I’m in the South of France in the Provençal Alpes. I come here a lot and have noticed that my first ride in the mountains is always awful. Second ride a bit better, third ride start to get my “climbing legs” back.
My question is: is this a known phenomena; I.e. it’s a real thing, or is it in my head?
If so how do I avoid crap legs on a mountainous half Ironman e.g. Aix en Provence 70.3?
Oh yes, that’s a real thing. The air is thinner at higher altitudes, so your muscles don’t get as much oxygen. It takes a couple of weeks for the body to adapt to living in the mountains, but even then it is not possible to perform as well up high as one can at sea level.
Preparing the body to race on hills at low altitude is a completely separate matter. No matter where you are, the best way to do it is to train on hills.