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  1. #1
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    What % of max HR do you maintain during races?

    After a few years of really watching the current HR and looking later at averages, I've gotten a good idea what I can sustain over various periods, e.g. a 5-minute climb, a 2-hour race.

    I think yesterday was the best job I've done actually nailing my target average HR for an XC race. My goal was to average 168bpm for the race - I'd assumed about 1:45:00 on the bike. Post-race average: 168bpm. And, based on how I felt, I'd have cracked at an avg. of 169. Felt good to know I left nothing out there.

    My highest HR (in the past 12 months) is 183 - I've seen that once. I've seen 182 a couple times on sprints, etc. So based on that 183 max, I spent 1:42:20 (start to finish in yesterday's XC race) at 92% of my max HR. I'm assuming that's pretty typical for most guys - racing XC (as opposed to endurance). What % of max are you guys averaging?
    Mountain bikers who don't road ride are usually slow.
    Roadies who don't mountain bike are usually d***s.

  2. #2
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    Checked my races for this season - Cat 2 Singlespeed

    1:53 - HR 91.7% - A few climbs, very rocky

    1:41 - HR 91.6% - lots of punchy climbs and some technical areas, some walking

    2:02 - HR 90.0% - this was probably my most consistent effort - very little climbing on this course, smooth dirt singletrack, so it was all out with very little coasting for most of the race)

    1:42 - 91.7% - not much climbing, a few technical rocky areas

    1:31 - 90.6% - rocky, technical, a few steep climbs (one I had to walk)

    missed one race on HR - it had a lot of walking due to one brutal climb (at least for an SS), wish I had worn one.

    1:41 - 90.6% - a few rocks, mostly smooth, nice beginning climb

  3. #3
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    Damn fontarin - that's some consistent output there. It's interesting how close my data is to your - my "92%" is actually 91.8% of max. Maybe that's the magic number

    Now tell me you podiumed with those efforts.
    Mountain bikers who don't road ride are usually slow.
    Roadies who don't mountain bike are usually d***s.

  4. #4
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    It depends. If you're counting from last, then yes, I podiumed a bunch! First season racing cat 2 and SS - taking some getting used to.

  5. #5
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    Two races so far. My max HR is 197, LTHR is 180

    03:15: Avg 178, 98.9% of LTHR, 90.4% of max. Averaged 184 for first hour, then bonked (terrible start at back of a pack of 225 riders!! long story involving my 18 month old daughter locking herself in the car with both sets of keys and nearly missing the start).

    02:16: Avg 177, 98.3% of LTHR, 89.8% of max. Slow start, then field spread out and I didn't push as hard as I could have due to not needing to.


    Good thread BTW.

  6. #6
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    Do you even look at HR during the race or just reviewing data afterwards?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by thechickencow View Post
    Do you even look at HR during the race or just reviewing data afterwards?
    I watch it like a speedometer in a speed trap. Seriously. If I'm on a climb or flat and my HR is under 170, I've got to ramp it up. If I see 175+, I've got to back it down. I know I can hold 175 for X minutes, 180 for X minutes (seconds), etc. On my Garmin 500, I have it set up with 5 data fields - HR is the top/large field, the other 4 are split into the remaining lower half.

    Distance is the other bit of data I'll check (but not nearly as frequently as HR) if I'm racing on an unfamiliar course - gotta know where ya are relative to the finish.
    Mountain bikers who don't road ride are usually slow.
    Roadies who don't mountain bike are usually d***s.

  8. #8
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    OK, makes sense. Thanks.

  9. #9
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    My first race last year I averaged 187 for 1:20. I've realized that my heart rate is very very high compared to most people. I can average that and I'm not puking, seeing stars, or any other weird stuff. Just how my heart is. Every race I did last year my average for the entire race was between 182 - 188 depending on the race.

    At the same time, now I know that I can maintain that. If I start pushing mid 190's I know I need to get my HR under control or at least be careful. When I race, my HR is the only thing that I watch the entire race. I will check the time when I finish a lap but that is pretty much it. It doesn't matter if I am faster or slower than I want to be because I can't go faster if my HR won't allow me to. If that makes sense.

    Link to my 1st race last year. 1st year racing, raced Cat3 and moved up to Cat2 this year.

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  10. #10
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    I have been interested in this lately, so I'm glad to see a thread. My last two XC races have been around 2:30 and 2 hrs. My avg HR for both those efforts was 177 (90%Max) and 176 (89% Max) for the entire race respectively. 178 is where I have field tested my LT in the past.

    For Race 1 (3k ft climbing in 30 miles)
    Z2: 4% Z3: 11% Z4:33% Z5: 54% -Avg 177
    I dropped my chain at the start of my race, so I spent most of the race passing others in my age group (30-39). No long sustained climbs, very turny. Ended up 9th out of 45 or so. Cramped around mile 23 and backed off some.

    Race 2: (2600 ft in 30 miles)
    z2: 3% z3: 8% z4:48% z5:41%
    Finished 11th out of 45 or so. Went out hard to stay with the lead group, but got gapped and spent most of the race solo self pacing.

    Interestingly enough I recently did a local sustained road climb that I frequent often (2700 ft in 12 miles, 4-5% avg grade), got a PR by over 4 min (~57 min total), avg ~250 watts (I'm 145lbs), and my avg hr during the climb was only 166, never straying into z5 even on steeper sections... I finished that climb nearly cross-eyed and cramping from the effort...

    So now I'm really not sure what to make of HR data now for xc mtb. I usually totally ignore what zone I am in until I settle into the race some. If I obeyed my zones, trying to stay out of 5, I would likely end up 10-15 places back I imagine.

  11. #11
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    Really makes me want a Quark on my MTB too. HR is so variable.

  12. #12
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    Good thread to force me to re-analyze my LTHR. Last year, I was using 163 as LTHR and haven't rested myself yet this year. Have been suspecting it is low.

    4hr marathon race about a month ago
    4:19 157avg (96.3%) 174max
    • 1st 2hrs I had a 161avg (98.7%) - obviously my LTHR must be higher than 163 now
    • The remaining 2:19 was 154avg (94.4%)


    I remember backing off a little in the last hour of that race to save energy to hold off any late charging attackers.

    Interestingly, as I've continued my training, I've sub-conciously added a few beats to each zone, thinking that my LTHR and subsequent zones are low. This seems to prove it, as I shouldn't be able to hold that close to LTHR for the entire 4hrs. Should I????

  13. #13
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    1st race- 170 avg, 86% max
    2nd race- fast and flat 185 avg, 94% max
    3rd race- 181avg, 92% max
    4th race- 180avg, 91% max

    max hr this year so far is 197. was 200 last year. saw that in a road race though.
    podium all 4 races with 1 win

  14. #14
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    I don't know my MaxHR, but believe my LTHR to be 174. (Did a couple Joe Friel type tests.)

    My first race of the season was 1hr 14m.
    I averaged 180 bpm, or 103% LTHR.
    Very steady line on the graph, never below 174, never above 187.

    My second race of the season was 1hr 7m.
    I averaged 182, or 105% LTHR.
    Very steady line on the graph (except a dip when I was stuck behind a slower rider), never below 172 (and there only once), never above 188.
    Last edited by KAriadne; 05-14-2013 at 03:25 PM. Reason: formatting

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