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Form & Fitness Q & A

Got a question about fitness, training, recovery from injury or a related subject? Drop us a line at Please include as much information about yourself as possible, including your age, sex, and type of racing or riding.

The Cyclingnews form & fitness panel

Carrie Cheadle, MA ( is a Sports Psychology consultant who has dedicated her career to helping athletes of all ages and abilities perform to their potential. Carrie specialises in working with cyclists, in disciplines ranging from track racing to mountain biking. She holds a bachelors degree in Psychology from Sonoma State University as well as a masters degree in Sport Psychology from John F. Kennedy University.

Dave Palese ( is a USA Cycling licensed coach and masters' class road racer with 16 years' race experience. He coaches racers and riders of all abilities from his home in southern Maine, USA, where he lives with his wife Sheryl, daughter Molly, and two cats, Miranda and Mu-Mu.

Kelby Bethards, MD received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University (1994) before obtaining an M.D. from the University of Iowa College of Medicine in 2000. Has been a racing cyclist 'on and off' for 20 years, and when time allows, he races Cat 3 and 35+. He is a team physician for two local Ft Collins, CO, teams, and currently works Family Practice in multiple settings: rural, urgent care, inpatient and the like.

Fiona Lockhart ( is a USA Cycling Expert Coach, and holds certifications from USA Weightlifting (Sports Performance Coach), the National Strength and Conditioning Association (Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach), and the National Academy for Sports Nutrition (Primary Sports Nutritionist). She is the Sports Science Editor for Carmichael Training Systems, and has been working in the strength and conditioning and endurance sports fields for over 10 years; she's also a competitive mountain biker.

Eddie Monnier ( is a USA Cycling certified Elite Coach and a Category II racer. He holds undergraduate degrees in anthropology (with departmental honors) and philosophy from Emory University and an MBA from The Wharton School of Business.

Eddie is a proponent of training with power. He coaches cyclists (track, road and mountain bike) of all abilities and with wide ranging goals (with and without power meters). He uses internet tools to coach riders from any geography.

David Fleckenstein, MPT ( is a physical therapist practicing in Boise, ID. His clients have included World and U.S. champions, Olympic athletes and numerous professional athletes. He received his B.S. in Biology/Genetics from Penn State and his Master's degree in Physical Therapy from Emory University. He specializes in manual medicine treatment and specific retraining of spine and joint stabilization musculature. He is a former Cat I road racer and Expert mountain biker.

Since 1986 Steve Hogg ( has owned and operated Pedal Pushers, a cycle shop specialising in rider positioning and custom bicycles. In that time he has positioned riders from all cycling disciplines and of all levels of ability with every concievable cycling problem.They include World and National champions at one end of the performance spectrum to amputees and people with disabilities at the other end.

Current riders that Steve has positioned include Davitamon-Lotto's Nick Gates, Discovery's Hayden Roulston, National Road Series champion, Jessica Ridder and National and State Time Trial champion, Peter Milostic.

Pamela Hinton has a bachelor's degree in Molecular Biology and a doctoral degree in Nutritional Sciences, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She did postdoctoral training at Cornell University and is now an assistant professor of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studies the effects of iron deficiency on adaptations to endurance training and the consequences of exercise-associated changes in menstrual function on bone health.

Pam was an All-American in track while at the UW. She started cycling competitively in 2003 and is the defending Missouri State Road Champion. Pam writes a nutrition column for Giana Roberge's Team Speed Queen Newsletter.

Dario Fredrick ( is an exercise physiologist and head coach for Whole Athlete™. He is a former category 1 & semi-pro MTB racer. Dario holds a masters degree in exercise science and a bachelors in sport psychology.

Scott Saifer ( has a Masters Degree in exercise physiology and sports psychology and has personally coached over 300 athletes of all levels in his 10 years of coaching with Wenzel Coaching.

Kendra Wenzel ( is a head coach with Wenzel Coaching with 17 years of racing and coaching experience and is coauthor of the book Bike Racing 101.

Richard Stern ( is Head Coach of Richard Stern Training, a Level 3 Coach with the Association of British Cycling Coaches, a Sports Scientist, and a writer. He has been professionally coaching cyclists and triathletes since 1998 at all levels from professional to recreational. He is a leading expert in coaching with power output and all power meters. Richard has been a competitive cyclist for 20 years

Andy Bloomer ( is an Associate Coach and sport scientist with Richard Stern Training. He is a member of the Association of British Cycling Coaches (ABCC) and a member of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES). In his role as Exercise Physiologist at Staffordshire University Sports Performance Centre, he has conducted physiological testing and offered training and coaching advice to athletes from all sports for the past 4 years. Andy has been a competitive cyclist for many years.

Kim Morrow ( has competed as a Professional Cyclist and Triathlete, is a certified USA Cycling Elite Coach, a 4-time U.S. Masters National Road Race Champion, and a Fitness Professional.

