Fitness questions and answers for November 8, 2004

Got a question about fitness, training, recovery from injury or a related subject? Drop us a line at...

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.

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.

Bike fit for time trials
Training with SRM and power
Foot problems
How good can I get?
Numb feet

Bike fit for time trials

I have greatly enjoyed your answers regarding proper bike fit. Your responses have given me the impetus to change my cleats back to where I had them prior to a professional fitting - further back on the shoe where I simply feel stronger and experience less calf fatigue and so on.

I am a mid to back of the pack cyclocross racer who simply enjoys being on my bike. I also do a few time trials, triathlons and duathlons on my road bike and have my seat set up a little more forward than on my cross bike (about 80 cm seat tip to bb for both bikes with my cross seat tip about 10cm behind the bb and my road bike seat tip about 7.5 cm behind the bb).

My question is, what parameters do you change when fitting someone to a time trial or multisport bike?

David Krahulik

Steve Hogg replies:

Let us make the assumption that your road bike position is good. Everything that I will say is contingent on that. If that is the case then the position for occasional TT's and short course triathlons should be unchanged. The aero bars that you would use for the occasional TT's and short course triathlons should allow you to mimic the upper body position that you would assume on the drop bars on your road bike other than forearm position which obviously is different. You should feel that when moving from the drop bars to the aero bars nothing changes in terms of back and head position. You definitely should NOT have to crawl forward on the seat or arch the back more which is common unfortunately. Forearm position should be such that the elbows are within the line of the hips as viewed from the front providing of course, that this is consistent with comfort. The aerobar cups should be behind the road bar and closer to the elbow than the wrist. Typically, the forearms should run slightly down from elbow to wrist.

If you do this then it is no trial to use aero bars as pedaling mechanics are unchanged and the only thing you have to adapt to is the slightly different steering qualities. Unfortunately few aero bars will allow what I have just suggested when used as you plan to with road bars. The two commonly available aerobars that will allow this for most people, are the Profile Carbon Strikes and the Profile Air Strikes, both of which have massive adjustment potential. Of the 2 the Carbon Strikes have more adjustment having 2 independently adjustable extensions but the cups don't swing up as they do for the Air Strikes. The swing up cups can be handy on courses with long climbs as they free the top of the road bar for the hands.

If you are doing long course, half Ironman or Ironman races, what I said above still stands but I would raise the bars anywhere from 10 - 20 mm relative to a road position depending on the functionality, in a structural sense, of the rider. This is because over the longer distances comfort becomes a higher priority. Compared to a road racer, an Ironman competitor is in one body position for much longer periods and so the handlebar position needs to be more conservative.

If the position is a good one then there will be no problem running off the bike. With a good bike position, an Ironman competitor should be running at race pace within 200 metres of starting the run, no ifs, no buts, assuming they have done the training. For the short course or Olympic distance competitor, they should be able to get straight off the bike and run immediately at race pace without problems with the quads, hammies or lower back.

Now if someone is a specialist TT rider who is flexible and functional in the hips, hamstrings and upper and lower back and has the time to train in a specialist TT position I would make further changes compared to an ideal road position for that same person. The seat should go forward typically by 8 - 12 mm. If the rider has good flexibility in hips, hammies and lower back this will allow them to get their pelvis more horizontal. In so doing their hips are moving slightly backwards and so pedaling mechanics are relatively unchanged. Getting the pelvis more horizontal allows the rider to reach further down and out to the aero bars which in turn allow the greater back extension, meaning a flatter back.

All of this has to be considered against the background of how functional the rider is, what the TT distance is and what sort of terrain it is over. In essence, the shorter the TT and the less challenging the course profile, the greater the emphasis that can be placed on aerodynamics. Push less air and you will go faster unless the price of pushing less air is compromised leverage, control of movement or breathing ability. If that is the case the rider will be more aerodynamic and perform less well which is not what any of us are trying to achieve.

Training with SRM and power

I am a current cat 3 road cyclist at 21. I am not sure if I am training right with power. Should I set my self a goal of total joules to put out during a ride? Lets say I do that and 1200 is my goal, if i ride the small chain ring and put out that many, does it matter. Or should I keep my self between a certain amount of watts like 200-225? These are for endurance rides.

Shaun Keenan

Dave Palese replies:

I use output ranges such as you mention in your question (i.e., 200-225) to guide my clients using power meters through their training. For me and my clients, it has been an easier concept to wrap our minds around.

Using some protocol (I use a ramp test, and pull numbers from the data recorded during the test), you should define your different training levels.

