49ers prioritizing elevation acclamation for Mexico City game originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — The practice conditions Thursday afternoon might have been uncomfortable, but 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan defended the team’s decision to train this week at high elevation.
“The cold is kind of a pain, and I don’t like being cold, but it hasn’t changed anything with practices,” Shanahan said after the 49ers went through a two-hour practice in 20-degree weather.
“It’s been no different so far. It’s all about the altitude, which they say helps us. Hopefully, it will.”
The 49ers are practicing outside of Colorado Springs, Colo., at 6,700 feet above sea level. The team plays Monday night against the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night at Estadio Azteca (Aztec Stadium), which is located at 7,200 feet elevation.
However, the climate in which the 49ers are preparing for the game is much different than the expected temptations in the high-60s to low-70s.
When the 49ers hit the practice field for the first time, it was 20 degrees.
Deebo Samuel and Ray-Ray McCloud tried to stay warm for as long as possible, hiding out in a restroom during an early portion of practice that did not require their attendance.
A couple of wide receivers looked reluctant to catch passes of high velocity during warmups.
“It’s rough,” 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk said. “The balls are heavy. Your hands are cold, frozen. It was tough.”
Linebacker Fred Warner said the conditions made it challenging to remain focused on the work needed to get prepared to face the Cardinals.
“We’re all human. Do we want to be out here practicing in 20-degree weather, running around? Probably not,” Warner said.
“But at the end of the day, it is a test of your discipline and how willing you are to be on top of your assignment and be different in a way that you’re not going to let the elements affect you.”
Warner said he felt the team had a high-level practice in spite of the freezing temperature.
With snow expected for Thursday night, Shanahan said he might move Friday’s practice into an artificial surface indoor facility.
“We’re not worried about the cold. It’s about the field,” Shanahan said. “If it snows and there’s an issue with the field, we’ll go inside.
“But we’re not going to go inside and practice on turf because you’re cold. We’ll (only) go practice on turf because the field is unsafe.”