Acclimating to the altitude in Telluride

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:

Telluride from the cable car

and again for sunset:

Sunset from the cable car station above Telluride

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:

Telluride at night from the cable car

On to After the ride: evening tour of Arches National Park

Back to Lunch at Il Bistro Italiano in Grand Junction

Back to Mountain biking (and walking) from Telluride to Moab