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THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF ALTITUDE

At 2,100-2,700m above sea level, there is a noticeable change in what can be managed and sustained in training. Whilst many athletes talk about undertaking a block of altitude training to improve performance, it can also have the opposite effect. Individuals respond in different ways and certain factors, such as hydration, stored iron levels, energy input and training load need to be monitored to promote a favourable response. I had been to Falls Creek for periods of up to three weeks prior to the Flagstaff camp and didn’t acknowledge how much of a difference the extra 1,000m would make on how I would feel on a daily basis and in training.

Day one involved flying into Phoenix, hiring cars and setting off on the 3 hour journey to Flagstaff… on the right-hand side of the road. It felt anything but right initially but Josh Ralph (Ralphy’s) frequent reminders when I started “drifting” were very helpful. After a quick Mexican feed at Chiles, we navigated our way up the long winding driveway towards our home-to-be on the mountain face of Arizona’s white-capped snow bowl. The wooden house stood lonely amongst tall pines in the cold, dark woods. First impressions sent chills down the spines of myself, Ralphy and Michael Roeger (Roegs) in the car ahead but within a few days it felt like home.