Fitness questions and answers for April 18, 2005

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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 fitness@cyclingnews.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.

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 any geography.

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 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 (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.

Brett Aitken (www.cycle2max.com) is a Sydney Olympic gold medalist. Born in Adelaide, Australia in 1971, Brett got into cycling through the cult sport of cycle speedway before crossing over into road and track racing. Since winning Olympic gold in the Madison with Scott McGrory, Brett has been working on his coaching business and his www.cycle2max.com website.

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.cyclecoach.com) is an Associate Coach with Richard Stern Training. He holds a Masters degree in exercise physiology and is USA Cycling Expert Coach. Michael has been a competitive cyclist for over 10 years and has experience coaching road and off-road cyclists, triathletes and Paralympians.

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 MyEnduranceCoach.com, 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.

Supplement question
Cramps
Vitamin C and E
Hamstring pain
Cycling duration without eating
Climbing events
Foot pain on new bike
Patella Tendon tingling
Salty?
Road bike shoes

Supplement question

Pam Hinton writes in one of her usually excellent responses:

"Remember, when it comes to vitamin and mineral supplements, more is not better."

I'm sure many of us, myself included, would like to hear why. I have thoroughly enjoyed and benefited from Pam Hinton's past comments, and hope she will elaborate on the supplement issue.

Michael Ross

Scott Saifer Replies

Pam may want to provide more details, but I'll give a short answer here: when it comes to vitamin and mineral supplements, more is not better because many supplements are toxic or interfere with each others absorption in large doses.

Some minerals block each other's absorption so taking too much of one prevents getting what you need of another. Some of the ill-effects are much more immediate and obvious, like large doses of iron causing constipation, or large doses of vitamin C causing gastrointestinal distress.

Starting and stopping supplementation have their own effects. I had an odd supplement experience several year ago which no one else needs to repeat. As part of an experiment, I took 7,000 mg per day of vitamin C for several weeks. By the end of the supplementation period, my urine contained more concentrated vitamin C than did a sample of fresh-squeezed orange juice. At the end of the experiment I stopped taking vitamin C, and developed classic signs of scurvy (bleeding gums, easy bruising) which continued for a week or more.

Cramps

I am 47 years old and have been riding about 14 years. After riding my calves are tight. I have checked my seat height with a fitstick. Can you gave me any idea on this problem.

Jeff Tally

Steve Hogg Replies

Firstly, you can help me - what is a fitstick?

The most likely cause of your sore calves is a cleat position that is too far forward on the shoe. This places unnecessary strain on the calves in many cases. Have a look at this post and this post

Position your cleats like that and let me know what happens. If you have to make a large adjustment rearward to accommodate that, you may have to drop your seat a few mm as the more rearward cleat position will extend the leg to a greater degree.

Vitamin C and E

I have read lately about the some the possible adverse effects of taking extra vitamin E, which along with vitamin C is something I've been taking for about six years because of their antioxidant properties. Because intense training and racing produces free radicals, and because I want to limit the damage they cause, can I be safe (and content) with a simple daily multi-vitamin and not go to the supplements I've been using? Many thanks for your help.

Michael Bauman

Hillsdale, Michigan

Pam Hinton Replies

You ask an important question - one that was recently addressed by the Council for Responsible Nutrition in an article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vitamin E and vitamin C have antioxidant activity. Because of their chemical structures these vitamins are able to interact with free radicals (molecules with an unpaired electron) that cause damage to cell membranes.

Vitamin E is fat soluble, so it becomes incorporated into cell membranes where it exerts its protective effects. Vitamin C also helps to recycle vitamin E for repeated use as an antioxidant. Low intakes of these nutrients may accelerate the aging process and increase the risk of certain chronic diseases: Alzheimer's disease, cataracts, macular degeneration, some cancers, and heart disease. Both maximal exercise and prolonged sub-maximal exercise increase production of oxygen free radicals. These molecules are generated in the mitochondria, the lining of the capillary walls and by inflammatory cells that migrate to sites of muscle damage.

