Blog: Gosse at altitude

Read Gosse`s blog about his first experiences in ‘The States’.

Hey all!

Let me start this small race report with the following statement:


Last Monday I traveled from Santa Barbara in California to Prescott in Arizona. In Santa Barbara I stayed at sea level and here in Prescott I am at 1500 meters at the moment. We wanted to come here as early as possible to get enough time to acclimatize, I hoped one week would be enough but I wasn’t for sure.

I’ve been at altitude once before when I raced the mountain bike world cup in Meribel four years ago as an U23 rider, we didn’t have much time to acclimatize at that time so we came to altitude just before the race. This race wasn’t a big success back then but I haven’t been at altitude ever since. Even though I’ve cycled up high mountains from a low level I came to high tops but I went down also straight away again.

This week in Prescott I did some good training rides on Tuesday and Wednesday, I didn’t felt good  but I didn’t want to push myself to hard because recovery takes a longer time if you’re not used to the altitude.

Yesterday evening there was a ”fat tire crit” as a warming up event for the town and this 20 minutes plus three lap race was mandatory for all the ”pro riders”. The course was really short and had one nasty steep hill in it, I knew this course was perfect for me and therefore I stood at the start with high expectations.

The first lap was fine and I could easily pass half the field and move up 40 spots in the pack on the first lap. But I felt straight away in the downhill that my heart rate stayed at the maximum as it was beating while going up that hill. Already at the second lap I got a lot of pain in my chest and was hyperventilating to try to get as much oxygen in my body as possible. The problem is that you can breath how much you want but the air just doesn’t contain is much oxygen as you’re used to back home. On top of that there is a very dry climate here in Arizona so the air is also very very dry. 

The feeling I had is hard to explain but it was a huge pressure on my chest and it felt like someone was rubbing sanding paper over the inside of my lungs. After three laps I got tinkling all over my face and I got a little bit scared. Even though you know it is the elevation that is doing this it is still very scary to experience things like this in your body. 

As an athlete you really have to listen to your body and you get to know your body really well. So you’re always focused on your body when a strange feeling appears because your body needs to be functioning on the top of its possibilities to be able to race bikes on a certain level. Even though it was a bit disappointing to get dropped halfway a race that would normally be written on your body it was a valuable lesson to learn about the capabilities of my body.

For the marathon on Sunday I need to focus really well on the limits of my body and to not go over them in the first part of the race. Straight from the start there is a 45 min climb and then there is a 20 min downhill followed by a climb from almost an hour. Until the top of that long climb I I should not go over the limit because my body won’t recover from that and after the top of that climb there are still over one and a half hour of curvy and rocky single tracks waiting for me.

The goal to finish in the top 10 for this race has moved to ride a clean race and try to push myself to the limits I can handle. I just give everything I can and then after 50 miles (80 km) and over 2000 meters of climbing I will find out how many guys are faster then me.

There is no need to panic right now because I won’t go under 1500 meters for the upcoming one and a half month so even though I have a big disadvantage towards the riders here who all live high in the mountains I have plenty of time to adjust and be back at the front of bike races!

Thanks for reading and I keep you all posted!


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NEW BIKE DAY!!!! . It feel like coming back to my summer love of mountainbiking!!! . I am here in America to do some big mountainbike races after @kaliprotectives invited me to come over. To make this two month trip possible there was a lot of organisation involved in it but I am happy it all worked out so well and I can focus on racing with the best parts available at the moment! . Frame: @bombtrackbicycleco custom full suspension. Fork and shocks: @foxmtb factory racing. Groupset: @shimanomtb XTR Di2. Wheels: @huntbikewheels custom XC wheels. Cockpit: @ritcheylogic Saddle: @sellesmpofficial Chain: @kmcchain . . . . #crossemetgosse #mtb #america #outsideisfree #trip #race #athlete #fun #oldlove #me #lifebehindbars #racer #offroad #heavy #fun #me

Een bericht gedeeld door GOSSE VAN DER MEER (@gossinki) op