This last week, I am once again sleeping in a tent, although this time the tent belongs to a friend of mine (thanks Mike.) Through nothing other than pure chance, I happen to live two doors down from a former olympic cyclist who designed the systems sold by Colarado Altitude Training. Putting those pieces together, along with my upcoming intent to pace at Leadville, winds up with me sleeping in the living room in a tent, hooked up to a machine, which pumps air into the tent to create a simulation of altitude.
I get strange looks from Hunter when I turn the machine on, I think he is trying to ask me why it has to make so much noise. I don't feel that sorry for him, he has 12 hours during the day with the house to himself, so he can survive the night with a bit of noise and his buddy inside a plastic bubble. Maybe he will sleep more during the day now and bark less at the neighbor's cat.
My impressions of the tent are kind of blah. If you've ever wondered what it is like to sleep in one of these things, I would wager that it's almost exactly what you might expect. The tent itself is fairly tall and roomy, not exactly a design that anyone would consider for backpacking, its as nice as any indoor tent could be. The machine is just like any sort of machine you might see in a hospice, its got wheels, dials, makes some noises, and otherwise looks pretty blah.
I sleep pretty soundly inside this thing, despite the noise. I suspect that has a lot to do with what I try to get done during the day than anything about the tent itself.
I should get a glimpse of any possible training benefit in another week when I race AFC, but there are probably too many variables to really say what contribution the tent makes. It has given me a little bit of confidence for Leadville, which I suppose is all I am asking of it. The rest of what I might be feeling could just be placebo effect.