A good friend, unofficial mentor, and very experienced local 'cross racer who has competed in the past at both Nationals and Worlds discouraged me from going to Nationals this year because of the altitude. Now, before I pin the whole decision to not go on my good friend, it should also be noted that I am not exactly where I wanted to be in terms of competitiveness when I originally set me sights on Nats earlier this year. I don't want to fly halfway across the country to be pack fodder, so I'd set the goal of being a consistent top 5 finisher in order to justify the trip to Boulder. I'm just now starting to break into the top 10 in the Verge Series, so while I fail on my original goal, it's hard to look at the downward trend of my points and not wonder what could be if I made the trip. Not only did I live in Summit County for several years in the early nineties -- which might as well be a lifetime ago -- but there was a period of years not too long ago where I'd weasel my way out to the Rockies for ski trips 2-3 times a season and never had issues with skiing at altitude. But skiing at altitude with your buddies who are no strangers to excessive alcohol -- even really hard skiing, these guys are chargers -- is not the same as racing 'cross with the best in the nation at altitude. Long story short, not going is probably the right decision, but I'm having the damnest time accepting it.
How about you? Are you going? What are your goals? If a sea-level dweller or other relative lowlander, have you raced at altitude before? How'd it impact you? Would love to hear the thoughts of others.