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  1. #1
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    Unusual HR readings only while racing

    I make my initial post in the 33 with great hesitation; however, this is a topic that has been concerning me and nobody seems to have a good answer. I ran two crits over the weekend which read ridiculously high heart rate readings for a 31 year old, each had an average of 192 and 194 which got into the 200's a few times.

    What concerns me about all of this is that I felt absolutely fine. On training ride intervals if I hit anything above 195 I'm blowing up and sucking hot air but in a race I'm AOK, just the normal amount of suffer.

    Granted, I'm still new to racing and I'm sure adrenaline comes into play skewing the numbers, but should I be concerned?

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    Ninny globecanvas's Avatar
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    Those aren't ridiculously high numbers. I know a 40 year old whose max HR is 195. Most likely you're just anxious. It's also possible the readings can be skewed by either cool weather (air gets under the sensor) or warm weather (when it's hot your HR increases). In any case, I wouldn't worry about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by globecanvas View Post
    Those aren't ridiculously high numbers. I know a 40 year old whose max HR is 195. Most likely you're just anxious. It's also possible the readings can be skewed by either cool weather (air gets under the sensor) or warm weather (when it's hot your HR increases). In any case, I wouldn't worry about it.
    Alright cool, thanks! Just making sure I wasn't going to be a dead Fred. Seems like it may just be contained to crits as my road race numbers look pretty normal.

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    The Flying Scot chewa's Avatar
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    +1

    I'm 53 and regularly go over 175 peaking at 185 when I'm pushing hard on climbs (just fitness riding, not racing).

    My resting pulse is still about 40, and I've ridden regularly (currently about 5000 miles per year) since I was 12. Like you, I can get high numbers (much more than 220 - age) without feeling stressed at all. If you feel ok and your rate comes down quick when easing off, I wouldn't worry about it.

    I used to have a monitor that occasionally read 228 if there was a transmission fault, as that was the default max.

    But it's risky getting cardiac advice on a forum
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    starting pistol means war YMCA's Avatar
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    Throw it away
    If you don't understand it, why use it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by YMCA View Post
    Throw it away
    If you don't understand it, why use it?
    Ahh there we go, that's the expected reply I was waiting for.


    To all of the others, thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YMCA View Post
    Throw it away
    If you don't understand it, why use it?
    Quote Originally Posted by itrsteve View Post
    Ahh there we go, that's the expected reply I was waiting for.


    To all of the others, thanks.
    that's a reasonable reply. using an HRM is a good training tool, but just like if you have torque wrench and use it but don't understand how to set the torque, what good is it?

    no idea if your numbers mean anything or not relative to what other 31 year olds see on their HRMs, and no one else here does either. if you have a higher HR during a race than in training, possible causes are: you're amped up and starting with a higher baseline HR than you are in training; the acceleration/recover/acceleration/recover nature of pack racing, this usually drives my HR to higher peaks than a steady state effort; interference from the other however many guys are wearing HRMs, so cross talk.

    I can think of one person who died of cardiac arrest during a race, and another who would have were it not for immediate attention of a fellow racer and the EMS on site. Both were seasoned upper cat racers and one was in his 20s. I once had what I believe was a tachycardia event while racing. If you have any concern at all over your HR #s , go see a cardiologist and discuss. But of all things, don't compare your HR #s to others, it's a fools errand.

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    Where was your HR monitor located? I got some high numbers when I placed it directly over my heart. I think it was measuring both the big and little heartbeat. When I moved it to directly in the center of my chest that brought it into normal range.
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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    There are two contact pads on a HR strap. Normally these are place symmetrically on the ribs just below the pectoral muscles with the transmitter unit over the breastbone. For some people, it works better to move the contact pads (and so the transmitter) to the left so that the left pad wraps around the left side of the chest.

    It helps to wet the contacts and rub it in a bit before putting the strap on. I use spit or water. In dry weather, flapping jerseys, vests or jackets can create static which gives falsely high readings. Better fit or Static-guard can help.

    I had a max of 194 when I was 55, which I would hit contesting a particularly long steep hill with a number of younger coworkers I would regularly ride with. Now it's 184.
    Ride more. Fret less.

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    Senior Member rankin116's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by itrsteve View Post
    Ahh there we go, that's the expected reply I was waiting for.


