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    YIKES!!! My heart rate went up 173 bmp

    I am 60 days year old, a little under 5"1 and weight 134. I am very short legged and long waisted.

    I ride with a group on Sunday mornings. There are few people older than I am. They go really fast and I never can keep up. The say the need to go 14-15 mph in order to average 12-14 mph. I work really, really hard. If I didn't, my heart rate wouldn't go up to 173 bmp four or five times during the ride. The terrain is really hilly and there are very few flat spots. My AT is somewhere round 140.

    They all wear toe straps or clipless. Do you think that might help? I don't want to give up riding with them, but I don't want to hold them back either. The week before last, I was the third to last in. Yesterday only the fast riders showed up and of course I was the last in.

    I've been on going to spin classes religiously twice a seek since January. You would think I would be strong enough to keep up.

    What additional things can I do???

  2. #2
    Administrator CbadRider's Avatar
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    Are you currently using platform pedals? If so, changing to straps or clipless will make your pedaling more efficient, in that you can pull up on the pedals as well. That would improve your performance a bit.
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    Senior Member teachme's Avatar
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    Strapping in or going clipless will help improve your cycling. There are many other things you can do to help improve your mph average, but addressing your feet to the pedals is a good place to start. If you have been performing at a 12 to 14 mph avg with platform pedals you will be amazed at what you can do with clipless. It takes some getting used to, but it is worth it if you want to keep up with your group.
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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Yes, I agree that you would see some benefit from going clipless. It only takes a few rides to get used to them.

    As for your heart rate, don't worry about it. At 57, I still see my HR getting into the 180s if I'm going really hard. Some people have higher HRs than others.

    And it doesn't sound as if you are holding them back. Keep at it, you'll get faster.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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    haven't tried it recently but when fit I can reach my max of 165 on rides for short spells. I try to stay around 150 with 155 uphills but that 165 does get seen occasionally.--and even get exceeded in exceptional circumstances. Off road we have a hill- called killer hill. Not more than 200yards and starts from flat. for 150 it gradually steepens to around 18% and then the 25% hits you for 20 yards. By the time you hit it you have worked so HR is right up there so the 25% pushes me over the top to 172. Get to the top and it is get off the bike and lie down time before I fall down.
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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    haven't tried it recently but when fit I can reach my max of 165 on rides for short spells. I try to stay around 150 with 155 uphills but that 165 does get seen occasionally.--and even get exceeded in exceptional circumstances.
    If it gets exceeded, it isn't your maximum, is it?

    I don't say this to be pedantic, but because some people get worried when they see a HR that is higher than some formula - usually 220 minus their age - tells them they should achieve. And they shouldn't worry, because the formula is bunk. There are very considerable variations in maximum HR between individuals, and it says nothing about their fitness or otherwise.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    Get to the top and it is get off the bike and lie down time before I fall down.

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    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    No one can tell the OP what her HR should be. We don't know her, her condition or her capacity. Every individual is different. Generally though, 140 is low for AT/LT for a max of 173 (if that is in fact the max). I rarely ever see my max HR and when I do I start to tingle and would fall over shortly after. lol
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeWNC View Post
    No one can tell the OP what her HR should be. We don't know her, her condition or her capacity. Every individual is different. Generally though, 140 is low for AT/LT for a max of 173 (if that is in fact the max). I rarely ever see my max HR and when I do I start to tingle and would fall over shortly after. lol
    You are getting really smart in your old age. I was thinking the same thing. Plus max heart rate is different depending on the sport. I think running produces a higher HR than cycling due to using more muscles.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    . Plus max heart rate is different depending on the sport. I think running produces a higher HR than cycling due to using more muscles.
    I've heard that said, too, often: but I don't think I believe it. Physiologically, I'd have thought that the max HR is determined by the extent to which the heart muscle can fulfil the demands placed upon it and still stay in rhythm. So that should be a single figure, the max is the max. It may be that some activities are more likely than others to generate demands that exceed that ability, but that seems to me to be a different thing.

    Any cardiologists in the house?
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  11. #11
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    I think max HR is more dependent on how much body weight is supported in a given activity. Swimming would have a lower max than cycling and less again than running.
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    I have a racing friend who is an electrocardiologist (pacemaker surgeon) and I will ask him. However, max HR seems to be allusive and is only relevant if it can be ascertained by calculation or measurement. If I measure a higher max running than cycling which one do I use when setting zones for cycling?

    However, this is more of an esoteric discussion and will not help OP. I think BikeWNC had the correct answer.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  13. #13
    Senior Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    I'm creeping up on age 56. My heartrate runs higher in weather > 95F. That 220-age can be way off - my MHR is 187. In cooler weather I rarely get faster than 175bpm.
    My hardest rides I will average 169bpm for an hour (90%). I know for long rides to keep my average <160 (85%) if I want to finish strongly and do anything besides nap the rest of the day.
    81% is on the low side, you might have an opportunity there to improve. That would be a pretty easy pace for many people. (I am not questioning that you are exerting.)

