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Old 07-07-14, 04:51 PM   #1
DaveLeeNC
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Heart Rates and Century Rides

I'm in training for my first century in around 4 months.I have a quick question. As a percentage of (your best understanding of) your lactate threshold HR, what would you expect as an average HR for a 'max effort century'?

I have this problem where, when I ride, I just can't slow down (until I wear out). On my last (intended to be) easy ride I ended up riding for 2 hours at an average of 95% of my LTHR (as measured by average HR in a best effort 30 min TT). I was pretty well done in at the end. I seem to have the opposite problem when I train indoors on my spinner bike.

Thanks.

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Old 07-07-14, 05:54 PM   #2
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My max HR was about 190 last time I checked ... I ride most of my centuries with my HR somewhere between 130 and 160, unless I'm climbing a hill and then it is a lot closer to 190. So that's about 68% to 84%.

I'm often up around 160 at the beginning of a ride ... nerves, I think. After an hour or so, I'll settle down and relax. And I'll go up around 160 when I ride in heavy traffic.

But put me on an empty country road mid-ride and I'll be cruising along comfortably around 130-140.
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Old 07-07-14, 06:48 PM   #3
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Thanks for the comments.

FWIW, in my original post that reference to 95% of LTHR translates for me to 88% of max HR. But I am 65 years old and 170 is about all this old ticker will put out with a max effort on a bicycle.

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Old 07-08-14, 08:47 AM   #4
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It depends entirely on your level of conditioning, especially how much training time spent at, near, or above LT. To max out at a distance like this, it's necessary to train your body to burn and otherwise clear lactate on long rides, to hydrate and feed just right, and to be rested. Anyway, something like 90% of LT for me at your age. It helps a lot to be chasing some good riders. Can't begin to hold that solo.
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Old 07-08-14, 01:55 PM   #5
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CF, thanks for the perspective. 90% of my LTHR seems in my case to be possible. At this point 95% is not :-)

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Old 07-08-14, 01:59 PM   #6
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My LTHR is about 160. I've looked back at the garmin records of a number of my >100 mile days and the highest average HR I can find was a century with 7500 ft of climbing, when my HR peaked at 181 and averaged 145 - so, the average was about 90% of LTHR.

Thinking back, I can remember the ride. I was absolutely knackered at the end. Not that it's especially relevant, but I was 53 at the time.

Looking over some of the other records, I see that it is much more usual for me to average something around 130 on these long rides, which would be 80% LTHR. I'd regard that as more sensible.
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Old 07-08-14, 02:30 PM   #7
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At age 21 and while crossing the Canadian Great Plains at a touring pace of 10-12mph mine averaged 124 for hours on end, thus around 62% of capacity. Hills...probably maxed at near 190+. Nowadays at 59 I max out at 174 but cruise at 125-126 at a faster pace, say 15-16mph + so I'm around 70%. Sustained effort over 146ish and I can hold 153 for a good lick of distance but that's nearly 90%.
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Old 07-08-14, 05:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
I'm in training for my first century in around 4 months.I have a quick question. As a percentage of (your best understanding of) your lactate threshold HR, what would you expect as an average HR for a 'max effort century'?
What is a max effort century?

4 hours on a pancake flat course?

7 hours in the mountains?

What about in the heat at HHH?


So you see, the problem is that not all centuries are the same. Even on the same course, what takes one rider 4 hours, may take another rider 6 or more hours. The first rider can almost certainly get away with riding at a higher heart rate.

I think 95% LTHR sounds a little high, but if it's a quick century on a course where I could keep a consistent sustained effort level going, I think I could get away with 90%. My LTHR is 174, if that matters.

(for the TT, did you take the average from the whole 30 minutes? Or just the last 20 minutes? If the whole 30 minutes, were you warmed up? How long did it take for your HR to climb to LT?)


The key: Start easy, then taper off.
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Old 07-08-14, 06:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin in TN View Post
What is a max effort century?

4 hours on a pancake flat course?

7 hours in the mountains?

What about in the heat at HHH?


So you see, the problem is that not all centuries are the same. Even on the same course, what takes one rider 4 hours, may take another rider 6 or more hours. The first rider can almost certainly get away with riding at a higher heart rate.

I think 95% LTHR sounds a little high, but if it's a quick century on a course where I could keep a consistent sustained effort level going, I think I could get away with 90%. My LTHR is 174, if that matters.

(for the TT, did you take the average from the whole 30 minutes? Or just the last 20 minutes? If the whole 30 minutes, were you warmed up? How long did it take for your HR to climb to LT?)


The key: Start easy, then taper off.
Yeah - it varies by person, course, fitness, etc. Just curious about what more experienced folks achieve along with whatever additional info they supply for context.

Regarding the LTHR question, I followed the Joe Friel model of the last 20 min of a 30 min max effort. I did a reasonable warm-up prior to the start of all that as, at age 65, it takes a while to get me going. But my HR is relatively responsive once I 'get going'.

Thanks for the comments/info.

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Old 07-08-14, 08:46 PM   #10
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OK. I just wanted to make sure you followed the last 20 min of 30 min TT model. Based on what you put earlier, I thought you averaged the whole 30 min. As you surely know (since you've clearly read Friel), that would give an artificially low LTHR.

I think, for the average century rider (ie: not pushing sub-4:00) if you make your target within Friel's Zone 2, you can't go wrong, even if you allow yourself to exceed Z2 on the hilly sections.
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