1. From the Top: Offseason is a State of Mind
2. News & Reviews: Product Review: Kinesis Rando Saddlebag
3. Question of the Week: What’s your opinion of GM’s “Reality Sucks” ad?
4. Ask Coach Fred: How Can a Flatlander Survive High Altitude?
5. Sponsors: Cycling Products from our Sponsors
6. Jim's Tech Talk: New-Shoe Cleat Installation Made Easy
7. No Problem: Intensity of Interval Training
8. Scott's Spin: Reunited
9. Cadence: Health Matters: Beta-Blockers and Target Heart Rates
10. RBR eBookstore: eArticles & eBooks for a Productive Off-Season
WinterPower: A Cardio-Resistance Workout Regimen, Coach Fred Matheny’s latest eArticle, is now on sale. It’s the first of several great offseason training titles we’ll be offering this fall and winter. See full details below.
I never knew “offseason” was such a loaded word.
The Question of the Week I posed a couple of weeks back -- Are you already thinking about your off-season training? -- prompted some unexpected responses from readers who live in the Sun Belt.
Generally, they took me to task for not providing an answer to the Question that reflected their ability to ride year-round, thus making the word irrelevant to them. (Thanks to our readers in the Southern Hemisphere for not reminding us that our winter is your summer!)
Here’s a quick sampling from the Sun Belt bloc:
TheRedWolf said: “John - you need a wider range of poll response options. For example, this week's should include ‘There is no offseason. I live in a warm location and/or have a good selection of cold weather attire.’"
Chadfreeze wrote: “This is true, I have no off season. Is it a poll for pro cyclists only?”
Cywiqotur kept it simple: “What’s an offseason. ;-).”
Glen T added: “I was pleased to see the large number of Question-of-the-Week respondents who, like me, live in a latitude where the winters are not severe and you can ride all year round and ‘off-season’ is a meaningless concept.”
(For the record, here’s a breakdown of answers to the Question of the Week in question:
-- 32% answered: “Yes. I am still riding a lot, but I have started to consider my off-season program.”
-- 21% answered: “Absolutely. It is already getting cold where I live, and I am starting to ride less.”
-- 20% answered: “No way. This is the best time all year to ride where I live. Off-season can wait.”)
I was the first one to choose that last answer, BTW!As I write this, it is 84 degrees (29 Celsius) and sunny here in Atlanta. I had two rides this weekend in very similar weather. And while it is, as they say in the South, fixin’ to get cooler here this week -- and it does, on occasion, snow and drop below zero -- “Hotlanta” is a year-round riding town.
Yet, “offseason” is not a foreign concept to me.
It’s more of a state of mind. Sort of like the feeling I still get every September -- no matter how many years removed from school -- that it’s a different time of year, a time to work on different things.
Which is exactly what I do in the offseason. When the temperature really starts to drop, or it’s just plain nasty outside, I work out on my elliptical machine, reintroduce myself to yoga and core work that I tend to get away from during prime riding season, and start looking for a winter training program from among RBR’s numerous offerings. (Our eBookstore really is a great resource.)
I also really enjoy getting outdoors more for other activities like hiking with my family in the mountains, tossing the football around with my boys, going for walks with my wife and such. I tend not to fixate so much on my next ride as I do during the “season.”
Don’t get me wrong -- I continue to ride whenever I can. But during my offseason I’m really looking for a good mix of indoor and outdoor workouts that will improve my cycling next season. I’ve found that Yoga for Cyclists and Core Training for Cyclists are especially beneficial for me. (So is taking some time off the bike now and then.) And Strength Training for Cyclists is something I want to do a better job of incorporating into my routine as well.
So whether you live in the Snow Belt or the Sun Belt, there’s nothing wrong with slowing down a little bit during your “offseason.” Even if it’s only the calendar telling you it’s a different time of year, consider incorporating cross-training into your routine. Go for a hike, jog on the beach (cross-country ski or snowshoe in winter climes). Try a new indoor training program. Relax. Recharge. Retool.
I just bet you’ll be even more enthusiastic about riding, and better prepared for the new “season” to come.
Please share your own offseason training strategies on our Comments page.
