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I think my heart almost exploded last night!(15 posts)

I think my heart almost exploded last night!noveread
Jul 30, 2003 11:51 AM
I've been riding for a few years, but nothing terribly serious until last year. This year I decided to try my hand at racing. I've learned a lot. But what racing has taught me the most about is not racing, but training.

In the not too distant past, like June, I was having all sorts of problems with sidestitches after not having had them all year. Then I hit the bottom of the well of overtraining. Since then (end of June), I've been slowly working myself back up. I've knocked back my mileage and toned down the intensity.

I still do the Tuesday night crits here, but only the B race. No more trying to hang in the A race. Anyway, last night, I was feeling a little tired still from my Sunday ride so I wanted to take it easy as I could in the B race. Not gonna happen as only 8 guys signed up and a couple were poachers. The race blew to smithereens in about 8 minutes!

The two poachers were off the front and I was trying to cover a counter. I'm flying along and I look down at my HRM and the display shows: --- !!! Uh-oh! About 30 sec later it reads 196. I assume my HR went above 200.

Before the race was even over, I was hacking up a lung (that silius stuff again) and just stuck on a wheel for the rest of the race.

As soon as I got home I hooked up the HRM to the computer and downloaded the data. My HR was above 180 for 30 minutes and for about 40 seconds it was above 200! And I though my max HR was 199! Guess not! I was hacking for the rest of the night and even a bit still today! But I never got side stitches... Odd... Can't figure them out...

Don't think my lungs/heart appreciated that effort last night! Now if I can only figure out how the side stitches relate to my state of overtraining I'll really have something to work with!

The Empty Wrapper
unsolicited, counterintuitive adviceshawndoggy
Jul 30, 2003 2:13 PM
Try racing without the computer gizmos. I know they cost a lot and give lots of "valuable" information, but in a race what more do you need to know than (1) there's someone in front who I need to catch and (2) either I can or I can't? The computer can't answer either question ... only you can from the depths of your pain threshold.

Speaking from experience here. I took my computer/hrm off of the bike a month ago (that's right, I don't even know how many miles I've ridden or how fast!), and my racing has actually improved. I concentrate on the race. In those longest excruciating seconds when I'm tapped out, seeing a big HR number (especially a personal max) is ALWAYS an incentive to back off and NEVER encourages me to go harder. When you saw 200 you didn't think to yourself "I'm going for 210," did you?

For me, without the dancing numbers, results have been better, as has the fun factor. My $.02, FWIW.

Give it a try one time... you might like it.
I agree completely.lanterne rouge
Jul 30, 2003 3:13 PM
My teammates gave me so much grief when I had a cyclocomputer on my race bike. My buddy once told me you know when you're going fast and you know when you're not, simple as that. Pretty much the same as you said. If someones up the road you're either going to catch them or you're not. No need to rely on the HR monitor for that, just GO!
unsolicited, counterintuitive advicenoveread
Jul 31, 2003 6:53 AM
Never looked at the HRM until the attempt to latch on was over. Thanks for the advice, but my computer does not govern my racing. One of my biggest problems this year is burning energy when I should not! I'm just too eager. I was tired Tuesday night. Before the "race," my plan was to sit in and do nothing. But instead, as soon as the race blew to pieces, instead of cooling it with a couple others as I should have, I tried to chase down a counter.

No, my problem is not looking at HRMs and only then deciding if I should put more effort out or that I can't. Does anybody really do this? I mean, you are in the heat of a race, and if you have to look at a HRM to decide to go with an attack, you've got issues. You got over your issues by getting rid of the HRM a month ago, that's cool.

The Empty Wrapper
Where I find the "gizmos" to be useful...James OCLV
Jul 31, 2003 7:09 AM
I agree that in short races such as crits and circuit races, HRMs and computers are of very little use.

I have found, however, that they are quite useful in longer RR's (especially hilly ones) and TT's. I'll look at my HRM quite a lot when trying to pace myself up a long climb. I know, for example, that if I let my HR drift over ~ 180 on the climb I might be able to stay with the leaders, but I'll end up blowing up later in the race.

What does this mean to me? Well, it means that if I'm on a long climb and I get ridden off, it would be stupid for me to try and stay with the leaders if it means putting myself into the "red zone". I'll never finish the race that way. I've had this happen a few times (ride the hills at my own pace using my HRM as an intensity guide), and it's often been the case where I'll catch and the guys on climbs later in the race.

The same thing goes for TT's. I always use my HRM to pace myself in an ITT. For example, if the TT is a 40k, I know that I have to keep my HR ~ my threshold. IF it's shorter, I know that I can go a little higher. The results are that I don't go too hard in the beginning, I'm able to maintain a constant speed for the entire event, and I have enough to finish strong. In addition, the HRM helps me from going "too slow" ;-)...

