The effect of simulated altitude erythrocythemia on hemoglobin flow rate and maximal O2 uptake (VO2max) was determined for nine women sea-level residents. Test conditions included normoxia and normobaric hypoxia (16% O2-84% N2). Cycle tests were performed under normoxia (T1-N) and hypoxia (T1-H) at prereinfusion control and under hypoxia 48 h after a placebo infusion (T2-H) and 48 h after autologous infusion of 334 ml of erythrocytes (T3-H). Hematocrit (38.1-44.9%) and hemoglobin concentration (12.7-14.7 g.dl-1) increased from control to postreinfusion. At peak exercise, VO2max decreased from T1-N (2.40 l.min-1) to T1-H (2.15 l.min-1) then increased at T3-H (2.37 l.min-1). Maximal arterial-mixed venous O2 difference decreased from T1-N to T1-H and increased at T3-H. Cardiac output (Q), stroke volume, heart rate, and total peripheral resistance during maximal exercise were unchanged from T1-N through T3-H. Hemoglobin flow rate (Hb flow) at maximum did not change from T1-N to T1-H but increased at T3-H. When compared with submaximal values for T1-N, VO2 was unchanged at T1-H and T3-H; Q increased at T1-H and decreased at T3-H; arterial-mixed venous O2 difference decreased at T1-H and increased at T3-H; Hb flow did not change at T1-N but increased at T3-H. For young women, simulated altitude erythrocythemia increased peak Hb flow and decreased physiological altitude (227.8 m) but did not affect maximum cardiac output (Qmax).