Enjoy Your Ride!
Editor & Publisher
IN THE RBR eBOOKSTORE
WinterPower: A Cardio-Resistance Workout Regimen, Coach Fred Matheny’s latest eArticle, goes on sale today. We all know that it’s boring to ride the trainer. Weight workouts can be tedious, too. But an approach called cardio-resistance (CR) workouts can enliven your off-season and increase your cycling ability*. All you need is an indoor trainer and some simple resistance equipment like a basic barbell set and pull up bar. CR training is endlessly rich in variation. There’s no reason to do the same workout more than once over several months of indoor training. Coach Fred Matheny explains in detail how to do CR training and explores the numerous ways you can vary the elements of the workouts. Finally, he provides a sample 6-week CR workout schedule that will leave you primed for your next cycling goal.
* A recent study shows that a high-intensity combination of weights and indoor cycling can increase muscular strength by nearly 25 percent while significantly improving VO2 max. Additional research confirms this result and also shows a marked increase in power at lactate threshold. That’s important because we know that the amount of wattage you can produce at your lactate threshold is the most important predictor of cycling ability.
Butt, Hands & Feet (eArticle), by Coach John Hughes. Practical tips for preventing and treating pain in cycling’s pressure points.
Neck & Upper Back Pain and Cycling (eArticle), by Alan Bragman, D.C. Tips on preventing and treating these common cycling maladies.
Cycling and Lower Back Pain (eArticle) -- 2011’s Best Seller. This companion piece by Dr. Alan Bragman focuses on the same tips for the lower back.
Dynamic Flexibility Training for Cyclists (eArticle), by Coach Dan Kehlenbach. A program to help maintain muscle tissue quality and help on-bike and everyday performance.
Preventing and Treating Cramps (eArticle), by Coach John Hughes. A detailed look into the causes of cramps, helping us understand and implement prevention techniques.
Eating and Drinking Like the Pros (eArticle), by Coach John Hughes. How to make your own sports food and drink, based on nutritional insight from pro cycling teams.
Equations for Cyclists (eArticle), by Coach Fred Matheny. How to calculate intensity, wattage, and more -- without a power meter.
Beyond the Century (eArticle), by Coach John Hughes. How to train for and ride 200 km to 1,200 km brevets – an in-depth training program. The first volume in a 3-part series.
Nutrition for 100K and Beyond (eArticle), by Coach John Hughes. Detailed nutrition (and hydration) guidance for successful distance riding. Volume 2 in a 3-part series.
Mastering the Long Ride (eArticle), by Coach John Hughes. Detailed advice on riding and finishing 100 km and longer events. Volume 3 in the this trilogy on distance riding.
Swift Cycling (eArticle), by Coach David Ertl. A 12-week program for increasing your cruising speed, for periods of time from 20 minutes up to an hour in duration.
Quick Links to View:
All eArticles: http://www.roadbikerider.com/earticles
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COMING THIS FALL/WINTER TO THE RBR eBOOKSTORE:
By Coach Fred Matheny
Suggested price: $103
Material: DuPont 500 denier Cordura nylon
Size: approximately 9.5 x 8 x 4.5 inches (22 x 20 x 11.4 cm) plus outside zipper pocket (5.3 x 9.5 x 2) and mesh side pockets
Minimum wheel clearance: 5-1/8 inches (13 cm) from horizontal part of saddle rail to top of wheel or fender
Weight: 228 grams (8 ounces)
RBR advertiser: No
Hours tested: 20
I’m always looking for the perfect bike bag. My ideal satchel would combine unobtrusive looks with a capacious interior. It would ride lightly behind the saddle and adjust to loads ranging from a jacket, tube and tools to all the gear for a warm weather credit card tour.
Choices have been limited. Either I settled for a small seat bag and stuffed my jersey pockets full of rain gear, or I used something large and unwieldy like a Carradice saddle bag that was most at home mounted to a Brooks B17 saddle, rubbed my thighs and swayed at each pedal stroke.
The Kinesis bag promised to strike a middle ground between too small and too large. I tested it over a period of several months on long rides with a credit card-tour load as well as short training jaunts carrying only a few emergency items. It handled both extremes well.
