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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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Fitness questions and answers for November 8, 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.
Bike fit for time trials
Training with SRM and power
How good can I get?
Bike fit for time trials
I have greatly enjoyed your answers regarding proper bike fit. Your responses
have given me the impetus to change my cleats back to where I had them prior
to a professional fitting - further back on the shoe where I simply feel stronger
and experience less calf fatigue and so on.
I am a mid to back of the pack cyclocross racer who simply enjoys being on
my bike. I also do a few time trials, triathlons and duathlons on my road bike
and have my seat set up a little more forward than on my cross bike (about 80
cm seat tip to bb for both bikes with my cross seat tip about 10cm behind the
bb and my road bike seat tip about 7.5 cm behind the bb).
My question is, what parameters do you change when fitting someone to a time
trial or multisport bike?
Steve Hogg replies:
Let us make the assumption that your road bike position is good. Everything
that I will say is contingent on that. If that is the case then the position
for occasional TT's and short course triathlons should be unchanged. The aero
bars that you would use for the occasional TT's and short course triathlons
should allow you to mimic the upper body position that you would assume on
the drop bars on your road bike other than forearm position which obviously
is different. You should feel that when moving from the drop bars to the aero
bars nothing changes in terms of back and head position. You definitely should
NOT have to crawl forward on the seat or arch the back more which is common
unfortunately. Forearm position should be such that the elbows are within
the line of the hips as viewed from the front providing of course, that this
is consistent with comfort. The aerobar cups should be behind the road bar
and closer to the elbow than the wrist. Typically, the forearms should run
slightly down from elbow to wrist.
If you do this then it is no trial to use aero bars as pedaling mechanics
are unchanged and the only thing you have to adapt to is the slightly different
steering qualities. Unfortunately few aero bars will allow what I have just
suggested when used as you plan to with road bars. The two commonly available
aerobars that will allow this for most people, are the Profile Carbon Strikes
and the Profile Air Strikes, both of which have massive adjustment potential.
Of the 2 the Carbon Strikes have more adjustment having 2 independently adjustable
extensions but the cups don't swing up as they do for the Air Strikes. The
swing up cups can be handy on courses with long climbs as they free the top
of the road bar for the hands.
If you are doing long course, half Ironman or Ironman races, what I said
above still stands but I would raise the bars anywhere from 10 - 20 mm relative
to a road position depending on the functionality, in a structural sense,
of the rider. This is because over the longer distances comfort becomes a
higher priority. Compared to a road racer, an Ironman competitor is in one
body position for much longer periods and so the handlebar position needs
to be more conservative.
If the position is a good one then there will be no problem running off the
bike. With a good bike position, an Ironman competitor should be running at
race pace within 200 metres of starting the run, no ifs, no buts, assuming
they have done the training. For the short course or Olympic distance competitor,
they should be able to get straight off the bike and run immediately at race
pace without problems with the quads, hammies or lower back.
Now if someone is a specialist TT rider who is flexible and functional in
the hips, hamstrings and upper and lower back and has the time to train in
a specialist TT position I would make further changes compared to an ideal
road position for that same person. The seat should go forward typically by
8 - 12 mm. If the rider has good flexibility in hips, hammies and lower back
this will allow them to get their pelvis more horizontal. In so doing their
hips are moving slightly backwards and so pedaling mechanics are relatively
unchanged. Getting the pelvis more horizontal allows the rider to reach further
down and out to the aero bars which in turn allow the greater back extension,
meaning a flatter back.
All of this has to be considered against the background of how functional
the rider is, what the TT distance is and what sort of terrain it is over.
In essence, the shorter the TT and the less challenging the course profile,
the greater the emphasis that can be placed on aerodynamics. Push less air
and you will go faster unless the price of pushing less air is compromised
leverage, control of movement or breathing ability. If that is the case the
rider will be more aerodynamic and perform less well which is not what any
of us are trying to achieve.
Training with SRM and power
I am a current cat 3 road cyclist at 21. I am not sure if I am training right
with power. Should I set my self a goal of total joules to put out during a
ride? Lets say I do that and 1200 is my goal, if i ride the small chain ring
and put out that many, does it matter. Or should I keep my self between a certain
amount of watts like 200-225? These are for endurance rides.
Dave Palese replies:
I use output ranges such as you mention in your question (i.e., 200-225)
to guide my clients using power meters through their training. For me and
my clients, it has been an easier concept to wrap our minds around.
Using some protocol (I use a ramp test, and pull numbers from the data recorded
during the test), you should define your different training levels.