Vitamin E supplementation decreases oxidative damage to cell membranes caused by free radicals. Despite this benefit, vitamin E supplementation does not enhance maximal oxygen consumption, endurance, or muscular strength. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine has established dietary reference intakes (DRIs) for healthy people in the United States. For each nutrient, the DRIs include a recommended daily intake (RDA) and a tolerable upper intake level (UL). The RDA is set to prevent deficiency diseases (e.g., scurvy, in the case of vitamin C) and to optimize health. The UL is the maximum amount considered safe for healthy people when used daily for long periods.

The RDA and UL for vitamin E are 15 mg a-tocopherol (natural vitamin E) equivalents and 1000 mg for adult men and women. Vitamin E supplements are labeled in international units (IU) not in mg. One mg of a-tocopherol is equivalent to 1.5 IU. For vitamin C, the RDAs are 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women; the UL is 2000 mg. Randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials to test the efficacy of vitamin E in treating various diseases provide information on the safety of vitamin E supplementation. More than 20 published clinical trials of over 80,000 participants reported no safety concerns and no adverse events when vitamin E was consumed at levels less than the UL.

However, there are reports of negative consequences associated with vitamin E supplementation. Evaluation of over 135,000 participants in 19 clinical trials found an increased death rate in people who consumed high doses of vitamin E (2000 IU). The a-tocopherol, b-carotene Cancer Prevention Study (ATBC Study) found an increased risk of death from stroke in male smokers who were treated with 50 IU per day for 5-8 years compared with placebo. At high doses, vitamin E interferes with the coagulant actions of vitamin K. Individuals with vitamin K deficiency are at risk for bleeding complications if they consume excess vitamin E.

Studies of vitamin C supplementation in healthy volunteers reported no safety concerns at intakes less than the UL (2000 mg). However, some subjects experienced gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea. In patients with kidney disease, high doses of vitamin C increased the frequency of kidney stones. As long as you are healthy, continuing to take a dietary supplement that provides between 15 and 1000 mg of vitamin E (22.5-1500 IU) and less than 2000 mg of vitamin C is not likely to have any harmful effects. You don't have to rely on supplements as your source of these vitamins. Wheat germ and vegetable oils are excellent sources of vitamin E. Citrus fruits, berries, and peppers provide vitamin C.

Hamstring pain

I am a 48 year old masters racer (cat 1) who has been racing for the better part of 25 years (five year break in the early 90's). I am 6' tall and 200lbs (very proportioned, about 6% bodyfat, maybe a little too much time in the gym). I start training in late February (because of winter conditions and other sports) and finish my season in late October. I do approximately 25-30 races per year (mostly crits). I follow a reasonable training schedule, starting with a base of about 800 easy miles over 4-5 weeks before I start any build phase. Then I do a progression from 8 up to 20 hours per week (adding two hours a week) in a 7 week cycle.

I follow a similar program to something like CTS. I really only go hard 2-3 days per week. I really believe that I get plenty of recovery (spin time in zone 2 or less). I am always amped to ride hard, but try to control myself and I recover well (I hardly ever feel tired or sore).

My problem is that for most of last year I experienced slight to major pain in my left hamstring area. It is on the inside of my leg (closer to the inside than the outside) about 3 inches from the centre hinge of the knee (poor description?). I have looked on a chart and the closest I can figure is somewhere around the semitendinosis. It feels like a cramp coming on, but never quite gets to that major pain of a cramp. I know it is not a pull, because I don't feel it other than on the bike.

It also feels worse during high cadence spins doing good circles and not so much climbing or mashing. Very strange! It made me pull out of several races last year. This year, it is less noticeable, but I can (only sometimes) still feel it coming back - it comes on more in crits than road races and even less often in training (have I confused you enough?).

I know I mentioned the gym earlier, but I never feel it doing weights. In fact, last year I didn't lift at all during the season. I surely don't want to go through what I did last year (my worst year ever). Any suggestions? I would really appreciate your excellent opinion either in your forum or by e-mail.

Bryan Funsten

Kelby Bethards Replies

I have heard of this happening in one other case (obviously hamstring cramps are more common than that but usually on both sides) and it was an interesting scenario. This cyclist was having the asymmetric pain, in the hamstring, but would cramp at higher intensity levels and long training rides. At first, I wondered about leg length discrepancies, but that wasn't it. So look into leg length differences.

