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Form & Fitness Q & A
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Fitness questions and answers for January 2, 2007
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.
Power to weight ratio
Comfort for long distance events
Power to weight ratio
I am an elite cyclist - 6ft 3" and 187 pounds in weight. I am taking my training
to a higher technical level this year, I did a sub-maximal test over the weekend,
155 heat rate for five minutes producing an average power of 350 watts.
I would like to know what power an elite/pro road racer should produce per
kg of body weight in general. You had a graph of weight versus height for top
pro bike racers, have you one for power versus weight?
Richard Stern replies:
It would depend on what sort of test was done; there's little to no value
in doing sub-maximal tests of such short duration, or comparing them to heart
rate, as heart rate can vary significantly at a given power output, due to
many factors. You'd be best either doing something such as maximal test over
five minutes, or longer (e.g. 20 to 60 minutes) or via a MAP (maximal aerobic
In terms of elite performance over short time durations, a ~70 kg elite male
can produce ~520 watts for a shade over 4 minutes (at least that's the power
requirement for a world class performance over a 4km pursuit).
In terms of MAP (see my power zone training
article) you can get an idea of elite (or other performance) at this
page on my website.
The fourth table down details this.
I am 52 years-old and have been cycling for 30 years. I compete to national
level in road, mountain biking and cyclo-cross. I am in the middle of my cross
season and have got the national championships on January 6. But at the moment
I am struggling to recover from an accident.
I was recently knocked off my bike by a car, two weeks ago. I was unconscious
for about 10 minutes and don't really remember anything from the accident. I
wasn't wearing a helmet and had a small cut on the back of my head, nothing
serious just a large graze. Apart from being a bit sore on the side I landed
on, I was fine. I got checked over in hospital and got told I would be fine
in a few days - which I wasn't. I have since seen my doctor twice and been told
it is nothing serious relating to the bang on my head so I did expect to recover
However, I am still struggling with symptoms which include constant feeling
of tiredness, short tempered, irritable, headaches and dizziness. I am getting
a bit impatient as it's affecting my racing - at the moment I'm struggling with
change of pace and anaerobic efforts, more than I should be. Does anyone have
any advice on how long it would take me to recover or get rid of the symptoms?
Or how a head injury would affect my performance? Any advice would be greatly
David Fleckenstein replies:
I would strongly recommend that you do not race at this point. I am surprised
that, given your symptoms and a prolonged time with loss of consciousness,
you have not had a CT scan, MRI, or further evaluation. You most definitely
show the signs of post concussion syndrome and this can last for days or months.
Depending on the area where you live, I would highly recommend finding a
qualified neurologist of physician who is well versed in diagnosis and treatment
of concussion. I suffered a four-month bout after a crash myself and was amazed
at how frequently the diagnosis is missed or brushed aside.
may be useful to you. Again, I would highly discourage you from riding as
you can definitely do more damage to a potentially serious condition.
Finally, at the risk of repeating what should be common sense and reflexive
for all of us: WEAR YOUR HELMET. I know of an individual (leader of a local
cycling club) who died from a head injury in his driveway. When I hear people
saying "well I like the freedom of riding without my helmet" I can only respond
that those who find freedom in stupidity are not very free.
Comfort for long distance events
I read with great interest your articles and since I was not perfectly comfortable
on my bike and I am planning to do next year's Paris-Brest-Paris, a 1200km long
distance cycling event, I followed your advice.
I am 190cm tall, reasonably flexible (I can touch the ground with my hands,
keeping my legs straight) and ride a 59x58.5 frame with 72.5 degrees seat tube
angle and 13cm stem.
Following your advice I moved back the cleats on my shoes 10mm (I have size
46 Sidi, unfortunately the shoe did not let me go the 11mm you recommended),
lowered slightly and moved back my seat 15 mm and changed my stem - I now ride
a 10cm stem mounted reversed which gives me a seat handlebar difference of 6cm.
My riding has improved dramatically; I feel I can pedal with much more power
and I do not have any more discomfort in my neck, arms and shoulders. I feel
much less weight on my hands and the bike handles much better. I pass the balance
test with ease.
I have three questions:
1. When I get off the bike, and only in that moment, I feel a bit of pain in
my lower back. Is this because I need to adapt to my new position or is it a
sign that something is still wrong?
2. I am still not 100% comfortable when I am in the drops. How do I know if
it is because the bar is too low or if is too far away?
3. For a long distance event such as the Paris-Brest-Paris where I will have
to ride for many many hours, how should one adapt the position on the bike?
Thanks a lot for your help
Steve Hogg replies:
Re your question #1: If the back pain has only appeared since you moved your
cleats, then you may have to drop the seat a few mm. When you moved your cleats
further back on the shoe, did you drop the seat a few mm?
When you move the cleats further rearwards on the shoe, you are causing the
leg to extend more. Most of the time, this means that seat height has to decrease.
I say most of the time because sometimes, a substantial change in cleat position
causes the rider to change their pedaling technique. This can mean on some
occasions, seat height needs to rise even though the cleats have moved backwards.
I have to say though, that in your case this is unlikely do drop the seat
3 mm as a starting point and reassess.
Re your question #2: Where is the discomfort and under what circumstances
does it occur?
Re your question #3: Every fourth year, I position a lot of people for Paris-Brest-Paris
and this is happening now. There is no common thread as to what is needed
other than efficiency and above all comfort. If someone is going to ride a
bike for 40-90 hours with only short breaks during that time, then comfort
has to be the overriding concern. Discomfort is mentally wearing and can increase
chances of injury. No one needs this when they have spent four years preparing
for an event.
Other Cyclingnews Form & Fitness articles