Ramp Test and Altitude

After the discussion of altitude acclimatization in the latest podcast I got to think about my training situation. I work Mon-Thur in LA at sea level and live Fri-Mon in Tucson at 3500 feet. I am wondering if/how the altitude affects my ramp test results. Up until today I have always flown to LA (0 feet) Monday morning and done a ramp test Monday afternoon. However, this week I flew to Tucson (3500ft) Thursday night and did a ramp test Friday morning. My last LA ramp test three weeks ago was 262W. My ramp test today was 256W. I got to wondering what, if any, of the decrease (2.3%) could be due to the increased altitude of Tucson. Does anyone have any data or opinions about this?

Disclaimer, not 100% sure on this but I think you could get Oxygen sensor and attach to a finger and do 20 min tests and determine how much oxygen saturation you have which will tell you how much altitude might effect you. CHeck out Dr Robert Chapman …

edit found his text:
However, when participants were divided into LoSat (<91%) and HiSat (>93%)
groups, on the basis of oximetry estimates of arterial SaO2 values
during the sea level race pace treadmill bout, the LoSat group
demonstrated a significant worsening of performance at 2100 m
compared with the HiSat group (figure 1).
These data would suggest that prescreening SaO2 during
heavy or maximal exercise may help to predict who may or may
not be more negatively affected at altitude than an average
response. Certainly, SaO2 will not be an absolute predictor of
the magnitude of performance decline at altitude. However,
71% of the time our LoSat and HiSat designations correctly predicted whether an athlete would experience a performance
decline at altitude that was more or less than the group mean.5

I believe FTP decreases as you go up in elevation if you’re not acclimatized.

I asked the guys at cyclingapps.net about the effect at altitude as I know they modelled the effect for me previously, and they said at 3500ft the effect on FTP is 97.6% (=2.4%loss) without acclimatization…(almost exactly your observation) but when riding outside there is a gain of 11% in aerodynamic efficiency due to low air pressure assuming the altitude/temp effects were constant (3500ft is approx 7 deg cooler than sea level). cyclingapps have a calculator on this but I don’t know if its public yet

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Very interesting. Thanks everyone.