The Rando bag hangs from the Kinesis Q006 Backboard Rail Mount that in turn attaches to your saddle rails using a simple clamp tightened with two 5mm allen bolts. Attachment is quick and easy. The Rail Mount works with most current plastic or carbon-base saddles but not Brooks or Selle Un-Atomica leather models. Adapters are in the works. The backboard fit perfectly on my Fizik Arione.
The bag attaches to the backboard with hook-and-loop straps that kept it stuck like a limpet even with heavy loads, bumpy pavement and hard cornering through tight switchbacks. I couldn’t feel the load swaying when I stood and rocked the bike back and forth or at any other time during a ride. It did what a good bag should do -- vanish from the rider’s mind.
Crucial to this at-one-with-the-bike feel is a compression strap system that makes the bag only as big as the load currently being carried. Unlike conventional straps, these “Universal Tie Straps” stick to themselves at any point on the strap for infinite adjustability. The system is adapted from internal frame backpacks carried on technical mountaineering or hiking terrain. D-rings allow you to compress the load in various ways, depending on the size and weight. You can also strap a jacket or other gear to the top.
Another way to increase carrying capacity is to attach a stuff sack in the large space in front of the bag, but behind the saddle. Kinesis also offers several smaller bags, including the Century model that can be mounted backwards to fill the gap. With the Rando bag fully loaded, sandals strapped to the top and a stuff sack behind the bag, the Kinesis has enough room for a carefully packed motel tour of a week.
The photo shows my bag packed for a tour. Instead of a stuff sack I wrapped some extra clothes in my rain jacket.
Material is DuPont 500 denier Cordura® nylon fabric with a water-repellent coating on the inside. While not as waterproof as a good cotton duck bag, the Kinesis shed showers readily. Included with the Rando bag is a waterproof stuff sack. You can pack your clothing in this inner bag to keep it dry, then tote the stuff sack into a motel while leaving the Rando bag attached to the bike.
I like lots of pockets for neat organization, and the Kinesis bag doesn’t disappoint. It features a large external zippered pocket, two mesh side pockets big enough for water bottles and a hidden internal zippered pocket. I could reach the mesh pockets while riding to pull out an energy bar or camera.
My only gripe with the compression straps: they go over these pockets, making access difficult without loosening the straps. This was a minor nuisance and a sacrifice I was willing to make in exchange for the secure load.
One other minor complaint: The bag had no reflective strip. Kinesis figures that most riders in low-light conditions will attach a light. A strap is provided for this purpose.
The Rando Bag is supremely useful for long rides in sketchy weather conditions. It handily holds arm and leg warmers, light shoe covers, long-finger gloves, food for 100 miles, tubes and tools. With a rain jacket strapped on top, you’ll be ready for any adventure.
In a move almost too stupid to believe, General Motors recently launched an ad campaign on American college campuses designed to convince students who ride bikes that they should scrap their bike for a car -- because cycling is embarrassing!
Under the banner “Reality Sucks,” the ad shows a male cyclist hiding his face from a pretty girl riding by in a car. The ad touts GM’s college discount program and finishes up with this backward-thinking tagline at the bottom: “Stop pedaling . . . start driving.”
Apparently, the ad flew under the radar in college newspapers until, a couple weeks ago, BikePortland, a bike-advocacy group in Portland, Oregon, got hold of it, and the backlash was on. The League of American Bicyclists joined the charge in a snarky retort on its website that ripped GM a new tailpipe.
The latest news is that GM has heard the nation’s cyclists loud and clear and has promised to stop the ad. (See GM’s response in Overheard, below.)
If you would like to let GM know how you feel about the ad -- and maybe help prevent such cowpie missteps in the future -- here are links to the company’s two brands featured in the campaign: Chevrolet and GMC. Giant Bicycles’ clever parody of the ad, right, turns the tables on GM.
Share your thoughts with your fellow RBR Readers on our Comments page.
If you haven't already seen the video of a mountain biker getting run over - literally - by an antelope during a race, check it out here.
Interestingly, a similar thing happened earlier this year in a suburban Atlanta race, when a deer darted through the peloton, doing some serious damage.
