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Form & Fitness Q & A

Got a question about fitness, training, recovery from injury or a related subject? Drop us a line at Please include as much information about yourself as possible, including your age, sex, and type of racing or riding.

The Cyclingnews form & fitness panel

Carrie Cheadle, MA ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 any geography.

David Fleckenstein, MPT ( 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 ( 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 other end.

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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 a coach.

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.

Fitness questions and answers for March 12, 2003

Training for 40km TT
Testing your own haematocrit

Testing your own haematocrit

Is it possible to measure the haematocrit level yourself? I have been diagnosed with an iron deficiency, which apparently drains the haematocrit level. I would therefore like to keep a regular eye on it.

Henrik M. Ronnow
Princeton, NJ, USA

Kim Morrow replies

Although an individual may monitor their own blood glucose levels, I've never heard of self-testing for haematocrit. I'd encourage you to find a doctor to help you with this issue. However, let me make a few comments regarding haematocrit that may be of help to you.

As you may know, your haematocrit percentage refers to the percentage of your blood composed of red blood cells. The remaining percentage is blood plasma. So, if you had a haematocrit of 40 percent, this would mean that 40 percent of your blood is composed of red blood cells and 60 percent is plasma.

Haematocrit levels vary between males and females, and between individual athletes. For example, some athletes may tend to have unusually high haematocrit levels (that is above 50 percent), while others may naturally have lower levels. The key is to get a baseline measurement for YOU, and then assess your levels over time. The off-season is a great time to do blood work. Dehydration will affect your haematocrit percentage (making it higher), so try to repeat your blood tests when you are adequately hydrated.

Finally, you may also consider having your serum ferritin levels checked. This will give you a good indicator of your iron storage, which is essential in the production of hemoglobin.

Training for 40km TT

I really liked your article on training for crits - having raced one on the weekend I can definitely see how your prescribed training will work.

I am looking at doing a 40km TT in three months and was wondering how you would tackle training for such an event. It is a dead flat course - with the possibility of a headwind in one direction and a tailwind in the other. There will be 6-8 u-turns, what do you think is the best way to ac celebrate out of a turn, seated slow and steady - or out of the saddle and to top speed as fast as possible?


Brett Aitken replies:

Three months is a good amount of time to see some significant improvements in a 40km TT. The important thing is to be specific. You are going to be riding predominantly at your Anaerobic Threshold the whole way in the time trial so it is important that this is included in your training program. A tool such as a heart rate monitor can also be vital to both training and racing so that you are riding at the right intensity.

Initially start your build up by including one session a week of AT training with a single 10 to 15 minute interval at your threshold heart rate and included in an endurance base ride. Gradually increase this session each week to a second and third interval before adding a second session on a separate day of AT training to start in the second month. Half way through the second month start adding a third session that includes some higher power VO2 Max training such as five minute intervals that should continue right through up to your taper. This is a very basic outline but hopefully you get the idea of how a structured program should go.

With regards to the turns you should always get back up to speed as quickly as possible (but in a controlled manner) and the best way to do this is by getting out of the seat. Always remember to use your heart rate as a guide though in a time trial and never shoot too high above your threshold heart rate.

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