Heartfailure, group ride and share experiences

Hi Morten
I hope you’re doing well.
Have seen your application, will approve. Welcome to Cardiac Athletes :slightly_smiling_face:
Take care.

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Hi Kees
Thank you for spreading the word my friend.

Hi, A few months ago, having been exposed to coved I developed some odd sensations in my chest and shoulders. Thinking I was about to join the covid ranks I want to my GP who promptly did an EKG. The good news: not covid. The bad news: I was very close to having a full blown heart attack. The irony here is if it weren’t for my covid exposure I probably wouldn’t have gone to the Docs. I was then whisked off to the hospital and now, 3 stents later, I’m confronted with a myriad of questions I’m sure you all have confronted being avid bikers in terms of how this will effect my biking regimen, what can I do, what shouldn’t I do, etc.? I have a very good cardiologist who is helping me work through this, but I also found some very good advice here!! Thank you all! I was surprised and delighted to find so many like hearted folks in the Zwift Community. I will be sure to join Cardiac Athletes!!

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Welcome Fred, good to hear you’re doing well. Keep those questions coming! I’m sure you’ll find your rhythm again. Take care

I’m new to this forum and to Zwift. After a lifetime of being pretty athletic, I’m struggling a bit with heart issues now - triple bypass, two failed grafts and a couple of stents at different times and that’s just in the past 10 months. I’m wondering which workouts or plans you have found most suited. Thanks

Hi Alan, for me training without plans or schedules was my plan. I had to find confidence again. I focussed on listening to my body and how it responded to efforts. Not thinking about watts or speed, but going with the flow. It worked for me, and I’m getting better with each training. Take care, Kees

Also submitted joic request in ZwiftPower. I got into the bike after a mitral valve repair ~2 years ago, having barely ridden for about 50 years. Slow road back but ticking along better than ever, although FTP progress goes at a snails pace. The sternum is what really seems to impact the rehab, I think we need a very exclusive in-game “Zipper Club” for group rides.


Hi Carl
Thanks for posting here that you’ve applied for Cardiac Athletes Zwift Team. Have approved.
Glad you’re back on the bike. Yep, having your Sternum sawn in half does impact rehab significantly. A day at a time putting up with the aches and pains. Five years in now for me and I’m fortunate now to not suffer bone or nerve pain. See you in Zwift sometime maybe.

Hi everyone,

After struggling to keep up with pretty much any riders on Zwift I have been pointed in the direction of this discussion which looks interesting.

I received an ICD pacemaker to treat 3rd heart block when I was 48. It was later diagnosed as being caused by Cardiac Sarcoidosis which has caused some damage and occasionally flares up in the form of inflammation that reduces pumping efficiency.

The ICD limits my HR to the 75-150 range and at 90KG I seem to have an FTP of 165 which seems to equate to about 1.7 W/KG when riding on my Kickr snap. I can maintain this for 20-30 mins before feeling too tired.

My cardiologist hasn’t restricted the amount of exercise I can do so it’s really question of fitness. I was a serious athlete (rower / runner) in my twenties, early 50’s now… I’m not looking to recreate my glory days (just happy to still be here!) but i would love to find suitable groups to ride with to increase my fitness.

At present I can’t quite keep up with most of the Group D races or rides, and the Group E’s (which I now understand is effectively for anyone) seem to be full off very fast riders.

Anyway , great to find this diacussion. Any other Cardiac Sarcoids out there?


Hi Jamie
Great to see your post here.
I’m not sure where you’re located but, a couple of groups offer group rides that may suit you. RO4H, ZER, HERD or Team ZF maybe a good start. A good way to find these groups rides is via ZwiftHacks (link following) Events . Just go to the Search function and search the Group name eg: ZER.
I really hope you can find a group that fits your riding.
All the very best, and hopefully our paths may cross in Zwift.

Hi Kees and fellow heart cyclists!

I am so happy to see so many people that I can feel at home with. A quick background: age 59, cycling for about 35 years, ICD at age 40 (wife and local police with AED saved my butt when I suffered VT/death episode after an MS ride!), father, uncle, and grandfather all died < 50. Been trying to eat somewhat healthy and stay physically fit. Not overweight. Had afib issues which were corrected with an ablation in December. Just had the Calcium Score test and was completely thrown out of my mind with a 980! Deposits in all three lower arteries but not the main LM. Have a stress echo scheduled for this Friday. Got a Kickr in November which has made Zwift all that more enjoyable!! My average watts is around 130 and I ride more of the flat courses.
I will definitely request to join the Cardiac Athletes. Thank you all for sharing your stories! It gives me hope.


Hi Jim, thanks for sharing! A bit of a late response due to my vacation. Croatia is great :wink:
How did the stress echo go? Hope to meet you @Zwift. Maybe we can take a ride together sometime!

Hello Kees and friends!

Thank you for starting this group. It’s interesting to read all the different stories. There’s such a host of symptoms and causes!

I’m still very fresh to the whole thing, having gotten the news just 2 months ago to this day. And just for weeks ago I received an ICD. The entire month inbetween I was stuck at the hospital.

