(COLORADO SPRINGS) — The San Francisco 49ers arrived in Colorado Springs on Thursday, Nov. 18 to frigid temps and incoming snow. The team came to the Air Force Academy to train at altitude in preparation for their Monday Night matchup in Mexico City against the Arizona Cardinals.
Lindsey Pallares, Team Reporter for the 49ers, said the team traveled to the Pikes Peak Region to train at altitude, specifically the Air Force Academy, because the 6,700-foot elevation is the closest they can mimic to the elevation of Estadio Azteca, the stadium in Mexico City, which sits at 7,300 feet above sea level.
“The cold is kind of a pain. I don’t like being cold, but it hasn’t changed anything with the practices,” said 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. “But it’s all about the altitude, which they (player health and performance staff) say helps us, so hopefully that will.”
The weather did impact the team’s Friday practice, which was moved indoors to Holaday Athletic Center due to the cold and snow.
“The main thing is just getting used to the altitude,” Shanahan said. “I remember coming back from college and how hard it would be for me doing the workouts and stuff, and to be here and Monday going to a place that is 2,000 feet higher, glad we are here.”
Many of the players are not used to the kind of altitude they will face in Mexico City and said they are grateful for the opportunity to adjust.
“You feel it most when you start to string plays together in a series and you’re sprinting back and forth and your heart rate doesn’t come down as quickly,” said linebacker Fred Warner. “It’s good that we are out here doing it now so when we get to Monday, it’s not just a complete shock to us.”
Pallares said temperatures reached the low 20s during the team’s practice on Thursday, but that didn’t deter some players like the 49ers newest running back Christian McCaffrey – a Castle Rock native and standout of Valor Christian High School.
“It feels like home,” McCaffrey said. “I’ve played in a lot of games in that kind of weather in high school and little league, so definitely brings me back to the good old days.”
The Monday Night Football matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals will kick off in Mexico City on Monday, Nov. 21 at 6 p.m. Mountain Time.