Paceline Podcast 159

Paceline Podcast 159

This week we begin with a reader question regarding max heart rate. Will that “220 minus your age” formula accurately predict your max? And if not, does it matter? And if it matters and it’s not accurate, what should you be using instead? Selene talks max heart rate and the value of heart rate monitors.

Paceline listener Ihan

Patrick is back from Emporia, Kansas, and talks about his experience there, including not achieving his goal of beating the sun. Turns out, that was the best part of the race. Go figure.

Paceline listener Noah



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Show links:

Dirty Kanza

Moji heated foam roller

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  1. Neil Winkelmann

    Good one Patrick. I really enjoyed that podcast. You captured the feeling of the event from a participant’s perspective perfectly. I could relate to it all. A profound experience, made all the more interesting by how finishing times never really matter in the end, in spite of how obsessed by them we get. I also loved how Selene confessed about her thoughts on your original goal.

    Did you see Alex Howes on Instagram? It’s a neat little piece.
    I particularly liked this bit..

    “We slogged our way to the final aid station and wobbled to a stop. I had serious thoughts about quitting right there. Not because I wanted to but because reaching the finish seemed physically impossible.”

    Nice to see those guys have the same experience as do we mere mortals. I thought that the professional riders’ presence was a strong positive for the event, and that the Sunday ceremony issue/thing was a storm in a teacup. That even they struggled significantly highlights the sheer difficulty of this challenge (and the strength of the top gravel amateurs, of course), and, I think, adds to the satisfaction of every finisher (and perhaps even comforts those that didn’t make it this year).

    I am very-much looking forward to reading your upcoming posts. (I plan to write my own DK story for my bike makers’ blog/website (Naked Bicycles).)

    I am going to try to get in for next year again. Perhaps see you there.

  2. Dan from Emporia

    Come back soon. Think about a non-DK week, come for Maisie’s Pride, La Grind or Lunar Kanza. Spend some more time with Jim Cummins, LeLan Dains, the Mohns and Aaron Apel when they aren’t off the charts busy putting the event on. See our chill, cool, little town the way it is every day. Ride up to a four-way stop and have the drivers wave you on through. Stop in a store and ask where something is and they will walk you across the store to where that item is. We have something very special here.

  3. ihan kim

    Ha – the only reason I’m smiling in that picture is that you told me to! Great summary of the day/night, and the transcendental experience of the ascent (mentally) during those last 50 miles after plunging to bitter depths during the middle 100. Also, I agree with Dan — they have something very special there in Emporia, I’ve never been a place that welcoming during an event that disruptive to locals. – ihan

    1. Author

      Glad to hear you finished, no matter how hard it was! And yeah, Emporia has a special sauce.

  4. Mike

    This episode of the Paceline was just perfect. While Patrick and thousands of others were battling the Flint Hills of Kansas, a friend and I were tackling our own monster. We rode from the tip of the Michigan mitten (Mackinac City) to Grand Rapids, for a total of 233 miles. All paved and less climbing than Patrick took on, but still the hardest day on a bike I have ever done.

    We both rode into the darkness at around mile 160. What got us through was the foreknowledge that this was going to happen. We acknowledged it, talked about it, and then kept pedaling. Just keep pedaling. There was a recent GCN video where they interviewed Mark Beaumont, who set the around the world record a couple years ago. “If things are easy, they will get harder. If things are hard, they will get easier. Accept the moment.”

    I did use a heart rate monitor to help train for this ride. I am not in a place where the cost of a power meter is realistic. If I were to prioritize upgrades to my two main bikes, there a lot of other components that will give me more bang for the buck (wheels, drivetrain, bags, etc.). The HRM was helpful this past Saturday because I have a tendency to go to hard right out of the gate and that number on my Garmin kept me in check. I may not use it for a while but will strap it back on as the next event peaks the horizon.

  5. Noah

    Great to meet you Patrick, and thanks for the flattering photo. The heat, leg cramps, and a bad stomach got me out at the last checkpoint, but I’m looking forward to doing better next year. Congratulations on your finish!

  6. Booker Bense

    I think the heart rate discussion missed some key elements:

    1. What does MHR actually mean? (i.e. heart rate you can sustian for X seconds? or ??)

    2. Your heart rate during exercise is primarily governed by CO2 levels in blood and will beat as fast as needs to turn that signal off, thus the more muscles you use in an exercise the higher max heart rate you will hit. For example, for the same level of perceived effort, my average and peak HR is significantly higher XC skiing than biking. MHR can be thought of a function of active muscle mass/heart volume . Since both things vary much more between individuals ( and individuals over time), an age based MHR is mostly useless. The purpose of the original 220-age study was to find a “safe exercise level” for post heart attack patients, not to guide training.

