Form & Fitness Q & A
Got a question about fitness, training, recovery from injury or a related subject?
Drop us a line at email@example.com.
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.
Fitness questions and answers for October 31, 2005
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.
Heel position asymmetry
Moving cleats back
Recovery from a broken wrist
Training with power
I am still having some serious problems with my ITB in my right leg. I have
had my bike setup checked and re-checked and I am happy that my setup does not
seem to be my problem; I have also seen several physios and sports physician's
and the general consensus is that I have some functional differences that need
to be sorted out and that this will take a lot of time.
The current physio that I am seeing explained to me that my right hip is forwardly
rotated and lower. When I stand with both feet together and go down my leg on
the one side with my hand I can reach further on my right side than when I go
down on the left side. He also gave me a wedge that I have to put in on the
right shoe that lifts my right heel and part of the side of my foot. I wear
this in my cycling shoe as well as my everyday shoe. The problem that I have
is that after several weeks (six) of this and some good training the problem
has now come back again, and I feel that my main problem is that no one seems
to be able to understand what I need to do to help me sort out this while I
am on the bike!
Is there any way that I can make changes to the bike to make it possible for
me to ride while we are trying to sort out these differences and get me straiten
out. My current physio has made some suggestions that they want to try and build
up the saddle on the right side, but I am not sure if they understand exactly
if this would be the right thing to do - to try and relieve the strain on the
Someone also suggested that I get and operation where they gut the ITB (Is
this an option?) I'd appreciate any advice I can get.
Steve Hogg replies
Without much more detailed knowledge of you and how you function, it is hard
to advise with any certainty. I think what you need to do is to perhaps go
back a step. At 29 years of age, this is not a recent problem. It is more
likely that you have had this problem for some time but have run out of ways
to compensate for it without pain.
Why not make sorting your problem out by changing the way your body functions
a priority for a year or so. Still ride the bike but for recreation rather
than competing at what ever level. Your initial reaction will likely be NO!
But you need to realise that the body you have needs to last you for another
50 years and now is a good time to start preparing for that if you want to
have a long ACTIVE life.
Regarding the operation: I am uncomfortable advising but will say that it
will not change the circumstances that led to this ITB problem, just lessen
the severity for weeks, months years; who knows? Go back to square one, find
the right structural health people if you haven't already and start rebuilding
and improving the way you function.
I have written in before about knee tendonitis and related issues, and I have
another somewhat related question:
Do any of you recommend or counsel against certain brands of shoes with respect
to functionality and pedalling technique? I have tried Sidi (so, so), Carnac
(I liked these to some extent, but I believe they were half a size too small),
and DMT (favourite so far). I should probably note that I use Sole custom footbeds
in my cycling shoes. I need a new pair of shoes and am trying to decide what
to buy from a functional standpoint. Are the new Carnacs lower stack height
better functionally than before? Thank you very much for your time.
Steve Hogg replies
It's very hard to recommend shoes without any real knowledge of your problems
and their causes. What I can do though, is recommend shoes from the point
of view of their ability to allow the majority of people the kind of cleat
position that I recommend. The brands that next to nobody have a problem with
in that regard are DMT and Nike. Next best in terms of cleat placement are
Shimano, Sidi, Specialized, Diadora, Gaerne in no particular order.
I am not that familiar with the newer Carnacs, having only seen a couple
of pairs. The amount of heel lift seems to have lessened but I can't comment
with any authority about the relative position of the Carnac cleat mounting
holes until I have seen more sizes of them.
You stated to a reader on October 17, 2005 that,
"The other consideration you need to think about is how this discrepancy has
caused your pelvis to compensate. Many people like yourself, with a long right
leg, will end up with an anterior iliac crest on the same side. This typically
means that you may be sitting further forward on the seat with the right side
of your pelvis and reaching a lesser distance to the pedals with the longer
leg. To find out whether this is happening, fit your bike to an indoor trainer
and while pedalling in a bigger gear, have someone positioned above and behind
you look down at how square you are on the seat. You may not twist to the right
because not everyone who has a long right leg does, but enough that I should
mention the possibility. If you find this is the case, get back to me for further
Well, I have experienced that on my trainer. At first I thought that there
was some alignment problem with my frame, or the trainer was warped, and I would
always wear a hole on the inside of the thigh of my shorts because of the discrepancy.
I eventually realized that I have a leg length issue myself. The left one being
longer than the right.
When I used to run, my right tendon just above the tensor fasiae latae would
become agitated and inflamed and hurt for several days after, affecting my gait,
especially when walking uphill. It has since stopped occurring, but I think
that is from unconscious compensation.