The cycling shoe cleat position (on the affected leg) was such that the ball of the foot was a little 'in front' of the pedal axle, or at least further forward than the location of the other foot in relation to it's pedal. He was essentially exerting more flexion (pull on the pedal back/up stroke) to try to get his foot more in a position with the ball of the foot further back or centered over the pedal axle within the shoe. So, he was pulling harder with the affected leg, more so that the other leg. It wasn't something that always bothered him, and it only happened with his road bike and shoes.

The effect that this could have, is in essence making the seat "higher" for your left leg than the right, thus more stretch/strain on the hamstring on that side. The Semimembranosis and Semitendosis are part of the muscle group that flexes the leg as such.

Another option would be a tendonitis in this area that needs to be simmered down with anti-inflammatories…some of the other panel members may have some better thoughts about this…

Bryan Funsten then said

My legs are exactly the same length. I use Time shoes with Look cleats (and have for the last 10 years or so). I am a fanatic (way to much so) about riding and cleat position and have multiple bikes (RR, multiple crit,TT, etc) that are all measured exactly (with a slight change for the tt bike). I have my shoe soles marked for replacing cleats. I am in a good position with relation to shoe vs axle. Bottom line is - everything has been the same and worked well for years, until last year. I pedal pretty good circles (spent too many years on the track) with a fairly flat follow through. I did some experimenting yesterday and found that when the pain came on, if I tried to push through the downstroke even more with my heel, the pain would go away! Does this give you any more clues? Thanks!

Steve Hogg Replies

In addition to Kelby's reply and your response, it is unlikely that you will be able to solve the problem by changing your pedalling technique as you have described, under race type conditions-ie-high load and heart rate. Under these conditions we will typically revert to what comes naturally to us as we cannot think about every single pedal stroke we take. Additionally the nerve pathways are different. When you are consciously changing your left leg technique to minimise the discomfort you are using the right side of your brain to do so. For autonomic activity such as bike racing the left leg would be controlled by the left side of the brain, not the right, as for automomic activity we are ipsilateral in terms of brain hemisphere control. None of which helps you get any closer to resolving your problem of course!

All but a few cyclists favour one side while riding. This usually manifests itself in the form of a hip drop and /or rotation anywhere from subtle to gross on one side. Usually but by no means always it is the right side that is affected. Think of this as being the byproduct of being functionally and neurologically assymetrical which we all are to varying degrees. What I am getting to is this - have someone observe you from behind while you are riding on an indoor trainer at fairly high load. Hard but not enough so that you have to massively compromise technique. Make sure that your jersey is off and if you wear bib and brace knicks, remove the bib and let it hang down so that your back is visible to your observer.

If as I suspect, you are dropping your right hip to some degree on the pedal downstroke, this will cause the left leg to overextend to whatever degree and also cause left side postural musculature, of which the hamstring is one, to work harder to stabilise yourself on the seat. This is a very common pattern of motion amongst cyclists.
A cross check that is reasonably reliable is to lie face upward on the floor in bare feet and relax your legs and let your feet flop outwards. Don't force it, just relax. If the right foot falls further outwards, it is very likely that you have a rotated right hip and this is the underlying cause of your problem. If so this can be resolved by stretching and/or manipulation.
Lastly, which Time shoes do you use and where is the pedal axle in relation to the first metatarsal joint?

Many of the Time shoes available in the last 10 years have woeful cleat positioning potential. Others were brilliant. They contract out their shoe manufacture and there is no consistent relative placement in their cleat positioning hardware as they change manufacturers [and designers] from time to time. Poor cleat placement and indeed differential cleat placement, as Kelby has described, could be part of the problem. It is probably worth having a look at this post and this post - get back to me with whatever you discover for a solution.

Cycling duration without eating

How long or far can a person cycle (15-16.5 mph) without eating but while drinking enough water? Thanks.

FC

Scott Saifer Replies

The answer to this question depends dramatically on your fitness among other factors. A top level pro who can comfortably ride 25mph for hour after hour with food, 15-16 mph hour without food can probably be sustained more or less all day. A beginner cyclist may not be able to sustain 15-16mph with or without food.

The main question is the intensity of effort required to maintain the desired pace, compared to the lactate threshold. Near and above lactate threshold effort, the body uses almost exclusively stored carbohydrate for fuel. If you are well trained, you store enough carbohydrate for 40-120 minutes of hard activity. If you exercise well below lactate threshold, a substantial fraction of your energy expenditure comes from metabolism of fat. No matter how well trained you are, you store enough fat for many hours of lower intensity exercise. I hope this helps.