    3. If your muscle mass doesn’t change with age, your MHR doesn’t change significantly. I’ve been using a HRM for nearly 30 years and even at 58 I don’t see much of a drop in MHR. I mostly see a big drop in my desire to ride hard enough to get to my MHR %-)

  7. Dan Murphy

    First – Congrats, Patrick! Awesome accomplishment.

    I want to commend you on riding smart. You and Selene mentioned a number of things during the podcast, like riding to your fitness, or how you adjusted your day when you realized you weren’t going to beat the sun, or how you made sure you ate, etc. All smart stuff, something that can easily be overlooked in a very long day. You did what you needed to do to finish – great job.

    Though I can’t speak from personal experience of very long days, I believe the mental aspect of a DK event outweighs the physical aspect. Most people have done sufficient training for the event, but when things happen like heat, upset stomach, running out of water, mechanicals, or simply realizing that after riding seemingly forever you still have 5+ hours in the saddle, the head starts taking over. Pushing past the head games has to be a real battle. Selene has often mentioned the black hole at ~150 miles, and if you can, I’d like to hear about your dark moments of DK.

    On a totally different note, I have to say that the pictures of DK don’t exactly temp me to do this event. All I see are pics of a very long, straight, rolly, dusty road with no trees. On the other hand, the organizers and the town are to be commended for throwing a top-notch event.

    Again, congrats!

    1. Author

      My visit to the dark side will be discussed in a coming post.

      It’s prettier out there than the pictures can sell.

      I keep telling people that just half the day I did: 9:13, ranks in the top 20 longest rides I’ve done. How’s that for perspective?

  8. Ted Jones

    Congrats on finishing! Loved hearing the philosophical observations at night with riders coming into and out of view, like people in our lives.

    Medical update; I was the Hypertrophy/High Blood Pressure case from February/inspired by Selenes Mark Weir piece. Everything seems to be trending in the right direction, blood pressure is good and fitness has actually improved quite a bit! Some symptoms in February that I didn’t think were a big deal may have been an early signal and they’ve cleared up. 70 mile gravel ride today.

    Listener request on a topic related to post-race/ride hydration: Now I know that water or electrolyte is always preferred, but how bad is a beer (or two?). This is assuming you’re not completely bonked, dangerously dehydrated, etc. My joke is that beer is like 95% water so that’s good! Alcohol being the diuretic that it is, is a beer (or two) WORSE than drinking nothing? If it’s 7% alcohol does that completely offset the water that is in it? Wondering if any studies have been done on that.

    1. Author

      Oh that’s going to be fun to talk about. And glad to hear your health is headed in the right direction. That definitely gives you permission for beer, right?

  9. Matthew

    just started listening to this episode and I am looking forward to hearing about Patrick’s Dirty Kansa. but I was also excited to hear about the unpaved ride in PA this fall. I am signed up and going to attempt the 90+ ride. (first gravel ride)

    need tips for tires if you have any!

    1. Ted Jones

      Matthew will that be your first grave race, or gravel ride, like ever? The miles are in no way 1:1 to road miles, my roadie friends who go on their first gravel rides are amazed at how tiring a 30 mile ride is with similar climbing, compared to road riding. Get some gravel rides in ahead of time!

    2. Matthew

      Thanks Ted do you think I need to ride a certain percentage of the 90 miles in preparation on gravel?
      I commute by bike a lot. Close to 2k miles so far this year.
      I am hoping to get to a few rail trails in this year as well.

  10. Kristi Mohn

    That was a worthy listen. Selene offers great perspective from her past DK’s and your insights to the event are spot on. Our athlete service manager, Treva Worrel, says it really well – expect the unexpected and make it part of your journey, not the end of your journey. You did just that, and came away with something much bigger and better than beating the sun. Congrats!

  11. Marty

    Listening to your podcast has opened up the floodgates of my own Dirty Kanza memories. Aside from “The Struggle” of finishing, my dominant memory is of the people of Emporia. They made all my suffering worth it. Riding down that chute, hearing your name over the PA, the cowbells and cheers is really special. Usually you hear crickets as you finish. All weekend was nothing but love from the folks of Emporia.

  12. David Chomowicz

    Quite enjoyed your podcast with Selene. I was reassured to hear her feeling on HR as an important biometric vs say power. My Garmin was set to 4 things only: Speed, Avg Speed, HR, and turn prompts. Thanks and congrats on your finish. It brought back many of the rapturous and hellish moments of that long strange trip just two weeks ago in the Flint Hills and the gracious hospitality of the amazing people of Emporia.

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