Fitness questions and answers for August 21, 2007

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.

Jon Heidemann ( is a USAC Elite Certified cycling coach with a BA in Health Sciences from the University of Wyoming. The 2001 Masters National Road Champion has competed at the Elite level nationally and internationally for over 14 years. As co-owner of Peak to Peak Training Systems, Jon has helped athletes of all ages earn over 84 podium medals at National & World Championship events during the past 8 years.

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. Clients range from recreational riders and riders with disabilities to World and National champions.

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 Whole Athlete™. He holds a Masters degree in exercise physiology, is a USA Cycling Level I (Elite) Coach and is certified by the NSCA (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist). Michael has more than 10 years competitive experience, primarily on the road, but also in cross and mountain biking. He is currently focused on coaching road cyclists from Jr. to elite levels, but also advises triathletes and Paralympians. Michael is a strong advocate of training with power and has over 5 years experience with the use and analysis of power meters. Michael also spent the 2007 season as the Team Coach for the Value Act Capital Women's Cycling Team.

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.

Quickly regaining form
Training junior riders
Post virus recovery
Knee problems
Altitude acclimatisation

Quickly regaining form

I am a 35 year old living in Switzerland and compete in both and road and mountain bike races. From time to time, due to work related travel commitments I have to take 7-10 days off the bike. My question is: upon return what are the best types of cycling workouts to quickly regain actual / perceived loss of fitness. I usually try to ride steep climbs combined with some short intervals, with the goal of "shocking" my body back into cycling form quickly. Does this make sense?

Michael Blume
Zurich, Switzerland

Scott Safier replies:

If what you've been doing is working for you, it's working. I usually advise a much more conservative approach after such a long break: six days of base riding only, starting with two at about 1/4-1/3 of your usual training distance or time, then two at roughly 1/2-2/3 and then two at full distance before resuming the normal training schedule.

Training junior riders

I have a 10 year old boy who is very excited about road racing. He currently is riding about 100 miles per week at a nice aerobic pace (15mph). My question regards his training and specifically how much should he do? He is very fit (he has been running 5K running races for a couple of years). What would be an appropriate training week for someone so young? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Timothy Dean

Carrie Cheadle replies:

I don't know what's appropriate for that age from a physiological standpoint. It's important to ask that question to make sure you aren't setting him up for any potential overuse injuries. As far as psychological readiness one thing to keep in mind is that when a child excels in a sport at a young age, they can often run into motivational issues once they get to a level where the competition levels out.

Post virus recovery

In May this year I was effected by a virus. On the advice of the doctors I stopped all training and rested. I have been told that the virus has cleared, but I still will have to take it easy until late September when I can return to cycling. Quite simply how do I structure my return to cycling. Prior to the virus I was cycling about 100 miles per week to and from work and then riding another 75 miles with a club.

I am a non competitive 46 years old male cyclist, riding both MTB & Road and am normally in very good health. I would average about 15mph.

Murray Perrett

Scott Safier replies:

There is no one right way to do what you are setting out to do. There are some principles though: Start easy and build up slowly. Avoid hard efforts until you are up close to your old normal volume. As one possible scenario: start with riding every other day and making the first two rides just 30-45 minutes each. If those go well, make the third ride a full hour.

Knee problems

I have haemophilia and as a result have bad, arthritic knees. I have had synovectomies on both knees to remove damaged synovial tissue and as a result of injuries and arthritis have a somewhat limited range of motion in both knees (-6 to 8 degrees on both extension and bending).

I ride about 150 miles per week (a combination of road and trainer miles) with eggbeater pedals and everything is OK, but my knees always feel a bit unstable if I am riding out of the saddle. I suspect that this has to do with the range of motion and weakness in stabilising muscles around the knees. Can you suggest any exercises that could help me build more stable stronger knees?

Robert Dobry

Scott Safier replies:

Given the unusual etiology of you knee instability, I'd suggest getting your exercise prescription from a physical therapist or related health professional rather than from the fitness forum. Someone who knows what they are looking at should diagnose the reason for your feeling of instability before prescribing corrective measures.

Altitude acclimatisation

I live at sea level and a couple of weeks ago, I went to one of the bigger races in my season at altitude (5,000-6,000’). I travelled up the day before, and on the first climb of the race, absolutely could not get enough oxygen into my lungs. I did the same race last year and the altitude didn’t have a fraction of the effect it did this year.

I’m 50 years old and in great health. Can you please tell me: 1) Why the altitude had a much higher negative effect on me this year opposed to last year. 2) What can I do to better acclimate next year or for any race at altitude? If the altitude effect will be the same next year, it makes no sense for me to even go when I’m being dropped by people I normally would ride away from.

Glenn Mattsson
Santa Rosa, CA, USA

Scott Safier replies:

For most riders, there is a normal pattern of response to arrival at altitude. From 0 hours after arrival to about 18 hours after, performance is okay. By 18 hours you start to pee off water as you body begins to adjust the oxygen carrying capacity of your blood by thickening it.

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