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Form & Fitness Q & A
Got a question about fitness, training, recovery from injury or a related subject?
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age, sex, and type of racing or riding.
Fitness questions and answers for October 18, 2004
The Cyclingnews form & fitness panel
Carrie Cheadle, MA (www.carriecheadle.com)
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 (www.davepalese.com)
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 (www.trainright.com)
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 (www.velo-fit.com)
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
David Fleckenstein, MPT (www.physiopt.com)
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 (www.cyclefitcentre.com)
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
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 (www.wholeathlete.com)
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 (www.wenzelcoaching.com)
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 (www.wenzelcoaching.com)
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 (www.cyclecoach.com)
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 (www.cyclecoach.com)
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 (www.elitefitcoach.com)
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
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.
Recovery after illness
Positioning, pedals and the taller rider
Recovery after illness
I am 25 year old Cat 3 racer, 6'1'' and 175lbs race weight. I would like to
think that I am a classic rouleur. I can sprint with the best but I am certainly
not the best. I can climb but I am no goat and I can time trial within the top
ten of any race. That being said I was having a great year and was in the hunt
for the statewide points race along with a couple of victories. Approximately
one month before our state championship and two weeks before our last major
stage race, over the course of a week I came down with a bad cold then worse
nausea then absolutely horrible back pain. After two doctor's visits, I decided
to go to the ER for fear of a kidney stone. My back pain wouldn't let me walk
more than 5 consecutive steps.
They took me in, performed a battery of tests and decided to check me in. While
they didn't find any stones, the urinalysis showed extremely elevated levels
of protein (25X normal range) and creatinine (6X normal levels). I had acute
renal failure/ acute tubular necrosis. They got me on saline to re-hydrate me
and waited for various other test to come in. On the third day in the hospital,
my chest x-ray showed a gathering of bi-lateral infiltrates/pneumonia. My O2
saturation levels were at 62 percent (Normal is 95-99 percent). Immediately
I was taken to the ICU where I stayed for 5 days. Two different antibiotics
were administered and after some time I began to feel better. I was released
the following Sunday with strict orders of no activity for 6-8 weeks. All of
my tests came back negative and the only presumption the doctors could think
of is Legionnaires Disease.
My question stems from the thought of 'What might be good for the 80 year old
gander might not be right for the 25 year old goose'. Is there any form of exercise
that I can do that could expedite the effects of three weeks of pure hospital
bedrest. Are there heartrate limitation workouts or anaerobic/aerobic exercises
I can do?
I feel well with respect to my lung and kidneys. I am just very fatigued from
the nearly three weeks of hospital bedrest and long to return some semblance
of where I was.
Dave Palese replies:
I suggest following any and all advice from your doctors. Take the full time
off to be sure you let your body recover and finish ridding itself of your
When your sentence is up, I suggest starting back into a periodized training
plan initially focused on aerobic fitness and strength.
You can also do some retesting (ramp test and others) and compare those results
to others you have done previously. This will give you some indication of
the affects your illness has had on your systems, and will help you design
your training to best spend you time where it is needed most.
I have just read your article
on grapefruit and am a little concerned. I take 4mg of candesartan cilexetil
each day, an ACE II inhibitor I believe. I also consume 1 pink grapefruit each
day. Are you saying that the grapefruit is interfering with my medication and
what do you mean by drug toxicity? Also are you recommending not consuming any
citrus fruits for someone such as myself?
Pam Hinton replies:
Grapefruit interferes with the metabolism of many, but not all, prescription
drugs. Whether grapefruit affects the metabolism of a particular medication
depends on how the drug is broken down in the liver. The metabolism of some
drugs is not inhibited by grapefruit because they are broken down by enzymes
that are unaffected by grapefruit. The metabolism of the medication that you
take, candesartan cilexetil, is not inhibited by grapefruit. If you should
avoid consuming grapefruit juice with a particular drug, it will be indicated
on the medication. Drug toxicity means that the medication is accumulating
in your body, which may result in negative side effects.
I am a 32 year old Cat 4 cyclist (I used to be a Cat 3 but downgraded) who
is looking to upgrade to a Cat 3. I will train about 500 hours this year. I
live in Montana and 2 years ago I started Nordic skiing. I plan on doing about
8 Nordic races this year starting in December with the most important race happening
on March 12th. I would like to dedicate as much time as possible to Nordic skiing
(training 10-15 hrs/week) from Thanksgiving to that last race. My question and
problem is that my most important bike race is on Memorial Day, so how do I
maintain bike fitness without decreasing ski fitness? How do I accomplish the
most with the least amount of time? My plan is to train 2-3 times a week on
my trainer for 20-30 minutes each and do high cadence/sprint work along with
some specific bike strength intervals like 4-5 minutes at low cadences of 60-70
rpm. My goal is to maintain as much muscle memory as possible. What do you think?
Carl Swenson can do it so...
Dave Palese replies:
I don't know everything about your situation, but I have enough to give you
1.) You should go ahead and plan for a full-on Nordic training plan, and
not make any adjustment with concern to cycling fitness. (The specifics of
Nordic training are up to you. I have some thoughts if you would like to contact
me offline.) Your Nordic training will do a fine job of maintaining your aerobic
base. And actually the mid-March end date fit nicely into a cycling training
program pointed towards Memorial Day.
