Lhasa to Katmandu on Mountain Bikes!  
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I had four parts to my preparation plan:

1. normal bicycle training

2. sleeping in an altitude tent at progressively higher altitudes

3. getting a stress test at altitude from an altitude research doctor

4. Doing a 750 km mountain bike ride in 10 days through Auvergne with my son Raymond.

Read all about it below!


Normal Bicycle Training

Normal bicycle training for me is 200-300 kilometers per week. I try to lift upper body weights 2-3 times per week, and I try to run for 30 minutes per week. As the summer progresses, the weight lifting and running get less and less as I ramp up the intensity of the bike training. Specifically, while I was preparing for this trip, I was simultaneously preparing for the Masters World Time Trial Championships on 26 August, so my training included one or two sessions per week of time trial intervals on my time trial bike.

The Altitude Tent

I arranged to use a Hypoxia Everest II altitude tent for two months prior to the trip. Starting at 5000 feet, I slept every night at increasingly higher altitudes, staying at 10,000 feet for several week at the end of July. This is the recommended altitude for long term use of the tent. It's an altitude where you cna get maximum benefit without suffering from poor sleep and other altitude related side effects. After the ten day mountain bike trip discussed below, I raised my altitude to the limits of the machine: 13,000 feet. This was a difficult period as my body adjusted to sleeping in the thin air every night. I slept at sea level about once a week when trips interfered, or when I just needed a break.


Altitude Stress Test

I was privileged to spend 90 minutes with Dr. Jean-Paul Richalet, one of the world's leading altitude research doctors, who gave me a stress test at altitude (4800 meters/15,700 feet). I had been sleeping in the tent for a month at that point, and already showed good acclimatization. He cautioned me to take it very easy during our days in Lhasa as our plan is one day short of minimum acclimatization. He also pointed out that day two on the bike would be very difficult, as it came early in our trip and exceeded the maximum recommended elevation gain for sucessive nights. He said that he would not recommend diamox for me as the side effects would outweigh the benefits for me in my current condition. He asked that I keep log of my trip for his research efforts. It was a fascinating morning!




Ten Day Mountain Bike Ride

I went on a ten day mountain bike trip (750 kms) with my son Raymond. Called the Grand Traversee du Massif Centrale, this trail runs from Clermont Ferrand to Montpelier, through some of the most rural parts of France. We each carried a small backpack (mine weighed 18 pounds) and stayed in bed and breakfasts along the way. We spent 5-8 hours per day on the bike, and had numerous days with significant elevation change.