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 February 11, 2009
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.
Jon Heidemann (www.peaktopeaktraining.com)
is a USAC Elite Certified cycling coach with a BA in Health Sciences from
the University of Wyoming. The 2001 Masters National Road Champion has
competed at the Elite level nationally and internationally for over 14
years. As co-owner of Peak to Peak Training Systems, Jon has helped athletes
of all ages earn over 84 podium medals at National & World Championship
events during the past 8 years.
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. Clients range from recreational riders and riders with
disabilities to World and National champions.
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.
Steve Owens (www.coloradopremiertraining.com)
is a USA Cycling certified coach, exercise physiologist and owner of Colorado
Premier Training. Steve has worked with both the United States Olympic
Committee and Guatemalan Olympic Committee as an Exercise Physiologist.
He holds a B.S. in Exercise & Sports Science and currently works with
multiple national champions, professionals and World Cup level cyclists.
Through his highly customized online training format, Steve and his handpicked
team of coaches at Colorado Premier Training work with cyclists and multisport
athletes around the world.
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.
Michael Smartt (www.wholeathlete.com)
is an Associate Coach with Whole Athlete. He holds a Masters degree
in exercise physiology, is a USA Cycling Level I (Elite) Coach and is
certified by the NSCA (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist).
Michael has more than 10 years competitive experience, primarily on the
road, but also in cross and mountain biking. He is currently focused on
coaching road cyclists from Jr. to elite levels, but also advises triathletes
and Paralympians. Michael is a strong advocate of training with power
and has over 5 years experience with the use and analysis of power meters.
Michael also spent the 2007 season as the Team Coach for the Value Act
Capital Women's Cycling Team.
Earl Zimmermann (www.wenzelcoaching.com)
has over 12 years of racing experience and is a USA Cycling Level II Coach.
He brings a wealth of personal competitive experience to his clients.
He coaches athletes from beginner to elite in various disciplines including
road and track cycling, running and triathlon.
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.
The right bars
Pressure on shoulders
Bike frame sizing
Mid-foot cleat positioning
The right bars
I have read nearly every article you have written on the internet. I also read
the form and fitness section on Cyclingnews as they come out.
Over the past four months I have adopted your ideas into my road bike fit.
I pretty much did it all on my own and feel pretty confident in my application
of your guidelines. I found that I had to make the adjustments over a long period
of time in order to take advantage of maximising the limits. I moved to this
much too quickly and it caused me problems. All this said, I am down to what
I hope will be my last hurdle. My last challenge is to get myself into the correct
I am 5'9" riding a 54cm Cervelo Soloist. I am currently using a 90mm stem.
I have not been able to ride in the drops comfortably since I started racing
in 1993. I am using a Deda Newton deep drop bar with some sort of anatomic bend.
I am able to pass the balance test of having my hands next to the drops; however,
I am still not comfortable in the drops. I went to a 70mm stem and could ride
in the drops comfortably; however, I lost my leverage at the hoods on steep
hills because the stem is so short. so I am back to the 90mm stem.
If I raise the front end then I will be sitting way too high due to the fact
that I am not very limbre. I am one of those guys who can only lean over and
touch my shins [two brothers and dad are the same way]. That said, I am very
comfortable on the hoods. I read where you are partial to the FSA compact [shallow]
handlebars. The Deda Newton reach is 86mm and the drop is 142mm. If I go to
one of the compact FSA bars the reach is 78-80mm with a drop of 125mm and a
four-degree outward bend.
I believe I would be much more comfortable with a shallow set up however I
am concerned that I will have wrist interference or a leverage problem during
a sprint. I pack a strong sprint and am not willing to sacrifice any of my sprint
for comfort. FSA allows me to stay near my current reach of 86mm. If there is
another bar to consider please elaborate. Any thoughts? The information you
provide the public is invaluable. Thanks for any help you can provide.
Kelby Bethards replies:
This isn't exactly up my alley. Well, maybe it is, I don't know. I had been
looking for a short shallow bar for a while. Then I decided to try FSA compacts
you speak of. They are nice bars. They alleviate the wrist interference problem,
for me at least, by having the bend into the drops start a little bit earlier,
on the transition from tops to drops, than a bar with a "classic" bend.
These bars do also have the four-degree outward bend. Now, that being said,
I have also just obtained a pair of 3T Ergonova carbon bars. These bars are
almost the same bend as the FSA compacts but they do not have the four-degree
out bend. But they do seem to have the bend also start early on the tops so
the wrist doesn't interfere with the tops, while your hands are on the drops.