    To all of the others, thanks.
    Asking a question when you've already decided what the answer will be? Makes sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
    that's a reasonable reply. using an HRM is a good training tool, but just like if you have torque wrench and use it but don't understand how to set the torque, what good is it?

    no idea if your numbers mean anything or not relative to what other 31 year olds see on their HRMs, and no one else here does either. if you have a higher HR during a race than in training, possible causes are: you're amped up and starting with a higher baseline HR than you are in training; the acceleration/recover/acceleration/recover nature of pack racing, this usually drives my HR to higher peaks than a steady state effort; interference from the other however many guys are wearing HRMs, so cross talk.

    I can think of one person who died of cardiac arrest during a race, and another who would have were it not for immediate attention of a fellow racer and the EMS on site. Both were seasoned upper cat racers and one was in his 20s. I once had what I believe was a tachycardia event while racing. If you have any concern at all over your HR #s , go see a cardiologist and discuss. But of all things, don't compare your HR #s to others, it's a fools errand.
    This post is an attempt for me to try to understand why these numbers seemed high/sustainable compared to normal rides. This tool is feeding me data and I'm trying to get a little help with the interpretation. My interest was only peaked to ask as there were a few that I would consider semi-seasoned that had raised an eyebrow to a 31 year old peaking at 210 and sustaining 194 as an average for the entire race. Where in even tougher training rides I wouldn't be able to stay in the 190's for but a few minutes without being smoked.

    Obviously, I know that you can't compare your HR against anybody else as there are too many variables and the cardiologist trumps all internet wizards. I was simply looking to see if anybody sees similar findings or if there should be cause for alarm. That's all.

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    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by itrsteve View Post
    This post is an attempt for me to try to understand why these numbers seemed high/sustainable compared to normal rides. This tool is feeding me data and I'm trying to get a little help with the interpretation. My interest was only peaked to ask as there were a few that I would consider semi-seasoned that had raised an eyebrow to a 31 year old peaking at 210 and sustaining 194 as an average for the entire race. Where in even tougher training rides I wouldn't be able to stay in the 190's for but a few minutes without being smoked.

    Obviously, I know that you can't compare your HR against anybody else as there are too many variables and the cardiologist trumps all internet wizards. I was simply looking to see if anybody sees similar findings or if there should be cause for alarm. That's all.
    No I would not be alarmed with numbers like that. Flapping jerseys or base layers can cause unusually high readings in certain situations, but they would be above your baseline for the same RPE.

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    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by itrsteve View Post
    I make my initial post in the 33 with great hesitation; however, this is a topic that has been concerning me and nobody seems to have a good answer. I ran two crits over the weekend which read ridiculously high heart rate readings for a 31 year old, each had an average of 192 and 194 which got into the 200's a few times.

    What concerns me about all of this is that I felt absolutely fine. On training ride intervals if I hit anything above 195 I'm blowing up and sucking hot air but in a race I'm AOK, just the normal amount of suffer.

    Granted, I'm still new to racing and I'm sure adrenaline comes into play skewing the numbers, but should I be concerned?
    Don't worry. Especially if you felt fine..

    I'm 35, and have seen crit averages (an hour) at 189 bpm at the highest, my peak is about 205. And fwiw I never see numbers like that in training.

    Fwiw #2 I don't use HR anymore, it seems pretty meaningless. Power power power!
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    Don't worry. Especially if you felt fine..

    I'm 35, and have seen crit averages (an hour) at 189 bpm at the highest, my peak is about 205. And fwiw I never see numbers like that in training.

    Fwiw #2 I don't use HR anymore, it seems pretty meaningless. Power power power!
    Thanks! Yeah power is the only metric I really look at. Just the HR numbers grabbed my attention, just wanted to make sure I wasn't going to keel over or something.

    Much appreciated to all of the helpful replies.

  16. #16
    Ninny globecanvas's Avatar
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    Speaking as somebody who has a minor heart condition, seeing an unexpected number from the HRM would be low on the list of ways I would know I was having a cardiac event!

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    Were these your first races? Do you ride a lot? How many miles have you ridden this year? If you haven't ridden a lot and you aren't in the best shape, then see if your numbers slowly decline over the summer. As you get in better shape you should become more efficient. My HR never gets above 190, and I'm 31. Of course we can't compare to anyone else, for example, pro racers can keep their HR in the 120's or 130's while racing since they ride so much.

    If you are in good shape, maybe your heart just beats faster than "normal"

    What is your resting heart rate?

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