Form & Fitness Q & A
Got a question about fitness, training, recovery from injury or a related subject?
Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 June 10, 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.
Affects of antibiotics (Minocycline) on performance
Objective measures for injury prevention and improving performance
New shoes lower seat height?
Bike position question
Racing in the heat
I was born with 'club foot' (congenital talipes equinovarus) syndrome in both
feet. From the tender age of 3 days until fairly recently I have had numerous
surgeries to help alleviate a variety of repercussions from the original problem,
in common with other correspondents.
I am ~5ft 10in in height but have only size 6-7 feet and I have little flexion
in either ankle. In addition to this, because my lower legs (and therefore feet)
'turn in', I suffered a serious left-knee injury as a youth when fast bowling
playing cricket (hey - I was good...). This resulted in a further number of
repair and corrective surgeries which has ultimately left me with a lower left
leg shorter than the right by some 2cm.
I have also had a couple of cartilage corrections in both knees. I have a damaged
lower spine due to a lifetime of heavy work moving things in the wrong way because
I cannot use my feet and knees in the 'correct' way. This has meant a lot of
lifting using my lower-back, rather than my upper thighs.
Today I am 52, weigh ~185 lbs (too much - I know...) and cycle for pure fun
on road bikes. I tend to do short 20-25 mile rides at speed, rather than slower,
longer spins. What I want to stress is that I ride with simple SPD cleats, nothing
high end and, strangely, I do not suffer from back pain after riding, or any
other form of leg pains and I would like to suggest that this may be due to
the way my legs and feet are working on my bikes.
My lower legs and feet tend to 'turn in' in a similar way to how the hands
naturally want to address a computer keyboard. Setting up the cleats in my shoes
so that my lower legs and feet line up alongside the front-back axis of the
bike is impossible and WOULD give me grief.
The simple cheap SPD system I use allows quite a degree of lateral movement
in both the setting up in the shoe (allowing a degree of 'turn-in when placed
over the pedal) and subsequently when pedalling (movement of the foot when locked
in on the pedal itself). This allows my legs/knees to move comfortably with
no strain. I am aware that it means that I am not using optimum power to weight
ratios through the accepted alignment of feet and knees but so be it if it means
no pain and continued cycling.
This also allows me to pedal with my knees close to the bar, rather than sticking
out. I do no more adjustment than this based on the 'if it ain't broke, don't
fix it' basis.
If other readers have any degree of club-foot problem then I hope this is of
use. Cheap SPDs may not be super-cool in a crowd but they work.
Dr Malc Inman
Scott Saifer replies:
I'm glad to hear that you have found a pedaling system and adjustment that
works for you. In fact your discovery that allowing the feet to take their
natural alignment works better than trying to force them parallel to the bike
is no surprise.
That is what I would recommend for virtually all cyclists, whether or not
they have congenital foot problems. I've had a few clients who need to have
one foot turned out more than the other to be comfortable and make power and
to be able to ride injury free. I like to say, "It may look goofy, but you
can't hear people laughing if they are far behind you."
I am a 50 something experienced and fit cyclist who rides hard (21 mph average)
about 25 mi. four times a week.
I rode a 50 mi. organized ride last weekend with 20 miles of the course uphill
and into a strong headwind. Now my right knee is sore. The pain is on the exterior
area around and below the knee/bone area.
I ride Sidi Genius shoes, Look RS 5.1 pedals and my saddle height is correct.
I noticed that my right cleat/pedal has more play in it than the left. I plan
to do much more climbing and don't want this condition to persist. Can you tell
me generally what causes pain in this area of the knee and if I need to, tighten
my pedal/cleat lateral play, realign my cleat, or perhaps consider some type
of shoe insert; - or other remedy?
Steve Hogg replies:
So I assume you don't routinely have problems of this type so it probably
means checking the simple things first. You say "my right cleat/pedal has
more play in it than the left". Both pedals have the same degree of rotational
movement so the likely cause of this feeling of "play" is either a damaged
pedal or a worn cleat. Do you habitually take your right foot out when you
stop at traffic lights, stop signs and so on?
