Fleche Wallone Femmes, CDM 04, 2012, UCI World Cup Road, women

Suffering alone at altitude – a brief insight into training at altitude

By Trixi Worrack

St Moritz – 1900 meters above sea level. “The end of the day is the beginning of the day. It is like welcome to our show, and you are the only candidates.  No, it is live and in colour, we are the candidates and the jury in this game. The fear of not singing in a high arc to sink without trace.”

If you are living at sea level at home and then you have a training camp at altitude, the first days of it are like riding next to your mind and your body. I am somehow not really there, with either mind or body.  I just pedal like a grandma and breathe like running a 200 meter final at the Olympics.  It is really not fun!!

The good thing is knowing that you will improve after a couple of days of really suffering. But then the next thing you have to get used to besides the altitude is the climbing.

As I said, living at sea level at the coast, you can imagine there are no climbs. Maybe sometime I would climb 100 meters in a five-hour training ride. So I need some time after I get used to the thin air up here, to get use to these heavy climbs.

Looking at my Strava system, it shows me 1500 m of climbing for today, as much I would have in one year of training at home :). And then there is this loneliness. Hours of hours pedaling alone, you start talking to yourself or what’ s even worse singing :).  Hopefully no one heard it…

But afterwards you know that is was good preparing for the next races to be in good shape. Then you are happy, then you think aaah it wasn’t that bad today. It could be much worse, like sitting in an office for 6 or 7 hours a day…