Sucking Air or Die

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by froggy68, Aug 25, 2012.

  1. froggy68

    froggy68 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    46
    Location:
    NW Louisiana ARLATX
    Leaving in Mid September from a low elevation, NW Louisiana riding to a higher elevation , San Juan Mountains in Colorado with a short stop in Albuquerque. Any advice on how to acclimate to the elevation change without suffering from altitude sickness. I am considering purchasing a few canisters of R-O2 Oxygen to help with this process. The last time I was in that area (last January) my wife and I both suffered from the altitude change. Considering a lot of ADV riders are traveling through high altitude areas, I was wondering if they have problems with breathing or do they just try to acclimate by staying in one place longer before heading to higher elevations? Don't want to ruin my bucket list trip because of lack of air.
    #1
  2. ragtoplvr

    ragtoplvr Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,377
    Location:
    central USA
    As you go up in altitude drink a lot of extra fluids. At about 5000 feet go walk a mile or so, and drink a lot of extra water. Also, take a Nisdaid of some sort if you can, aspirin, or something stronger. Nothing wrong with a vitamin also, at least eat right. If schedule permits, spend the night at 5000 or so feet. Take a walk in the morning and drink more water so your body can perform the process of increasing blood volume. Try to sleep at the lowest altitude possible the first day or 2.

    Works for me. Having had altitude sickness once, never want it again.

    Rod
    #2
  3. froggy68

    froggy68 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    46
    Location:
    NW Louisiana ARLATX
    Thanks for the advice. That will be my plan for overcoming altitude sickness in the San Juans.
    #3
  4. thetourist

    thetourist Just passing thru

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,295
    Location:
    Moscow, Idaho
    You probably won't have any problems at 6-7000 ft. I frequently ride to these altitudes and don't even notice the change.

    I have been ill above 12000 ft. Nausea, ripping headache, sharp pains near my diaphragm. I was ready to take a helicopter ride, but the symptoms got better and I rode it out for a day.

    As soon as I got off the mountain I was fine. I think longevity had a lot to do with it. I was up there over 24 hours. I've been above 10,000 ft many times riding my bike and never had any problems. Just up and down in a couple hours.

    The next time I stay on Pikes Peak I'm taking oxygen. That was a miserable day.
    #4
  5. Valker

    Valker Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2003
    Oddometer:
    505
    Location:
    Pampa, Texas
    Like was said-fluids and my twist is real aspirin, not ibuprofen, etc., and take it before bed.
    #5
  6. bigalsmith101

    bigalsmith101 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2009
    Oddometer:
    988
    Location:
    Lake Stevens, WA
    My experience with altitude took me from just over sea level to well above 14k feet in a single day. I then spent the next 6 days over 12k feet, with 2 nights at 13.5k feet.

    Physical body condition has a lot to do with preparedness with higher elevations. A physically fit person will likely feel less of an affect then someone that is out of shape. I've known several traveler friends who will walk vigorously for 2-3 miles daily, for a couple weeks before traveling to higher elevations (9-12k feet).

    The higher you go, the more liquid (water) your body needs. Keeping well hydrated keeps your blood in proper condition, thus allowing proper oxygen transfer throughout your body. Dehydrated blood is thicker and slows the process, increasing your chances of suffering from Altitude Sickness. The suggestion of aspirin or something similar is fair advice as well, as the medicine acts as a blood thinner, allowing more functional oxygen transfer.

    While in Cusco, Peru and La Paz, Boliva for a couple weeks each, I met many travelers that were suffering intense headaches from the altitude. Drinking a LOT of water helped immensely, and spending a complete day, simply resting/sleeping was crucial at that altitude (10-13k feet). Anything above moderate exercise will be much more difficult at higher elevations.

    Key Notes: Drink LOTS of water, exercise daily before leaving for trip, avoid anything more than mild physical exertion, and pay attention to your body!

    Have a good time!

    --Alex
    #6
  7. sealsam

    sealsam Sam...I am.

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,895
    Location:
    seal beach, ca.
    #7
  8. froggy68

    froggy68 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    46
    Location:
    NW Louisiana ARLATX
    Thanks again for the advice. I am out of shape so it could be a problem if I don't do as suggested above. I was having a slight problem in Albuquerque at 4800 feet and I was there for 2 months. I have bought some oxygen and will take some full strength aspirin although I now take hydrochlorothiazide and a high blood pressure medicine. If I scratch myself or get injured I could bleed like a stuck pig and would be out of blood by the time anyone got to me. LOL Forgot, I do take a 81mg bayer everyday. I believe with what has been suggested above I should be able to adjust to the altitude in a short period of time. I will be riding everyday moving to various altitudes. Hopefully the canned oxygen and water will get me through the hard parts. Will be riding from :Louisiana to Albuquerque to Cortez to Montrose to Crested Butte to Ridgway to Durango to Taos to Angel Fire and back to Albuquerque.
    #8
  9. Valker