If you do, you will probably find that your right cleat is more worn and
may have an incline to the angle that it contacts the pedal. The Look 5.1's
are a Delta pedal and like all similar Looks, the area of the cleat that contacts
the pedal is also the area that contacts the ground when stopping and walking.
As the cleat wears, its' vertical height is reduced and often the wear is
at an angle other than horizontal leaving you with a change in footplant angle
on the pedal; an unintended 'wedge' so to speak, as well as vertical slop
between pedal and cleat. The black rubber pad in the centre of the cleat is
an ineffective attempt to take up that slop as the cleat wears.
The other simple thing to check is cleat angle. If you foot moves around
more on that side, it may well be that the angle that your foot sits on the
pedal is not the one that it wants to. Ride again and alternately pedal and
coast, checking during each period of coasting that you have unrestricted
movement either side of where your foot naturally wants to sit.
Lastly, knee pain on a bike is rarely a 'knee' problem. It is usually a hip
/ lower back problem at one end or a foot / ankle problem at the other, sometimes
both, with the knee trapped in between.
Affects of antibiotics (Minocycline) on performance
I am a 34 year old Male Cat 3 road racer I'm 5'10 and weigh 161lbs. I have
heard conflicting reports on what types of antibiotics will affect performance.
I was hoping you could tell me if Minocycline will have a negative affect on
performance OR recovery.
Unfortunately I am cursed with acne issues all my life. 2 years ago I went
on accutane and that fixed me for a good while. I didn't like being on Accutane
but I was really done with looking like a teenager all the time. Recently it
came back and it seems with vengeance so my doctor said the only other choice
is Differan and Minocycline.
I did not want to go on Accutane during the season because of what it does
to the liver and I do remember being very tired. I am struggling this season
especially climbing late in a road race where previously I didn't. It may not
be the medication but I would like to rule it out.
Kelby Bethards replies:
You are correct about Accutane, it is a very potent medicine. However, with
the Differin and Minocycline, I do not think you should have any worries about
it changing your performance.
Be careful however, both of those medications will increase your skin's sensitivity
to the sun.
Objective measures for injury prevention and improving performance
I am a physiotherapist and a keen amateur cyclist. Locally, one of our bike
shop owners has started to sponsor a few riders and put a squad together for
regional and state races. I have discussed having an input with them (as a physiotherapist,
not a rider) in terms of screening for injury prevention and enhancing performance.
I would liken this to how throwing sports screen for ROM and strength in external
shoulder rotation or how swimmers are similarly tested for ROM and power in
internal shoulder rotation.
My question is: Can you suggest any objective measures that are commonly used
in cycling with regards to screening for injury prevention and enhancing performance.
My background as a physio is not one of working with elite level sporting people,
thus I am a bit limited in my ideas.
At present some measures we have spoken about include: slump tests/straight
leg raises (and other neurodynamic measures), balance, proprioception, hamstring
length, comparison of quads strength (dominant vs non dominant sides), spirometry
(specifically related to those with exercise induced asthma).
We are in the preliminary stages so nothing is set in stone yet. Thus I am
just chasing ideas at present. All thoughts would be appreciated.
Scott Saifer replies:
Pain while riding is a good, objective indicator of biomechanical problems
in a cyclist. You can take a perfectly healthy, flexible balanced athlete
and induce injuries by having him or her ride with a poorly fitted bike, so
I'd suggest looking at bike fit if you want to protect your riders from injury.
Here's a short and incomplete list of common injuries that result from poor
fit and the most common fit-related causes. Unfortunately you'd have to make
yourself a fitting expert or hire one to avoid them all:
Low back pain - Bars too low, or too far away or saddle too high
Pain below scapulae - Bars too wide
Pain in upper trapezius and back of neck - bars too low
Knee pain: frontal - inadequate extension on knee
Medial and lateral knee pain - cleat angle, need for arch support or wedging,
seat too high
Pain behind knee - excessive extension of that leg
Numb hands - too much weight on hands, seat to far forward
Numb genitals - seat nose too low (usually) or too high (sometimes)
New shoes lower seat height?
I recently upgraded my road cycling shoes from Shimano's R215 to a new pair
of custom footbed Rocket7s. I realize that the stack height of the rocket7s
"looks" lower than that of my previous Shimano's. I have not lowered my seat
height as of yet and honestly do not feel like I need to lower the saddle, but
recently I have been feeling a faint twinge in my knees so I am naturally a
bit worried. Any insight you can provide will be appreciated.
