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Dave McCoy had high-altitude training figured out years ago

June 10, 2011

As for high-altitude training in Mammoth, Dave McCoy had it down years ago.

Intensely interested in the interplay between high-altitude Mammoth (8,000-11,000 feet) and lower altitude Bishop (4,000 feet), McCoy had asked for a report on the subject from MMSA’s John Armstrong.

He got it two years ago, and in the whatever-goes-around-comes-around department, Armstrong presented the report at Wednesday’s final topic-related RecStrats workshop at the Community Center.
The workshop had to do with establishing Mammoth as a high-altitude training Mecca.

“It’s about programs and facilities, working with the groups together, coordination, and synergy,” said town Recreation Director Stuart Brown.

“It’s not just about the big-ticket items, but the low-hanging fruit is really important.

“That’s the purpose of RecStrats, to talk common subjects and common goals in track, running and programming. Is there is a municipal function? Private sector or groups? Local non-profits?”

The thing is, McCoy and Armstrong had this more or less figured out years ago.

“Dave has always felt this way, and he still wants to see this happen for both Mammoth and Bishop,” Armstrong said.

In Armstrong’s report to McCoy, the vision statement was “to become a world-class international high-altitude training center” – a vision that is remarkably similar to the overall RecStrats (Recreation Strategies) vision statement.

The mission, in Armstrong’s report, is, “To fulfill the needs of national and international sports teams by providing seamless integration of services and facilities in the Mammoth area.”

Sound familiar?

The twist in the Armstrong Report is that it integrates Bishop in an important way.

“Living at altitude and training at a lower altitude produce significant and measurable gains in athletic performance [for endurance athletes like runners and cyclists],” Armstrong wrote.

Skiing, however, is very much an anaerobic sport, where athletes depend on three-minute bursts. For athletes like these, it’s easier to recover at a lower altitude.

A coach for the Austrian Ski Team told Armstrong recently that if the team ever comes back to Mammoth to train, the skiers would train in Mammoth but sleep in Bishop to recover.

“Coordinating and linking facilities in Mammoth and the Bishop area will result in an abundance of resources to serve local and visiting sports teams.

“Since the coordination of these entities has not yet occurred, it will be necessary for a catalyst to be introduced in the form of an individual, company or group of people to cause the pooling and coordination of resources to occur.”

Armstrong attended Wednesday’s RecStrats “High-Altitude” meeting. For him, it must have seemed like he was going around the block, arriving right back where he started, years ago.

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