BUT, the sizing is a bit odd. I use a 42 normally. I have a 42 3T bar. But
in the FSA (size 44), the bars are 42 at the hoods and 44 on the very bottom.
Steve Hogg replies:
Just to add to Kelby's insightful comments...
Another bar that you should consider is the 3T Ergosum. The drop is 128mm,
so significantly shallower than your Deda Anatomic but has the same reach
at 86mm. With that bar, as well as the two that Kelby mentioned, you may need
to use a longer stem. The Dedas have a fixed, semi vertical grip section with
a sharp curve at the bottom where the bar projects rearwards. The semi vertical
grip section is forces your hand into the same semi-vertical orientation to
This in turn causes you into the choice of flexing the elbow more which drags
your upper body lower (if you aren't particularly flexible this is usually
accomplished by flexing the thoracic spine which limits reach) OR bending
your wrist uncomfortably to maintain a higher torso position The semi vertical
hand position is fine for driving in the drops while seated but poor for off
the seat sprinting where the hand orientation needs to be closer to horizontal
than the Dedas comfortably allow UNLESS you grip the sharp curve which doesn't
fill the palm and is uncomfortable unless the curve is filled in with something
under the tape.
The three bars mentioned project forward more or less horizontally allowing
a good brake hood position with concurrent easy reach to the brakes from the
drops while the more or less single radius bend of the drops allows a more
comfortable grip angle on the bar and one that works fine for sprinting. That
curve means that the hand grip on bar is much closer to horizontal than the
Deda's which in turn means that your torso shouldn't have to flex as much
to comfortably reach them. This may allow more thoracic extension comfortably
and allow you to reach further out.
Can you explain the physical effects of donating blood on a person who regularly
trains & races approx 400km per week? Including what are the immediate effects,
how long it may take to recover & what can be done to assist in recovery? Thank
Wollongong, NSW, Australia
Scott Saifer replies:
It's great that you are considering donating blood. According to the American
Red Cross, each unit (1/2 litre or pint) of donated blood can save up to three
lives and yet less than five percent of people ever donate and less than three
percent ever donate two or more times. What else can you do where you are
guaranteed to be in the top five percent just for entering? (That was really
for the other guys who hadn't been thinking about donating).
In the hours after a donation your blood volume will be low with a normal
hematocrit. Lowered blood volume means impaired exercise ability because lowered
blood volume means less blood returning to and filling the heart, reducing
stroke volume. It also means reduced blood pressure and a tendency to be light-headed
when standing up which is not great for riding a bike.
Over the next couple of days your body will replace the blood volume so the
low-blood pressure period passes, but the volume is made up with plasma (blood
fluid) rather than the normal mix of plasma and blood cells, so your blood
will be dilute at that point. That is, you're hematocrit will be low and your
performance will be anaemic even though pressure will be normal.
Low hematocrit in the days after a donation will trigger your kidneys to
release erythropoetin (EPO) which in turn tells your bone marrow to crank
out lots of new red cells. It takes about seven days for a new red cell to
develop and be released into the blood once it starts developing, so hematocrit
begins to rise again about a week after you make a donation.
Research on exercise says that exercise performance will be back to normal
about 2-3 weeks after a donation but if you are a competitive athlete, you
need to think about this a little differently. Your ability to exercise will
be normal after three weeks, but you won't have been able to train normally
in the intervening three weeks, so the three weeks of low hematocrit are like
an illness and will require a month or more of normal exercise to fully rebuild.
Full recovery also requires that you have good iron stores beforehand.
I suggest that bike racers donate only once per year and that they do so
early in their rest period so that they can train normally again after the
rest period. I know that donation enthusiasts might be mad at me for saying
that certain people should only donate once a year, so I'll balance that by
saying that all bike racers should donate. The life you save might be your
own or that of a fellow rider since we do use up our share of the blood supply
I am a 45-year-old touring cyclist who has been managing structural problems
for close on 20 years. For the last four years an excellent chiropractor who
is also a cyclist has begun to make me understand why I was never destined to
wear the maillot jeune. A twisted pelvis, the right side is rotated forward
and inwards and the left side is rotated backwards, a previously fractured L4
vertebrae (of which I was completely unaware) and spondylosis. As a consequence,
my positional tweaks in search of comfort have had to be minor and gradual.
