48 hours between the Bottle and the Throttle! | High Sierra Topix  

48 hours between the Bottle and the Throttle!

How do you prepare for the rigorous physical requirements of high elevation adventure? Strength and endurance are key, but are only part of a more complex equation. How do you prepare for changes in altitude, exposure, diet, etc.? How do you mentally prepare? Learn from others and share what you know about training in advance for outdoor adventures.
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48 hours between the Bottle and the Throttle!

Postby Hetchy » Fri Feb 06, 2009 10:11 pm

I love beer.. Beer loves me.. only sometimes. When I commit to a hike I have found that by cutting beer out of my diet I perform better in training and on the trail. This might be peculiar to me and me alone, but the effect is so dramatic I thought I would mention it.. perhaps it will help others.
I have been in training for an upcomming thru-hike .. actually I "train" all year.. it is a lifestyle choice that has actually cost me friendships on occasion..(that is another story.. thus I hike solo).
What I have found is:
Even a "few" beers affects my athletic coordination for up to several days(definitley the next).. indeed long after the buzz is gone I notice leg cramps and in particular shin splints. I used to think it was just random leg pains.. maybe not enough stretching. Nope, I now have directly linked it to drinking beer(could be alcohol in general but the only kind I drink is beer).
This is not to say I STOP drinking beer altogether. I still drink, but the thought of shin splints on hikes the next morning at 5 AM tends to curtail the activity quite effectively.
Like I said, I don't know it it's just me or a universal thing among people but I think I will pass on the Vodka shots at the resupplies.
I know this was not exactly a training topic but it relates to training in such an important way I thought it worth mentioning.
You can make more money, but you can't make more time.



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Re: 48 hours between the Bottle and the Throttle!

Postby giantbrookie » Sat Feb 07, 2009 6:46 pm

You are indeed very dedicated to training. I couldn't give up beer. On the other hand, I don't really drink in very large quantities. One bottle with dinner is enough except for occasional brewfests, geologic field trips, and international scientific meetings. My motto is similar to the great brewery Unibroue's unique slogan "drink less, drink better". Having been an amateur brewer for 14 years and a very serious brew nut before that, I'm very choosy about just what beer I put in the system. I will say, though, that I long ago lost my taste to bring my old friend, 151 ("more miles to the gallon") on backpacking trips. Good times those were, though.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: 48 hours between the Bottle and the Throttle!

Postby Hetchy » Sat Feb 07, 2009 7:57 pm

Thanks GiantBrookie! Thats funny.. You would think a "geologic" field trip would be mundane!
In pre-wilderness ethic days my uncle would bring a plastic flask of gran Marnier or brandy.. putting it in the crook of a tree at nights.. presumably for ease of retrieval, 'cause back then the rest of the food was bear bagged.
I was not old enough to drink (legally) then but I still harbor some fond memories of sittin' round the fire and sippin' that booze laden coffee.
I actually ONCE tried that freeze dried beer they used to sell at REI waaaay back.. you were supposed to add the alcohol (vodka) after disolving the powder in water... It was unimaginably bad as I recall.. and a waste of vodka certainly!
I think If I were on a penchant to bring libation on a shorter trek I might be tempted to inject grapes with everclear like we used to do camping in Hollister Hills Off road park... Thusly employed the alcohol is unnoticeable. The everclear could double as fuel for my alcohol stove... Hmm.. Dang I wish I hadn't thought of that! HAHA :)
If you hear about a bunch of thru-hikers stumbling out of some trail head on the PCT this summer, it might be my fault. ;)
You can make more money, but you can't make more time.
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Re: 48 hours between the Bottle and the Throttle!

Postby Snow Nymph » Sun Feb 08, 2009 5:55 am

I don't like to drink the night before a big hike or high altitude hike. Even one drink makes a difference.
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


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Re: 48 hours between the Bottle and the Throttle!

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:28 am

Beer is a diuretic- muscle cramps are likely due to dehydration. Beer is a depressant- a lot of the effects of alcohol are mental- some people are more sensitive to both depressants and stimulants. I often drink one beer at the trailhead the night before a backpack. What I cannot do is drink a beer when I come out if I plan on driving home. It just puts me to sleep!

I am a coffee-holic. I really think I feel better backpacking because I am limited to one cup of coffee at breakfast. Just wish I could keep up that discipline at home!

My husband likes his wine. We often take some wine for the first night on the trail. But, we also make a point of taking it easy at first.

The level of training and backpacking Hetchy does, is more on the level of elite athletes. Most of them also cut out the beer and other spirits. If I were to do that level of backpacking, I too would not drink any alcohol.

My most high altitude drinking experinece is climbing Mt. Shasta, with a wedding ceremony of friends at the top, then downing champaign. A bottle was brought up and only two of us had the stomach to drink- so why waste the good champaign? No ill effects- just a little goofy on the glissade off the mountain. Could not stay awake for the reception down in town. Was sleeping in the corner at 6PM.
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Re: 48 hours between the Bottle and the Throttle!

Postby rlown » Sun Aug 07, 2011 2:29 pm

we don't generally drink until we get to our first layover day. I've given up on drinking at the trail-head the night before, as it does whack you for the next day's maneuver. Instead a nice dinner before heading to the trail-head, and then just a snack for breakfast. i'd rather not light up the stove in the AM on the day of the hike.

Even that morning coffee thing. I used to drink a LOT of coffee. Now down to 1 cup in the morning, and that's almost intolerable before a hike.
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