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cold weather riding/low heart rate(2 posts)

cold weather riding/low heart ratemoots
Mar 2, 2002 6:01 AM
Can someone help me? Seems like went it is cold out (under 40) I have a hard time getting my heart rate up and my legs fatigue much faster when climbing. I have to get out of the saddle much quicker or more often. I am 10 - 18 beats below normal when it is cold. I am dressed warm enough, except for the cold toes after 1 hrs + of riding. It is also harder to breath when it is cold. Is this all in my head or do other riders experience similar conditions.

So far this winter in NJ had been nice I haven't had this happen that, but this morning was tough.

Thanks in advance,
re: cold weather riding/low heart raterollo tommassi
Mar 2, 2002 8:28 PM
You know, I had to think awhile about this, thought it best to not to respond as I'm not sure if what I'd suggest would really be of any help. But, like that has stopped me before!! (haha)

I can't think of a particular psysiological reason for what you describe - I've not read of this as an issue for any winter sport (except for effect of cold air on the lungs).

My first thought is: are you sick? not rested? These are the usual reason for a lack of HR response, be it cold or warm out. We've all been experiencing a very mild winter, and perhaps you're just not acclimatised to the cold. Plus, it may be coincidental that you are sick or not rested on top of it being cold.

Thought #2: wild thought that you may be overdressed, causing sweating, leads to chills, which affects core temperature, which in turn retards HR. Similar symptoms of hypothermia (though you do not mention mental alertness problems).

Thought #3: As odd a suggestion it may sound, think about relaxing? Tensing up to 'protect' yourself from the cold (hunching shoulders, tightening hands) essentially constricts blood flow.

Try warming up inside the house first - jog in place, or even spin on a trainer for 10 minutes. Anything to get the blood flow going, get the HR going, but not too much to break a sweat. Then get dressed to ride. Post ride, be sure to drink warm fluids and get yourself dry asap.

My last silly thought is don't ride when it's under 40degrees! My personal cut off for road rides is around 40degrees, although my personal record for a mtn bike ride was negative 40. Rode to the nearest coffee shop real fast! You'll have to balance whether or not there is any training value in these extreme temperatures.

Hope that this helps - or at least isn't just crazy talk!
Perhaps someone else will chime in?