    You can't always tell riding with older people. Some of them have decades of cycling in their legs and are very seasoned/savvy about how to perform up to their physical capacity.

    I've ridden with a group of 55+ cyclists and was surprised that they were riding only 12-13mph on the flat; they absolutely crushed me in the hills. They did not have a lot of raw power, but they did not weigh much and were aerobically very fit and could spin a high cadence. Their bikes were geared accordingly.

    I also ride with a 73-year-old gentleman. He is relatively new to cycling but he was an ultramarathoner for decades. He has tremendous aerobic reserves, fit legs, and a good power:weight ratio. He is strong on flats and on the hills, but descends slowly (fear of falling).

    Try to build leg strength on the bike. Stronger leg thrust, slower cadence, harder gear. Don't do it if it hurts your knees.
    Switch it up with faster spinning (clipless helps), easier gear, smooth pedal stroke.
    Look at how aerodynamic you are descending hills
    No coasting until you are spun out in your top gear. Don't ease off when you crest the hill, keep up the effort until you are over the top.

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    LOL . I have a weakness for esoterica. As long as the OP has the message that she shouldn't worry about seeing a high HR, that's the important thing.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  15. #15
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    I'd say the OP is already doing great but it takes a while for the benefits of good training to be seen in cardiovascular fitness. By summer's end she may well be waiting for the slower riders.
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    Everything else aside it does not seem you can be getting much enjoyment out of always bringing up the rear and knocking yourself out to get there. Think you need some clipless pedals and a group that likes to ride a little slower so you don't always have to feel like a drag. Last year I rode with a group from my club and was sometimes near the front and sometimes near the rear. The thought did occur to me that when I was in the rear there was somewhat the question, "Why don't I just ride alone and be done with it!" (But then, I am quite a bit older than you).
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  17. #17
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    I am turning 60 this year and have worked up to ride at 150 bpm and top out at 165 bpm . At 260 lbs and a 40 lb touring bike it doesn't take that much of a hill to get the heart rate maxed out. So i average 10 mph with that bike. ( With the tent and panniers 340+lbs for the ride)

    It isn't a good idea , IMO, to be your own coach but finances make me need to figure this stuff out as i go along. One of my goal is to be able to do 200 miles in 24 hours. Maybe next year i can sign up for a 24 hour race to make the attempt. Another is to ride 125 miles in 16 hours. I seem to max out being on a bike for 16 hours. I have been at this for two years. As my own coach i need another year of 60 to 100 mile rides, each week, to teach my body how to get to my riding goals.

    This is the pedals i use on the touring and the hybrid http://directbicycleparts.com/produc...d3503-qc53.htm
    I have wide flat feet that lie to splay. They are not happy pushing on a small surface area.

    I take out the counter weight and with rubber shoes (Crock type only cheaper ) It's easy to navigate a convince store

    Then there is the advice my kid gave me . A sign on the wall that reads "RIDE" I have stopped using the heart rate monitor, cadence sensor data . That reduced stress and i ride listeneing to my body rather than metrics. I know at a HR of 165 i am inhaling for air , cant talk and think i am going to pass out . So i find a lower gear and lower cadence

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by kajero View Post
    I am 60 days year old, a little under 5"1 and weight 134. I am very short legged and long waisted.

    I ride with a group on Sunday mornings. There are few people older than I am. They go really fast and I never can keep up. The say the need to go 14-15 mph in order to average 12-14 mph. I work really, really hard. If I didn't, my heart rate wouldn't go up to 173 bmp four or five times during the ride. The terrain is really hilly and there are very few flat spots. My AT is somewhere round 140.

    They all wear toe straps or clipless. Do you think that might help? I don't want to give up riding with them, but I don't want to hold them back either. The week before last, I was the third to last in. Yesterday only the fast riders showed up and of course I was the last in.

    I've been on going to spin classes religiously twice a seek since January. You would think I would be strong enough to keep up.