2.) You should try to ride your bike once a week just for muscle memory sake.
This can take the form of a long easy ride, and fits well as a recovery day
in your Nordic week.
3.) When you finish with your target Nordic event, you should take about
two weeks to enjoy some R+R before getting into focused bike training.
4.) Then plan on about 8 weeks of focused bike training designed around the
requirements of your target event on Memorial Day. During these eight weeks
you should race events that are similar to your target event. These events
serve as practice and will help you sharpen your bike skills.
Positioning, pedals and the taller rider
I have loved the series on positioning and cleat adjustments. I am a taller
rider - riding a frame that is 58cm (top tube and down tube). I put my saddle
way back and found that I was ending up sitting on the nose (with consequent
problems) and started overreaching on a 12cm stem, so have moved it back to
something less extreme and am happy. However I have found much joy in moving
my cleats back a few mils. This has all made me consider the science of bike
position and I have a few remaining questions.
I was wondering if there might be a case that many riders nowadays are under
pressure to buy undersized frames or are riding them (indeed a Trek 58cm frame
is nowhere near big enough for me - I ride a Viner and the geometry is more
suited to my body shape). There is a myth in cycling that you don't want to
ride anything that resembles a garden gate.
You would think that with average height continuing to increase, that riders
would need progressively larger frames. I get the feeling that for a tall rider
on a frame that is too small for them, they would definitely need to push the
seat way back and maybe even extend the stem to fit onto the bike. Many riders
seems to ride medium or small compacts, or 54cm (or smaller) road bikes.
Could there be a connection and does the article not really just argue for
riders to buy bikes that are the correct geometries for their shape?
Also you do not mention much about the effects of different pedals/systems
on position. I have just switched to Look Keo which put me 6 mm closer to the
axle and have allowed me to lower my saddle, reduce the height difference between
stem and saddle (which I think is key to comfort and power output on a larger
rider who may not be as flexible as someone like Petacchi who has a really extreme
difference) and consequently get more comfortable on the bike. It must also
have an effect on the way my legs work as effectively I have shortened the calf/lower
leg length have I not ?
Steve Hogg replies:
You are right, a frame should fit the rider. Mass production frames are designed
primarily to keep unit costs low rather than address a mid point in the range
of needs out there. The biggest compromises are made in small frames in so
far as there are too many compromises often made to fit 700c wheels into a
small frame and use the same fork offset as the rest of a range of sizes.
The major compromise made in larger frames is that chainstay length is the
same as on smaller frames, even though that the higher seat height [ and often
more relaxed seat tube angle] means that the larger riders often greater weight
is positioned further over the rear wheel to the detriment of weight distribution
over the wheels and handling qualities to varying degrees.
I think you make a lot of sense when you say that the range of frame sizes
should be increasing as the population increases in height. 30 years ago when
I was at school the average male adult height in this country was supposed
to be 1760 or 1770 mm [ 5' 9 1/2"]. I read somewhere recently [ I don't know
how authoritative] that it is now 50 mm or 2 inches more.
I don't know whether taller riders are under pressure to buy frames that
are too small but a lot of shops need to give more thought to who they put
on which bike. Additionally a lot of bike buyers need to educate themselves
a bit so as to make more informed choices.
Re various pedals; there is a variety of platform to axle centre distances
across the various systems but while theoretically I can only agree that less
is better, none of the systems with a greater distance create problems because
of this. Shoe design in the sense of the amount of heel lift and toe lift
in the last and the relative position of the cleat mounting holes, has much
more significance. The improvement in comfort you feel by switching to Keos
could have been effected just as easily by raising your stem 6mm as well.
Re extravagant seat height/ stem height differences. No problem if the rider
can do it with ease. The message is if a rider wants to conform to an aesthetic
ideal then the bottom line is they need to conform to the functional ideal
that allows it.
I am a 45 Cat 3 cyclist and have noticed a fairly obvious trend in my HR toward
the end of the season.
For the past month I have been doing fewer miles and my training has been at
a much lower intensity than in the peak of the season. What I have noticed though
is that given the same level of perceived intensity my HR is much higher. Climbing
up familiar hills at the same level of perceived intensity, my HR is 10 to 15
percent higher than normal. Said another way, If am in a zone 4 but don't feel
the normal stress associated with that intensity. I don't feel as though I have
lost much fitness. Any input into solving this mystery would be appreciated.
Dario Fredrick replies:
There are a few reasons why you might experience the rise in your heart rate.
One of the most common reasons is that with significantly reduced intensity
or with multiple recovery days, the sensitivity of the stress response to
moderate to intense exercise in the body increases. HR thus responds to stress
hormones in a more acute fashion (i.e. raising HR for a given effort). HR
is also affected by temperature, so hotter weather will initially tend to
boost HR for a given effort until you adapt to it. This occurs because the
body works to maintain core temperature within a narrow range. Athough your
are not necessarily working harder in your pedaling, the heart has to send
out more blood so that it can circulate to the skin's surface to be cooled
via the evaporation of sweat. Hydration can also play a role in increased
HR. If you are less hydrated, total blood volume is reduced. This reduction
means that less blood is ejected with each heart beat, and since blood demands
in the body remain, HR increases to compensate for the required cardiac output.
Finally, stimulants such as caffeine can be both dehydrating and increase
stress hormone production, both effects boosting HR. I hope this helps clarify
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