Climbing events

My question involves the preparation for two centuries that involve total climbing of 12,000 and 16,000 feet respectively. Both events will involve courses that approach between 8,000 and 9,000 feet in elevation. I have ridden one 30-mile climbing stretch and found my times to be extremely competitive with past events.

However, in my preparation I have not done a single day where I have 12,000 feet of climbing or more. Is it necessary to match the same amount of climbing in a day to know that there will be no problems the day of the event? Is it reasonable to ride 70% of the total climbing and expect that the rest will not be an issue the day of the event? Thanks again.

J Ishmael

Laguna Niguel

Scott Saifer Replies

There is no need to do a huge volume of climbing before a climbing event. I have several times completed a 16,000 foot climbing event with no training days over 7,000 feet, and most training days on flatter roads. Provided that you have a decent sense of your pace so you won't blow yourself up, the physiology and biomechanics of climbing are not that different from flat riding.

The one thing that big-climbing days will do for you is build you confidence about your climbing. Several years I've participated in the Tour of the Gila, a stage race at high altitude in New Mexico. I noticed that some of the riders who came from the flatter parts of Florida and Texas did just fine on the climbs. The thing that brought them to my particular attention was the fact that the crashed a lot on descents after making the lead group on the climbs.

Foot pain on new bike

I purchased a new road bike a few weeks ago and have an emerging problem with my feet. The outside of my foot at the base of the small toe develops a hot spot that is quite painful after riding in large gears (such as on local 'power climbs', or after riding in fast groups for extended periods of time). I've experienced this pain on rides as short as one hour but the pain goes away quickly after a half-hour or so.

The pain did not occur on my previous bike and the pain is found in the same spot and with the same intensity on both feet. The cleats are in the same position (the pedal spindle sits slightly behind the ball of the foot) on each shoe with the right cleat set slightly off-center to compensate for a misaligned foot (points right rather than straight).

The pedals are Shimano SPD-SL and I use Nike Poggio II shoes. I used to ride a 51cm Cervelo Soloist, but have switched to a 50cm Cannondale R5000. I should also mention that I have changed saddles (SSM Concor to a Fizik Arione), added one cm (9 to 10) to my stem and widened my handlebars from 40 to 42 (c-c) after going through a fit session (with the same shoes and pedals) prior to buying the new bike.

I have considered buying new shoes (Pearl Izumis or customs from Rocket 7) and pedals (the new Time pedals), but I would like to wait until I hear from any of the consultants on my problem. Thank you for taking the time to help me with this problem.

Greg Michalak

TX, USA

Steve Hogg Replies

I can't say with certainty but you have given me enough info to have a reasonable guess. Here is a checklist to go through:

1. Do the shoes fit well? I assume that this has been your first thought too, so forgive me for asking. From your email it is not clear whether the shoes are new as well as the bike.

2. SPD- SL's are a good pedal system but in my view do not have enough freeplay. This in turn means that getting the angle of the cleat on the sole of the shoe correct is more of a fiddle than on other systems. Many peoples' angle of footplant on the pedal changes to varying degrees as they apply significant load to the pedals. If you have set up the cleat angle without checking it under high load conditions, this may be the problem.

Additionally, I have come across a minority of riders using SPD-SL's whose change in footplant angle on the pedal is to such a degree that though the cleat is in the middle of its' range of movement under light load, they are hard up against either inner or outer stop under heavy load. Meaning of course that their foot is not where it needs to be under those conditions. One way of checking this is to borrow a pair of Look pedals and cleats. Set the cleats up in the same position as your existing pedals and go for a ride and see if the problem is still present. If so, your SPD-SL's are unlikely to be the problem. If not, they probably are the problem. If you become convinced that they are the problem, get yourself a pair of Look Keo's which work similarly, have a similar overall height and about double the freeplay potential.

3. You mention your cleat position as having the pedal axle slightly behind the ball of the foot but don't specify a distance. Have a look at this post and this post . Set your cleats up like that. If it involves moving them significantly, it might just solve the problem. Let me know how you get on.

