Racing with heart disease

Hi all,

I have heart disease, I had open heart surgery 5 years ago and had an aortic valve replacement, I am fitter than I have ever been. However, I am not supposed to do anything ‘explosive’ in terms of exercise, so not HIIT etc. BUT I am a competitive person, and would like to race, so I was wondering, I would be racing in the D category, are there slower racers in the D category that I would still be able to battle with, without having to put in any massive sprints. I am thinking of having a steady rhythm all through the race, and hoping that my competition burn out earlier, so I can get them at the end of the race, or would I just be better off sticking to group rides?


Hi Jamie, just my opinion but what separates racing from group rides is the surges and group dynamics of the race. You are always adapting to the speed of the race as it unfolds. With that said I’d say try two things: time trials are you against the clock. Steady sustained power. Or maybe a longer D race that would be more a race of attrition. Just keep your efforts under control and if you lose the group then so be it.


Thank you Bob, I hadn’t thought about Time Trials, I shall give those a go as a first port of call! :slight_smile: I suppose there’s nothing to stop me trying a race, and like you said a longer race which would be more attritional would suit that consistent effort.

Thanks again :slight_smile:

Hi Jamie,
Bob’s got a good idea there - a time trial is a great place to start.

The problem with Zwift races for you is that they have really explosive starts, and if you’re even the tiniest bit competitive you could have the temptation to chase the front group - which in D is sadly often made of riders who should be in higher categories.

I’ve burned myself out in races trying to keep up with the front group in the past, which sounds like exactly what you’re trying to avoid. And as someone who has seen a friend die from a heart attack during exercise (not cycling related), I’m not going to recommend races to you.

I often ride group rides at my own tempo while other people fly off into the distance, and then I enjoy catching up with many of them in the second half of the ride. With the intensive pace in races though, I have no chance!

I would not recommend to race.
Simply if you are already unsure and and competitive why would you through yourself in a pool of competitive riders?
Grab yourself a TT bike und ride at a given pace. I would strongly recommend not push your heart to the pulse limit despite without having the possibility in watching your innerself (heart - systole, diastole - physiologic state) its more like russian roulette going into a race…
Ask a doctor with focus in heart disease and listen to him! Without a proper sheet listing the symptoms and specific desease its totaly senseless to talk about what you can and whatnot.