EP 2017 Blogs

We’re back in Arizona again with a new crew and new experiences! Follow the students’ impressions of the progress of Extreme Physiology 2017 through their blog entries below.

Mountain Biking: 50% Luck, 50% Pain

Yet another day in the desert of Tucson has passed filled with deception and lies, but I’ll get to that shortly.

It began this morning when, luckily, we were able to transport some mountain bikes by van over to Saguaro National Park, a site we biked to a couple days before.  Dr. Sweeney led us on a few of Saguaro’s “beginner” mountain biking trails.  Within the first five minutes, five brand new mountain bikers were going downhill at 90° over boulders, barrel cacti, and other people’s bikes.  That may be a bit exaggerated, but not by much.  We ...

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A Day Like No Other

Wow.  Where to begin…

Following a brutal day including the Wingate test, a one and a half mile run, and a 10 mile bike ride, we were feeling pretty good about ourselves the next morning. It can’t get harder than that, right? We even got to sleep in before our 10:00 departure for the mountains. Sounds like the making of a good day right? That’s what we thought too, so we hit the trail with heads held high, excited about the views this hike could bring us.

The first few miles of the Ventana Canyon Hiking Trail were awesome. ...

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Today was a day full of non-stop movement.  We biked, we ran, and we biked again.  The day started out back at the University of Arizona where we performed the Wingate test. This test consists of 30 seconds of biking on a machine when a weight that is 8% of the person’s body mass is dropped onto it.  The person has to keep biking for the full 30 seconds after the weight has been dropped.  Now, most of us thought, “How bad can this really be compared to yesterday’s test?  It’s only 30 seconds!”  But wow we ...

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VO2 Max: Round 1

Today, we went to the physiology lab at the University of Arizona to perform our baseline VO2 max tests.

We began with a lecture by Doug Keen, a physiology professor at the university. He outlined the three main pathways of ATP production in the body, and then taught us about VO2 max testing, which measures the efficiency of the aerobic oxygen system in particular. VO2 max is the maximum volume of oxygen that can be consumed by the body during intense exercise. It varies with age, sex, conditioning and altitude.

The VO2 max test involves three stages: measurement of resting ...

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First Day Fun

Today was our first full day of Extreme Physiology 2017, so we took the students on a hike at Chiricahua National Monument in Willcox, AZ. Covering 12,025 acres, this monument was established in 1924 so that the 27-million-year old rock pinnacles (called “standing up rocks” by the Chiricahua Apache in the 1500-1800s) would be protected. The pinnacles were formed when the Turkey Creek volcano had a massive eruption, forming the pinnacles as superheated particles of ash melted and molded together. As time passed, water, wind, and lichen have cracked and smoothed the rock into the picturesque pinnacles ...

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