3 Points You Need to Know When Riding At Altitude

Posted by tan xiao yan on

Riding your bike at higher altitudes requires your body to adapt to the less-oxygen environment when you go higher, which may greatly affect the performance of your body and your bike. A man who is lusty will adapt more quickly when he cycles at high altitudes. This article will pose several points you should pay attention.

Altitude sickness

Altitude sickness is the most common thing in the high altitudes. The first onset symptoms of altitude sickness are a warning for you to be careful to when you feel dizzy, weak, breathless, and even have mild nausea and coughs at high altitudes. When you go up in elevation, the air molecules at attitude are far more dispersed, so your body tries to breathe more quickly and deeply for the purpose of adapting to the thinner air. At the same time, your heartbeat goes faster to get more oxygen into your muscles as less oxygen is delivered to your lung, so when the altitude increases, you are aerobic capacity decreases. As a result, when you breathe in, there are fewer oxygen molecules in that volume of air compared to the same volume of air at sea level, and you will see a decrease of 2% for every 300m or 1000 feet that you climb. At altitudes above 5000-6000 feet, differences are shown and become noticeable, including the breathing rate and heart rate increase. The humidity is generally much lower at higher altitudes, and you will lose more fluid to respiration and sweating. Some sickness may occur, such as a headache and poor sleep.

A headache is one of the first sign that people become to realize that they are getting dehydrated. During your stay on or off the bike, you should drink more water than you do at lower altitudes. If you normally drink caffeine, you should drink it there, too because the alcohol will help to dehydration and headaches. Also, the trouble of sleeping may happen.

Many people are hard to fall asleep or stay asleep at high altitudes and the incidence of sleep disturbance increases as you climb higher. So, stay hydrated which is helpful with placing a humidifier in your surrounding place and avoiding alcohol. If it is hard to sleep in the whole night, you may try to focus on resting when you can during the day and night. A nap in the afternoon after finishing your ride can help greatly. Importantly, note that you should get plenty of sleep before your trips.


With the adjustment of your body, your heart rate and respiration become normalizing. But you have to know you cannot recover instantly, it is better to start preparing yourself before you arrive, if possible. If you are training for an event, aim for longer distances, firstly, take some short cycling, building up with more intense exercises for several weeks to enhance your endurance. Better to go to your destination at least a week in advance to better acclimatize to high altitude.

Fueling at Altitude
Be very careful to stay well-fed and well-hydrated when cycling. Drink two bottles of fluids per hour, and add one more bottle if it’s particularly hot. Use the nutritional recommendation plan that suitable for you during training, not to change your habits so much during cycling at high altitudes. During training, consider separating that your food should be in your pocket and your hydration in your bottles which can be helpful for overcoming both heat and high altitude, because it makes fluid intake increase while dealing with your caloric intake independently. When consuming 130-1750 calories of primary carbohydrate per hour if you’re expending about 600 calories per hour.

Dressing for Altitude
As the old saying goes, “It never rains but it pours.” Things change fast, and a warm sunny afternoon can become a storm within several minutes. When you ride through the mountains, temperatures will change greatly as you uphill or descend. Layers of clothes are vital. Carry them and put them on time as the change of temperatures. Considering the performance and safety, when the temperature drops dramatically when going through a mountain it’s very important to focus on retaining your core temperature. A lightweight rain jacket is a must for every altitude trip.
Bikes Engine Performs

It is vital to adjust your bike necessarily well before you ride. Consider smaller gears, they make climbing easier especially when you are an entertaining rider. Slow down and don’t try the speed or power output you normally use at lower altitudes. The higher the pressure of the air around your bike, lower you should adjust your bike and so while your 600cc bike still sucks in the volume of air as it did at sea level due to less oxygen in there to burn, causing a fuel and air mixture that is richer than your engine wants to burn, namely, it can’t burn all the fuel you put in there because there isn’t the oxygen there to mix with. At this point your bike loses power for two causes: there isn’t the fit fuel mixture to burn efficiently, or there isn’t enough oxygen in the 600cc of air into the engine for the make of the maximum power. If you are going to be at an altitude no matter for the long or short time, you need to change the amount of fuel going into your engine per cc of air, fiddly and often adjust bike and learn the knowledge of altitude. When the pro cyclists buy a vehicle and know to re-balance the fuel-air mixture, meaning that they engine can run efficiently again and not struggling to burn too much fuel, avoiding a sticky residue being left on spark plug further reducing efficiency.

Overall, just relax, smile, and ride your bike. The best thing you can do is to listen to your body and adjust your bike right, which will tell you what it needs. When in doubt, slow down and get water or other fluid to drink. Talk to the riders around you and those people can help you at the aid stations if you need it. You can also imitate riding at altitude before you actually ride there. In addition, having smaller gears on your bike will make climbing easier.