I was a B rider enjoying the occasional flat race win. XD - During our weekly WTRL TTT with TeamODZ I suddenly suffered prolongued ventrical tachycardia and ended up getting defibrillated 3 times in the ambulance outside my house. During the following hospital stay in MCU I underwent all the tests (x-ray, CT-scan, angiogram, echocardiogram, 12-lead ECGs, checkups multiple times per day), and they all came out clean, including a cardiac MRI. So they thought I was a good candidate for cardiac ablation. This was a great prospect as it promised an 80% success rate of going back to my former life and exercise! However, that prospect was shattered when they did not manage to pinpoint the tissue at fault. So they supposed a diagnosis of HRVC, an uncurable hereditary condition. Therefore, it’s down to symptom fighting: beta-blockers and an ICD.

At this point I’m actually ordered not to engage in any sports for half a year; daily walks is all I do. I’m keeping my HR under 110, and the bottom is now strictly set to 60 by the ICD… Which is so strange as it used to be half of that.

I’m still uncertain what the future will hold. The electrophysiologists allude that I would only be cycling at the lowest of intensities. Talking to a cardiac nurse today though gave me a bit of hope though that it might be possible to be more “adventurous” but still safe.

My Zwift account is currently cancelled / frozen. Nevertheless, I thought I give you guys a shout already.

Ride on


Hi Anthony
Found your reply very interesting particularly re the connection between Facebook Cardiac Athletes and Zwift. Must try and join the Zwift group as I’m in the Facebook group.
I find Zwift very good although a bit demoralising at times. I’m not into competing any more having done that in marathons and running all my life. I’m 2 years post HA and just glad to be active again.
Can you tell me how the Zwift group works?
I still cycle outdoors as well and try and find cyclists around my own capability as a 68 year old with HF.

Hi Greg
Thank you.
Cardiac Athletes now have a Club in the Zwift Companion App. On occasions group rides are arranged via this avenue for US/UK/Aus timezones. Best join the club (you may have already) to be advised of group rides. Also sometimes, there will be advanced notice within our CA FB group page.
I’m Indefinitely off Zwift due to non heart related medical conditions. So a bit out of the Zwift loop now.

Hi Anthony
Thanks very much for your reply.
I shall look up the group and hopefully join.
Sorry to hear you’re having medical problems.
Hope you get well soon.

Thanks for sharing experiences. I’m glad I stumbled upon this thread.

I recently joined Zwift (the trial period is up today, so I’m a paying subscriber from now on) and have enjoyed it as winter sets in around here. But I’ve noticed I struggle to keep up with the D riders.

I’m 57 and consider myself a reasonably fit person for my age. I’m car free and commute by bike year round, and I used to be a decent cyclist in my youth, although I stopped riding for exercise roughly the past 15 years, primarily using bikes only for utilitarian purposes.

Rather than try to ramp up my efforts on Zwift in an attempt to relive past glories, I’m trying now to be comfortable with where I am today. And not regret the “lost years”.

Ride on!

Hi All,

Found this thread and wanted to share my story and hear any tips or resources that may help me with some answers.

After just turning 50 in August I suffered a mild heart attack in October which was a shock to me as I’ve always been active all my life. It is genetic in my family and I have had stents in and told my heart is strong and the medication should keep me good now.

Part of my life has been cycling since a teen and after being unable to continue to play football after losing some knee cartilage I turned to cycling a lot more over the last 10 years. I’ve only ever been a solo cyclist but always liked data and used a heart rate monitor.

I have been cycling steady and feel as strong as ever now but have found that the beta blockers have really reduced my max HR. I was curious to know if anyone has found a way of really testing max HR as I’ve lost confidence since the heart attack even though I’m told i can’t do anything of harm. I’ve only taken it to 150 once so far and mostly i’m getting out of breath at 140.

Thanks in advance

John - Scotland,

ps. I will look to join the cardiac FB and swift group :slight_smile:


Hi John

I too have always been very athletic. 18 months ago I needed a triple bypass. Two of the grafts failed 6 months later and I’ve had stents put in on a couple of occasions. I was left with pretty severe angina with activity and was maxxed out on heart meds. My cardiologist urged me to continue exercising right to the point of angina and/or shortness of breath, then ease waaay back until it passed then go at it again and keep doing that. It took a while (many months) but the angina is now almost completely gone and I look forward to biking outside again this summer. I also have to go more on how I feel because, as you point out, beta blockers artificially lower your max heart rate. For me, when the training program wants me to go for a higher heart rate I go harder but don’t depend on heart rate to judge how I’m doing. The numbers mean less when you’re taking these meds. And, because every patient responds a bit differently, it may not be possible to create general guidelines as to max heart rates while on these meds.


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I suffered a heart attack 11 days ago. A complete shock as there was no warning signs and I eat ok and exercise reasonably well with cycling.
I had a sudden blockage to artery to heart which was dealt with quickly and a stent fitted. I think all in, from start to finish, I was around approx 3 hours. I’m 55 and do have high cholesterol ( genetic).
Now I’m looking at starting exercise again and although I acknowledge it’s a little early to do too much, I’m keen to learn from this group and start making some progress.
I’ll have a follow up scan in just over two weeks so no doubt I’ll find out then what damage there has been and what is safe to do. In meantime I’ve applied to join Cardiac athletes and look forward to learning and sharing experiences with the group.

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