Study Shows Viagra Enhances Cyclists Performance at Altitude

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So this is actually an old study (2006) but I just read some commentary about this over on seriousrunning.com this week. Apparently cyclists who took Viagra as part of a study increased performance (cycling, that is) by up to 45% at high altitudes. Not everyone in the study showed signs of improvement but for those who did it sounds like it was pretty significant.

It’s interesting to note that the altitudes we’re talking about here – above 12,700 feet – are pretty extreme. Couple that with the fact that the study found no boost at sea level and it’s sorta questionable whether this matters at all. Of course this hasn’t stopped pro cyclists from being caught with bags full of Viagra at the Giro d’Italia and other big races. Back in 2008 the World Anti-Doping Agency began investigating Viagra to see whether the substance should be banned but as far as I can tell they’re still studying the issue.

Even the Leadville 100 MTB race doesn’t quite make it up to 12,700 feet above sea level but it’s probably close enough that popping a Viagra might help racers get to the top. Even more promising seems to be the idea of using Viagra to treat altitude sickness. So the next time you head out for an epic ride above tree line, consider bringing a couple Viagras in your pack – you never know when you might need them :)

I’ll leave the rest of the Viagra jokes to the commenters below.

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