49ers, Cardinals take differing approaches to Mexico City preparation

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — The 49ers traveled to Colorado Springs to prepare for the 7,200 foot elevation in Mexico City. 

The Arizona Cardinals are doing less immersive methods of preparation. 

The 49ers are holding their Week 11 practices at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., which sits 6,788 feet above sea level. The club arrived Tuesday for a day off, and will have three practices at the Academy before traveling to Mexico City on Sunday prior to their divisional contest Monday night.

The Cardinals have chosen to stay at their team facilities in Tempe, Ariz., until traveling south for the primetime showdown. Cardinals cornerback Antonio Hamilton, who played in Estadio Azteca in 2016 as a member of the Oakland Raiders, told local media how they were preparing.  

“We stand along with the process,” Hamilton said. “We have done some little things like (stationary) bike rides with the elevation masks. You can try to prepare for that but you really can’t. 

“We know you have to go there and stay locked in and control the environment. If you go out there (on defense) three plays, in and out off the field, you don’t have to worry about the altitude.”

The Cardinals might not be getting the most consistent altitude training, but they are experiencing weather much closer to the temperatures of their Mexican destination of 70 degrees. 

At the Air Force academy, 49ers players including Deebo Samuel and Ray-Ray McCloud were having a difficult time catching passes in the below freezing temperatures. The snowy conditions were making the footballs painful to catch.


RELATED: Armstead, Ebukam miss 49ers’ chilly practice in Colorado Springs

The club experienced light snow flurries and temperatures in the mid-twenties during Thursday’s practice with it growing increasingly colder on Friday with a high of 20 degrees. 

The Academy has indoor facilities that the 49ers may take advantage of if the conditions become so extreme that it limits their productivity but for now, they are practicing in the elements. 

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