Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  

Recently on

Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

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. Due to the volume of questions we receive, we regret that we are unable to answer them all.

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 July 4, 2005

Set back seat posts
Heart rate and adrenal glands

Set back seat posts

Dear Cyclingnews

As I have had firsthand experience of Steve Hogg's bike fitting wizardry, I wondered if you would forward this query to him?

I have a 2004 Pinarello Dogma that I simply cannot get enough set back on using the standard 31.00mm Pinarello seat post and a Selle Italia Flite TT saddle. I wondered if you know of a seat post with extra set back that will fit the Pinarello's unusual seat tube diameter? It seems the closest that most brands seem to come is 31.6mm, which is all too wide, or 29.4mm. If 29.4mm is the closest I'm likely to get, is there a way (which I would undertake at my own risk, I realise) of shimming out the excess space and if so to what depth into the tube should the shim be inserted? Thanks and regards.

Alex Sceales

Perth, Western Australia

Steve Hogg Replies

Long time, no hear. How is life in Perth?

Regarding your query; last time I saw you was '99 or 2000 so I am proceeding on the assumption that you are riding more or less the same seat position that I had you in then.
In 2000 you were riding an effective seat tube angle of 71.5 degrees.

The Pinarello Dogma in your size [I have assumed that you have bought a 56cm or 57cm size] has a seat tube angle of 73.5 degrees. At your seat height 1 degree of seat tube angle is a little over 12.5mm measured at the seat rail. That effective seat tube angle of yours of 71.5 degrees assumes you are using a standard offset seatpost [ one where the front of seat rail clamp is in line with the centre line of the shaft of the seat post as viewed from the side] and that the seat is of standard rail length and rail positioning relative to seat upper, and positioned in the middle of its range of fore and aft adjustment.

If you shove the seat hard back on the Dogma post it is still likely to be 10 - 15mm further forward of where you want it.

I am not aware of a 30.0mm seatpost with more than standard offset though I am happy to be corrected on that. What I would do is get an FSA SL 220 aluminium seatpost or an FSA K Force carbon post in 27.2mm and have a shim made up with a 1.4mm wall thickness to take it up to the 30.0mm inside of seat tube diameter. There is no point in having a shim made up to do it with a 29.4 mm post as the wall thickness of the shim would be 0.3mm thick which is impracticable.
The person to contact in Perth to do the job is Aldo at Concept Z. There contact details are: 9443 3407 and are located at 64 Farmer St North Perth. If he can't do it I would be surprised if he doesn't know who can. Best of luck with this, and happy riding!

Heart Rate and Adrenal Glands

I am a 26 year old male, who is just starting to taking cycling and training seriously. I have always been involved in competitive sport and generally maintain a good level of base fitness. I am currently not racing, but training.

For the past few months I have been following a program that is primarily based on Heart Rate Zones and have found it extremely difficult to stay in the zone prescribed for the various workouts. My HR always seems to be much higher than anticipated, even in very low intensity workouts. For example, in a recovery ride this morning my HR hovered around 78% of MHR (should be 60 - 65%) and to get within the prescribed zone I almost had to come to a complete stop. On longer training rides it's not uncommon for my HR to sit between 80 - 90% of MHR for hours on end, without too much discomfort. I feel good while I'm training, but the recovery from these rides is often slow.

Several months ago, a check up with my Dr revealed that my Adrenal Glands were fatigued and I assumed this was the source of my woes. But I am now at the end a three month course of medication that should have rectified this problem, and have seen no improvement.

Should I be concerned? Some have suggested that I forget about the HR monitor and just train - but I am worried that my body might be trying to tell me something. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Stefan Fulton

Scott Saifer Replies

Hi Stefan,

I may be able to help, but first I need you to answer a couple of

1) How did you determine your maximum heart rate?
2) What do you mean when you say recovery is slow?

Stefan then responded:

Thanks for your willingness to help. In answer to your two questions:

1) MHR was determined through a test on my indoor trainer. I'm currently using the 'Lance Armstrong Performance System' from CTS, which suggested the test. Essentially, after warming up I increased my intensity every 2 minutes while maintaining a cadence of 80 rpm. I progressively increased the intensity until I couldn't go any harder - and then finished with an all out sprint for about 15 seconds. Once my vision cleared, my MHR during the test was 196 bpm.

2) In terms of slow recovery, I regularly find my legs are fatigued and heavy for up to three or four days after a hard weekend ride of 2 to 2.5 hrs. I expected this initially, but after three months of consistent training, I would have expected my recovery times would have reduced for similar efforts. Particularly given I was in reasonable shape before picking up my training. I look forward to your response.


Scott Saifer Replies

Hi Stefan,

Here's my diagnosis in three parts:

Part 1: It's rare for riders to be able to get a good maximum heart rate on an indoor trainer, even with an excellent protocol. There are two reasons for this that I can think of straight away - there may be others. The important thing though is that when I have clients go to failure with a ramped protocol indoors, and then outdoors on a hill, it's common for the outdoor test to come out five or ten beats higher than the indoor test.

The two reasons I can think of are that:

1) When on a trainer you hold back from the most violent pedaling because of the way the bike responds and your not wanting to fall over. Outdoors you can involve more muscle mass as you really thrash the bike.
2) Indoors, even with a good fan, the cooling is just not effective enough so your effort is limited by heat accumulation rather than whatever would limit you outdoors on a cool day. Again, there may be other reasons, but the majority of riders can get to higher heart rates outdoors than in.

I would suggest that repeat your test outdoors, on a pleasantly cool day and on an uphill. For the test to deliver a correct result you also have to be reasonably well rested when you do it, so do it after several days of easier riding. I suspect that your maximum will turn out to be higher and when you re-figure your training zones, they will be easier to stay in.

Part 2: Even with correctly figured zones, the majority of riders will find it difficult to stay under 80% of maximum on all terrain at first. Once you get in the habit though, it becomes easier and more importantly, the speed at which you can ride at that heart rate will increase dramatically. If you routinely ride above 80%, that transition does not happen, or not nearly so quickly. Be religious about staying in the zone, no matter how challenging. As I commented in a recent post, by the time Freddy Rodriguez completed his base training the year of his breakthrough to the European peloton, he was averaging 25 mph (40kph) on training rides at about 75% of maximum heart rate.

Part 3: Three to four days leg-fatigue after a ride than involves multiple hours at and above 90% of maximum heart rate is not great, but not abnormal either, especially if you are not riding a true recovery pace on the days in between.

I hope you'll repeat the maximum test outdoors up a hill after several days of riding strictly below 80% of your current maximum and share the result with me.

Other Cyclingnews Form & Fitness articles