/ oxygen tents

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Ricardo - on 07 May 2013
I've read a few times about using oxygen tents being used by pro cyclists, most recently in a wiggo interview in the times. Wonder what peoples views are on this. Sounds a little bit like legal cheating to me. I am guessing it helps red blood cells which is also what epo does. Thoughts?
Andy DB - on 07 May 2013
In reply to Ricardo: I'm fairly sure it doesn't help your red blood cell count like EPO. What it will do is spread up t recovery allowing training harder for longer.
IainRUK - on 07 May 2013
In reply to Andy DB: Wouldn't it? I thought thats what it would do?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altitude_tent

Certainly questionable..

For me.. Its a step beyond. Train at altitude, well anyone can.. artifical environments? I just think thats a step too far.

But its personal. We all have different stances. Regardless it still takes shed loads of hard miles to be that good so respect for that. I admire the guy.
rmt - on 07 May 2013
In reply to IainRUK:
Train at altitude, well anyone can..

Well, anyone who can afford it (yes, I know the big teams can all afford it, but....) Sleep in an altitude tent, more doable. Shaun Wallace (world flying start kilo record holder about 25 years ago) made his own, with a bit of help.

I take your point though, and I'm not entirely sure of my stance. Where does the thin end of the wedge start and stop.... Training? Shouldn't be allowed should it, makes it a more level playing field for everyone. Carbohydrate drink, nah, water for everyone. Then we can see who's really the best..........

dissonance - on 07 May 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

> For me.. Its a step beyond. Train at altitude, well anyone can.. artifical environments? I just think thats a step too far.

looking at the cost of an altitude tent seems more likely someone would be able to use one of them rather than train at altitude. Least if you live in the UK for example and need to hold down a full time job.
Jimbo W on 08 May 2013
In reply to dissonance:

Its not just about being at altitude though. One of the benefits is the instant switch between hypoxia to normoxia for training, the equivalent of which is sleeping at altitude and then travelling down as quick as possible to get your training schedule in at sea level. However, though these tents might be somewhat more accessible, for me, they're a sufficiently artificial means of gaining an advantage for me to see them as cheating.. ..especially because not everyone will get a decent haemotocrit response to this kind of training. So the sport becomes partly about which athletes response to hypoxia tents etc etc.
IainRUK - on 08 May 2013
In reply to rmt: My stance is eat food.. drink natural shit.. no creatin.. no powders.. I'm as pure as can be.. I have dabbled in the rest.. but for me.. I am a natural guy.. in my last 100k.. UK champs.. I came 3rd.. I ate nothing but bananas.. ellas? purees and lucosade..

But if others want to go otherwise.. fair dos..
IainRUK - on 08 May 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to IainRUK)
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> [...]
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> looking at the cost of an altitude tent seems more likely someone would be able to use one of them rather than train at altitude. Least if you live in the UK for example and need to hold down a full time job.

If you want to use an AT you won't hold a job.. I compete with full time athletes.. we train together.. I meet at 6 after a day working.. I run from work.. I leave work at 5:53 and run 1 mile to meet them.. they've spent the day in bed after 60k on the road bike.. they are sponsored...

We race... they win.. I'm not bitter.. but I just know a huge % of their gains is in that prep.. the money reinforces their position and some get their through unjust means.. parents money.. etc..
Jimbo W on 08 May 2013
In reply to IainRUK:
> bananas.. ellas? purees and lucosade..

Ewww... ...you put that sh1te in your body?!!!
rmt - on 08 May 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to dissonance)
>
>So the sport becomes partly about which athletes response to hypoxia tents etc etc.

Yes, true. But unfortunately not everyone will respond in the same way to training, nor will everyone respond in the same way to carbo-loading, and not everyone will respond in the same way to being at altitude. Does that mean that all athletes should never be allowed to train, they should all be forced to eat the same diet, and all races should be held at sea level in case some can cope better with altitude than others? Oh, and what about those athletes that are better sponsored and can afford to ride rounder wheels because they've spent more time wind tunnel testing.