Steve Hogg replies:
Rocket 7's do have a thinner sole than Shimano 215's, They also have cleat
mounting holes that are further forward on the shoe than the Shimano's. That
may explain why you don't feel the need to drop the seat. The further forward
cleat position is allowing you to reach a bit further and counteracts the
shoe sole thickness difference. Cleat position plays a large part in muscle
enlistment patterns of the leg, particularly the lower leg.
If the twinge is behind the knee, you are probably dropping your heels more
than you used to mid stroke, in an attempt to get leverage because of the
altered cleat position. If the twinge is at the front or the rear of the knee,
it is likely that your foot is less stable on the pedal. Most of the time
I have positioned people with Rocket 7's, I have had to redrill the shoe sole
and fit new threaded eyelets. Rocket 7 will also do this on request if you
send them the shoes back.
The only way to know for sure whether this is the problem is to go back to
your old shoes, feel for and mark the centre of the ball of the foot and place
the shoes in the pedals while the bike is mounted in a trainer. Then level
the shoe between where the sole joins the upper in mid heel and where the
sole joins the upper underneath the deepest part of the forefoot (shoe soles
lowest point) and measure where the centre of the pedal axle is in relation
to the mark you have placed on your shoe. Repeat the same exercise with the
Rocket 7's. If for instance you have the cleats placed all the way back or
all the way forward on both shoes, the cleat position on the Shimano's is
likely to be about 10mm more rearward relative to foot in shoe.
The other scenario that occurs to me is that your custom foot beds may take
up enough vertical space inside the Rocket 7's to make the effective pedal
platform to sole of foot distance similar to what you had with the Shimano
215's. So your knee twinges may have as much to do with your altered foot
plant cant on the pedal as it does with an altered fore and aft cleat position.
Bike position question
Hi, I am writing with a question for Steve Hogg. I am a 27 year old male triathlete,
6'5'', 190 lbs. I got into triathlon eight years ago from a swimming and running
background. For a while everything with my cycling was going well. I was riding
either a road bike or both a road bike and triathlon bike, and my saddle height
was on the high side, probably between 26 and 32 degrees for the most part.
I was quite successful and more importantly I didn't develop any real injuries
or health issues.
But then in April of 2006 I lowered my saddle quite drastically in response
to a hamstring strain (which was caused by moving my saddle back too far too
soon and climbing a lot of hills) to a knee angle of about 36 degrees and a
saddle height of about 84-85 cm, from my fairly standard saddle height of the
past few years of about 88.5 cm. Finally I was around the saddle height that
those formulas recommend (approximately .89 of your inseam length). By the way,
I have long legs in proportion to my height - my inseam is about 94.5 cm - and
my lower legs are disproportionally long - I measured them at 57 cm from the
ground to the lateral protruding knee joint, 49 cm from the lateral malleolus.
My crank arms have always been 175 mm.
During the first 6-8 weeks after lowering the saddle drastically everything
was fine and I had a couple very successful races, but then in June of 2006
everything seemed to fall apart. I had only had one bike for training and racing,
and I had it set up in a forward position. My chief complaint at the time was
that my right peroneals were inflamed and not working well, I had trouble dorsiflexing
my feet on the bike, and things just didn't feel right, but in retrospect I
can now see that I had developed lower crossed syndrome. This pattern continued
itself through 2007 - I was only riding a time-trial bike and the saddle was
generally pretty low - somewhere between 34 and 38 degrees of knee flexion.
I developed lower back pain in 2007 that can be quite severe at times.
It wasn't until January of this year that I switched to a road bike position
exclusively (seat angle around 72 degrees) and discovered that I hadn't been
using my glutes much at all. Then I read some of Steve's writings about bike
fit. Between starting to feel my glutes come back, feeling my body improve from
a fairly severe case of lower crossed syndrome, and reading Steve's articles
on the subject, I was feeling pretty good about things.
