Altitude, Altitude, Always Altitude: A Look at the Locales of the Top 10, and How They Measure Up
Almost all of our interviews this week involved racers talking about their bodies’ response to Boulder’s altitude: 5,500 feet. We were wondering how much that impacted the Elite race, so we took a look at the various altitudes of the racer’s listed current cities from USA Cycling’s database.
Some racers don’t spend much time at home—for example, Kaitie Antonneau spends most of her time at a much lower altitude than her hometown suggests, since she goes to school in Indiana at Marian University, and Jonathan Page resides in Belgium and Utah versus his listed New Hampshire hometown. Additionally, looking at our feature on Page in Issue 23 also tells another story: Page has an altitude tent, so he should theoretically be prepared for Boulder.
And racers like Jeremy Powers headed to Boulder almost two weeks early to acclimate, which may explain his dominance, while someone like Trebon, despite being near Boulder’s altitude in Bend, travels much of the year and may not have spent as much time adjusting. We know Powers is capable of winning Nationals at any altitude now, so how much did it truly impact him?
So while these charts aren’t representative of the full story, it’s interesting looking at how many racers in the top 10 came from altitude, and which ones did not.
Did you race at Nationals? And if so, did you think the altitude impacted your race? Let us know in the comments!
Elite Men Top 10 Location and Altitude
|Place||Last||First||Time||Location||Altitude (Approx. in feet)|
|4||DRISCOLL||James||1:01:48||Park City, UT||4300|
|8||LINDINE||Justin||1:02:44||North Ogden, UT||4500|
Elite Women Top 10 Location and Altitude
|Place||Last||First||Location||Altitude (Approx. in feet)|
|1||COMPTON||Katherine||Colorado Springs, CO||6000|
|2||ANDERSON||Elle||San Francisco, CA||130|
|5||GOULD||Georgia||Fort Collins, CO||4300|
|7||ANTONNEAU *||Kaitlin||Colorado Springs, CO||6000|
|10||BRUNO ROY||Maureen||Arlington, MA||100|
[Approximate altitudes are via the US Government Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)]
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This is a bit misleading. Powers spent the 2 weeks prior to the race in Boulder, specifically to acclimatize (2 weeks is minimum for that), and Trebon spent a lot of the 2 weeks prior to the race at sea level in Southern California. I tweeted at him about that and he said something like 'I don't bitch about things like altitude.'
Of the women, all of them except Gould, Lloyd & Woodruff went to Belgium for the Christmas races. Of the 3 that didn't go, only Gould was at altitude similar to Boulder. While two weeks is minimum to acclimatize, you also lose about as much acclimatization in that time if you're at sea level.
I'm from New Orleans (sometimes below sea level) and I tell you what, racing at Valmont Park did feel like racing on MT. FUJI!!!! (12,388ft)