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Form & Fitness Q & A
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Fitness questions and answers for July 17, 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.
Burning knee pain
Losing weight for races
Burning knee pain
I am a 48 year-old male (weight 147lb, maximum heart rate 190+bpm, resting
heat rate <55bpm). I ride regularly 30-60 mile per ride (Friday - Sunday)
and weight room/exercise cycle for one hour twice weekly when travelling for
business. I ride year round, as I live in Texas. My average Watts on a 50 mile
ride is 220 with a max of 545. I ride Speedplay pedals and Rocket7 or Sidi shoes.
For years I've had no problems, but after a very windy (gusts 20+) 47mile ride
in April, I experienced a burning sensation in my knees, especially my right
knee. I've tried RICE for two weeks and the pain diminished. I swapped shoes
and bikes (54cm Moots or Specialized). Same results. I've gone to my LBS for
a fitting and no major adjustments.
Today, after a 60 mile hilly ride, my knees were very uncomfortable after the
I've an appointment with an orthopaedic doctor. From a cycling, mechanical
or physiological perspective what is your advice? I'd be very disappointed if
I was unable to ride.
Steve Hogg replies:
The combination of shoes and pedals you have may mean that you don't have enough
foot over the pedal. Speedplays have less rearward adjustment in their plastic
baseplate adaptors than other 3 bolt cleat systems. Additionally, Rocket 7's
standard cleat placement is much too far forward in my view. Sidis are better
but I would say that approximately 50% of Sidi/Speedplay users don't have enough
foot over the pedal.
My guess is that the unusually windy day caused you to force the gear more.
If this was the case, almost certainly you would have been dropping your heel
more than you usually do. This greater effort and greater extension of the knee
is a likely cause of your current issue.
Have a look at these posts on cleat
and ball of the foot positioning
and position your cleats accordingly. I suspect you won't be able to do that,
particularly with your Rocket 7s. If so, buy a pair of Speedplay part no. 13330
which are an alternative base plate adaptor with much more rearward adjustment.
The increased incidence of right side pain may mean that you are using the
right leg more OR using the left leg more causing greater extension of the right
leg OR that you may have functional issues with your hips, lower back, feet
or any combination of them.
I'm a 47 year-old road Cat. 4 racer (5'9, 145lbs) averaging 450 hours on the
bike per season. The past two seasons have ended with a stiff, sore left knee.
Last year I underwent a complete fitting with video alignment and a spin-scan.
My Speedplay Zero cleats received two Lemond shims on the inside (same with
the right). Winter training did not rid me of the pain and I sought an orthopaedic
surgeon. Four months ago, surgery removed my ACL (torn in 1990) repaired medial
and lateral meniscus tears and a grade IV defect in my medial femorial condyle
was drilled to create a scabbing patch.
Two months of physiotherapy have stabilized my knee and I am beginning to spin
without resistance. My question has to do with shoe set up, specifically the
Lemond wedges and heel in/out possibilities. The surgeon and physiotherapist
theorize that to relieve pressure on my medial femoral condyle I should remove
the wedges (maybe even reverse to the outside) and perhaps work a bit of heel
out to give more pressure laterally than medially.
Because of the complexities of the cycling motion, neither has confidence in
that opinion. I believe that if I can relieve the grinding on this tender medial
Femoral Condyle, I can return to racing, lose these 10 pounds of fat and perhaps
save my marriage.
Dave Fleckenstein replies:
In order to address the problems with your alignment, I think that it is important
to understand the anatomy of the knee and how it relates to the underlying goals
that you are trying to achieve with your fit. The meniscus is a structure that
performs two distinct roles:
1) It acts as a shock absorber between the tibia and femur, and
2) It serves as a coupling device that allows two bones that do not have congruent
alignments to align and be stable.
If you look at a picture or X-ray of the joint surfaces of the tibia and femur,
they do not match together well. The meniscus allows them to fit together in
a stable manner. The knee is (generally) a hinge joint that is made to flex
and extend. Where it becomes vulnerable to breakdown is when shearing and rotational
forces are placed through the joint, and the structures that aren't made to
disperse excessive rotation (meniscus, patellofemoral joint, IT band) are prone
to break down with repetitive rotation or shear.
In your case, being ACL deficient most likely accelerated the breakdown at
your knee, since the ACL is a primary restraint and the meniscus is a secondary
restraint. The knee alignment and mechanics are also slaves to the alignment
and mobility of your hip and foot. Excessive foot pronation can cause increased
rotation. Hip motion limitation either through tight musculature or degenerative
changes can prevent the hip form moving vertically and thus force the knee to
So, on to the use of wedges and cleat alignment. You must minimize rotation
and shear at your knee joint. To blindly place a valgus wedge into your cleat
is not necessarily the right answer, unless it decreases the rotation at your
knee. Since riding does not place huge compressive forces on the knee, I am
not as concerned about putting a valgus wedge under the knee as I am with making
sure that the joint has normal mechanics. I have seen clients who did just that
(excessive or inappropriate wedges) and created either more stress on their
knee or problems at their hip or foot.
I would first have a detailed evaluation of your hip and foot mobility and
mechanics and address that first so that the knee is not influenced by these
joints. Then I would have a skilled fit and pay particular attention that lateral
and rotational motions at the knee are minimized. This may entail using a wedge
either on the inside or outside, it depends on what minimizes the rotation.
The same is true for your heel alignment.
While this may seem like a generic answer, I can't emphasize enough that everyone
has different mechanics that must be treated individually to achieve resolution.
Do you recommend a recovery drink, such as Endurox, after every cycling workout,
or just longer, more intense ones?
Local cycling 'veterans' tell me they only use a recovery drink after longer,
(2-3 hour + plus rides). Anything under, say two hours, it's not necessary.
I'm a 43 year-old male doing mostly local and regional club rides and races.
Typically about 200 miles per week.
Scott Saifer replies:
You don't need any special recovery food or drink unless you exercise long
enough or hard enough to deplete your glycogen supply. If you use a small fraction
of your glycogen, normal eating and drinking will serve to replenish it just
fine before your ride the next day. If you run the glycogen supply most of the
way down, normal eating and drinking will not replenish it over night. That's
when you need to think about special foods and taking advantage of the glycogen
restoration window (the period of about an hour after a ride when your body
will make more of your consumed carbohydrate into glycogen and less into fat).
A one hour TT at lactate threshold will about deplete your glycogen supply,
but a three hour ride at a very easy pace with lots of breaks and lots of carbohydrate
consumed during the ride won't. How much you deplete your glycogen supply depends
on the difficulty of the ride for you. If the local pros go riding with you,
you'll need to worry a lot more than they will about recovery. Your buddies'
rule of not using a recovery drink after rides under two hours is a decent one
so long as the shorter rides are not hard. Throw in some 15-20 minutes jam sessions
or hard hill climbs and you'll do better with a recovery drink, even after a
90 minute ride.
It's funny you should mention Endurox. A recent bit of research compared the
recovery effects of Endurox, Gatorade and chocolate milk (Chocolate milk as
a post-exercise recovery aid, Karp et al, 2006), and guess what? Gatorade and
chocolate milk were equivalent and far superior to Endurox in their ability
to restore endurance cycling capacity after a draining ride.
Losing weight for races
I am a 27 year-old man, 268lb and I would like to loose some weight so I can
get into road racing. I'm just wondering what is the best way to go about it?
Scott Saifer replies:
Please see this
handout that I share with my clients who need to lose weight for racing.
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