Training during wildfire season

Here in Colorado and much of the west, we’ve made an early entrance into wildfire season. I was on my bike to commute into work this morning and made it 10 minutes out the door before turning around due to the poor air quality.

Although I don’t fit a high-risk group, it still doesn’t feel good going out and pushing through even an easy ride knowing how much particulate matter is getting deep into the lungs. Last summer I definitely spent more time indoors on Zwift, and on some weeks quite honestly, just opted to ride less, regardless of a decline in performance over the short term.

What’s your approach to dealing with the poor air quality if you live in affected areas?

Do you make any other adjustments to training (e.g., training early AM when air quality is better)?

Is that from a wildfire @ryan ? About to head out for a ride in an hour and now I’m questioning whether I should ride inside today as I’m seeing the same thing up here in Fort Collins.

We did a lot of indoor riding during the issues last year in Colorado

Yes, if you’re in FoCo, I believe it’s all the same smoke from the wildfires west of us. We were sitting outside today for lunch and getting a steady stream of ash falling as the wind blew into town.

In the summer, I do a daily check of the Smoke Map and PurpleAir to decide what kind of ride I will do for the day - indoors vs. outdoors, easy vs. intervals. It’s strange to have to work the training this way in the summer, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. Thankful that we have platforms like Zwift for times like this!

I was flying into Denver from Reno on Monday. About 20 minutes from landing, I could see the smoke from the wildfire. The amount of smoke looked like the Air Force laid down a bombing raid.

I’m about halfway through listening to Fast Talk episode 171: Environmental Pollution, Health, and Performance with Dr. Michael Koehle.

With the Olympics beginning this weekend, Dr. Koehle made some disturbing points. Two that made me comment out loud were:

  • List item Athletes went to Rio de Janeiro early before the Olympics to get used to the pollution. Apparently, Sao Paolo has the “perfect recipe of air pollution” for lab studies, and so some labs actually send athletes there to study their response to it! I’m sure athletes have traveled early to Japan to acclimate to the pollution recipe there.

  • List item His comments about what they recommend for training during wildfire season were interesting, too. They begin around 20:00.