Also finances to buy new equipment plays a part!
However I have now got a new saddle, Specialized Avator Gel and as Steve Hogg
has suggested this firmer saddle has allowed me to get some feedback from my
pelvic area. On the first ride with the new saddle, initially only my right
ischia (sit bone) was noticeable on the saddle. After a couple of hours my left
SIJ flared up so I lowered the saddle a few mm and then I could also feel my
left ischia on the saddle. As I only had another hour or so of the ride left,
I couldn't gauge the long term benefit of this adjustment but the left SIJ problem
appeared to lessen.
My question is - should I add to the existing 3mm paper shim in my left shoe
(I currently use clips and straps) to even out my pelvis or should I build up
the left hand side of the new pristine saddle! Thanks.
Ellesmere Port, UK
Steve Hogg replies:
What you have told me strongly implies that you are either dropping the right
hip, sitting with the right hip forward or both. If as most people do, you
protect the right side and sacrifice the left, sitting as you do will cause
the left leg to reach further, put posterior pressure on the left sacro iliac
joint and challenge the plane of movement of the left leg. Here's a check
* Firstly have an x-ray or MRI and determine whether there is a measurable
leg length discrepancy or not. I see a lot of people with the problems you
describe and often a leg length discrepancy ( and not always a substantial
one either) is part of the picture. The more knowledge you have, the more
likely you are to resolve the problem permanently or semi permanently.
* I would first attempt to fit a shim under the right cleat as that is the
hip you are dropping. If you left leg feels more fluent and / or your left
sacro iliac joint gains relief then you know that a shim under the right foot
has helped. If it does help, it means that you will not be dropping or rotating
the right hip forward as much as you were and you should experiment with the
thickness of the shim to find out what works best. Even if there is no measurable
leg length difference, a cleat shim can work wonders if it gives short or
medium term relief until you become more functionally symmetrical. If this
happens you can reduce or remove the shim.
* If the shim under the right foot doesn't work, that means that you are jammed
up in the right hip and lower back (which is very likely) which then means
that you need to shim up the left cleat to gain short / medium term relief
and allow the left leg to reach the bottom of the pedal stroke fluently.
* Get hold of some BFS In Shoe wedges and experiment..Make sure that they
are the BFS ones and not the Specialized as I have major reservations about
the efficacy of the Specialized versions. Time and again I find that long
term pelvic asymmetries are eat least in part due to uncorrected foot plant
issues both walking and riding.Start by experimenting with the right shoe
first. In many cases fitting an appropriate number of wedges won't necessarily
resolve the issue but it will remove one stressor and allow the issues to
be treated and resolved more quickly. To the same end, see a good podiatrist
and see whether you are candidate for orthoses in your walking shoes
* Do you have any visual issues. A wandering or weak eye on the right side,
dyslexia or anything similar?. if you do it is worth booking some time with
a behavioural optometrist but get him/her to speak with your chiro as well.
* Lastly, it is worth checking out whether you have any food allergies or
digestive issues and eat plenty of fibre and drink plenty of water. Sometimes
these things can be all or part of the reason for right sided hip/pelvis/lower
* Sorry, one other thing occurs to me. You mention you use clips and straps
on your pedals. Are they used in conjunction with cleated cycling shoes or
walking/running shoes? If the latter, the bulk of running shoes as well as
the dearth of a decent range of toe clip sizes makes it very unlikely that
you have enough foot over the pedal. If this is the case, it can only add
to and worsen he general picture of on bike instability that you have described.
I'm a 54-year-old male who stands at 178cm and weighs 76kg. I maintain most
of my fitness by riding a stationary bike at the gym. I have always been reasonably
fit, having done competitive judo and triathlons when I was younger. Since those
early days I have frequented the gym 2-3 times a week. My preferred exercise
has been spin classes and the stationary bike.
Last year I was in the south of France and Mont Ventoux beckoned. Made it to
the top but painfully so (oh and kudos to the one legged man who passed me!).
This experience made me realise that I could do more for my fitness level. Presently,
I pedal for usually one hour, maintaining an average power output of 170 - 180
watts, with an average heart rate of 162-163 bpm.
Keeping the heart rate at this level is comfortable and if I have any less,
it does not feel like I am working out. I usually max out at about 178 bpm and
do five 10-second sprints at 450 watts. I'd like to increase my power output
to 200 watts for an hour but some of the programs I have seen suggest heart
rates that are minimal and I seem to be don't seem to be getting a workout.
