has anyone noticed a smoother ride at high altitudes?



gnz

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Apr 2, 2005
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Hi, I have observed that when I ride at high altitudes (2,200m in Mexico city) I will be getting close to a steady 30 km/h speed with the same effort I usually get around 22 km/h at sea level (San Diego US, Cancun MEX). This is without considering tiredness, say for just a brief couple of kms ride.

I know there is the atmospheric pressure and oxygen proportion difference that affects how the body responds to excersise, but what I am observing has more to do (I think) with air drag. Could it be that the less dense air at high altitude is contributing to the apparent smoother ride?

I have also verified things like making sure my tire pressure is the same (70psi) but I keep feeling the same effect.

I know less air density must produce less drag but I never imagined it could be noticeable at such a low speed on a bicycle.

Has anyone else noticed this? is my mind playing tricks on me?

Thanks
 

wilmar13

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Nov 30, 2003
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gnz said:
I know less air density must produce less drag but I never imagined it could be noticeable at such a low speed on a bicycle.

Has anyone else noticed this? is my mind playing tricks on me?
Nope it is indeed a real effect. You have less air to breath as well, but at moderate efforts the reduction in drag makes a bigger difference. I remember the first time I went for a ride in New Mexico I did an out and back ride in a fierce cross wind and had an average speed of 26mph. I thought I was very strong. :eek:
 

Durangodave

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May 31, 2004
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I live at about 6800 ft, and I notice a bit of extra thickness to the air when I ride at sea level. Not much, though. Never tried to quantify it. In 1972 Eddy Merckx went up to Mexico City to set the hour record, precisely because of the thinner air.
 

frenchcycling

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Jul 19, 2005
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i've ridden in the french alps at vary altitidues (all above 800m) and i have noticed this effect too
 

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