Have you ever tangled with a wild animal on a ride? Share your experience on our Comments page.
If you think Lance Armstrong is getting fat and happy in his retirement, think again.
He competed -- and won, wire to wire -- last week’s Urban Dirt Triathlon in Tempe, Arizona. The off-road sprint-distance tri features a 750-meter lake swim, a 13.2-mile mountain bike ride, and 5K trail run.
Lance beat a local pro, clocking a time of 1:14:47. The Urban Dirt was the second tri he competed in this year, having finished 5th in the Xterra USA Championships in Ogden, Utah, in September.
An RBR reader sent us a photo of Lance preparing for the Urban Dirt race. We cropped out the part where he was, um, adjusting his equipment before the swim.
--- “It's a Tour of novelties for 2012. We're clearly in the middle of a run of historic editions of the Tour; in 2010, we celebrated the Pyrenees, in 2011 we celebrated the Galibier and, of course, 2013 will be the 100th edition of the Tour. But 2012 has a truly new parcours and you can see that most notably in the mountains. In the Vosges and the Jura, in particular, we have some new climbs that have never been seen before at the Tour de France.
"It's a Tour designed to widen the possibilities. Of course, the Tour is decided above all in the Alps, the Pyrenees and the time trials, but it can also be decided in the Vosges, it can also be decided in the Jura. There are 10 stages at this year's Tour de France where it can be decided.”
-- Christian Prudhomme, Tour de France race director, unveiling the 2012 course for the 99th running of the race. The course features 2 time trials and a prologue, for nearly 100 km (62 miles) of time trialing.
--- “I like the route, but of course it is not the best for me. Maybe it is better for Cadel Evans. It is more for the riders that go very strong in the time trials and for me maybe I need to attack before the time trials.
"I will try to take advantage of the type of terrain to make a difference. There will be riders like the Schleck brothers, for example, who will try to make a difference before we get to the final time trial. This profile is not really for a climber but more for a complete rider, as well as specialist against the clock.”
-- Alberto Contador, at the 2012 Tour de France course announcement, picking 2011 champion Evans as his favorite to win again next year. We won’t know till late November, at the earliest (after his Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing), whether Contador will be competing in the race.
--- “The content of the ad was developed with college students and was meant to be a bit cheeky and humorous and not meant to offend anybody. We have gotten feedback and we are listening, and there are changes underway. They will be taking the bicycle ad out of the rotation…. We respect bikers, and many of us here are cyclists.”
-- General Motors spokesman Tom Henderson, after the firestorm of protest from cyclists over GM’s ill-conceived “Reality Sucks” ad attempting to “shame” cyclists off their bikes and into a GM car or truck, featuring the tagline “Stop pedaling . . . start driving.”
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Answer at http://www.roadbikerider.com/question-of-week , where you can also find an archive of previous poll results.
Highlights of your responses to last week’s Question: Do you consider your city or town “cycling-friendly?”
-- 39% said “Yes. For the most part, it is safe and a really good place to be a roadie.”
-- 29% said “Maybe. It is not the best, and not the worst place for road cyclists.”
-- 15% said “Not really. I have ridden in much friendlier places than my town.”
Question: I live in New Jersey's flatlands and have become interested in riding Colorado's Triple Bypass next July. I'm intrigued by the challenge -- not the distance as much as the 12,000-foot altitude. Can you give a sea-level rider some pointers? -- Lou F.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: The Triple Bypass covers 120 miles and 10,000 feet of elevation gain over three high passes. You're right that altitude is a major factor because the course climbs to two miles above sea level on Loveland Pass. Nevertheless, many flatlanders ride the event each year and not only survive it but enjoy the experience.
Physiologists tell us that there are two ways to cope with high altitude. Both methods can result in good performances.
Arrive early. Travel to the ride three weeks early to acclimate.
Arrive late. Show up just a day or two in advance and do the ride before your body begins suffering the stresses of high altitude.
Of course, most riders traveling from far away don't have the first option. Assuming that's the case for you, here are five keys to making the Triple Bypass fun during your Rocky Mountain high:
Train for the distance. You need to be comfortable riding 120 miles no matter what the altitude. Riders who are fit do better on any long ride.
