Heart rate response to ultraendurance cycling

Br J Sports Med. 2003 Feb;37(1):89-90. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.37.1.89.


The heart rate (HR) response to ultraendurance cycling is poorly understood. This case report describes the exercise intensity of ultraendurance cycling by means of HR monitoring in a well trained male amateur cyclist performing the Otztal Radmarathon twice en bloque in a circuit of two identical laps (distance 460 km; cumulative altitude difference 11,000 m). The overall intensity was moderate (HR(mean) = 130 beats/min; HR(mean)/HR(max) = 0.71) corresponding to an average individual workload of 47% of VO(2)MAX. Almost the whole race was performed under aerobic conditions (99.6%); high intensity work was negligible (0.4%). The average speed and the HR response also declined in the course of the two laps, average speed by 17.2% (23.8 to 19.7 km/h), HR(mean) by 10.1% (138 to 124 beats/min), and HR(mean)/HR(max) by 10.7% (0.75 to 0.67). This scale of HR decrease corresponds to comparable data gained in the field of triathlon and represents a specific cardiac feature of ultraendurance exercise in general.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology