Travel, multiple time zones and being race ready

I will be traveling in a couple of weeks and it just dawned on me that I’m always a wreck when I travel, which is not ideal for 7 days, 500mi, 66k ft of climbing. Does anyone have any recommendations on how to improve my travel?

Besides the obvious things like eating well and staying hydrated, what are the pro tips to traveling multiple time zones to be race-ready within a short window upon arrival? In my case, I’ll be traveling to the french alps which are +9hr and will have 36hr from landing before I start riding. Some things I’ve heard that can improve the experience are: Melatonin timing, blue light timing, exercise timing after arrival, etc…

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Very timely…I just saw a few days ago @ThermalDoc had this post:

I just got back from traveling across 9 time zones, I did not compete but I did take my bike and I can definitely tell you what NOT to do :slight_smile: I think some people have the ability to over come jet lag better than others…I am not one and it is probably because I have a hard time sleeping on planes (regardless of class) and a hard time adjusting my “wake up” time (I tend to stay anchored in my “departure” zone for a good week). So for me melatonin works great to fall asleep but I tend to only be asleep for 2-3 hours and ready to go! Hopefully you are one that can sleep and adjust quickly. But I did notice my performance - even not adjusting to jet lag - within the first 2-4 days was not that off from “normal”. It was those rides in days 5-10 where I really dug a fatigue hole that were not good.

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Oh, look who the video is by… @ThermalDoc . Any extra tips?
This is exactly the kind of guidance I was looking for… I just need to figure out the exact steps. What I got from that was:

  • Sleep when you would as if you were in the destination city. I assume this doesn’t mean, skip/reduce sleep for a day to make that happen… so I guess you need to try and go to sleep earlier when traveling east?
  • Sleep well on the plane (headphones, eye cover).
  • Light avoidance/exposure on arrival. What I’m not clear on is the timing of that. Seems like you want to avoid light first thing then get exposure a couple hours later?

Great points @smashsquatch. When I traveled east to Europe for some cycling camps those tips were really helpful. I tried to sleep well on the plane (didn’t accomplish that the first time over due to the excitement), so tried to align my sleep schedule to the destination by remaining awake long enough to get a ‘normal’ bedtime upon arrival. I fell asleep on the drive to our destination in the morning and then couldn’t get into a rhythm right away.

The second time back, I slept better on the plane - brought eye covers, earplugs, and strategically selected seats for the best possible sleep. It was great. Just a little tired upon arrival, but was able to get into a normal sleep routine for the destination city.

The light avoidance/exposure is a cool idea that I haven’t explored in the past. To your point, it looks like they may have been accounting for the 7 hour time difference between the two cities and then sliding the avoidance/exposure window back by 3 hours per day would have been sufficient to put the athletes into their normal rhythm by day 4? I was having a little trouble interpreting that too, so that may be completely wrong! :grin:

Definitely going to get some blue light blocking glasses + eye mask and giving that a try. Last time I travelled to Europe I tried this calculator and felt pretty good to go within a day:

I’ll report back on how it all goes!