Fitness questions and answers for December 5, 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.

Suggested training supplements Anaemia by numbers Acid base buffer Weights after injury One foot pronating

Suggested training supplements

I've seen so many products and programmes for fitness/cycling supplements and training drinks. I've been using Powerbar drinks but am curious about any other recommended products or services in the way of amino acids, o2, energy, etc. I have a friend who is pushing the Advocare products but looks like "snake oil" to me.

Any suggested web sites or info would be appreciated.

Jeff Mason

Pam Hinton replies


Ric Stern replies


Anaemia by numbers

For the past three years my hematocrit at the start of the season is about 42. By the end of the season it falls into the 36-37 range. All other variables remain nearly the same, including TIBC, Ferritin, MCV, MCH and my weight, but with an obvious corresponding drop in Hgb. I take a multivitamin a day with iron, even had a colonoscopy (screening), the results of which were normal. I assume this is a normal response to training, because by March my hematocrit will increase again. Also are there any training-induced reasons for an increase in BUN with normal Cr (20 to 1) besides being hypovolemic? I've thought about chewing up RBCs for increased BUN with a decrease in hematocrit, but my retic count remains stable. Thanks.

Mike V

Pam Hinton replies


Acid base buffer

I enjoy reading your articles in response to fellow riders and their problems. It seems I'm not the only one with niggly problems. I'm 48 years old, have been riding endurance rides (100 - 500 km rides) for many years and am currently training my butt off for an endurance ride that takes place in the Victorian Alps annually every Australia Day weekend - the Audax Alpine Classic.

It involves a 200 kilometre ride with 3600 vertical metres over four climbs. There are two long climbs at 29 kilometres each and 2 shorter climbs over a pass. Going out it is a 12 kilometre climb, but coming back it is an 8 kilometre climb, getting fairly steep in places. I've done it a few times before and have only completed it once in 12 hours - it's a long day.

I've sorted out my main problems over the years i.e. hydration, electrolytes, magnesium supplements, food, riding to a plan, but I still have an ongoing problem. I read an earlier e-mail from a fellow cyclist about how his sweat smelled of ammonia when putting in a big effort. I also have this problem but have dealt with it somewhat by taking a sports drink with magnesium (500 mg per bidon) and while also feeling the benefits of magnesium in endurance and recovery, my sweat smells less of ammonia. The ammonia is only present after prolonged extreme effort i.e. climbing hills. As the ammonia smell is the metabolic by-product of muscle exertion is there another supplement I could take to lower my acid base.

Obviously my lungs and kidneys are doing their utmost to keep me alkalined, but can I do more to assist my buffer system. I know that in the racing industry they use Sodium Bicarb as a performance enhancer, and in the medical world they infuse sodi-bic when points become acidotic. Magnesium is also used to help reduce lactate levels after certain types of surgery. Is there any formula / rule I can implement to help my performance by reducing my acid levels while riding up hills and maintaining my intensity. I've thought about taking sodi-bic tablets during the ride but are unsure of doses, and don't want to become too alkalined.

Obviously a ride like this is subject to many variances; last year it got to over 37C (100F) while climbing up Mt Buffalo, so it is a huge strain on the body's reserves and any little edge would be most appreciated. Thanks for your help.

Graham Johnston

Macleod, Australia

Pam Hinton replies


Weights after injury


I am writing to inquire about strength exercises to do in the off season. I have been riding on and off for several years but this past summer I started to pick things up quite a bit. I am 30 years old and I averaged around 150 miles per week with very strong and experienced local riders. I suffered a high hamstring pull along the way, did rehab, but it still nags me on and off. Sometimes it rides up on the side of my hip. I am looking to increase my strength in the off season and would like your input on new exercises that I can do to make myself a better rider next year. I am very experienced in the weight room. Thanks you for your help.

Terra Brozowski

Ric Stern replies


One foot pronating

In reference to the November 28 posting, Gerald Reyes wrote:

Dear Steve,

I think you are a brilliant man. I have read every article you have published and want to thank you for taking the time to help me with my problems. There are not many people left in this world that do something for nothing, but there you are. Cycling has been a great release for me and there have been many times that I pondered ditching the bike and going back to the cold water of swimming, something I dreaded. Since jumping on the trainer like you said I realised how twisted my body was and how my hip was trying to compensate for the varus/leg length discrepancy. Every question you asked and answered (Jonathon's answer) described my situation exactly. I began to paint a mental picture of exactly what my body was doing to compensate and therein lies the answer to my woes.

Today I made some adjustments with some Lewedge shims and took my bike for a ride. I felt like a kid with a new toy and rode most of my two hour training session in 'Big Plate', something I was never able to do. My left leg felt strange at first almost as though it wasnt mine. I even felt some initial ITB tightness in the left leg, (think the reduced lateral movement was causing the ITB to work or stretch, something it probably never did.) Overall I felt like I had an almost 50% improvement in my left leg and plan to work towards equalizing my hip and discovering the true cause of my pain. I am also beginning to think that my aching knee was 'paying the price' and not some scar tissue as I previously thought. Truly amazing! As of writing this article I am not in pain and don't need to stretch just to be able to sleep.

Scores of hours spent researching articles, stretches. MRI's and expensive doctors only to discover the reason was not my knee but foot/leg length. I have seen many twisted people riding around and plan to use my new found knowledge to help people. Wish everyone knew about you and stop trying to let their bodies adjust to the bike, it never happens but only gets worse. I will chime in and let you know my progress whether you have the time or not and just wanted to say Thank you again for helping me.

Steve Hogg replies


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