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    What else should I know about training?  
    See also Dogs and Bike Lights.

A quick note on heart rates - the common maximum heart rate formula of "220 minus your age" is notoriously inaccurate. For example, my max should be 182 according to formula, but I've gotten it up to 203 in the past year (on a really ugly steep hill). Basically, you can't exceed your maximum heart rate, it's the fastest speed that your heart will go.

There are several ways to figure out what your max is - but talk to a doctor before trying - from long steep hills to treadmills (usually considered the best since it's in a controlled environment). Once you get that down, there are a bunch of different ways to figure out what your training zones are - straight percentage of max heart rate, percentage of the difference between your resting heart rate and max heart rate added to the resting rate (hope that makes sense) and others. Different ones will work better for different people. Some with a large range between resting and max like me will find they don't go anaerobic until they get over 170 - 175 BPM, but some of the formulas would call for a training zone where you can't get up a sweat.

I'd recommend reading up on the subject before using one of these because they really will change how you ride and how you perceive your efforts. Some that have sections on HRMs are Bicycling Magazine's Complete Book of Road Cycling Skills by Ed Pavelka et al, Greg LeMond's Complete Book of Bicycling, Single-Track Mind by Paul Skilbeck, Precision Heart Rate Training by Edmund R. Burke, Sally Edwards Heart Zone Training, and others.

I found that the straight percentage system worked best for me - broken up into the zones that I found in the Bicycling Magazine book:

1. <65% Recovery
2. 66-72% Basic endurance and aerobic capacity
3. 73-79% Higher level aerobic capacity
4. 85-90% Anaerobic threshold work
5. 91-100% Sprints and anaerobic power

When buying an HRM I'd recommend getting one where you can set two limit alarms - one to tell you when your dropping below today's training zone and one to tell you when you're exceeding it. Other than telling you what your heart rate is, this seems to be the most valuable thing to me. I also note my average heart rate after a ride and find it useful to compare efforts especially to measure avg heart rate against mph on the same route - that's when I really know I'm progressing. Otherwise, it's also nice to know how much time you spent above, in, and below your training zone for the ride - it's often very surprising.

Tom Spille

Oh, forgot to mention - this chart leaves out the 80-84% range because it's considered "no man's land" - too high for the steady tempo of zone 3 and not hard enough to stimulate the improvement in zone 4. I've also read that it's too hard on the bod to recover from if ridden that way on a daily basis. But then I also recently read that this is a good zone for the rec rider who rides 3-4 days per week because recovery is automatically built into the schedule via the days off. So, it comes down to personal preference, sort of...

Tom Spille

Ok, do I have your attention? Here's my mnemonic before leaving home for a ride. (honor to Mnemosene, Greek goddess of memory, mother of the muses)

There you go! May you never get to a ride without the necessaries!

Amy Ream

[What some people carry while training:]

Thank you, Don, for organizing and carrying all of that gear with you just in case something happened. I don't know what all you had, but I did spy a spare tire, first aid kit, and many misc. supplies...and that was just on the outside of that big pack! (Was there a repair stand in there?) And then there was the mechanical support at the start of the ride for those who needed it. You're quite the tour director!

Mark R

Having been there myself a time or two, I try to make sure nobody is left for Buzzard Bait :-)

I carry a first aid kit in the water bottle cage. So far I've used the adhesive tape to stabilize tire boots :-) (This does not go on CO)

My Camel Back looks pregnant because of the spare tire, power/Cliff bars, the small cable lock, and of course the mascot adds bulk..
Contents include:

Drugs: aspirin, Aleve, Pepto, Immodium, bee sting kits, sunscreen.

Hardware: Topeak Power 21 toolkit (fixed a lot of other peoples bikes en route with this kit. Has something to fit just about everything you would encounter), Presta pressure guage, replacement brake shoes, seatpost clamp, various bottle cage bolts and nuts, small section of duct tape, extra drink tube mouthpiece.

Brake shoes??? Seatpost clamp??? On CO X we had some serious downhill days and the mechanics ran out of brake shoes. The new cartridge type shoes are compact and I can fit four shoes plus mounting bolts in a patch kit case. Though I've never "replaced" shoes mid ride I have had to remove imbedded foreign matter from a shoe on the road twice now.

The post clamp comes from my other road bike that you didn't see yesterday. It has had periods of post "creakage" that drive me up the wall. Fixing the noise requires "resetting" the post and retorquing the clamp. I watched a rider break one of these on the rim at Crater Lake and was stranded till a replacement could arrive.

The "backpack" portion of the pack was empty except for some arm warmers and a bovine print scarf.

It looks worse than it is.

Don "I like the repair stand idea though:-)" Bolton

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I get lots of guff about my Camelback. Fact is though, I'm used to it being there. I have all I need to repair the bike, ride back in if caught out after nightfall, plus sustenance. All its lacking is a workstand :-)

I'm working on Puffer Cow modifying him to hold spare tires and or tubes too so I can lose the under seat pack and mount a fender when I need to.

Don "I'm almost ready to lose the training wheels" Bolton

Yeah, right Don, your camelback doubles as your tent and even carries an extra bike right? I swear I saw you pull a blue room out of that thing one morning.

Steve "Wore a Camelback last year" Heim

Someone did a study on a bunch of top athletes a while back. They proved that by living a normal (fairly sedentary) lifestyle they could lose all that wonderful extra muscle in just 2 months - a lot of it much faster. Then they were just as "weak" as most people. I got this out of a book on cycling training. This is part of why we joined a gym a month after CO - and should have done it much sooner. Now we go wear ourselves out at least 3 times a week.

When they say "use it or lose it" they really mean it. And its scary how fast it happens. We have had trouble the last two years losing condition in the month preceding CO. There is just so much going on around here it is hard to get in the miles.

Rox Heath

If you've ever had to undergo rehab, you will enjoy(?) this. It is on a wall of the PT Center where I'm doing my rehab.


1. Never say you can't, because you'll do it anyway.

2. Never say, "It's easy," because we'll just make it harder.

3. Never say, "I want to go home," because you'll just stay longer.

4. Never loose count because you'll start at one again.

5. Never complain because we never listen.

6. Never argue because you'll never win.

7. Never scream or cry because it only encourages us.

8. Never look like you're enjoying it because we will put a stop to it.

9. Never hold your breath because if you pass out and die, we have to fill out the paper work.

10.Never lie or cheat because we know the truth and you'll live to regret it.

Penny Overdier

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  Page Last Updated: Jan. 20, 2003  
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