NFL, NHL, MLB and NBA teams fly to Denver and play a game, then fly to another city and play another. They don’t spend weeks at altitude to adjust.

Yes Leadville is higher and yes your horsepower will be constrained because there is less oxygen. That will apply to everyone.

Here is a good calculator to show you how the altitude will effect your power:

Cycling Power Lab

Just know going in that you will have less power than at sea level. Know going in that your not going to be able to recover as well because there is less oxygen so going into the red is much harder to recover from. I think many folks fail to truly appreciate these issues going in and they get all worked up about it and stress themselves out. However, it’s completely normal.


This approach has worked in the past for me. Better than showing up a day before.

Not really a whole lot you can do - other than be as fit as possible. A higher FTP is better than a lower FTP :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

The biggest thing re. altitude for Leadville is to adjust your pacing to account for the lower altitude. I think when people “get into trouble” at Leadville, one of the reasons is they go out too hard.

That’s a great link thank you.

I didn’t appreciate the W “saving” from the reducing aerodynamic drag…

1 Like

At half of the base elevation of leadville we’re talking about only half of the effects. Denver is NOTHING compared to going up to the high country. Even so, Denver teams always have a home-field advantage when playing against sea-level teams.


I would respectfully disagree that Denver teams always have an advantage and I think it gets back to my exact point of belief vs. reality.

Altitude Myth

As far as giving Denver teams a home-field advantage, though, the numbers do not lie: the altitude advantage is a myth.

To the OP’s question, my suggestion would be not to stress about it and not to worry about taking drastic measures to altitude adjust in the months leading up to the event. It’s more of a mental hurdle than an actual hurdle. I will be right there with you coming from Texas.

Coming 7 days before should help a lot. @Nate_Pearson and the team discussed the Team Sky work regarding this on the podcast where it seemed 7 days provided a pretty good benefit.

I spent close to two weeks riding at altitude last summer is Aspen and the Vail area. There were numerous trails I had ridden multiple times so had Strava data to compare to. After 7 days it felt like a switch was flipped and my times improved by about 10 - 15%. While some of this may have been rest/nutrition, I’m pretty sure a lot of it was related to altitude adjustment. In prior years, when I did similar rides on trips < 7 days, I never got to that point. It’s an N=1 experience, but follows what was discussed regarding Team Sky and 7 days for adjustment.


I hope this is true for me! I spent 4 days in Leadville last summer doing some recon on the 3 stages of the race, and the combined time was ~13 hours. Your math would imply a sub-12 is possible with the 2 weeks I will spend acclimating!

A few additional thoughts:

  1. You can try iron supplementation for the few weeks before the race

  2. You may want to look into staying at a slightly lower elevation than Leadville. Some people don’t sleep very well at 10k feet, so it might make sense to stay somewhere at a lower elevation in the week before the race.