The heart rate I am pedalling at (average 162 bpm) is, if I am doing the calculations
right, 91 percent. This is too high according to most programs that I have seen.
Am I understanding the heart rate theory or am I doing something wrong? Given
my age and present fitness what can I do to reach my goal of 200 watts for an
hour through primarily the gym, as I am usually on time constraints?
PS - Lance Armstrong's comeback should be celebrated and analysed from the
age perspective as not too long ago 37 would have been seen as way too old.
Scott Saifer replies:
Your feeling that the zone that is called the "right" zone is too easy is
common, but incorrect. To increase aerobic power you need to do aerobic training,
and the "real workout" feeling you are talking about generally kicks in when
one is on the edge of being anaerobic. When I have people ride strictly below
80 percent of maximum heart rate, they feel they aren't working out for a
few weeks, but by the end of three weeks their speed and power in that zone
are beginning to rise.
If they've been chronically overtraining, as it sounds like you have, by
the end of six weeks they are generally averaging higher speeds for full rides
done below 80 percent of maximum than they were previously riding as hard
as they could. Base training takes some commitment but really pays off.
Pressure on shoulders
Hello, I am a 26-year-old road race rider who used to be a cat 1. I haven't
raced in three years and have recently returned to the sport that I love about
a year ago. For the first five months after initially returning I just rode
for fun, getting back into the swing of riding my bike regularly. I caught the
bug badly again and began training properly in September '08 with a view to
competing in 2009. Over the winter I have mainly been doing tempo sort of workouts
of roughly two hours in duration but will be bringing in some higher intensity
training around March.
I am 6'4" tall and currently weigh in the region of 94kg.
My question really is to Steve Hogg and it is one I'm sure he has answered
many times. Basically when I'm riding I have far too much weight on my hands
and consequently my triceps really begin to ache after only about 15-20 minutes
or so. This is to the extent that when I finish my rides they are so fatigued
they feel like pulsating rocks. I didn't used to have this problem when I was
racing but back then I was a comparatively paltry 76kg in relation to my current
I'm pretty sure that this weight gain is the main root of the problem but please
understand that in the years I wasn't cycling I hit the gym pretty hard and
most of the weight gain is down to increased muscle mass, especially in the
I have been through the archives of this fitness section and have found many
of Steve's replies to similar problems and have adjusted my bike fit in all
the ways that he suggests to stop this sort of problem. I have moved the saddle
back as far as I can (I have an FSA 32.5mm set back post with a Selle SMP saddle
giving me a maximum nose of saddle behind bottom bracket measurement of about
145mm), I have moved my cleats back on my shoes, I have raised the bars, shortened
the reach but all to no avail and I still seem to get the same ache.
This aching does seem less when I'm pushing the power more and seems more intense
if for example I'm doing an easy recovery ride.
Is it a position issue? Do you have any suggestions on this? Is it because
my back is too weak to support my heavier body? Are there any exercises you
particularly recommend to combat this?
Any help would be very much appreciated - I'm really puzzled by this and its
taking a bit of the enjoyment out of the sport that I love. Many thanks.
Steve Hogg replies:
At 145mm behind the bottom bracket it is up there, which makes it unlikely
that your seat isn't far enough back. Statistically, it's likely that it may
be too far back. The culprit is likely to be lack of ability to stabilise
yourself easily. I've noticed that a lot of cyclists who hit the gym at some
stage improve their muscular strength but not their typically poor ability
to stabilise themselves on a bike. So greater mass and strength puts greater
stress on their unimproved poor stability patterns. If they don't possess
the requisite dynamic core strength, the only mechanism left is to use the
shoulder complex and arms and this may be your problem.
Any tendency to this can be heightened by
* Seat height that is too high
* Seat setback that is too great or too little
* Poor foot cant on pedal
* Bar position that is too low, too short or too long.
Each of those things or any combination of them poses a challenge to your
stability. Your question is a bit short on detail, although it is probably
worth enlisting professional help, but I don't know enough about the UK to
know where to point you with one possible exception. There is an Aussie physiotherapist
resident in the UK named Joanne Elphinston who has written a terrific book
named Stability, Sport and Performance Movement. It is the most coherent,
accessible and largely jargon-free text on this subject that I've seen.
It only became available in English last year, having been published in Swedish
some time before. A client of mine who knows her put me on to it recently.
