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Old 09-12-08, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by palookabutt View Post
That sounds like all-or-nothing thinking. I've got a computer and an HRM. I use them, but that doesn't mean I stare at them the whole ride. They're just sanity checks -- am I really going as hard/easy as it feels?
This is how I use my heart rate monitor as well. I have a tendency to push my heart rate too high over a couple of hours too, and it is just there to keep me from pushing too hard.

For century or longer rides, I try to keep my flat-land cruising heart rate in the 75% - 85% range. I push it a lot higher on big hills, and I let it drop on some of the downhills. It all depends on how I feel that day.

If I push it too hard on longer rides, I run the risk of a lot of misery near the end. Once during a hilly century ride, I tried riding the event with a 35+ year old race team from my town. I simply could not hold their pace for more than a couple of hours. I pushed too hard on 3-4 of the steeper hills during the first half of the event, such that my legs had no power or snap left in them, and then I bonked HARD during the last 15 miles or so. There was no way to make my legs non-rubbery, but I should have eaten and drank more than usual after blowing up on those hills like that. Those last few miles were pure torture. I was completely useless for anything but munching and napping for the rest of the day.

Pay attention to how you feel. Make sure that you eat and drink enough, use the restroom when you have to go, and don't be afraid to back off a little bit to allow yourself to recover after a hard section of riding. It can make you faster over the entire course, and you will enjoy the event much more.

Have fun!
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