    Valker Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2003
    Oddometer:
    505
    Location:
    Pampa, Texas
    I am 58 years old, 5'9", and 300 lbs. I also take hydrochlorothiazide, so drinking is tremendously important. The full strength aspirin will take the place of your 81mg daily while you're taking the full ones at night. I never found a need for the oxygen, but I am on a CPAP which may help.
    #9
  10. FotoTEX

    FotoTEX Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,845
    Location:
    Granbury Texas
    Hydrate, hydrate,hydrate. And then drink some more water. Smart water works well as it has electrolytes and not sugar like Gator-Aid.
    #10
  11. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2002
    Oddometer:
    25,130
    Location:
    out and about
    At 10k'+, I've always turned into a weak person.
    But I truly love it up high.
    Recognise the changes to your body and mind, and go forward sensibly.
    We're all different, of course.
    The top of the world is so damn cool.
    #11
  12. Sir Dave

    Sir Dave Big Dave

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    73
    Location:
    East Texas
    Have been to Colorado many times. One of our group is prone to altitude sickness. Take it slow, allow yourself to acclimate to the changes. Drink LOTS of H20, this cannot be stated enough. Ibuprofen and ASA may help. There is a prescription drug called Acetazolamide (Diamox) which can be used to help prevent altitude sickness. SO if you think you may be one of the unlucky, you may talk with your doc before leaving. Diamox may be the ticket in your case.
    RIde Safe.
    dave
    #12
  13. froggy68

    froggy68 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    46
    Location:
    NW Louisiana ARLATX
    Thanks to all for your input. Have canned Oxygen, Nsaid (aspirin), will drink plenty of water. Leaving in 8 days. Looks like cool weather coming in. Should be a great ride. Nothing for me to worry about but rattlesnakes, cougars, bobcats, bears, elk, antelope, cagers, hail, rain, snow, mechanical breakdowns, flat tires, debris from the road, bad road food. Yeah, bring it on. Like someone said on this forum, "did you see anything fall off my bike, other than me".
    #13
  14. froggy68

    froggy68 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    46
    Location:
    NW Louisiana ARLATX
    #14
  15. Uglyprimate

    Uglyprimate UglyPirate

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2006
    Oddometer:
    6,949
    Location:
    Fort Whine Indiana
    Unless someone picks you up in a helicopter and drops you off at 15k feet in a few minutes, your chance of altitude sickness is nill unless you are exerting yourself.

    Thinking otherwise would indicate every truck driver on earth passes out at every mountain pass.

    Your body will start to acclimate itself to altitude changes during the ride.

    The MOST you will suffer is a shortness of breath. Especially if you smoke, weigh 600 lbs or are just a total wuss.

    Other than that, you will be fine.

    Eat peppermint candy to open your airways so you breath easier.

    Some people get headaches, so take aspirin.

    Drink water. The dryness out west will dehydrate you without you knowing it. If it's hot, you won't always see or feel sweat, but you body will be doing it.

    Expect buggers the size of Houston every morning.

    The fellow that claimed altitude sickness in Albq after 4 months is full of shit. POLUTION, not altitude.

    Denver is called the Brown Cloud for a reason. It's as toxic as a New Jersey landfill.
    #15
  16. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2002
    Oddometer:
    25,130
    Location:
    out and about
    Never heard that before.

    Hell, I'll try anything. :D

    I smoke, but it always hits me bad, regardless. Like my physical and mental screws have been turned down low.
    I love it, but I need to spend some time 'up high' before I feel unhandicapped.

    Thanks for the post.
    #16
  17. BigChris99

    BigChris99 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    276
    Location:
    In 5th gear... looking for 6th
    The drinking water is huge part of feeling good. Period. No matter what altitude your at. One thing that hasn't been said is

    start drinking water NOW, before you leave. Lots of it. Taking a pee every hour at least. That way your body will be

    hydrated BEFORE you leave on your trip. That way you can concentrate on keeping it hydrated, not starting from scratch

    and trying to play catch up,hydration wise, on the road. Which is hard enough to do on a bike. Oh yeah, enjoy the trip

    there is some beautiful country in New Mexico.
    #17
  18. froggy68

    froggy68 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    46
    Location:
    NW Louisiana ARLATX
    Well I arrived in Albuququere todayl. Isolated thunder shower for tomorrow with 18mph winds. Long hot ride from NW Louisiana. Drank as much water as I could. I feel a shortness of breath with some exertion. Going to do the st. Jemez trail tomorrow if weather permits. The Sangre De Christo Mountains are covered in fog and light rain falling. I am not afraid of rain but fog and wind is not good. Friday will be a better day. The DR650se is a great bike a little tall for me but it just keeps me on the cautionary side when mounting and dismounting and placing my feet down.
    #18