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.
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.
I am a 48 year-old male (weight 147lb, maximum heart rate 190+bpm, resting heat rate
For years I've had no problems, but after a very windy (gusts 20+) 47mile ride in April, I experienced a burning sensation in my knees, especially my right knee. I've tried RICE for two weeks and the pain diminished. I swapped shoes and bikes (54cm Moots or Specialized). Same results. I've gone to my LBS for a fitting and no major adjustments.
Today, after a 60 mile hilly ride, my knees were very uncomfortable after the ride.
I've an appointment with an orthopaedic doctor. From a cycling, mechanical or physiological perspective what is your advice? I'd be very disappointed if I was unable to ride.
Steve Hogg replies:
The combination of shoes and pedals you have may mean that you don't have enough foot over the pedal. Speedplays have less rearward adjustment in their plastic baseplate adaptors than other 3 bolt cleat systems. Additionally, Rocket 7's standard cleat placement is much too far forward in my view. Sidis are better but I would say that approximately 50% of Sidi/Speedplay users don't have enough foot over the pedal.
My guess is that the unusually windy day caused you to force the gear more. If this was the case, almost certainly you would have been dropping your heel more than you usually do. This greater effort and greater extension of the knee is a likely cause of your current issue.
Have a look at these posts on cleat and ball of the foot positioning and position your cleats accordingly. I suspect you won't be able to do that, particularly with your Rocket 7s. If so, buy a pair of Speedplay part no. 13330 which are an alternative base plate adaptor with much more rearward adjustment.
The increased incidence of right side pain may mean that you are using the right leg more OR using the left leg more causing greater extension of the right leg OR that you may have functional issues with your hips, lower back, feet or any combination of them.
I'm a 47 year-old road Cat. 4 racer (5'9, 145lbs) averaging 450 hours on the bike per season. The past two seasons have ended with a stiff, sore left knee.
Last year I underwent a complete fitting with video alignment and a spin-scan. My Speedplay Zero cleats received two Lemond shims on the inside (same with the right). Winter training did not rid me of the pain and I sought an orthopaedic surgeon. Four months ago, surgery removed my ACL (torn in 1990) repaired medial and lateral meniscus tears and a grade IV defect in my medial femorial condyle was drilled to create a scabbing patch.
Two months of physiotherapy have stabilized my knee and I am beginning to spin without resistance. My question has to do with shoe set up, specifically the Lemond wedges and heel in/out possibilities. The surgeon and physiotherapist theorize that to relieve pressure on my medial femoral condyle I should remove the wedges (maybe even reverse to the outside) and perhaps work a bit of heel out to give more pressure laterally than medially.
Because of the complexities of the cycling motion, neither has confidence in that opinion. I believe that if I can relieve the grinding on this tender medial Femoral Condyle, I can return to racing, lose these 10 pounds of fat and perhaps save my marriage.
Dave Fleckenstein replies:
In order to address the problems with your alignment, I think that it is important to understand the anatomy of the knee and how it relates to the underlying goals that you are trying to achieve with your fit. The meniscus is a structure that performs two distinct roles:
1) It acts as a shock absorber between the tibia and femur, and
2) It serves as a coupling device that allows two bones that do not have congruent alignments to align and be stable.
If you look at a picture or X-ray of the joint surfaces of the tibia and femur, they do not match together well. The meniscus allows them to fit together in a stable manner. The knee is (generally) a hinge joint that is made to flex and extend. Where it becomes vulnerable to breakdown is when shearing and rotational forces are placed through the joint, and the structures that aren't made to disperse excessive rotation (meniscus, patellofemoral joint, IT band) are prone to break down with repetitive rotation or shear.
In your case, being ACL deficient most likely accelerated the breakdown at your knee, since the ACL is a primary restraint and the meniscus is a secondary restraint. The knee alignment and mechanics are also slaves to the alignment and mobility of your hip and foot. Excessive foot pronation can cause increased rotation. Hip motion limitation either through tight musculature or degenerative changes can prevent the hip form moving vertically and thus force the knee to rotate.
So, on to the use of wedges and cleat alignment. You must minimize rotation and shear at your knee joint. To blindly place a valgus wedge into your cleat is not necessarily the right answer, unless it decreases the rotation at your knee. Since riding does not place huge compressive forces on the knee, I am not as concerned about putting a valgus wedge under the knee as I am with making sure that the joint has normal mechanics. I have seen clients who did just that (excessive or inappropriate wedges) and created either more stress on their knee or problems at their hip or foot.
I would first have a detailed evaluation of your hip and foot mobility and mechanics and address that first so that the knee is not influenced by these joints. Then I would have a skilled fit and pay particular attention that lateral and rotational motions at the knee are minimized. This may entail using a wedge either on the inside or outside, it depends on what minimizes the rotation. The same is true for your heel alignment.
While this may seem like a generic answer, I can't emphasize enough that everyone has different mechanics that must be treated individually to achieve resolution.
Do you recommend a recovery drink, such as Endurox, after every cycling workout, or just longer, more intense ones?
Local cycling 'veterans' tell me they only use a recovery drink after longer, (2-3 hour + plus rides). Anything under, say two hours, it's not necessary.
I'm a 43 year-old male doing mostly local and regional club rides and races. Typically about 200 miles per week.
Scott Saifer replies:
You don't need any special recovery food or drink unless you exercise long enough or hard enough to deplete your glycogen supply. If you use a small fraction of your glycogen, normal eating and drinking will serve to replenish it just fine before your ride the next day. If you run the glycogen supply most of the way down, normal eating and drinking will not replenish it over night. That's when you need to think about special foods and taking advantage of the glycogen restoration window (the period of about an hour after a ride when your body will make more of your consumed carbohydrate into glycogen and less into fat).
A one hour TT at lactate threshold will about deplete your glycogen supply, but a three hour ride at a very easy pace with lots of breaks and lots of carbohydrate consumed during the ride won't. How much you deplete your glycogen supply depends on the difficulty of the ride for you. If the local pros go riding with you, you'll need to worry a lot more than they will about recovery. Your buddies' rule of not using a recovery drink after rides under two hours is a decent one so long as the shorter rides are not hard. Throw in some 15-20 minutes jam sessions or hard hill climbs and you'll do better with a recovery drink, even after a 90 minute ride.
It's funny you should mention Endurox. A recent bit of research compared the recovery effects of Endurox, Gatorade and chocolate milk (Chocolate milk as a post-exercise recovery aid, Karp et al, 2006), and guess what? Gatorade and chocolate milk were equivalent and far superior to Endurox in their ability to restore endurance cycling capacity after a draining ride.
I am a 27 year-old man, 268lb and I would like to loose some weight so I can get into road racing. I'm just wondering what is the best way to go about it?
Scott Saifer replies:
Please see this handout that I share with my clients who need to lose weight for racing.