Power meters are even more useful than HRMs in these events, but are still to expensive for most (at least for me).
unsolicited, counterintuitive adviceshawndoggy
Jul 31, 2003 10:27 AM
LOL, no I never looked at my HRM for encouragement to go with an attack ... don't know about you buy my HR is ALWAYS high in a race! No, whenever I'd look at it (like your report), it would show some ungodly high number.

My only point was that the ungodly high number was never encouragement for me to push even harder. When you are really hurting every second is a minute and every minute an hour. A billion reasons for backing off are shouted in your ear by that devil on your shoulder (aside, for me it's usually that I'm too hot or my shoes are too tight or my gloves are too hot or...). That personal record HR is just one more reason to back off rather than going EVEN HARDER. Someday you are going to get that break covered, and who knows what your HR is going to be then? Honestly, in the midst of the suffering, I posit that knowing what it is doesn't do you any good.

But back to my point... try going without the data, just once. What's it gonna hurt? And if you truly can't shake the data junkie impulse, put a piece of electrical tape over the display. Record the data, but don't look at it or analyze till you get home.
I do the 'tape thing all of the time in circuits and MTB racesJames OCLV
Jul 31, 2003 11:01 AM
It actually works pretty well...
Okay, gottchanoveread
Jul 31, 2003 11:53 AM
Actually, I have raced without my HRM. But to tell you the truth, I am one of those freaks who like to see how high I can get my HR! In crits (even the practice ones like tuesday) I never have the time to look at my HRM. The only reason I did tuesday was I was now drifting backwards and alone! In crits, the only thing I pay attention to is the stopwatch!

But anyway, I have riddne without the data. I just like being able to download the data after the race. Each there own. But trust me, the HRM is not limiting me!

The Empty Wrapper
Oh, to have a teenage girl's heart...rateBeeCharmer
Jul 31, 2003 1:31 PM
Your heart can beat even faster, but at some point you pass your max HR and your heart beats faster and pumps less blood 'cause the valves aren't actually closing anymore.

Another Optionxcmntgeek
Aug 3, 2003 9:16 AM
I race with my HR monitor, but I either put it in a jersey pocket or flip it upside down on my handlebar. That way I can't see it, but I can still look at the data afterwards. The computer isn't a problem beacuse I never use one.
Don't worry, it's not going to explodeRockyMountainRacer
Jul 31, 2003 8:07 AM
I agree with shawndoggy: don't race with a heart rate monitor, it will only hold you back. Hey, you felt like trying to counter/cover the attacks and your first reaction was to do so. Only after you started to suffer did you look to your HRM for don't need the HRM to tell you when you're suffering!

Keep racing as hard as you can and you will get better (as long as you let yourself recover of course). I think you have to worry about your legs more than your cardio system. The coughing after the race means you got a good VO2 max workout...working the upper-end of your cardio abilities. That happened to me a lot last year (2nd year racing, 1st on the road) where I'd be breathing so hard I'd be wheezing. Once you get more racing miles in it will be only your legs that limit you.
Don't worry, it's not going to explodeBrokenSpoke
Jul 31, 2003 8:12 AM
Personally, I always race with a heart monitor, Polar S510, strictly for the data download after I finish. For a crit, I wear the monitor on my wrist which makes it difficult, if not impractical, to monitor. On a time trial, I put on the aero bar and pace myself based on heart rate.
How 'bought a Power Meter?RockyMountainRacer
Jul 31, 2003 12:07 PM
What do you think about a power meter for a time trial? I think it is practical to use an HRM for time trial since you're trying to maintain that consistent pace, so by that logic do you think a Power Meter would be even better? I've never used one but I want one.
Yes! Much better....James OCLV
Jul 31, 2003 3:21 PM
Power is constant - it isn't affected by the wind, what you had for dinner the night before, temperature, etc. Besides, say that you determine in order to compete a 40k TT in 1 hour, you have to averate 300 watts. Right now, you can average 285 watts for 1 hour... See how this can be useful for setting goals for your training (I made up the numbers just to make the point)?
Don't worry, it's not going to explodeThe Flash
Aug 1, 2003 5:38 AM
I have to agree...I've been riding with a HRM for a year thinking I was getting better training out of it. Turns out, my fitness got worse because I never pushed myself. I put a flightdeck on to give me something to look at, but the HRM is not going back on again. If you just want to download the data, put the watch in your jersey pocket, then don't look at it until you get home. It's fun to then check your results and it won't affect you while you race....