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Lauren Wolff

I am a female who races mountain bike and road in the Vets category. My heart rate spikes a couple times to over 200bpm with an average of around 175bpm. I have been riding and racing since 1991 and the intensity of the races I do is very high. But I seem to have no adverse effects from this high heart at all and am at my fittest at the moment. I think it could have something to do with a high cadence as I use a compact crank even on flatter races and I may be spinning too much (95-110). Could a high cadence and high heart rate go hand in hand and cause such spikes?

Joe Friel

Lauren Wolff--Let's do a "mental experiment." We set up your bike on an indoor ("turbo") trainer and take the chain off. You then turn the cranks at 50rpm and we observe your peak HR. Then you pedal at 120rpm and we again observe your HR. Which do you think would produce the higher HR? Why 120 of course. So, yes, cadence does affect HR.


From the article in 2011 with Dr. John that you linked to: '...I’ve also coached athletes with big feet and little feet...'

Thx for the laugh Joe. I think that sums it up. Off course it might depend on how big your feet are!! Haha...I'm in stitches.

Lauren Wolff

Joe thanks for the response. I though I'd slow my cadence today at the race I did and see if it kept my heart rate lower. No such luck! After checking my ride file I saw that my heart rate sat at between 180 and 190 on a climb where my cadence was around 70rpm. Why would my heart rate be so high? And is it ok to push harder even when it's so high? My max went to 207 and I am 46 years old.

Joe Friel

Lauren Wolff--I really can't speak to how high/low yoour heart rate should be on a given climb in a race. But there are two things that produce it. One is your cadence. The other is how hard you are pushing on the pedals. If you lower your rpm but push harder your heart rate will still go up.Same as if you increase your rpm but don't push as hard.

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