Please Try this at Home

12.1.2006 | 2:19 pm

I’m a little overwhelmed at the number of responses I got (66, so far) to my questions yesterday on whether I should do a Fat Cyclist jersey.

Apparently, I should.

Before I go into my planned next steps, please let me say this: thank you.

The fact that there are a couple thousand of you out there visiting my site each day means a bunch to me. That quite a few of you seem interested in actually owning up to that fact publicly is simultaneously startling, disturbing, and remarkably gratifying.

So again, thank you.

The Jersey Design
Now, those of you who’d like to try designing a jersey, please email me a sketch — it doesn’t have to be fancy — of how you’d like it to look.

You  can either design the jersey using my existing logo, create a new one (which I would then adopt as my site logo), or something in between.

If I like your design, I’ll ask you to refine your idea, and will then put the designs to a vote (unless I’m overwhelmed by the awesomeness of a particular design, in which case I will make an executive decision and the matter will end there). 

Your Company Logos
If your company wants its logo on the Fat Cyclist jersey, please email me with information about your company, how much they are willing to contribute, and what (size and position of their logo) they would expect in return.

If You Want a Jersey…
Stay tuned. I’ll have more information on how to order a Fat Cyclist jersey before long.

Homework Assignment
OK, now with that out of the way, I would like you to try the following and report back with your results:

  1. Find your heart rate monitor.
  2. Get on your bike.
  3. Ride at a nice, moderate pace for ten minutes.
  4. Shift up, but maintain the same cadence and ride for another two minutes.
  5. Repeat step 4 until you are at your absolute limit.
  6. Stand up and sprint for ten seconds. Note your heart rate.
  7. Leave a comment telling me what your heart rate was at the end of that exercise.

Mine was 193. I swear, I used to be able to hit 204. I’m getting old.

So why am I suddenly interested in maximum heart rates? Well, because I just got myself a coach: Robert Lofgran. He’s got me wearing an HRM, doing actual specific workouts, and is helping me reverse more than a decade of bad training and eating habits.

You see, I’d really like to win at least one race sometime in my lifetime. Is that so much to ask?


  1. Comment by dawn | 12.1.2006 | 3:01 pm

    You’re getting serious about racing?!? Be still my heart that means the rest of us will have to too!

  2. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 12.1.2006 | 3:17 pm

    Remind me to stop riding with you.

  3. Comment by Jsun | 12.1.2006 | 3:38 pm

    wow, 66 people read your blog, never would’ve guessed ;)

    I am not much for jerseys, or guernseys; holsteins are cool tho’. We are talking about cows, right?

    The Italian World Cup home strip is an example of a badly designed jersey, because the shading looks like pit stains.

    Speaking of stains perhaps you could have a few designerly ’stains’, one for each of your favorite foods -chocolate shake, mustard/ketchup, etc. You may have get creative so people don’t think they are real. This could be done with explanatory text next to the stain- i.e., simulated “chocolate Gu from FC’s 1999 LT100″, “Lance’s overspray spit from 2007 LT100″, and maybe a “add your own stain” space.

    And I still refer back to my comment months ago about padding out the middle to enhance the handles.

  4. Comment by Lisa B | 12.1.2006 | 4:35 pm

    Oh dear, a HRM – bad news for your enjoyment factor while riding for at least the next six months. I know, I wear one while commuting and it is constantly distracting me: ’scenery, huh, what, my heart rate’s up to 155, I can do better than that going up 124th, pedal, pedal!’ or ‘ah, average heart rate 144, max 165, calories burned 766, time in zone 15′56 – data, give me data!’

    And yes, I want a Fat Cyclist jersey (or holstein). Could you just not redesign your logo so it’s completely obvious that it’s a guy? No spalming, please.

  5. Comment by Caloi-Rider | 12.1.2006 | 4:35 pm

    I’m from a family of low heart rates. I haven’t tried it yet today, but the highest I’ve ever seen my HR was about 188. Don’t worry, one of the Cyclingnews fitness Q&A forum told one guy that it doesn’t matter how high your HR goes–what matters is how much power you can generate at that HR. Unfortunately, some of us can’t afford powermeters.

  6. Comment by Karst | 12.1.2006 | 4:51 pm

    So, for what race are you really training? Or is that info (advisedly) confidential?

    I would try your test, but I don’t have a heart rate monitor, and don’t really want to risk a heart attack…or have you get one when you find out your task induced one.