One tip: If you are using your power meter on the road for say long, steady
rides, like this time of year, the average watts number is good way to guide
you during those rides, since with uphills and downhills will cause peaks
and valleys in your output, and make it difficult to keep your output
So if I have this right, if when i did my fitness ramp test and got a range
of 170-190 Watts, then I would want to ride inside those ranges for the time
alloted, instead of setting a goal of riding for 1200 kilojoules. And then the
same would go for climbing and and tempo and sprinting?
Dave Palese replies:
To your first question, yes. Instead of using the kilojoules burned as guide,
ride to keep your average watts in the appropriate range for the duration
of your session. This method can work for tempo riding as well.
As far as climbing: It would be on an interval by interval basis. And this
method may not apply to all "climbing" workouts. You could use the average
(keeping it in a different range more appropriate to say a Threshold type
effort) during the long climb training. But if the hill training you are doing
is short power type, up to around 4 minutes, then the power output maybe higher,
and the output during that workout my not be consistent enough to use power
as a guideline.
Power, during the sprint effort itself is not of much use. When doing sprint
workouts, you are simply giving it a maximum effort. To watch your output
during that effort would not be of much help, and would probably be distracting
and possibly dangerous. For sprints, power data is most helpful after the
workout when you download it and look it over. SRM and PowerTap data from
sprint sessions is great for picking you sprint apart and seeing where you
weaknesses are. You may have great max power, but you fade quickly. Or you
may be able to sustain a high level for a long time, but your acceleration
is lacking. Using the power data, you can design a training plan that is much
more targeted at improving you weak points, rather than just going out and
doing a "sprint" workout. Then you can track your progress to see if your
training is working.
I'm a 51 year old rider, 6'2", and 195#. I'm not a racer, but a strong recreational
rider who loves riding the Rockies (I live in Colorado). I'm comfortable riding
bigger gears than most, and will climb the passes using a 39x23 or 25. I've
been using Sidi Genius 3's for 5 years now. Lately I've been finding my right
foot is tending toward numb on longer rides (2 hours or more), and is generally
uncomfortable in the shoe. I do have insoles, but they're not helping. In fact,
I've changed insoles a couple of times, and do not see any difference, no matter
what type of insole I use. I've checked my cleat position, and it appears "spot
Are my shoes finally seeing the end of their days? I probably have 10k miles
on them. By the way, I run as well, putting on 20 or so miles a week, and do
not have the same problem when running.
Steve Hogg replies:
I take it that this problem has not been apparent until recently. If so,
has anything else changed in the recent past?
Have you fitted new cleats or changed pedals or made any positional changes?
If the answer is 'no' to the above questions, then it is likely that you
do need a new pair of shoes. Sidis last well but for a big bloke like you
I think perhaps 5 years of use means that your shoe's best years are behind
them and that a new pair is in order.
If the answer to any of the questions above is 'yes', get back to me with
what has changed and perhaps we can come up with a solution.
How good can I get?
I am a 23 year old Cat 2 cyclist who has been riding for less than 1 year.
I had been inactive for a number of years, when 18 months ago, I underwent max
V02 testing as part of a clinical study. At 157 pounds, my max VO2 was 74. At
my racing weight of 135-140, I believe my max V02 to be in the mid 80s. I trained
alone 20-30 hours a week during the winter and spring and somehow I did not
fall apart with injuries.
Last March I raced my first cat 5 event and raced virtually every weekend until
August. I tried to solo away every chance that I had and it worked more times
then not. At the end of July I upgraded to Cat 2 so that I could ride in a 5
stage NRC race. While not making any elite selections, I finished in the top
How soon will I begin to discover the extent of my talent? How many years does
it take to discover whether or not a rider has what it takes to make it at the
pro level? Thanks.
Dave Palese replies:
I just want to make sure that I'm reading your post correctly.
You started racing as a Cat 5 in March and then by the end of July, you upgraded
to Cat 2?
If there are no typos here, way to go!
How far and at what rate you will develop is impossible for me to say. You
obviously have some physical abilities and talents that have taken through
the ranks so quickly.
I strongly suggest that if you want to keep your progression going, you get
with a coach and start planning for the future. Develop a game plan for the
next 3-5 years. Doing so will help you discover your strengths and weaknesses
and help you prepare yourself for the rigors of elite racing.
I'm a 16 year old male roadie. I've had my road bike for 6 weeks and have been
developing numb or tingling feet for most rides over 30km. I have tried several
seat positions in hight as well as fore and aft. I was wondering as to whether
there was any solution to this problem, whether it is the saddle or position.
Steve Hogg replies:
Do your shoes fit well? If they are too tight what you feel can be the result.
They should be snug [not tight] around the instep and heel. If you feel they
are OK, check the cleat positioning posts for July 26 and position your cleats
that way. That is likely to resolve the problem. If not get back to me.
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