One tip: If you are using your power meter on the road for say long, steady rides, like this time of year, the average watts number is good way to guide you during those rides, since with uphills and downhills will cause peaks and valleys in your output, and make it difficult to keep your output

Shaun responded:

So if I have this right, if when i did my fitness ramp test and got a range of 170-190 Watts, then I would want to ride inside those ranges for the time alloted, instead of setting a goal of riding for 1200 kilojoules. And then the same would go for climbing and and tempo and sprinting?

Dave Palese replies:

To your first question, yes. Instead of using the kilojoules burned as guide, ride to keep your average watts in the appropriate range for the duration of your session. This method can work for tempo riding as well.

As far as climbing: It would be on an interval by interval basis. And this method may not apply to all "climbing" workouts. You could use the average (keeping it in a different range more appropriate to say a Threshold type effort) during the long climb training. But if the hill training you are doing is short power type, up to around 4 minutes, then the power output maybe higher, and the output during that workout my not be consistent enough to use power as a guideline.

Power, during the sprint effort itself is not of much use. When doing sprint workouts, you are simply giving it a maximum effort. To watch your output during that effort would not be of much help, and would probably be distracting and possibly dangerous. For sprints, power data is most helpful after the workout when you download it and look it over. SRM and PowerTap data from sprint sessions is great for picking you sprint apart and seeing where you weaknesses are. You may have great max power, but you fade quickly. Or you may be able to sustain a high level for a long time, but your acceleration is lacking. Using the power data, you can design a training plan that is much more targeted at improving you weak points, rather than just going out and doing a "sprint" workout. Then you can track your progress to see if your training is working.

Foot problems

I'm a 51 year old rider, 6'2", and 195#. I'm not a racer, but a strong recreational rider who loves riding the Rockies (I live in Colorado). I'm comfortable riding bigger gears than most, and will climb the passes using a 39x23 or 25. I've been using Sidi Genius 3's for 5 years now. Lately I've been finding my right foot is tending toward numb on longer rides (2 hours or more), and is generally uncomfortable in the shoe. I do have insoles, but they're not helping. In fact, I've changed insoles a couple of times, and do not see any difference, no matter what type of insole I use. I've checked my cleat position, and it appears "spot on."

Are my shoes finally seeing the end of their days? I probably have 10k miles on them. By the way, I run as well, putting on 20 or so miles a week, and do not have the same problem when running.

Dan Kapsak

Steve Hogg replies:

I take it that this problem has not been apparent until recently. If so, has anything else changed in the recent past?

Have you fitted new cleats or changed pedals or made any positional changes?

If the answer is 'no' to the above questions, then it is likely that you do need a new pair of shoes. Sidis last well but for a big bloke like you I think perhaps 5 years of use means that your shoe's best years are behind them and that a new pair is in order.

If the answer to any of the questions above is 'yes', get back to me with what has changed and perhaps we can come up with a solution.

How good can I get?

I am a 23 year old Cat 2 cyclist who has been riding for less than 1 year. I had been inactive for a number of years, when 18 months ago, I underwent max V02 testing as part of a clinical study. At 157 pounds, my max VO2 was 74. At my racing weight of 135-140, I believe my max V02 to be in the mid 80s. I trained alone 20-30 hours a week during the winter and spring and somehow I did not fall apart with injuries.

Last March I raced my first cat 5 event and raced virtually every weekend until August. I tried to solo away every chance that I had and it worked more times then not. At the end of July I upgraded to Cat 2 so that I could ride in a 5 stage NRC race. While not making any elite selections, I finished in the top 50 GC.

How soon will I begin to discover the extent of my talent? How many years does it take to discover whether or not a rider has what it takes to make it at the pro level? Thanks.

Mark Curtis
VA, USA

Dave Palese replies:

I just want to make sure that I'm reading your post correctly.

You started racing as a Cat 5 in March and then by the end of July, you upgraded to Cat 2?

If there are no typos here, way to go!

How far and at what rate you will develop is impossible for me to say. You obviously have some physical abilities and talents that have taken through the ranks so quickly.

I strongly suggest that if you want to keep your progression going, you get with a coach and start planning for the future. Develop a game plan for the next 3-5 years. Doing so will help you discover your strengths and weaknesses and help you prepare yourself for the rigors of elite racing.

Numb feet

I'm a 16 year old male roadie. I've had my road bike for 6 weeks and have been developing numb or tingling feet for most rides over 30km. I have tried several seat positions in hight as well as fore and aft. I was wondering as to whether there was any solution to this problem, whether it is the saddle or position.

Michael Troy
N.S.W. Australia

Steve Hogg replies:

Do your shoes fit well? If they are too tight what you feel can be the result. They should be snug [not tight] around the instep and heel. If you feel they are OK, check the cleat positioning posts for July 26 and position your cleats that way. That is likely to resolve the problem. If not get back to me.

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