My question is that since it is no longer causing a problem, should I leave
it alone, or should I correct it for the sake of efficiency?
Steve Hogg replies
As I can't see you and don't know how you function, I will take the sensible
[cowards?] way out and say that if you don't have an issue at the moment,
and can be reasonably sure that you are not doing anything that will create
a problem, leave it well alone.
Alternately, if you want to do some hard work and are prepared to perhaps
go backwards a step before moving forwards, find a good structural health
professional to assess you and suggest a course of action for making you function
more symmetrically. If you choose to do that and encounter any problems, let
This is a question for Mr Hogg who did such a fine job making me more comfortable
on the bike. I have been using power cranks for almost six months now. I have
never been able to ride more than 60 miles with them before my hip flexors give
While I feel that I am very comfortable using regular cranks (no numbness in
my hands or perineum, minimal neck or shoulder stiffness on century rides) I
know my pelvis is very unstable with the power cranks. Both bikes are set up
exactly the same. I am more stable with slow cadences but once I increase the
cadence above 90, stability decreases dramatically.
I think that if I lower my seat or move forward (both will likely decrease
the work of the hip flexors) I would be more stable, but don't want to change
my position with regular cranks. I also under use my quads/glutes in direct
proportion to cadence which is similar to the prior posts. You probably do not
recall but my left leg was always weaker, smaller and less efficient and the
power cranks do help equalising my legs. Have you had time to ride a set, and
do you have any ideas?
Steve Hogg replies
Here is what I would do:
You have marked asymmetries of function which PC's may help but are unlikely
to fix. I would stick to the distances that you can ride the PC's comfortably
and every couple of months, try a ride 10% or so longer than that comfortable
distance to see whether there has been an improvement in your ability to tolerate
them. From what you have said previously, you stretch regularly and have done
so for some time but are still quite inflexible.
Regarding my own experience - the people at PC sent me a pair to try after
criticisms I have made previously regarding their use by people with tight
hip flexors. If nothing else they have the courage of their convictions. From
the time the PC's arrived I felt star crossed. First a fall, then the flu
and finally a lengthy insomnia attack. The end result is that I have been
off the bike for just over 4 months.
I rode to work today and fitted the Power Cranks and will ride them home this
evening. After 4 months off though, I am going to have to start training from
scratch. I will post on my Power Crank experience every fortnight.
After I have some experience on them, I might have an idea or two for you
and so will keep in touch.
Heel position asymmetry
First off - the fitness and training forum you support is outstanding! I've
just stumbled on it today and am going blind trying to soak up all the insight
and advice. I wish I had these words of wisdom 20 years ago. The fact that your
team takes the time to consider questions carefully and respond with such detail
and genuine concern is all but choking me up.
I'm 40 years old, male, a road and mountain biker (done a variety of races
on/off over the past 15 years as a club team level rider - just for fun). I'm
admittedly heavy at 200 lbs and 6 ft. I've ridden my body hard and as a teenager,
I broke up my left femur in a gnarly motocross race accident and had two surgeries
for it. Cycling generally helps and I always feel best when I'm on two wheels.
I've never been measured for a leg length difference - can it be done at home?
Oddly enough the leg I broke is trouble free and the other has been problematic
for years. When I first started road biking with fixed clipless pedals, I set
my fixed cleats to be symmetric and I developed show stopper pain on the inside
of my right knee. After some research, rest, and recovery I repositioned my
right cleat to the max possible heel out position afforded by the pedal. The
sensation was that my heel would like to be further away from the frame but
my knee was now happy enough to at least continue cycling. This change, along
with pre-ride stretching was adequate to keep me riding but the problem, while
improved, persisted along tolerable right ankle soreness and obvious sense of
body asymmetry. It was a balance between knee and ankle discomfort (I knew I
could find pedals/shoes that would allow my heel to rotate further but I suspected
my ankle would not hold up) and I'm sure I looked pretty strange with one heel
roughly parallel to the longer bike axis and the other swinging into outer space.
Subsequently, I've used or tried a number of different pedals and shoes over
the years but SPD or SPD-R (each with the floating cleats positioned as far
back on the shoe as possible and as heel out as possible on the right foot)
have been the only compromise (SPD - small contact area or SPD-R discontinued)
that has worked out. When I tried the Speedplay Xs years ago, I was amazed at
how far my right heal wanted to go and how much rotational movement it tended
towards. Look ARCs seemed too sticky and I felt like I had to consciously reposition
and tweak my foot to the seated sweet spot after any unseated effort and I had
pronounced right ankle soreness. (I noticed a recommendation to trim down the
rubber pad in the middle to free the float a little, but doesn't that lead to
vertical slop?). The times I tried had spring to centre float and no cleat rotation
adjustment - worked for the left leg but the right was obviously fighting the
spring. Summarizing, my left leg has been robust and insensitive to any pedals
I've tried (Look, Time, Speedplay X, SPD, SPD-R) but SPD and SPD-R with limited
float have worked best for the right. By the way, I've always ridden SPDs on
the mountain bike with both cleats at max aft on the shoe and max heel out on
the right - never had any significant problems or discomfort with that setup
with looser and generally softer shoes.
