Training in a low-oxygen altitude chamber just might be the next best thing to living at 10,000 feet.
My legs—and lungs—are burning as I pedal. The cycling interval’s only 10 seconds long, but it sure feels like the clock is moving in slow motion. Coach Mauricio Andrade stands in front of me, offering support that’s motivating but firm. There’s not a chance he’ll let me slow down or slack off.
When he finally calls time and I ease up my cadence, I glance around to the view of snow-capped peaks. That, and the thin air, have momentarily transported me to a place like Leadville, Colorado or Cusco, Peru, at an altitude of about 10,000 feet.
But once I’m mercifully finished with my two rounds of 10 high-intensity intervals, I’ll step outside, inhale deeply, and get back in my car to drive to my apartment on the North Side of Chicago. That mountain view? It’s a wall-sized decal.