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Fitness questions and answers for April 3, 2005

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. Due to the volume of questions we receive, we regret that we are unable to answer them all.

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.

Steve Owens ( 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 ( 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 website.

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.

Michael Smartt ( 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 ( 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.

Preventing cramp Power to weight ratio Muscle tightness Road bike prep and training Kneecap pain Sore hamstring and calf Eating and weight loss Type of training More cramp

Preventing cramp


I am a 40 year old Cat 2 with 20+ years of experience. I recently competed in a 55 mile RR consisting of 5 laps of rolling terrain with one small climb in it. At roughly the beginning of the 5th lap I began to experience cramping in my quads. The temps were in the upper 40's to about 50, no rain, little wind. The average speed was about 28 mph. I normally train with a power meter. I get about eight hours during the week and about 4-6 hours on the weekend including a three hour 45-50 mile group ride on Sundays.

Before and during the event I ate and drank well, (Accelerade and gels during, and good meals prior) was comfortable with the speed, never felt overextended at all. During the 4th lap I felt great. I felt so good I knew I could compete in the sprint. Then the cramping hit I can't figure it out. Do you have any ideas that I might consider for cause? I am 40 yrs old, 6 ft, 150 lbs.

My weekly training includes interval workouts of various lengths and efforts. My Threshold power is 310, VO2 measures at about 71-72 this time of year, diet is good /healthy, and I do squats and lunges with a barbell twice a week. Do you need more information? I really felt I was riding within myself and not extended at all. This is the first time I ever experienced such severe cramping. I was able to finish with the group but had to dial back a lot, lag the climbs, spin and pray not to get dropped. Thanks in advance.

Larry Byvik

Ric Stern replies


Power to weight ratio

When calculating your power to weight ratio, is it best to use your maximal sustainable 20 minute power, 30 minute power, 40 minute power, or 60 minute power?

Steve Palladino
Santa Rosa, CA

Ric Stern replies


Muscle tightness

Hey guys,

Two questions; first in the leg length posting of March 27 you suggested yoga, pilates or similar classes - that relates to my first question. I suffer from perineal tightness in the hamstring (and occasional cramping), what aside from stretching would be the best method for increasing flexibility in hamstrings (and overall).

The second question, which may be related, is that the day after a hard effort I have soreness in my quads and in the IT band as well. Is it just being under trained that causes it, or improper technique? I ride about 5,000 miles a year in training, with a pretty good eye towards recovery rides after a hard effort.

I am a Swede in the body mould of Magnus Backstedt, with a little extra body fat then Maggie's 3%.

John Wickstrom

Steve Hogg replies


Road bike prep and training

I am a 55 year old male who, for the last 6 years has ridden a mountain bike to work and back for fitness and fun. The round trip is 24km on a bush track.

Many years ago I rode racing bikes (won the WA State Schoolboys Championships in 1964); yes, that is a long time ago!

I have decided to ride in the Menzies to Kalgoorlie Classic early in June (132km), and have just purchased a nice lightweight road bike. I'm a shorter rider at 5 foot 3 inches in the old lingo.

My query/questions are: Am having trouble getting used to the clip less/ lock type pedals. After about 45minutes I get pain in the feet on the outside, about opposite the ball of my foot. Have tried changing the position of the cleats? But it has made no difference. Should I just persevere? It has only been a week. I use toe clips on the mountain bike.

Leading up to an event such as this, what would a good training programme entail? I can still do my short morning rides to work, and have every Friday, Saturday and Sunday available for longer rides.

Is there a simple formula for setting up the seat height, position, head stem angle etc for comfort and power?

Jim Grundy

Steve Hogg replies


Ric Stern replies


Kneecap pain

I am a 27-year-old male Cat 3 road racer and have been cycling for about two years. I am experiencing sharp knee pain on the inside of my left kneecap. Any type of bend in my left leg brings pain to the knee. It is like the kneecap is rubbing and is out of sync. Is this a common injury called "runners knee"?

I have been professionally fit and know my measurements on the bike. I believe the problem started when I was out on my training bike and my saddle height was about 1cm to low. In addition, I was trying a new pedal stroke, (toes down and piston like movement up/down) in contrast to my normal stroke of pedalling circles. The rumour is that this stroke increases watts substantially and I was curious. After that ride I went back to pedalling normally and iced the knee with some rest days. The pain subsided and I trained as usual. A week later I raced and had some severe pain after. Is this serious and do you have any healing tips? I am currently taking Motrin and ice twice a day.

Craig Smith

Steve Hogg replies


Sore hamstring and calf

I recently took up road racing after an absence of nearly 12 years. I was a top underage and junior rider and was forced to give up after two bad crashes - one resulting in a severely torn right gastroc, the other causing a herniated disc in the thoracic region. After nearly two years of doing nothing I took up weight lifting and gained considerable mass (height 167cm, weight 92kg, 11% body fat).

I resumed cycling in October 2005 and I have dropped to 80 kg and discontinued weight training. I used my old racing bike all winter and for the most part found it ok; however, on long climbs I would find myself pulling up with my left leg trying to get my left foot further back in the shoe, my right knee also turns in towards the top tube and now that I have started racing in high cadence situations my left hamstring and soleus get fatigued and sore very quickly, forcing me to slow dramatically. I have tried lowering the saddle and moving the cleat on the left shoe forward, both of which proved counter productive. I am currently riding a new frame with the exact dimensions as my hack bike, however, I still have not gotten used to the new ultra hard saddles as they were never so hard when I raced before. Please, can you give me some advice?

Richard Dunne

Steve Hogg replies


Eating and weight loss


I have been pretty diligent at trying to lose some weight this winter while I am in my base building period and running a caloric deficit won't harm my race performance.

Because I work for a living, there are times when my workouts have to happen in the evening and might finish within an hour or two of my bedtime. I recognise that not eating after my workout will compromise my recovery and replenishment of glycogen stores. At the same time, eating late at night is not very helpful for weight loss it would seem.

However, if I eat after my workout but yet still have a caloric deficit for the day, am I still working toward my weight loss goal? Do the two cancel each other out? What would be your suggested strategy to satisfy both the weight loss and recovery goals simultaneously?

Steve Bonadio

Pam Hinton replies


Type of training

Hi I'm 50 years old and 220 lbs - I want to get to 182 lbs. I am a mountain bike enthusiast, having raced in my local races, the Scottish cross country series.

I've been racing for two years now in the 'fun' category, but now that I've turned 50 I want to enter the grand vet I've two goals to achieve:

1. Get to 182 lbs
2. Not come last in the races

On a Sunday morning I do a 25-mile cross country ride on a not too technical course and on a Wednesday morning - I do a four mile jog and as of next week I will do a road ride on a Wednesday morning and a four mile jog on a Friday night followed by a 25 mile cross country mtb ride on a Sunday morning.

Can you give me any advice on how to achieve my goals? I don't want to win my races just to do better.

Marco Righetti

Ric Stern replies


More cramp


I am 3rd cat rider starting my racing season. Have found that in my first two races I have gone quite well but started to get cramp in the final 10k of a 70k race.

I don't have a problem on long training rides only in races. I am a sweater even in the early cold days of the year, and will drink plenty throughout the race.

Is there anything I can take during or before racing?

Trevor Burke

Ric Stern replies


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