Everything isn't better though - I still have lower back pain, and it's still
a bit of a struggle to get my glutes to fire and feel normal on the bike once
again. Recently my saddle height was effectively lowered about .5 to 1 cm (from
about 84-84.5 cm to 83-84 cm) when I started using a thick insert in my cycling
shoes, and my symptoms worsened.
My question is this: Is it possible that my long lower-leg length combined
with a low saddle height has been a cause of my lower crossed syndrome issues
and a hindrance to regaining full health after I've switched to a road bike
position? At the top of the pedal stroke, could my thighs be angled in such
a way that tightens and restricts my hip flexors and disallows my glutes from
working properly? If so, how can I determine my proper saddle height?
Steve Hogg replies:
Your story strikes a chord with me because I see so much of what you describe.
For a largish chunk of the tri population, steep seat tube angled tri bikes
cause the rider to develop muscle imbalances and postural changes that cause
problems over time. How long it takes for problems to arise varies massively
from individual to individual and some people are immune. Either through natural
selection or because they devote a lot of time to structural maintenance.
You provide a lot of info about included knee angles and seat height relative
to inseam length but frankly, I don't think like that as I think it causes
athletes and bike fitters to arrive at a pre determined result rather than
an individually satisfactory result.
A few key points:
1. All other things being equal (which they never are anyway), a rider with
a proportionally long lower leg will need to sit higher than a rider with
a proportionally shorter lower leg. So the short answer to your question is
a resounding yes!
2. As first order of business, I would find a good structural health professional
and establish just what your structural state of play is at the moment and
devise a regime to improve or resolve any issues identified. A "good structural
health professional" is a physio, chiro, osteopath, sports doc, Pilates instructor
or whatever, who is thorough, knowledgeable and shows a genuine interest in
you and your problems. It is a big help if they are a cyclist or triathlete,
treat a cycling or tri clientele or who have a serious interest in either
3. As to seat height; have a look at these links: cleat
position & the ball
of the foot.
Position your cleats accordingly. As you are a tall, long legged and probably
lean guy, it wouldn't hurt to have 2 - 3mm more foot over the pedal than those
general recommendations suggest. Once you have done that, perform repeats
up a moderate hill a kilometre or so long in a gear that is one tooth smaller
(higher gear) than you would normally ride that hill. What you are looking
for is a sense of 'flow' through the bottom of the stroke. Don't pull up hard
immediately after bottom dead centre as many riders do, that only tightens
the hip flexors more and yours are already too tight. You need to feel as
though you are reaching through the bottom of the stroke smoothly with a bit
to spare. Whatever seat height allows you to do that without causing other
problems is a good seat height for you. What ever included knee angle or relationship
of inseam to seat height that leaves you with isn't relevant other than in
an individual sense. Don't bother even working those relationships out; it
only gives them credence they don't deserve.
4. If you get tempted to try forward position again in the future, don't
ride that type of position exclusively. Ride it in the lead up to races. The
rest of the time use a 'normal' bike.
5. Give structural improvement the highest priority in your training. Triathlon
involve 5 types of training, The order of priority should be:
Sleeping and recovery
Stretching and structural strengthening
4. & 5. Are running, riding, swimming in any relative order you prefer.
That doesn't mean that you need to spend more time stretching or performing
core exercises than running, riding and swimming. It does mean that structural
stuff should occupy about 20% of your available training time and that if
time pressures force you to choose between a structural session on one hand
and a swim, bike or run on the other, the structural stuff should win every
time. When this type of attitude is adopted, I see multisport athletes perform
PB's on less specific training because they function better, tend not to get
injured and show up at races 95% fit and 105% fresh instead of the other way
6. Stop listening to advice regarding position that involves the type of
formula stuff you have quoted. Listen to your body instead.
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. Over the past month or so I've tried
to read everything you've written and I'm a big fan of your principles. Don't
worry; I'm never going back to a forward-positioned bike again. I've been finding
that I have already have more power in the slack position and there's a greater
potential. Also, whatever body issues I still have, I have good lower back flexibility
and can get just as low in this position.
I have moved my cleats as far back as they will go recently and I'm very pleased
with the change. Actually I have ordered the Biomac arch-positioned shoes and
I'm waiting for them to arrive. Do you think offhand that I would be a good
candidate for them? What would be the caveats?