Of course I'm being a dick, but I'm illustrating that if looked at subjectively the concept of cheating really doesn't work. EPO is naturally occurring - some people have less of it than others so less blood cells and will never be endurance athletes. Tough. Somebody has, correctly in my view, decided that injecting EPO isn't legal, so if you do it's cheating. However, there's an argument that it shouldn't be. The rules are there to determine what is and what isn't cheating.
steveej - on 08 May 2013
In reply to Ricardo:

http://www.altitudetenthire.co.uk/

300 a month.....doesnt seem too expensive to me, especially if someone is spending a gew G's on a climbing expedition somewhere and going straight out from the UK.
Hat Dude on 08 May 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

>
> For me.. Its a step beyond. Train at altitude, well anyone can.. artifical environments? I just think thats a step too far.
>

This made me think of Don Thompson the Rome 1960 Olympic 50k Race Walking Champion, who famously used heaters & boiling kettles in his bathroom to train for the heat & humidity
Jimbo W on 08 May 2013
In reply to rmt:

> Yes, true. But unfortunately not everyone will respond in the same way to training, nor will everyone respond in the same way to carbo-loading, and not everyone will respond in the same way to being at altitude. Does that mean that all athletes should never be allowed to train, they should all be forced to eat the same diet, and all races should be held at sea level in case some can cope better with altitude than others? Oh, and what about those athletes that are better sponsored and can afford to ride rounder wheels because they've spent more time wind tunnel testing.

> Of course I'm being a dick, but I'm illustrating that if looked at subjectively the concept of cheating really doesn't work. EPO is naturally occurring - some people have less of it than others so less blood cells and will never be endurance athletes. Tough. Somebody has, correctly in my view, decided that injecting EPO isn't legal, so if you do it's cheating. However, there's an argument that it shouldn't be. The rules are there to determine what is and what isn't cheating.

Indeed, my haemotocrit is constistently above 50%, which would give me a natural advantage. I guess I disapprove of the technological feedback that turns known unknowns (whats my haemotocrit) into known knowns. If no one knew except using the basic feedback of objective training improvement on the bike, without recourse to invasive physiological measurements, then I'd become much more interested in cycling, because it would become a sport.
dissonance - on 08 May 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

> So the sport becomes partly about which athletes response to hypoxia tents etc etc.

yes or how they respond to certain types of training and whether thery are able to go overseas to altitude train.
Its an advantage certainly but doesnt do anything which, with enough money, you wouldnt be able to replicate in certain parts of the world by travelling up and down a mountain.
dissonance - on 08 May 2013
In reply to rmt:

> Somebody has, correctly in my view, decided that injecting EPO isn't legal, so if you do it's cheating. However, there's an argument that it shouldn't be.

Difference is EPO can push the body past its natural limits. Doesnt matter if you use a tent or go and live on a proper mountain you will only improve so far when your bodies safety measures kick in.
Jimbo W on 08 May 2013
In reply to dissonance:

> Difference is EPO can push the body past its natural limits. Doesnt matter if you use a tent or go and live on a proper mountain you will only improve so far when your bodies safety measures kick in.

What is a natural limit?
Enty - on 08 May 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to dissonance)
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> [...]
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> What is a natural limit?

Somewhere well below having blood that feels like strawberry jam ;-)

E
IainRUK - on 08 May 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to dissonance)
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> [...]
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> What is a natural limit?

Thats the problem.. additionally what is normal for an athelete..
Jimbo W on 08 May 2013
In reply to Enty:

My dad's blood blocked the blood analyser when he was a medical student... ...clogged up with cholesterol... ...a sign of bad things to come.. ..that was natural, and very like strawberry jam, or rather very like strawberry jam mixed with double cream....

...I should add that at the time he played Rugby, and climbed most w/es Summer or Winter... ...very fit, so this was not a function of sedantary lifestyle of over eating etc
Hephaestus - on 08 May 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to rmt)
>
> [...]
>
> Difference is EPO can push the body past its natural limits. Doesnt matter if you use a tent or go and live on a proper mountain you will only improve so far when your bodies safety measures kick in.

Not sure about this - isn't altitude sickness affected by the thickness of blood as your body generates more red blood cells in an attempt to transfer more of the available oxygen? Once it gets thick enough to stop flowing properly you're in trouble.

Compares to anecdotes about riders on EPO getting up in the middle of the night to exercise in order to keep their blood flowing, and a couple of deaths.

Altitude and EPO do the same thing because EPO is the natural agent that promotes red blood cell growth. However the EPO is generated, there doesn't seem to be an emergency stop mechanism, and the blood just gets thicker and thicker.

As to whether an altitude tent is cheating or not, the question seems immaterial. How would you test for oxygen tent use? If there's no test, there's no point in banning it.
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SethChili - on 10 May 2013
In reply to Ricardo: I think the Brownlee brothers (triathlon ) use these . Ethically questionable but at least it is an artificial environment in which an athlete is immersed ,rather than a hormonal drug like EPO which is introduced to the persons blood stream .

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