Based on the posts I've studied, I think one root cause theory having nothing
to do with past injuries (best case maybe) is that I have a significant varus
on the right foot that I naturally compensate for with heal rotation. The heal
rotation relieves some knee strain at the expense of ankle strain. The SPDs
have been more agreeable than other shoes because of their narrow and small
contact mud shedding heritage allows for a less rigid connection and a little
more freedom for the foot motion in roll. The float characteristics of SPD,
free but limited in range, allow for sufficient and necessarily limited, heel
I got pretty excited about the possibilities when I read a post by Steve Hogg
where a guy had a similar heel out thing going on. He stated that as his Look
cleat wore down on the outside from repeated road contact his heel migrated
back towards the frame. Could it be that simple? Does that suggest a wedge under
my right cleat (fat side nearest the frame) would likely bring my heel in and
restore some symmetry after all these years? If so, is it also likely that my
right foot will also be more stable (roll and rotation), making it worth another
try with a modern relative wide contact Look or SPD -SL pedal? Apologies for
the long history and thanks in advance for your thoughts and recommendations.
Patuxent River MD
Steve Hogg replies
You may have a varus right forefoot, you may not, but it certainly sounds
like the right hip is internally rotated. I need to ask you a few questions.
Is the right ankle pain on the outside of the ankle?
A test - and you will need an observer: Place a 300mm [12"] rule with the
short edge against the skirting board of a wall. Stand with your heels hard
back against the wall and in the inner edge of each foot closely aligned with
the long edges of the rule. When I say closely aligned, I mean inside edge
of heel and forefoot up against the rule.
Have your observer kneel 3 or 4 feet back in front of you and focus on where
the kneecaps are pointing. For right and left kneecaps separately, are they
pointing straight ahead, outwards or inwards? If both are pointing in the
same direction; eg outwards; is one pointing to a greater degree than the
Strip to the waist and place the rule against a step. With your heels against
the rule, can the observer behind and above you see which side of your lower
back is further forward than the other?
Still stripped, face the mirror and place the thumb of each hand on top of
the iliac crest on each side. The iliac crest is the top of the pelvis above
your hips; i.e. if you move your thumbs down from your ribcage, the iliac
crest is the first bone you will come to. Is one thumb sitting noticeably
higher than the other and if so, on which side? Let me know these answers
and I will attempt to advise.
Moving cleats back
Thanks to Steve Hogg I moved my (Shimano Ultegra) cleats back about 5mm and
noticed an improvement in the way my quads feel post-ride after two rides. Less
of that dead feeling for sure!
What I would now like to know is what do I need to do with my saddle position
if I move my cleats back 5mm? Lower saddle by about 2mm to compensate, or move
it forward by about 5mm to compensate for the modified leg bend angle? Should
I do both or neither of these?
I ask because I notice a different feeling as I am pedalling (I can't quite
explain it yet) but perhaps this is normal and something I will get used to
and therefore I should not change my saddle position at all? Thanks you very
much in advance
Steve Hogg replies
Your legs are extending slightly more because of the more rearward cleat
position but the larger change is more than likely the reduced ankle movement
that accompanies this. I don't know how appropriate your seat height was before
and so it is hard to advise definitively.
If you were happy with your seat height previously, try dropping the seat
3 or 4mm and reassessing. If in doubt and you are not having problems in the
sense of any twinges or niggles; spend a week or so getting used to the new
feeling and then go and ride some hills, seated in a hardish gear.
That exercise should soon tell you whether you are too high or not.
I'm a 45 year old competitive male cyclist, starting my second season of winter
training. At 6'1" I currently weigh about 180 and lost about 20 lbs since the
start of my cycling about two years ago. I try to eat healthy, but I don't diet
and have not changed my high carb eating habits since starting cycling. With
a reading of about 17-18% body fat (according to a fat measuring electronic
scale), I still apparently have some room to lose more weight and increase performance
if I can maintain the same power.
One concern I have is that most of my weight loss tends to come off the face,
arms and legs, with these areas looking very lean (especially face) and other
areas, such as chest and back storing more of the fat - although it is uniform.
