The important values in cycling


Surely every one of us has played quartet some time. It’s the game where you look on a card, call up a number and hope, that your opponent has a higher or lower number than you have.
Knowledge of your cycling stats can be a bit like this game. And here are the values you should know. I take my stats as an example for a rough picture.

MHR: 204

The maximum heart rate at which it can beat at physiological exercise. High or low doesn’t matter, cause that’s a genetical thing. So riders with a higher number won’t race faster 😉

LTHR: 176

This is called lactate threshold heart rate. It defines the value where your body builds and debuilds the same amount of lactic acid. Simple said lactic acid is the burn you feel in your muscles when you do a hart effort. You can test that out by doing an all out 30 minute time trial in training. With the adrenaline of racing then, you should be able to hold the same effort for an hour. High or low doesn’t matter, again a genetical thing.

Resting Heart Rate: 42

Heart rate when you’re doing nothing. You can measure this after waking up, but still lying in bed. The lower this value, the fitter you are.

estimated FTP: 260 W

This is called functional threshold power and basically corresponds to your LTHR. Means, the maximum force you can put on your pedals for one hour in a race situation. Testing is again the half hour time trial in trainig. The higher this number, the better. Guys usally start here around 175 W and can go all the way to over 400 W like Chris Froome.

Height: 180 cm

Obvious and just matters a little bit. Higher riders have to get more aero, means shorter riders have a slight advantage on the long run.

Weight: 72.5 kg

The less weight you have to get up a hill, the faster you will be. But watch out, it’s a thin line between fit and weighing less or just weigh less.

Flexibility: 9 out of 10

Flexibility is imoportant to get into an aero position on the bike. That’s why I do yoga every day. The lower you can get, the less wind resistance you have to overcome. For example in my case, I go almost 2 km/h faster in the drops than on the tops by the same amount of power. But you need the flex to stay a good time in the drops.

Mental toughness: 9 out of 10

The will, to overcome your bodys limitations. This is relatively easy for me, since I enjoy almost every bike related pain. A good example for mental toughness is to start a ride in pouring rain and do so with a smile. 😉

Riding situations: Sunny, windy, hilly, rainy, almost stormy, cold, very cold and very fucking cold.

Weather situations where I have ridden my bike. When you’ve gone out at -12°C everything after that is warm and you have no excuse not to ride.

Longest distance: 211 km

You have to know which personal bests are to beat, right? 😉

Highest mountain climbed: Mont Ventoux

A big mountain climbed, means, that every hill on your training rides is just ridiculously easy. For real, after I climbed Mont Ventoux, climbing sort of makes fun for me.

Strength: Endurance, Time Trial

You have to know where you’re good at, to play you cards in the right situation. The same counts for:

Weakness: Sprint

Riding super power: When Heart Rate drops under 130 bpm – lactic acid will slowly be removed. That’s the case for me, when riding in the back of a group. Every time I see my heart rate dropping unter that value, a smile comes up, cause this means additionally free power 😉

What’s your “riding super power”?

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12 responses to “The important values in cycling

  1. MHR 182
    LTHR 172
    Resting HR 55
    FTP About 230W
    Height 180cm
    Weight 83Kg (It all goes Pete Tong here, I was 97Kg)
    Flexibility 7/10
    Mental Toughness 9/10
    Longest distance 230.6Km the 0.6Km hurt on the Dragon Ride.
    Highest Mountain 524M no idea of name biggest gradient 25%
    Strength Still going at 50 🙂 Longer TT or Cyclocross
    Weakness Sprints, but getting better at it.
    Super Power : Still looking for it. Went to UCI World Championships?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gives me something to work on. Not sure how I’ll gather some of this data. You mention your height which you can’t undo, but you didn’t mention your age – something that keeps climbing. I’m 180 cm, age 63, resting heart rate 55 bpm. Set a goal to ride every month of the year, live in Canada – had a car accident so couldn’t complete the challenge. Training to bike across Canada next summer. Training by cycling on two wheels and on one wheel. Helpful article.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m 50, started cycling in my mid 30’s and maybe a little out of my depth here. I don’t have a heart rate monitor but have a resting rate of 60. I’m 5’11, 12 and a half stone and the furthest I’ve ridden is about 52 miles (I was trying to achieve 50 miles in under 3 hours for some unknown reason). I’ve managed hills rather than mountains and have good flexibility (except I can’t do Tuesday’s). Mental toughness is where I fall apart. I shake when I reach 30mph and these days struggle with rides over… a much shorter distance than my PB. I ride a Boardman cyclocross on quiet ish roads and try and get out every other day. I really enjoyed your article, Stefan, and am looking forward to finding some time to delve through your other pieces in due course. In the meantime, happy and safe pedalling. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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