Stay hydrated. Colorado's dry air will suck the moisture out of you. Begin hydrating as soon as you arrive. Carry water with you at all times. Drink copiously during the ride, too. Many of the ailments that people blame on altitude are really caused by dehydration.
Don't go anaerobic. Keep plenty in reserve on every climb. Be sure your bike has sufficiently low gears and a triple or compact crankset, if possible. If the climbing effort should make you go anaerobic, even for a minute, it's incredibly difficult to recover.
Use your sunscreen. The intense UV rays at 12,000 feet can cause severe burns even if you have a lowland tan.
Get permission. See your doctor for approval if you have any medical problems, especially shortness of breath or respiratory difficulties. Breathing problems are amplified by the thin Rocky Mountain air.
RBR-logoed JerseyBins - 8-gauge vinyl storage pouches that keep your mobile phone and other valuables dry and safe on rides
RBR-logoed Jerseys - Made from high-tech fabric for superior comfort and wicking. Three rear pockets. Raglan-style with separate side panels. In club cut (loose American fit), with a full-length zipper.
RBR-logoed Podium Hats (free RBR water bottle with each hat purchase!) - black mesh baseball-type hats with one-size-fits-all velcro fastener are perfect for before and after rides
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Last Sunday, I put Look Keo clipless pedal cleats on two new pairs of shoes and it only took 20 minutes. That’s kind of amazing, because typically there’s lots of measuring and fine-tuning to get the cleats directly under the balls of the feet. Then you test ride, fine-tune, and pedal some more to find the optimum angle for the cleats, which can all add up to a lot of time.
Fact is, I had been procrastinating on setting up these new shoes because I knew it was going to take a long time. I have had two knee surgeries, so I have to be very fussy with the cleats. And I always worry with new shoes that I’m going to get it wrong and reinjure my bum knee.
This issue also means that my right cleat is in a different place than my left so I can’t match the positions, a shortcut that makes cleat installation faster. Usually, after installation, I also need to try out the new cleats on several rides, avoiding any major climbs and stopping to micro adjust them until they finally feel right. So new shoes can mean a few days of experimentation for me -- down time that I don’t like.
Tip: If you’d like to learn more about proper cleat adjustment, there’s a how-to on the subject on my website here.
Ergon’s TP1 tool to the rescue
To try to make it easier for this cleat installation, I decided to get help and purchased a new tool I just heard about, Ergon’s $25.95 TP1 Pedal Cleat Tool for Keo cleats. There’s one for Shimano SPD-SL, SPD and Crank Brothers cleats, too.
The TP1 comes with nice, complete instructions, but once you see the tool, you may not need them. It’s so obvious how it works that you might wonder, like I did, why nobody made a tool like this a long time ago.
Note that I was matching the cleat position on my old road shoes to my new shoes. So I had my old pair as a reference. And this makes using this tool even easier.
Tip: Once you know your cleat position is perfect, be sure to outline it on the soles of your shoes with indelible ink (something like a Sharpie marker) or paint. That way, when you wear the cleats out, it’s quick and easy to replace them.
Like tracing paper for cleats
All you do to use Ergon’s tool is mount the cleats to your new shoes just tight enough so they will still move if you force them. If you’re copying your old shoes, you place them on the tool. There’s a left and right side, and the cleats fit tightly into pockets made for them in the tool. The surface of the tool has a grid on it like graph paper so you can clearly see where the cleat is in relation to the ball of the foot and also see the angle of your old shoes.
By comparing your old shoes with your new ones, you can simply move the new shoes to match the old ones, reach beneath the tool to access and tighten the cleats, and in only a few minutes, hop on your bike and ride. If it helps, you could trace a line around your old shoes to make it even easier to line up the new shoes.
Setting up new shoes without your old shoes for reference
If you don’t have old shoes to copy the cleat position from, Ergon’s tool is still very helpful. The instructions explain how to find the ball of your foot, and there are stickers to put on your shoes to mark it. This lets you get the fore/aft cleat position correct.
You can then use the tool to place both shoes at the same angle in relation to the centerline. Then you just check the position on your bicycle and fine-tune it as needed, using the tool to make sure you change the right and left shoe equally. Or using it to compare, if one cleat needs to be set differently.