I have picked up my yoga and stretching recently and I will definitely get
an appointment with a good structural health care professional ASAP to see where
things are at. I will also do the cycling test you suggested to help find the
appropriate saddle height.
Steve Hogg replies:
Don't abuse that "good lower back flexibility" by flexing your lumbar spine
too much to reach low to the bars. For a low, extended position, the bend
should come mainly from the hips, not from the lumbar spine. Have a look at
this post of Dave Fleckensteins.
As a guide to bar height, you want the greatest possible extension of the
spine that is consistent with comfort and that is COMFORT in capitals. You
will perform better over time with a slightly higher torso position and good
thoracic extension than you will do with slightly lower bars and increased
Re Biomacs and midfoot? Great idea for triathletes. The shoes weigh very
little (don't run in them in transition) and once you get the hang of midfoot
you will just get off the bike and run freely immediately because the calves
haven't been hammered on the bike. Once you are happy with your seat height
and bar height with conventional shoes, you will need to drop your seat 35
- 40 mm with the Biomacs and midfoot cleat position. Drop your bars half that
amount only as you will find that quads and hamstrings have to work harder
(but cope well) and that greater the hamstring enlistment limits how low the
bars can be. Overall you will be more aero anyway because you will be lower
overall and your bike will handle better down hills and in corners because
of the lowered centre of gravity.
The one trap with midfoot that it is very easy to fall into is to not lower
the seat enough. I would suggest 40mm drop in seat height as a start and ease
into it. If your hamstrings play up, the seat is usually too high. Look in
the '04 archives for the 'balance test' and reassess your seat setback after
you go midfoot. You will find that you can push a bigger gear with ease but
don't fall into the habit of doing that constantly early on just because you
can. Spend a month or 6 weeks refining your position with midfoot and keeping
cadence moderately high before you hammer yourself.
Racing in the heat
I'm writing to ask about riding and racing in the heat. In particular on prepping
for a scorching race day. I hydrate all week long with water and Gatorade. I
put electrolyte tabs in my water bottles during training rides along with taking
tablets with the water I drink throughout the day.
I also work in doors in a/c through out the day. Is there anything that I can
do to help improve my situation and keep from bonking in races from heat exhaustion?
Scott Saifer replies:
It sounds like you've got the hydration and electrolytes dialled. I can think
of four more things you can do right off to help with racing in the heat.
They are all important. Each could be the difference between bonking and winning
for someone who is otherwise strong enough to win.
1. Generous application of sunscreen. Sunburn is exhausting in itself.
2. Carry enough water to keep dousing yourself during the race. Water on
you skin is much more effective than water in your belly at keeping you cool.
Dribble some water through your helmet and also on your jersey and shorts.
Be sure to remember which bottle is plain water and which is exercise drink
3. Most importantly - Adopt a heat-acclimatization plan: People who are regularly
exposed to heat end up with a higher plasma volume than the same people when
they live in the cold. More plasma volume means more water that can be sweated
out before you bonk from dehydration. It also means you can maintain blood
pressure when sending blood to your skin for cooling of your core and also
sending blood to the working muscles, so you can generate more power on hot
days. In order to achieve that adjustment, you need to be warm pretty much
all the time. You don't want to be baking and pouring sweat all the time,
but turn that a/c warm enough that you are sweating just a little.
If the a/c is set by the needs of other people, you'll need to bundle up.
Wear a few more garments than whatever makes you really comfortable. Add a
wool hat and long sleeves when you'd be comfortable in short sleeves. Add
a sweater when you'd be comfortable in a long sleeve shirt. If you are sweating
just a little pretty much all the time, your body will adjust to heat. The
day before a race, go back to the a/c. You won't loose your heat adjustment
that quickly, but you will be comfortable and recover better.
4. Adjust your power expectations. In a longer TT on a very hot day or in
a MTB race you'll make about 5-10% less power on average than on a pleasant
day. Going off in a TT or MTB race at your normal speed will make you blow
up and lose time. Taking off a little slower will leave you strong for the
whole race. In a road race or criterium, recognize that your sustainable power,
and everyone else's will be down a bit and plan your strategy accordingly.
Other Cyclingnews Form & Fitness articles