  7. Comment by barry1021 | 12.1.2006 | 5:07 pm

    I got my heart rate up to 182 and then it exploded straight out of my chest. It was just dangling there, still pumping-red coming out, blue going in, just like it’s supposed to. Twenty five miles from home, I was afraid to continue, worried the damn thing would get caught up in the front wheel and I would do an endo. I hate when that happens. Thank goodness I adhere to the Fat Cyclist “Never leave home without it” Tool Kit. Duct taped that sucker right back in, never missed a beat. I’ll figure out a more permanent solution after a few drinks and I get the courage to pull the tape off. I have a lot of chest hair.
    Yeah Fatty, put me down for 182

  8. Comment by clydesdale | 12.1.2006 | 5:47 pm

    HRM? That’s so 1990’s. No power meter? Doesn’t your coach know that the only true measure of exertion or fitness is how many watts you can produce at a set rate or duration? Heart rate has too many variables to effect it.

    Yeah, I don’t have one either :(

    Can’t you shamelessly plug Powertap or someone into giving you one to “Review” for the season.

    Put me down for 178. I’m old and fat and really only have the energy to push the envelope of a bag of Potato Chips.

    Oh yeah, funny you mention the jersey, Gurnsey, Holstien thing. Check out this article

  9. Comment by Scott R | 12.1.2006 | 5:59 pm

    Is there a timeframe for submitting designs?

  10. Comment by KeepYerBag | 12.1.2006 | 6:07 pm

    Put a slash between that 193 and 204 and you get my blood pressure.

  11. Comment by Toothless Cyclist | 12.1.2006 | 6:16 pm

    I do not have an HRM so I tried checking my pulse in my wrist, that’s when I hit a speed bump an endoed face down in the pavement. The good news is that my HR was 194. I beat you FC.

  12. Comment by sans auto | 12.1.2006 | 6:53 pm

    220-age… that would mean that if your max HR is 193, you have the max HR of a 27 year old. Did you know that your max HR actually goes down a little (very slightly) in elite athletes. Although max heart rate is cool, you can’t control it with training, besides, it doesn’t matter as much how fast it is beating, how much blood it is moving with each beat is actually more important.
    So when is your trainer going to figure out your lactate threshold… That’s the good stuff. VO2 max and the such are cool numbers to compare, but unless you’re doing the flying kilo on a track or a shorter event, you really need to increase your lactate threshold, not blood movement.
    I’ve studied this stuff in school for the last 7 years or so, but can I actually participate in a strict training regimine myself? No. Sure I ride daily, but that isn’t training.
    My max HR… about 190, and I”m not 30!

  13. Comment by Argentius | 12.1.2006 | 6:55 pm

    Mine is 225! I don’t have to even ride that hard to get to it! I just go for a ride under these power lines, see…

  14. Comment by allan | 12.1.2006 | 6:57 pm

    Did that very test 2 months ago. I hit 195.I don’t think I ever want to hit that HR again.

  15. Comment by Born4Lycra | 12.1.2006 | 8:04 pm

    I’m 6 months into a 12 month diet study (high carb low protein) with the Oz Government. Did a very similar test at the start and I died. Fortunately I got better. HR peaked at 166 coincidentally the same time my knees gave out. Have now lost 20 kgs (44 lbs) did the same test last week and topped out at 182. I’m 48 and I and they were very happy with the result. Without wanting to get boring my bp was 178/112 av at the start and it is now 122/70 (no drugs at all) and yet coincidentally I have always had a resting heart rate of 40-42. I feel great with another 6 months of improvement to come. Agree with Allan not that I achieved his (or your) score I will be quite happy not to have to go there again.

  16. Comment by Born4Lycra | 12.1.2006 | 8:05 pm

    Oops forgot to ask if my Fat Cyclist jersey is ready yet.

  17. Comment by Tayfuryagci | 12.1.2006 | 9:11 pm

    You’ve got an actual professional coach? Geez, I remember back in the day a certain fat person trained all by himself and then dissed his trainer. Now, those posts were funny.

    Tayfur ¨Anxiously waiting for the jersey and thinking about a way to pay for it¨ Yagci

  18. Comment by axel | 12.1.2006 | 9:49 pm

    win a race? make sure you take the epitestosterone with the testosterone, microdose your EPO, feel free to take the HGH since they can’t test for it, make sure you don’t mix up your blood transfusion with Tyler, and put the chamois cream exactly where it belongs.
    Watch the movie Ben Hur for the finer points of tactics, as winning a race is not easy, even with the help of modern chemistry. Good luck.

  19. Comment by JET(not a nickname) | 12.1.2006 | 9:58 pm

    So…does this mean you are gonna stop sharing all of your fabulous recipes with us? I mean, both the oatmeal cake and mashed potatoes were a huge success over in these parts and I am saving the banana creme parfait for x-mas, but if you plan on eating differently are we gonna lose this well of fantastic eats? Anyhow, I did the max HR thing last year and got it to 197. To be honest, I didn’t enjoy it all that much and unless something in my life changes I plan on never doing that again. I’ll accept being a slightly better than average cyclist with gifted climbing abilities and go about my business.