Thank you, Ergon, for making cleat installation so much easier!
If you have any tips or tricks for cleat installation, please share them on our Comments page.
Jim Langley has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for 38 years. At RBR he's the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop and moderator of the technical forums on the Premium Site . Check his "cycling aficionado" website at http://www.jimlangley.net , his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim's streak of consecutive cycling days has reached 6,492.
When it comes to gauging intensity during hard workouts, heart monitors and power meters are popular choices. But perceived exertion -- riding based on how you feel -- also works well. The problem is that inexperienced riders don’t have a finely tuned sense of how much suffering they need to endure to get benefits from intervals. In fact, I often get questions from readers who do interval workouts and then feel guilty for not suffering more or being completely exhausted when they're done. What’s the right intensity?
It’s not necessary to make every interval workout feel like you just returned from a life-or-death polar expedition. Feeling good after a hard workout isn’t a bad thing. Here are some guidelines for developing an accurate sense of how hard to work:
Make short intervals intense. Make sprints or intervals of up to 60 seconds quick and intense. You should feel like you would after a weight training workout -- invigorated and fresh, not exhausted. Realize that it's hard for an endurance-trained rider to exert all-out in a 10- to 30-second effort. Your muscles and nervous system aren't accustomed to explosive efforts, so it's nearly impossible to go truly hard. A sprinter, on the other hand, can focus his energies so he explodes for 15 seconds of effort and is really spent afterward.
Ease slightly on longer intervals and climbing. But keep them hard enough to require a longer period of easy spinning between repeats. Interestingly, mental attitude is often the best indicator of when you’re going too hard. If you’re eager for the next interval, and feel a little guilty that you’re not doing them quite hard enough, you’re probably doing them correctly. If on the other hand, you’re dreading the next time up the hill, it’s time to back off the intensity.
Monitor recovery time. You should recover from any hard workout in a reasonable time -- 24 to 48 hours. If you don't, either the workout was too hard, your recovery period was too short or you’re not eating enough carbohydrate to refuel your muscles. Another cause is dehydration, a key cause of fatigue. Drink plenty of water and sports drink before, during and after hard workouts.
Adapted from Coach Fred's Solutions to 150 Road Cycling Challenges, a helpful eBook especially for cycling newcomers.
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As we slink into the cold, dark, wet offseason here in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s time for die-hard cyclists to reconnect with people in their lives who don’t sport mid-thigh tan lines.
Allow me to re-introduce you to:
Your Significant Other
This is the human with whom you share living quarters and a bed. You may know him/her best as the lump under the covers that grunts when you arise for your 6 a.m. rides. Remember: This person’s household chores and salary help keep you in shape and in carbon water bottle cages. He/she did not leave when you used the living room drapes to clean your jockey wheels, but that doesn’t mean you should propose a romantic weekend getaway that happens to include back-to-back cyclocross races in the rain. Again.
Can’t recall her name? It’s on your paycheck. Next time you’re in a meeting she’s running, try not to check your smartphone for the latest Tour de France update. Or at least do it under the table. And don’t use the flat-tire-late-for-work excuse more than once a month.
This small person one day will decide whether you go to the nice nursing home or the one under federal indictment, so for his birthday give him an Xbox, not a pair of cycling shoes in your size.
Your Non-Cycling Friends
FYI: They don’t care about your FTP (Functional Threshold Power, not Fun Time Partying); the gear ratio you used for last weekend’s century; or the drag coefficient of exposed brake cables. Acceptable conversation topics include: pro sports (excluding cycling, unless drug scandals are involved), the weather, shopping excursions, Those Clowns in Congress, and stupid bike riders who don’t obey traffic rules.
If you enjoy reading Scott Martin, the eBook Spin Again contains 181 of his witty, sometimes wacky, and occasionally heart-felt observations on road cycling.
Question: So now that one of your advisers has been put on a beta blocker I'd like to know what the effects have been on their cycling. I've been taking beta blockers for 16 years and find that the lowering of my heart rate affects my riding, and I can't get enough blood/oxygen to the legs unless I wait till most of the medication has worn off. Any suggestions? -- Scott P.
Question: I am 57 years old and have been a mountain biker for the last 12 years. I took up road biking last year. I've ridden just over 1,300 miles this year so far. I've found my max heart rate usually is 181. My average heart rate is about 148. Are there any health problems with such heart rates at my age? I ride with guys who are 10 to 20 younger. Do you see any problems riding at this pace, or should I look to back off a little? -- David from Little Rock
Dr. Richard Ellin Responds: Regarding the effects of beta-blockers on heart function, Scott, there is no question that they can reduce the magnitude of increase in heart rate with cycling (or any endurance exercise). For most cyclists, this would probably not be noticeable, but for competitive cyclists it could be noticeable at maximal efforts. Nevertheless, I would caution you, and any cyclists taking beta-blockers, not to stop or omit their beta-blockers without consulting with their doctors, since the effects of missing doses could be harmful.
Now, let’s talk about heart rates and, specifically, the benefits of certain HRs. For most recreational roadies, the approximate maximal target heart rate one should aim for during exercise can be estimated using the following formula:
Goal heart rate = (220 - age) x 0.85.
Thus, for a 50-year-old, it would be approximately 144. Most studies indicate that if one achieves this heart rate and maintains it through exercise, such as cycling, one gets the full cardiovascular benefits of training. There is little additional benefit in attaining higher heart rates.
Provided that one has a healthy heart, however, there is no danger in attaining heart rates in this range, or higher. The risk of attaining much higher heart rates, such as the 181 David asks about, is proportional to how healthy the heart is. Only if you have your heart thoroughly checked out by a physician, and it's found to be in excellent health, would attaining a heart rate of 181 be safe.
For anyone questioning whether or not they have a healthy heart, only an exam (and perhaps some testing) by their doctor can determine that.
Richard Ellin, MD, FACP, is a board-certified specialist in Internal Medicine who practices in Alpharetta, Georgia. He received his medical degree and completed residency at Emory University, and has been in practice with Kaiser Permanente for 26 years. He is also an avid cyclist.
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NEW! WinterPower: A Cardio-Resistance Workout Regimen (eArticle), Coach Fred Matheny’s latest. CR training is endlessly rich in variation, and a recent study shows that it can increase muscular strength by nearly 25 percent while significantly improving VO2 max
Yoga: A Quick & Effective Program for Cyclists (eBook) -- the best yoga poses for cyclists, all illustrated in an efficient 40-minute session designed for non-riding days or for a winter program
Strength Training for Cyclists (DVD) -- a 42-minute full-color instructional DVD and laminated 28-page Quick Guide for use while working out, by Harvey Newton, a veteran roadie and former coach of the U.S. Olympic Weightlifting Team
Off-Season Training for Roadies (eBook) -- complete winter programs for fitness, fast recreation or racing by Coach Fred Matheny
Indoor Training For Cyclists (eBook) -- Coach David Ertl's 50 trainer workouts to boost all-round cycling fitness and beat boredom
Keep it Real - In Your Indoor Cycling Class (eBook) -- an indoor authority makes sure spinning classes transfer to the road
Cold-Weather Cycling (eArticle) -- recommendations on medical concerns, clothing, nutrition, equipment & riding techniques
Plyometrics for Cyclists(eArticle) -- an off-season training technique that uses explosive jumping, hopping and bounding to build leg power and strength
Power to the Pedals (eArticle) -- a 12-week, 1-hour-per-workout power-building cycling program by Coach Fred Matheny
Your Home Bicycle Workshop (eBook) -- great winter project! Design & equip a home shop you'll love year round, by Jim Langley
The Ride Of Your Life (eBook) -- cycling time management, goal setting and making your dream ride come true in 2012
Core Training for Cyclists (eArticle) -- build strength, stamina, coordination & flexibility in core muscles in just 2-3 weekly workouts, by Dr. Alan Bragman
COMING THIS FALL/WINTER TO THE RBR eBOOKSTORE:
Bonus! RBR provides 5 downloadsof every eBook and eArticle (and bundle) purchased. To obtain a new copy for any reason, simply login to your RBR account and do the download.