I realise that common thinking is that you can't spot reduce, but I'm wondering
if there is any truth to the tale that some types of foods store fat more readily
in the trunk area. I guess I'm not overly concerned, but if I were able to lose
enough weight to reach my 10-12% fat target - which is not that low compared
to most competitive cyclists, I think I would look like a zombie.
Pam Hinton replies
In this case, the common thinking prevails. You cannot control where you
store fat or which parts of your body will lose it first. Eventually, with
sustained fat loss, you will lose the excess from your chest and back. If
it's any consolation, the pros have the thin faced zombie look, too. As long
as you stick to your target of 10-12% body fat, you aren't likely to compromise
your health or performance. Good luck.
I have been a competitive cyclist in all disciplines for over 20 years on and
off, and have at my best raced in Belgium on the road and won age group medals
at international duathlon events.
The problem at the moment is a re-occurrence of shingles when I start my higher
intensity workouts. This time around my base period has been about three months
long and I have steadily increased duration up to around 18 hours a week max.
I had a heart rate cap of 160bpm (max 190bpm). This base period came after a
four-month layoff due to another bout of shingles while training for the duathlon
world's. During this time I was still active but completed no structured training.
I am fully aware of the correlation between overtraining and immune suppression;
however, I monitor health and vitality, check morning pulse rate, eat very well
and get good sleep so I just can't put my finger on the problem. Is shingles
something that affects many athletes? And if so how is it treated? I am on an
anti-viral medication called Valtrex at the moment. Is it possible to continue
with light exercise or will I delay my recovery time? Also when do you know
when to get back into it again?
I am 35 years of age weigh 70kg, VO2max at beat 74ml/kg/min and at best have
a power to weight ratio of 6.5watts/kilo, (I also have a degree in exercise
science). Any help to allow me to get back to my best would be greatly appreciated.
Kelby Bethards replies
I guess for me, the question is how do you feel? Do you feel ill? Is the
shingles patch large? Any pain, and where is it? Questions like these…
I would be concerned, and still am, about overtraining. BUT, that is not
the only stressor that can cause the varicella virus to resurface. Life stress
can also cause a flair up, but varicella can also pop up for no specific reason.
Valtrex is certainly a good treatment and some people will require pain meds
and steroids to control the after effects (sequelae) of shingles. I would
talk to your doctor about being on the medicine once a day (chronic suppressive
dose) for a while to hopefully help keep it away and see if he/she has any
If you do not feel ill and just have the rash, then I would think it would
be ok to do light exercise. I would suggest starting back at it again when
you don't feel ill and the rash is healed. Please keep in mind that without
seeing you, I am just speculating. Talk to your doctor about when to return
if you have questions.
Recovery from a broken wrist
I fractured my scaphoid bone during a MTB stage race in the Alps this last
summer, doing a nice superman into a patch of asphalt. The race doctor wrapped
it (thinking it was a sprain I suppose), gave me some pain killers and I continued
racing and training for three weeks.
In spite of this ill-advised punishment of my feeble wrist, a cast seemed to
do the trick when I eventually got it properly treated. After about seven weeks,
I was ecstatic to learn the fracture had healed. I had avoided the dreaded possibility
of surgery and I could supposedly jump back on the bike - yeah! The problem
is that now, going on four months after the injury and a month after the cast
was removed, my wrist is still very painful.
I find it difficult to hold MTB bars on semi-rough terrain, paddle, XC ski,
or even carry my small daughter for long. It aches and the range of motion is
still limited, although very slowly improving. I am sure you have seen your
fair share of broken scaphoids. So, presuming the bone really is healed (which
I am getting rechecked now), is this typically a traumatic injury from which
it takes a very long time to recover? Might therapy of some kind speed up recovery?
Presently I am limiting my workouts to lots of running and a bit of easy swimming.
By the way, I am a 35 year old who, as you can see, sometimes has a hard time
stopping...in every sense.
Rick Van Camp
Kelby Bethards replies
The scaphoid is a bone that is a tough one to heal. The cast was a good idea
from the beginning and I often will cast people without radiologic evidence
of a fracture if my physical exam leads me to believe there is a scaphoid
injury. The blood supply is such that it heals slowly and if it doesn't heal,
it requires surgical repair.
Now, can it hurt four months out? Yes, it is possible and if you have a concomitant
ligament sprain that can take a while to heal, thus adding insult to injury.
I am also 35 and have an ankle that hurts during soccer from a hellacious
sprain 18 months ago. It's tough getting older!