  20. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 12.2.2006 | 7:17 am

    Simple instructions for how to find your max heart rate and then exceed it:

    1) Recieve group e-mail generated by Brad K and show up at designated day/time/place.

    2) Make sure only Kenny and Brad show up (thanks, Rick M).

    3) Attempt to stay with Kenny and Brad for as long as you can.

    4) Before the blood loss via your eyeballs and ears begins to affect your performance, take your heart rate.

    This method has one advantage: to take your heart rate, you don’t need an HRM or even have to put your finger against your neck; just count the squirts of blood as they shoot out your eyeballs.

  21. Comment by Al Maviva | 12.2.2006 | 7:21 am

    The 220-age formula is bunk. Max Hr has more to do with genetics than age. A couple docs on a cross country flight dreamed up that 220 method over a few in-flight drinks.

    I’ve got a couple max Hrs. My normal max Hr – like how high it will go in a race without causing me major problems, is around 184-186, unless I make a superhuman effort, it doesn’t go any higher. If I sprint at the end of a race and it’s been up around 170-175 for a while, like the last two or three laps in a crit, I will hit around 192-194. It’s not a good feeling, instant-day-long-migrane time. And on this one hill ride I have hit 205. I was pretty close to blacking out when that happened. I don’t recommend it and normally don’t ride that particular hill that hard any longer. On the plus side, I didn’t seem capable of throwing up at that stage, so maybe going that hard has some beneficial aspects.

    As for riding with an Hr monitor… I don’t know where you folks get this thing about having to get your Hr up. Most Hr training is zone 1/2 – so I spend most of my time with an Hr. monitor thinking about keeping my Hr down. Of course on a ride with some real climbs and huge descents, it’s pretty freaky spinning up a hill at 9 MPH to try to keep it down in zone 2, then spinning 125 RPM in the tallest gear going wayyyy too fast trying to keep the hr up in zone 2. Of course if you are a poor bike handler like me, a hairy descent adds perhaps 20 beats per minute withou actually having to pedal, just from the near misses, badly handled turns and other scrapes.

  22. Comment by bikemike | 12.2.2006 | 11:08 am

    if you’re on a training ride, wearing a hrm and people are still dropping you, you’re not going fast enough. the hrm (and coach) will tell you to back off, get into “your recovery zone” and try again. by this time you’re a mile down and still trying to catch up. RIDE HARDER. if you can actually read the numbers on your hrm, YOU’RE NOT RIDING HARD ENOUGH. end of “free” first training lesson.
    you’re welcome.

  23. Comment by LoPhat | 12.2.2006 | 6:04 pm

    I think the max I’ve seen on my Polar is 175.

    And the carmichael fitness test is a special kind of pain. Two 3 mile time trials with recovery in between. Short enough that you aren’t forced to ride in your comfortable range, but long enough so that you’re in pain for quite a while.

  24. Comment by Terri | 12.2.2006 | 8:14 pm


    I could hit 192 at my peak. Recently, I switched to training with a powermeter and hrm. I think that’s the way to go. It’s more about how much power you can eek out of a heart rate.

  25. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 12.3.2006 | 2:43 am

    I thought my max was around 185 from training rides over the past 12 months, but last Wednesday I was at the velodrome folowing the wheel of a national champion when he did a 3/4 pace flying kilo. I let him feel good about himself by backing off after a lap and a half and letting him finish alone. As I dropped my head to gasp what felt like it was going to be my last breath I spotted 194 on the HRM. Based on that 220-minus-your-age bunkum, that makes me 13 years younger than myself.

  26. Comment by Tayfuryagci | 12.3.2006 | 5:03 am

    220-age is for average people. Anyone who has trained for some sporting event may have 220-age+10 or more.

  27. Comment by C | 12.3.2006 | 8:29 am

    I’ve never actually done the MaxHR test (it doesn’t really sound like fun) but I hit 204 a few months ago while trying to counter an attack on a “friendly” group ride.

  28. Comment by Al Maviva | 12.3.2006 | 2:29 pm

    C – sounds like you need some new “friends.” With “friends” like that…

    Mike – how was the migrane the next day:?

    BikeMike – the real purpose of an Hr Monitor isn’t to make you go harder. It’s to make you go easier.

  29. Comment by Rocky | 12.3.2006 | 7:22 pm

    I am behind. That’s what I do. I ride behind, and I also respond in a tardy fashion to the incise wit that is the Fat Cyclist Blog.

    So Fatty, pay attention.

    Yes, I would wear a Fat Cyclist jersey under the following conditions:

    *That it be made by Voler of Grover Beach, California (of course Al Maviva beat me to this, but I had to reterate because they are so comfortable, and they wick like no other)

    *That it has a quote by Dr. Lammler, fo sho

    *That is have some red in it somewhere

    *That there be a long-sleeved version, too

    *That it be priced at no more than $70

    *That once I have purchased one, you give me one for Christmas next as a b-in-l.