    What additional things can I do???
    1. Stop worrying about your max HR and threshold. If you can carry on a conversation easily and aren't sweating, you're not working hard enough. If you're gasping, can't talk, feel like you're gonna pass out/nauseous for more than 30-60 seconds, your going too hard. If you're breathing deep and rythmically, sweating, can talk, but don't really want to, you're probably working about right.
    2. What's your bike/riding position? If you're in an upright position/hybrid/comfort/mountain bike, then going to a road bike/lower position/drops will cut down on the wind resistance and make a noticeable difference.
    3. How long is the group ride?
    4. If you want to go clipless, it'll help some. May want to try PowerGrips. They work very well, and are really convenient. Stiff soled shoes are best.
    5. Keep riding with faster folks. Seriously- if you want to get faster, ride with faster people. It WILL make you faster.
    6. Spinning, unless you're in a real cycling training program, is a good aerobic workout, but doesn't really do much for improving cycling.
    7. You have a riding buddy? Easy way to do intervals- twice a week, ride with a buddy on a flat, long road. Let your buddy ride at a good clip for you, and you drop back 100-200 feet. Buddy maintains constant speed while you go as hard as you can to catch up. Ypou should be breathless/gasping by the time you catch him. When you catch up, you go at a steady pace and recover, and he/she drops back, then catches up. Repeat this 5-6 times on the ride. Take a day off after doing these. As you improve, either increase the number you do, or the distance you drop back, or both.
    8. Work on hills- If you're blowing up on the hills, try different techniques- some people spin up hills, some people mash. Go do hill repeats and find out what works for you. Ride a longish, not super steep hill once at a cadence/gear that feels a little too fast/easy pedalling for you. Then repeat it at a cadenece that feels a little slow/hard for you. See what works. MOST folks find that a cadence of 70-80 on hills works best; but some will be around 60, some around 90.
    Generally- don't go all out as you start up the hill, pace yourself, hold back some so you can finish the hill strong. Don't back off as you approach the top, back off after you crest the top. Once you find your best hill climbing style, go do hill repeats a couple times a week- find a hill, and ride up it, then coast back down it and do it again; three - four times. Keep trying to improve your best time. Work on form and pedal stroke. (again, don't do them back to back, or back to back with the other intervals). Best way to get better at climbing hills is by climbing hills.

    Sorry, I got on a roll...
    Also, all the above is assuming your doc has OKed you for strenuous workouts; if you haven't been checked out/OKed, please do so. Also, this assumes a basic level of fitness/riding ability; you should be able to go out and ride for couple hours at a good clip for you. Intervals are hard; they hurt; but they WILL make you stronger...
    Last edited by Dellphinus; 04-10-12 at 06:18 AM.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member Roustabout's Avatar
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    I am around your age (60) and live in East Texas where the hills are somewhat rolling but not severe. On rides of 20-30 miles, I usually average around 13.5-15.0 mph and my heartrate averages 145 with occasional peaks of 165. I use a Garmin Forerunner 305 with a heart rate monitor for my data. I have used clipless pedals for about a year and it has helped me with my cadence and power considerably. Try to use lower gears to keep the strain off the old knees which also helps to keep the cadence up. I try to keep a cadence of around 80 all the time, regardless of the steepness of the hill and gear I have to use. I tend to be a spinner rather than a masher and try to stay seated the whole way. BTW, my resting heartrate has also dropped to around 50 as my cardiovascular fitness has improved. Stick to it.

  20. #20
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    your speed is your speed
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  21. #21
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    The important thing is to keep riding and having fun doing it, how fast is secondary. But if you want to go faster and farther, it takes time and work to increase your speed and endurance. Proper nutrition/fueling is also key. I'm 60 and my max HR is 181. On a fast 25 mile group ride I regularly do it stays in the low 160s for most of the ride. My last ride I averaged 24 mph (flat and aided of course by riding in a pack). I've been riding on-and-off for 40 years but have been training for two years, >8 hrs a week, 100-150 miles/week, 6000+ miles in the last year. When I can't ride outside I do intervals on a trainer or in spin classes. A few books I highly recommend:

    The Time Crunched Cyclist. Chris Carmichael (very good general information and explanation with realistic training plans)
    Sports Nutrition for the Endurance Athelete. Monique Ryan (excellent nutritional information and specifically how/what/when to eat when training and riding.)
    Cyclist Past 50. Joe Friel (a bit pedantic and hard-core IMO, but still mostly excellent info)

    These books explain what's needed, why, and specifically how to go about it. Of course the idea is to have fun challenging yourself and improving your performance, not knocking yourself out and taking the fun/joy out of riding. Apply these principles and train only as hard and to the degree that you want to.

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    read all these, some good advice here. esp going clipless an doing intervals. you can't ride fast by training slow, you know. my two bits: do some weights twice a week, quad extensions if you have a machine, squats, and lunges. start really light, or you wont feel like riding from the soreness. you don't even need weights, just use something that you can hold, bucket of dirt or whatever. if you are riding hills, your power to weight ratio is one limiting factor. more power, and if you feel inclined, less weight. this really helps, esp in folks over 50

  23. #23
    USMC Veteran qcpmsame's Avatar
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    What gearing are you generally using? Maybe you are really spinning fast, elevating the heart rate when a higher gear with a slightly lower cadence would let you exert less.

    Bill
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sculptor7 View Post
    Everything else aside it does not seem you can be getting much enjoyment out of always bringing up the rear and knocking yourself out to get there. Think you need some clipless pedals and a group that likes to ride a little slower so you don't always have to feel like a drag. Last year I rode with a group from my club and was sometimes near the front and sometimes near the rear. The thought did occur to me that when I was in the rear there was somewhat the question, "Why don't I just ride alone and be done with it!" (But then, I am quite a bit older than you).
    I was thinking the same exact thing. It's just that I like going out to brunch with the group after. The other thing is love this group of people. I am thinking seeing it is the same ride every week, maybe I will go and start earier and meet up with them towards the end of the ride.

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    thanks for all this great advice.

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