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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 September 27, 2004

Off season training
Mountain bike/road bike
Bike on trainer

Off season training

I am currently a Cat 4 racer who is looking forward to next year being a productive racing season. Do you have any suggestions of books or other basic plans that I can follow in setting up a long term training plan for the off season in order to make next year better. I have most of the weight training gear that I need, but I just need some direction on amount of riding, intensity, workouts and weightlifting. Any suggestions for me and other riders dreaming about a winning 2005 season?

Adam Little
Mount Pleasant, NC

Dave Palese replies:

Having posed this question to a panel comprised mostly of cycling coaches, you know what the obvious first response is.

Get a coach. Doing so will greatly speed you along the learning curve and the course to meeting your goals in 2005. You can either look someone up in your area, or deal electronically over the internet.

If you don't think that is up your alley, I still think that Joe Friel's book, The Cyclist's Training Bible, is the most complete book/system out there. I have known a few athletes who have read the book and had some great success. Just be forewarned that the book doesn't offer any quick fixes or easy answers. It is basically teaching you to coach yourself, and you must still go through the same process you would with a coach, but without the objective input of that person.

Mountain bike/road bike

I am training to race in road bike races, but spend a lot of time (4 times a week) riding on roads on my mountain bike (Snow, rain, comfort, lack of time, etc). Am I compromising my road bike fitness at all by doing so, or will one bike get me fit for the other? Thanks.


Dave Palese replies:

From a general aerobic fitness point of view, I don't see anything wrong with riding your MTB on the road. You will still benefit from the saddle time up.

At some point though, you will need to start riding your road bike to prepare for your road season.

I suggest that you do one day a week on your road bike, on the trainer is need be, to keep muscle memory and train specific road cycling abilities. Do this through your General Preparation. As the start of your road season nears you'll need to focus more on the road bike, even if it means trainer time, as you start doing more middle to high intensity training.

You can also get in touch with a coach either in your area or over the internet to help you design a training plan and schedule that works with your work and life schedule.


This past season has been my first as a serious cyclist. I'm really having a good time with it. I live in Minneapolis, so my training is about to go down significantly due to the impending onslaught of icy streets, icy wind and deep snow. I do plan on using a trainer, but I foresee a case of extreme boredom. I'd like to get a cyclo-cross bike to try and do some real road training, but I am still paying for my racing bike. My question is, how helpful is running (a much safer not to mention cheaper) as an off-season fitness helper? I don't know too many cyclists, but the ones I do speak with (at races club rides, et cetera) all talk about their training regime in a pretty detailed manner, and I never hear them mention running. It seems running would be great for your fitness level (not to mention to combat cycling malaise). Is the reason for me not hearing about the running because it's not a good training supplement to actually biking? Does it develop your muscles in a counter-productive manner?


Kim Morrow replies:

I like to use running as a good cross training activity during the fall and early winter months. It's also a good mental diversion from riding the bike and develops the cardiorespiratory system. And, if you decide to race cyclo-cross, it is very beneficial to spend some time running.

However, there are a few reasons why you might not hear your serious cycling friends speak of running during the season. First of all, it is important for competitive cyclists to train as specific as possible in order to reach their potential. Secondly, there is the time factor. We only have so many available hours to train so it is best to use our time for on-bike training. Finally, there is the fatigue factor which results from running. I have personally found this to have a significant negative impact on my cycling performance. In order to make the key moves in a bike race we need to have "snap" in our legs. Trying to race our bikes with fatigued running legs will not help our cause. I can really tell a difference when I go on a hard bike ride while I'm including running in my training regime. But, by all means, enjoy running during this time of year. Just make sure you start gradually and watch out for injuries. It takes our bodies awhile to adapt to the new stresses brought about by running.

Bike on trainer

Does using one's bike on a trainer have any negative effects on the bike frame's structural integrity? Also, any negative impact on the rear wheel?

Boise, ID

Scott Saifer replies:

I don't believe that use of a bike on a trainer beats it up any worse than riding on the road, especially if the road is bumpy. The rear wheel takes less abuse on a trainer than on the road.

Some trainers do burn through rear tires quickly, even to the point where you can sometimes smell burning rubber. This can usually be cured by making sure the pressure between the trainer and the rear tire is great enough to press the drum into the tire 3-5mm and by keeping the tire and drum aligned. Sometimes the trainer drum axis is not parallel to the wheel axle due to a defect in the trainer. Such a situation will have you burning through tires very quickly.

The only threat to the frame that I'm aware of related to riding on a trainer is from salty sweat eating through the paint to rust the steel or aluminum underneath. The can be avoided by putting a towel over the top tube to catch the sweat, and by using powerful fan to cool you and evaporate the sweat before it gets to the bike.

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