    Beyond that, it sounds like a fantastic idea. As for the Max heart rate, get used to it. Mine is somewhere between 2 and 14. Getting old sucks. And whatis good for me is that it now sucks for you, too.

  30. Comment by Jimmy | 12.3.2006 | 7:58 pm

    I was involved in a medical study in June this year, that required a VO2Max Test, so I got my Max Heart Rate tested in a similar fashion. For those who are interested here is the format.

    Start at 100W output (this was on a stationary bike), hold for 5 minutes.
    Every 5 minutes go up 50W until working at 250W
    Every 1 minute go up 10W to collapse or unable to sustain a candence of 60

    I ended up pulling the plug at 340W here are the figures

    HR Max: 169 bpm
    VO2Max (absolute): 4.542L/min
    VO2Max (relative): 68ml/min/kg

    Note: I am only 27 years old, so according to the 220-age (or 217 – 0.85*age) I should be able to hit 193 (or 194). I don’t think I have ever been near those numbers.


  31. Comment by FliesOnly | 12.4.2006 | 5:19 am

    Well, I was off the bike for a while, but just before our nasty weather hit (I live in the West/Central area of Michigan) I went out for two rides. On both occasions I followed a route that takes me up a bit of a hill (one that I use for Hill Repeats) . On the first ride my max HR hit 186, and on the second ride I hit 192. Earlier in the year…when I had been riding more consistently, I could get do four or five repeats without breaking 180 (I’m 46, by the way)

    Here’s my one complaint though. I have a Polar A-5 HRM that for some reason or another does not store your Max HR. Drives me nuts. Who friggen designed the thing so it will not store Max HR? So I guess it’s possible that my max HR may have been higher, but since I checked my HRM quite often during the climb, I doubt that it would have been much different.

    Also, although I did not respond to your previous thread (seeing as how you already had so many positive replies), I would just like to add that I can guarantee you that when a jersey is available, I will buy one.

  32. Comment by Sarah | 12.4.2006 | 11:08 am

    I didn’t begin reading your site until this year, and although I try to get caught up on past blogs I’m still a bit behind. I clicked on your links for the Assos Ad and subsequently the letter from the good Doctor. Absolutely hilarious… and quite frankly – although you referenced it in yesterday’s blog, I think you should do a complete reprint and make that a day’s blog. Not everyone will click on the link and it definitely deserves to printed again!!! You are the best!

  33. Comment by Boz | 12.4.2006 | 11:26 am

    mine stalled out at 188, which makes me 18 years younger than the formula suggests. even the EMTs were impressed, as I was back on the trainer before they had their paddles packed back up in the de-fib kit. those things kind of sting, but sure do get you up and pedaling again. bet they would be fun at a party. sign me up for a jersey, XL, of course.

  34. Comment by TeeBone | 12.4.2006 | 11:34 am

    Did this same exact test twice over the past 6 months.
    First time: 192
    Second time: 191

    Age: 41

  35. Comment by Chris H | 12.4.2006 | 11:54 am

    Hi Fatty,

    What type of race will you try to win? Road race? XC race? Are you aiming to beat Lance at the Leadville 100? Good luck, and remember not many people win bike races, so have fun. It isn’t like a volleyball game where 50% of the contestants win.

    My max HR from similar tests is 177, age 38.

  36. Comment by Chris | 12.4.2006 | 3:31 pm

    I did the warm-up portion for 20 minutes because I forgot to stop after 10. I am not sure if that screwed with my final results-190

  37. Comment by Steve Z | 12.5.2006 | 5:25 am

    Congrats on getting a coach. If you can afford one (and if you have a coach then the answer is YES!), you really should consider using a power meter. It’s way better than an HRM.

  38. Comment by Lofgrans | 12.5.2006 | 3:19 pm

    To anyone that may even see this response. The HR test isn’t to improve your heart rate its just to get an idea of where you should aim to train at.
    Training with power isn’t really the most effective and cost friendly way to train unless your a pretty advanced rider.
    And yes, training with HR can be distracting on some rides. But who is in charge, you or your body? Your body naturally wants to be fat, we have to tell it, “No, you’re wrong, I will shape you into an ultra-sexy, ultra fast cyclist.” Ready? Go!

  39. Comment by Thinman | 12.13.2006 | 9:42 am

    I’m 39 and my max is 184. It used to be 195. I find that the chief advantage to the HR monitor is the ability to know when you have overtrained (you know, I’m punishing myself like hell to go faster up this hill but I am actually going backwards – my HR monitor will tell me if I am just out of shape, or actually over-cooked).
    And Lofgrans might miss an essential element to aging and cycling: I want to look fast (you know, impress the chicks and younguns). After years of racing and beating myself up, I am reduced to just trying to appear good. Actually being fast is just an accidental bonus result from enjoying the ride.

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