I’m from the lowlands. My house in Seattle is not quite 400 feet above sea level, and I grew up in Iowa, where the highest point in the entire state is about 900 feet above sea level. I don’t get to the mountains on either side of Seattle nearly as much as I’d like, and, unlike Olympic athletes, I don’t have access to an oxygen-deprivation tent at home to help me acclimate to higher altitudes or to improve my athletic performance. I figured a day or two in Telluride, at an elevation of 8,700 feet, would stand me in good stead before I started biking in the mountains. If that was true, you couldn’t tell by how the first day went.
I’d never tried to acclimate to altitude, and I didn’t know whether to take it easy or push it, so I took the middle path and hiked and biked slowly around Telluride for a day. I also took the cable car up the mountain a couple of times, once during the day:
and again for sunset:
On the way back down after sunset, light was in scarce supply, so exposure times were long and the ride was bumpy, especially at the cable-car towers: