Montrose ACT Offers Training Tips for High-Altitude Events

Mar 22nd @ 7:56 am in News by Scott Staley

Montrose ACT logo

Montrose, Colo. – Montrose Association of Commerce & Tourism today announced the dates for its 2013 athletic events. Each year Montrose, which sits at an elevation of 5,700 feet and is the gateway to the beautiful Black Canyon, plays host to a number of running and cycling competitions. These races give athletes and their fans, families and friends the opportunity to challenge themselves one day and reward themselves the next, with a host of fun activities and adventures.

  • May 11: Mission to Ride
    This non-competitive bicycling tour is geared for riders of all ages and benefits the Montrose Medical Mission. The Century Ride offers a challenging 100-mile climb to the rim of the Black Canyon. Other options include the 40- and 60-mile road routes.  A locals’ favorite, the 30-mile route, is an out-and-back to Olathe. There are also two mountain bike rides for both intermediate and advanced riders, as well as a bicycle safety rodeo.
  • May 18: Black Canyon Ascent
    The breathtaking Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park serves at the backdrop for this race that leads runners and walkers from the valley floor to the rim of the magnificent Black Canyon. Climbing more than 2,000 feet, the ascent is dubbed Colorado’s toughest six-mile road race.
  • July 27: Black Canyon Butt Kicker Grin & Barrett Charity Ride
    This ride is a fundraiser for the Caring Friends Fund, which provides items and services to help patients and their families at Montrose Memorial Hospital and the San Juan Cancer Center. The ride features four distances – 33, 50, 75 and 112 miles. To learn more and register email
  • North Rim 20k Race & 8k Run/Walk, October 13
    Montrose’s beautiful Black Canyon once again serves as host to this event, which circumnavigates the canyon’s north rim. The course winds along the canyon rim on gravel roads, offering views that will take any available breath away.  Shuttles will be provided from Montrose.

So how exactly does one who lives at lower elevations train for an event at mountain altitude?  Montrose resident and cycling expert Fred Matheny says, “The biggest challenge of competing at altitude if you live at sea level is the lack of air pressure, which makes oxygen less available. This reduces the amount of work you can do, impacting your running or riding speed.”

Matheny adds that another challenge is sleeping well, because often altitude makes restful sleep difficult. Finally, he notes, the drier air at high elevations requires close attention to hydration. “It’s easy to get dehydrated which can lead to reduced performance.”

Here are a few tips Matheny says can help improve performance at altitude:

  1. Arrive at the race venue a week or more in advance of the event to allow time to acclimate. If that’s not practical, arrive the night before and do the event before the body has time to realize it is a lot higher than it was just a day before!
  2. The day or two before the event, stay hydrated, get as much rest as possible and don’t ride or run too much. Rest, he says, is more important than trying to acquire added fitness just before a race!
  3. Don’t expect to achieve the same heart rate or power outputs you do at home. Also, it’s very difficult to recover from an anaerobic effort. If you go too deeply into the “red zone” hoping to recover on the downhill, it’s probable that you’ll be unable to recover as quickly as you do at sea level. Pacing yourself and staying conservative is important if you want to achieve your best possible time.

About Montrose (

Montrose is a uniquely-authentic town that has carved out a place for itself in the landscape and culture of Colorado. Montrose is the gateway to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison where the North Vista Trail was recently named a “Top 10 Canyon Hike in the U.S. Parks” by National Geographic. Additionally, Montrose was named to Outdoor Life’s annual list of the 200 best towns in America for outdoorsmen. Seventy-three percent of the land surrounding Montrose is public land, making it a Mecca for hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, road biking, four-wheeling and mountain biking in the summer and fall and snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter. 

Twitter: @visitmontrose



Gaylene Ore, Ore Communications, (970) 531-2336,

Jenni Sopsic, Montrose Association of Commerce & Tourism, (970) 708-1182,