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Form & Fitness Q & A
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Fitness questions and answers for January 23, 2008
The Cyclingnews form & fitness panel
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Detecting blood doping
Cycling with celiac disease
Detecting blood doping
I have a question regarding blood doping that I was hoping you could answer.
If riders dope by extracting and storing their own blood, to be used at a later
date in competition to boost oxygen carrying capacity to the muscles, how can
this be detected? I understand that the testing procedures can pick up someone
else's blood, as with Vino, but what if he had used his own blood? Will the
new 'biological passport' that's been talked up at the moment be able to be
used to detect this form of doping?
I have read that riders can have up to a 30% advantage with the extra blood
in their system - is this true?
Scott Saifer replies:
I'm not an expert on this but here's my very rough understanding. Red blood
cells develop signs of age as they circulate. One sign I remember is that bits
of cell membrane get shredded off and the remaining membrane then re-closes.
That means that the initially floppy disk becomes gradually more spherical and
less flexible. This particular sign is not so important as the fact that the
ages of the cells in a sample can be measured.
Now, when a rider makes a donation (has blood taken out), the kidneys respond
to the decreased oxygen carrying capacity of the remaining blood by producing
a burst of EPO which triggers a burst of red-cell production in the bone marrow.
Some time later, a bunch of new red cells appear in the blood, an excess of
cells of exactly the same age. That's not how the rider gets in trouble of course
since donating blood is legal.
When the cells are put back in, the kidneys recognize that oxygen carrying
capacity is more than adequate and shut down EPO release. The marrow stops making
new red cells for a while, with the result that there will be an absence of
new cells of a particular age.
The method of identifying riders who have doped with their own blood, as I
understand it, involves looking for these odd spikes and valleys in the distribution
or red-cell ages. I'm not sure what a 30% advantage looks like, but if the measure
is VO2-max or power at lactate threshold, 30% sounds too high to me.
Cycling with celiac disease
I'm an avid cyclist, male, 38years old. I compete in several races (MTB and
road) every year, and have another 24 hour MTB race coming up soon. I was recently
diagnosed with celiac disease, although I have no outward symptoms. Blood work
shows that I have been anaemic and low iron/ferritin, with decreased bone density.
My question is: how will this affect my performance during the 24 hour races
if I can't eat pastas or bread? There are alternatives out there, but will they
have the same desired effect as getting carbohydrates from pasta and bread?
I usually use a lot of Hammer mixes and gels during the race and was pleased
to find they contain no gluten. Will this be enough?
Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Scott Saifer replies:
It is possible to race really well while avoiding the gluten-containing items
that trigger the celiac disease. It can take some time to figure out foods that
work for you, but there are plenty of choices. As you noted, Hammer products
are safe for you, but you don't have to rely on highly refined industrial foods
at all. I don't have celiac but often use a lot of potatoes and yams as training
and racing food.
The bigger and more immediate question is how you can perform with anaemia.
That will take some time to correct, and you can't really perform well until
your hematocrit is at least normal.
I'm a 32 year-old female, height 160cm, weight 57kg. I'm a mountain biker and
also commute to work, 17km each way, four days a week. In the last two weeks
I have noticed a considerable difference in my riding. I am now finding that
I am struggling on my commute.
I have a 50km race coming up and am need to continue training. Can you please
advise how to combat cycling fatigue, yet continue with training or is it a
matter of rest? I have just started differing my lengths on my commute to change
Scott Saifer replies:
There are several sources of fatigue and different appropriate treatments.
You can get yourself fatigued by riding too hard, too much of the time. A heart
rate monitor is handy for preventing this. A standard prescription would be
to keep your heart rate under 70% of your individually determined maximum until
the fatigue clears (220-age and other formulas are not accurate enough to be
useful for competitive athletes) and then keep your heart rate under 80% of
maximum on all but one or two days per week.
You can get fatigued by chronically under-eating carbohydrate or calories.
This is particularly common in riders who are currently getting stronger as
calorific needs increase with exercise power output. Make a point of eating
about 60g of carbohydrate per hour of riding, divided in 3-4 chunks, one every
15-20 minutes. Have a carbohydrate rich snack immediately after any ride. If
you are concerned about daily calorie consumption, cut them out elsewhere in
your day, but not on the bike or just after riding.
There are many other causes of fatigue that are relatively easy to cure: Under
eating salt can leave people feeling worn out and also cramping. Cyclists who
train in sweaty climates need a lot of salt, like a good shake on most every
meal (if you have personal or family history of high blood pressure, check with
your doctor first). Under sleeping leaves you tired of course, and athletes
usually need a bit more sleep, perhaps an hour per day, than the non-athletes
they used to be. If none of these suggestions seem to match your situation,
please write again.
I have a question about predicting potential from an anaerobic threshold test.
I recently did a test using the Conconi method.
The results were that my threshold is 285 Watts at 180 bpm with max hear rate
at 197. I am 33 years old, 5'11" and in race season about 175 lbs looking
to be around 170 lbs for this season. I have been riding road for three years
and last season was my first full season racing.
I was wondering if there is a way to figure out your potential from a test?
I have heard that having a fairly high heart rate means you have a small heart
or "small engine". I tend to be a sprinter type but really enjoy time
trials and would like to do well at them. Does the fact that I have a fairly
high heart rate mean time trials are probably not going to be a strength?
Scott Saifer replies:
Your heart rate at the Conconi measured AT by itself tells you nothing at all
about your potential as a bike racer. Two riders with ATs of 140 and 190 bpm
could have identical competitive ability in identical races. Your power at AT,
assuming you are well trained currently, tells you a lot more. Your power of
258 is not particularly high for someone your size. Unless you can boost that
a good bit, time trials are not going to be a strength
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