Her coaching group, eliteFITcoach, is based out of the Southeastern United States, although they coach athletes across North America. Kim also owns, a resource for cyclists, multisport athletes & endurance coaches around the globe, specializing in helping cycling and multisport athletes find a coach.

Advice presented in Cyclingnews' fitness pages is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice for individual athletes. If you follow the educational information found on Cyclingnews, you do so at your own risk. You should consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program.

Fitness questions and answers for May 7, 2003

Over-trained or just getting older?
Post arthoscopic meniscus repair

Over-trained or just getting older?

I am a 46 year old masters racer who has been racing for 12 years. For the past two years I have had a decreasing ability to recover from training. I am now to the point where I have to take two days off for every hard day I ride. At first I thought I was not mentally tough enough forcing two consecutive workouts. In that case I do not feel motivated to ride and need at least three days rest. This is hard to take since in the past I am used to training six days a week during the season.

I typically use training cycles with a rest week every three weeks. During the week I only ride hard two rays a week with another moderate ride mixed in. I can't quite explain the tiredness. Could it be I have been at this too long and need a break? Or is age playing a factor?

It does seem in the last two years my aerobic capacity has decreased ie I go into oxygen debt more easily despite having plenty of lactate reserves. It seems my average heat rate for a ride seems to be 20 beats higher on average than my training partners. I could say that I am out of shape but I have been putting in a minimum of 10 hours a week in training for I do not know how long. I realize that my biological factors may not be as gifted as other people but it is frustrating not to be able to train without feeling wiped out.

Mark Zaccone

Brett Aitken replies

It is difficult to answer this question without going more in depth into your past and present training formats. There are so many variable factors that can lead to a feeling of fatigue that it's hard to pinpoint one key area that might be leading to your tiredness.

Some of these areas include lifestyle changes (sleep, work, recreational etc.). It could also be dietary changes such as the quantity of carboydrates to protein calories your taking in before during and after training. Or it could simply be related to your training phase and type of efforts your doing along with intensity.

Also what is it that you define as a recovery day? For many cyclists this is simply taking a day off with no riding. This is almost as bad as not having a day off at all. A good recovery day should include a mixture of various recovery techniques including a light ride, massage and adequate sleep to name a few.

Last of all, my advice would be to get a coach that can help you break down all of these factors to help you find an answer. Getting older will certainly slow things down gradually but it shouldn't happen suddenly within a couple of years. And the good thing about overtraining is there are certain symptons to look out for such as elevated morning heartrates, restless sleep, weight loss, difficulty getting heartrate up high in training or racing etc.

Post Arthoscopic Meniscus Repair

I am 53 years old and have been cycling since the seventies. I am recovering from arthoscopic surgery on my knee to repair torn both medial and lateral meniscus. I have been attending PT and riding indoor lifecycle and recently released to start riding again.

Can you prescribe a conditioning program to strengthen my legs again and not compromise the rebuilding of my knee. Previous to surgery I had a base of about 500 miles a month on the road bike and four to five mtn bike rides/month.

Tony Talamente

Dave Fleckenstein replies:

I will assume that you had a menisectomy (removal) rather than a repair and there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that, depending on how much meniscus was removed, you will probably end up with some level of arthritic changes in the knee - if you've made it to your 50's without this you're doing better than most. The good news is that you've picked the best sport possible to optimize your outcome. Cycling is a relatively low impact sport that promotes leg strength without joint compression, constantly bathes the joint in synovial fluid with every pedal stroke, and helps keep the weight off. I gain secret joy at converting each middle aged runner with degenerative knee changes into a cyclist - until they drop me!

The first thing I would recommend is to eliminate any sources of torsion at the knee joint. A customized bike fitting, possibly using orthotics, definitely using pedals with float, and loosening pedal release tension to the safest minimum are common steps that my clients take.

Secondly, I would highly recommend taking some type of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplement. These molecules are the matrix of cartilage and are responsible for both decreased friction and some shock absorption at the joint. While studies vary regarding the efficacy of this supplement, I have had enough clients anecdotally report improvement that I tend to think some benefit is to be had. In general, this must be taken for 4-6 weeks to start to gain the desired effect, and then taken consistently thereafter.

Finally, your program. In one word - moderation. Your knee is still trying to repair and lay down fibrocartilage - give that a chance to happen. I would recommend moderate cadences of 75-90 rpm, and low to moderate tension rides for the first 4-6 weeks back. Provided that all is going well, some bike-specific strength training is certainly appropriate (1 minute hill climbs with higher tension and a cadence of 60-70), but I would cautiously introduce this. Mountain biking may provide this fairly easily. Ice after each ride and realize that while some mild swelling and soreness is to be expected for up to six months, unresolving swelling and pain is the sign that you need to back off and listen to your body. Good luck!

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