This book is a must read for anyone who is serious about reaching their athletic
potential. I would suggest buying the book and if what you learn doesn't help,
contact Joanne Elphinston. I just did a google search and her contact details
are easy to find.
Bike frame sizing
I am a 53-year-old male who rides for fitness and recreation. My question is
regarding how a different size frame might affect my bike fit.
I have a size 54 Specialized Roubaix. It has a 548mm top tube length and a
165mm head tube length. I had a fitting when I bought it, and after setting
saddle height and setback, they swapped out the six degree, 100mm stem for a
6 degree 110mm stem.
After one season and 2500 miles, I have been very pleased with the bike and
the fitting. I would like a second bike with a little quicker handling, and
am interested in a Specialized Tarmac. A size 54 Tarmac also has a 548mm top
tube length but a shorter 145mm head tube length. The bike shop recommends getting
a size 56 Tarmac, with a 565mm top tube length but a taller 170mm head tube
Their logic is that I won't need too many spacers or too steep an angle on
the stem (carbon steerer) to get the same handlebar height, and can adjust by
using a shorter (100mm) stem to adjust the reach. While the measurements may
work out the same, will this affect the handling of bike versus getting a size
Steve Hogg replies:
There is a bit more to your question than what you outline. In effect you
want to know what the implications for steering stability are if you duplicate
your existing position on a 54cm Roubaix on either option of a 54 Tarmac or
a 56 Tarmac as you would prefer a quicker feel to the steering.
I had a look at the Specialized site and as they are one of the minority
of manufacturers that offers a comprehensive frame geometry table, the task
Seat Tube Angle
Head Tube Angle
Both sizes of Tarmac will steer more quickly than your Roubaix because each
has slightly less trail, slightly higher bottom bracket drop and shorter front
and rear centres. Front and rear centres aside, the the changes in any single
parameter are small when compared to the Roubaix but they will all add up
to a quicker feel. The difference in front and rear centres is substantial
but not 'odd' in any way and that will make the bike easier again to change
So both sizes will achieve your stated aim and essentially you want to know
the swings and roundabouts of a 100mm stem with a 986 mm front centre versus
a 110 mm stem versus a 978 front centre. The answer is not much.
The shorter stem on the larger size will have a fractionally quicker tendency
to change direction because a given degree of lateral movement of the bars
will produce a greater amount of degrees of change in direction at the steering
axis BUT this will be muted to some degree by the longer front centre. What
that means is that my advice is to go with your bike shops recommendation
and use the shorter stem for a more aesthetically pleasing result in terms
of a lesser head set spacer stack.
The other thing you can do is to take up or increase your stretching training.
That way a 110mm stem on the 56cm will be achievable over time.
Mid-foot cleat positioning
I've just bought a new Shimano shoes and Look KEO pedals so I can alternate
between my Sidis with Speedplays [that have baseplate extenders]. My question
about the Look pedals are; do they offer cleats that allows me to put my pedal
spindle at mid-foot position as you suggest or should I look for a brand of
shoes that has an option for mid-foot cleat pos. [if there's one] or am I stuck
with the Speedplays? I did a 35-mile ride with the Look pedals with the cleats
all the way to the back just to gave it a try [seatpost adjusted of course]
but it killed me halfway through the ride [quads were toasted]. Thanks in advance
for any advice.
Steve Hogg replies:
There is no adaptor that I am aware of that will allow you to mount a Keo
cleat (or any other type of cleat for that matter) in a true mid-foot position
on a conventional shoe with cleat mounting holes positioned on the underside
of the forefoot. If you want to try mid-foot you will need a pair of Biomac
shoes that are designed for this cleat position. Alternately, you can contact
any of the custom shoe manufacturers and see what they can offer you.
It is far easier to use Speedplays with the curved inserts removed from the
underside of the baseplate adaptor that with other cleat and pedal systems
because if leaves a flat surface. Other cleats are concave on their underside
and this makes it harder to mate the cleat with the curve of the sole under
the arch of the foot with conventional shoes.
Regarding the tired quads; I don't know what you have or haven't done but
assuming a mid-size Sidi shoe of 43-45 with Keo cleats all the way back, you
probably still have to find another 40-45 mm of rearward cleat movement to
have a true mid-foot cleat position. If you assumed that you had achieved
that and lowered the seat the 30-50 mm that I suggest with mid-foot cleat
position, that might explain the quad tiredness as if that's the case, your
seat is far too low.