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Alta Alpina 8-Pass Challenge Double Century, 20,300' Ascent on June 30

The Alta Alpina 8-Pass Challenge will be my 4th double century this year (Death Valley, Solvang, Devil Mountain Double plus the Sequoia Century 200K).

I am ready for it, having found that the 18,800' of climbing in the Devil Mountain Double was not all that tough.

With 20,300' feet of climbing in 198 miles with elevations up to 10,000', the Alta Alpina 8-Pass Challenge is the toughest double century I know of, including possible extreme temperature swings (could range from freezing to 100°, same day, depending on weather).

Nutrition

This is what the organizers have to say:

Hammer Nutrition is a key sponsor. We'll have Perpetuem, HEED, Endurolytes, and Hammer Gel at the rest stops.

Excellent! My preferred stuff. But for this sort of endurance stuff, I greatly prefer Perpetuem over HEED (and I can’t stand lemon lime flavor of any brand). Perpetuem has some protein content, important to reducing the breakdown of muscle tissue for fuel.

Preparation

I’ll be going 5 days in advance so that I am fully acclimated by the day of the event. Although I need only 1-2 days to adapt to altitude to a meaningful degree, 4-5 days means I can just totally forget about it as a factor— though power is always degraded by about 15% by 10,000', just because there is much less oxygen per full lung intake.

Dehydration

The main risk in high Sierra riding is severe dehydration and hyponatremia (loss of elecrolytes which can make you puky and end up with an IV in your arm, or worse). The use of a product like Hammer Endurolytes is essential. See also Dehydration and Fluid Intake for Endurance Efforts.

Summit of Monitor Pass, near Markleeville, one of the Alta Alpine 8-Pass Challenge summits
(false-color infrared)
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