A handful of Israel Start-Up Nation riders are currently preparing for upcoming goals with an altitude training camp on Teide, a volcano on Tenerife in the Canary Islands.
But what are the benefits of training at high altitude and how quickly can it turn into results for the riders? ISN coach Xabier Zabalo, who’s accompanying the riders on Teide, explains:
“Training at altitude, compared to at sea level, allows your body to adapt to carrying and delivering oxygen to the muscles much better. Up here on the volcano [at 2000+ meters], there is less pressure in the oxygen, which makes it harder for the body to distribute it to the muscles. With this training camp, we want to help create that adaptation in order to boost the oxygen supply for when riding at sea level.
“Another crucial point of why altitude training is so effective is the fact that the riders are fully focused on the training. There are no distractions. All they are doing is training and relaxing. They don’t have to focus on anything else. We even have a support car with them here, so if they should have a mechanical problem, we can quickly assist and continue the training. It’s really like ‘training deluxe’ for the riders.”
And what about reaping the benefits? When will the effect of altitude training set in and show in performance?
“I would say that if a rider comes here for a training block of 14 days at altitude, without being in super shape already, the fitness really improves a lot within those 14 days. If he then continues to do some specific race intensity training at home – at sea level – we will see a significant effect already after 10 days at home.
“However, it’s very individual how the riders respond. It also depends on how long you stay at altitude. Some riders will be flying already a week after getting home, while others will need longer time to adapt. That’s also why altitude experience is so important. Chris [Froome] has been here on so many training camps and he knows exactly what is needed. He’s like a local guy really. He pretty much knows every single corner and road up here. It’s really helpful to have him with us to make sure everything goes well.”
The four Israel Start-Up Nation riders taking part in this altitude training camp on Teide are: Chris Froome, Daryl Impey, Ben Hermans and Alexander Cataford.
Below, you can see what a normal day for the guys at the altitude camp looks like:
- 08:30 – Wake up.
- Each rider will get his oxygen saturation levels checked as well as his heart rate and weight. It’s critical to monitor how the riders adapt to the training in order to plan the work load.
- 10:30 – Training begins.
- Usually, the training rides are between 4-6 hours long with different intensity depending on each day. Mainly, the riders stick to a race schedule in terms of training load and breakfast.
- Recovery meal upon returning from training
- 17-19 – Massage.
- 19:30 – Dinner.
- Relaxing before bedtime.