Patella Tendon tingling

I'm a 36 year old male, 5'8", 150 lbs. I am training for a 585 mile ride from San Fran to LA. I have been doing Triathlons for the last two years, so this is my first year dedicated to cycling. I was fit by a local bike shop. I have been building up my mileage according to the following schedule over the past 13 weeks:

60,60,80,80,90,60,70,130,125,140,95,100,150 miles per week. Most of this is flat, although once or twice a week I add in some climbing. I use the Shimano PD-R600 pedal which has 6 degrees of float. I have orthodics that were prescribed for my running that I wear when I ride. I eat a healthy balanced diet and take a daily multi-vitamin supplement.

I had trouble in my left knee, but a slight change in my cleat position (was not the same as the other foot) cleared up the problem quickly.

A week ago, however, my right knee (the one I've never had trouble with), has started to tingle during the day. The tingle feels like it is below the knee in the patella tendon. This seems to happen regardless of whether I rode the previous day or not. I don't feel it while riding, just while I am sitting at work or walking around. It's not constant; instead, it is a wave of tingling that comes on for a few seconds and then goes away. It can be a few seconds or a few minutes before the next wave of tingling. It's localised and is only a very mild annoyance, but it's been persistent now for a week, so I am wondering if it's OK to continue to ignore it.

Ray L.

Steve Hogg Replies

I can only guess at the cause of your knee tingling, but do not ignore it. As someone who works around a bad knee injury reasonably well, the best advice I have is to never ignore any unusual feelings in or around knees. Knees have a lot of fibrous tissue in the form of ligaments and tendons. These have very little blood flow. What this means is that knees are hard to injure but once injured are hard to recover from.

Assuming the cleat angle on your shoes is fine; ie-the natural foot angle on the pedal is in the middle of the available cleat freeplay when riding hard, the most likely culprit is likely to be the fore and aft position of your cleats or your seat height. Your knee tingle sounds like it could be low level overload of shear forces caused either by a seat height a little too low or alternately by a cleat position that is too far forward. Have a look at this post and this post.

If fore and aft cleat position is the problem, the info in those posts is likely to help resolve the problem. It is worth re visiting the angle of your cleats also. SPD-SL's have a lesser range of rotational movement than many other systems and so have less ability to tolerate imperfect cleat angle.
In the archives there are a large number of posts about knee pain. If the problem persists, they are worth a read to see if any strike a chord with you.

Salty?

I am a 29 year old roadie and have been cycling for almost 10 years now. I do weekend races and ride an average of only 50-75kms per day(these includes 200+ kilometres on Sundays)

Recently, I noticed that I'm a bit saltier than the rest of the group I ride with. 'saltier' meaning lots of salt deposit on my skin and clothes after few hours of riding. Is something wrong with my system? What would probably cause this?

Christian Entica

Scott Saifer Replies

Some people do simply sweat more or sweat saltier than others, so there is not necessarily anything wrong. One thing to consider though: your body will adjust the saltiness of your sweat to keep the salt level in your blood about constant. If you sweat a lot and lose a lot of water, your sweat will become saltier as your body tries to get rid of salt.

So, a person who sees a lot of salt on his jersey after a ride should be extra sure to be getting enough water while riding. If you are coming home more than a pound (454g) or so lighter than you leave, you will perform better if you drink more on rides. If your urine is dark or non-existent after rides, drink more during rides as well. Good luck.

Road bike shoes

I am just getting into road biking with a little racing mixed in. I am 30 years old and have basically been riding since the first week of February. In the past month I got my first pair of clip on pedals (classic Forte) and shoes (Adidas). I have been riding between 10-30 miles about 5-6 days a week. My shoes have three Velcro straps.

My question is: On my right foot (I am right handed) the strap closest to my ankle puts a lot of pressure on the part of my foot where the bend is on the strap(top side of my foot, left side. How do I decide when this is not the correct shoe for me or that I just to keep riding and break the shoes in? Thanks in advance for your help.

Justin T. Newman

Midland, Michigan

Steve Hogg Replies

If they are causing you more than minor inconvenience, get rid of them. The last thing anyone needs is painful feet when racing. Racing hurts enough as it is!

If after a month of regular riding the shoes haven't 'broken in' as you term it, it is likely that they are not going to. You could try taking them to a boot maker and see if he can move the velcro down the shoe slightly. This may alleviate the pressure.

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