I do think it's wise to see your doctor again and either x-ray the
area again or have a bone scan/MRI, depending on your doctors preference,
to make sure you are healed. If so, then easing into your rougher workouts
(bumpy rides) may be needed along with anti-inflammatory medicines.
I'm a 41 year old male vet cyclist who has been having problem with what can
best be described as "hot feet" when riding beyond a few hours. The area around
the balls of my feet gets progressively sore to the point that it is difficult
to stand while riding. I prefer to stand while climbing but there may well be
a simple explanation for this.
I recently read your posts about cleat position and now realise that I may
have been mistaken to follow the old adage about positioning the ball of the
foot over the pedal axle. If anything, the ball of my foot was very slightly
behind the axle. The problem has probably been exasperated by my laid back seat
position (10cms behind the bb) but I guess that is all relative to my rather
long leg length. I have a 90cm inseam, with the upper leg (hip to knee) of 46cm,
and lower leg of 56cm. One other detail is that I ride 180cm cranks.
Anyway, I have just gone to adjust my cleats back and have found it impossible
to get the ball of my feet as far forward of the axle as you have recommended.
The furthermost forward I can get is 7mm, well short of your guide-line of 11mm.
I use Shimano SPD SL shoes and cleats and my feet are size 46. Maybe I have
excessively long toes? The distance from the tip of my large toe and the center
of the ball of my foot is roughly 85mm. My shoes are a good snug fit in width
and length so it is not just a case of the shoes being too big. Short of changing
shoes and possibly pedals I can't see a way around the situation.
The other related question is, 'If I change my cleat position do I need to
also make changes to seat height and fore-aft seat position. I have played around
with a few simple levers etc to see what effect a change of about 10mm would
make to my knee position and it seems to me it is very minimal to virtually
nothing at all. What is your take on this? Many thanks in advance.
Steve Hogg replies
I am surprised that you can't get the cleats as far back as I suggested with
the combination of shoe and pedal that you use, but it happens occasionally.
DMT and Nike have cleat positioning holes further rearward than just about
anything else out there so you might consider them.
Regarding the seat height implications. The more rearward cleat position
will cause you to extend your leg more and you might need to drop your seat
3mm or so. The other implication that often offsets that greater extension
to some degree, particularly if you tend to pedal with a heel dropping technique,
is that the more rearward cleat position tends to moderate ankle movement
to some degree.
The heel droppers tend to evolve to a less heel dropping more middle of the
range pedalling style, which sometimes means that they can reach a bit further.
My advice is to go for a few rides and adjust seat height by feel after you
have ridden a few solid hills ON the seat.
Your off the seat technique may be caused by the cleat position you have had
and consequent lack of leverage.
I know that your cleats are still too far forward and you probably should
consider another shoe, but the changes you have made should diminish or relieve
your problem. Let me know how you get on.
Terry then responded:
Hi again Steve,
Thanks for your comments. I have had another look at the position of the ball
of my foot relative to the pedal axle in the new cleat position.
The distance measured is clearly dependent on the position of the foot.
Is the measurement made with the cleat/pedal contact points level (with SPD
SL shoes that means the heal is elevated) or with the shoe flat (this would
mean the heal is effectively down)
I'm just about to head out for my first ride with the new cleat position so
it will be interesting to see if I begin to notice some changes - hopefully
no pain in my feet for starters. Many thanks for your help.
Steve Hogg replies
For cleat position purposes, level the shoe between where the sole joins
the upper underneath the middle of the heel as viewed from the side and where
the sole joins the upper underneath the pedal axle. This will work for the
majority of shoes and certainly for the ones you have.
The pain you have been feeling is likely to be the plantar fascia being overworked
where it attaches to the metatarsal heads at the base of the toes. Let me
know how you go.
Training with power
Hi there. A question about training with power for the coaches.
Assume that at the start of a training program, a rider does a test to determine
LT power output and power zones for interval training. One would hope that as
the training program progresses, power at LT improves. Is there a simple formula
for determining how to factor improvements in power output into power zones,
or is regular (monthly or so) testing the answer? Thanks.
Scott Saifer replies
Regular testing is the only way. Different athletes will respond to training
with different power gains and at different rates. Setting your zones to low
may waste time or might do no damage at all, but setting your zones too high
and then riding in them more than a small amount leads to burnout and overtraining,
so you would not want to ride in a zone that came from anything but tests
on yourself. There are also factors that will bump your zones down (fatigue,
stress, illness). If you fail to adjust the zones at these times, you will
be training too hard, even though you are training in your own tested zones.
That's why the power-meter will never be a substitute for body awareness.
Heart rate monitors will also never be complete substitutes for body awareness.
Other Cyclingnews Form & Fitness articles