Fitness questions and answers for February 27, 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.

Team pursuit training
Outer knee pain
Bike position
Knee pain redux

Team pursuit training

I have recently been training for the team pursuit, but am finding in the last few laps I am just running out of legs so to speak. Would you advocate more interval training, or more endurance as I am wanting to start training for the individual pursuit. Any advice would be gratefully received.

Tony O'Connor

Scott Saifer replies:

What sort of training I would recommend depends very much on when your target events are coming up.

Outer knee pain

I am a 48 year old female who races on the road and track. I am 5ft 4in and weigh 135 lbs. I have been riding for over 20 years. In the last 5 years I have been battling a sharp pain on the low outside of my left knee. This has been one of those on going issues I have had to deal with at the beginning of the season. It eases off over the year but never really goes away.

I'll include a bit of a medical history. About 15 years ago I fractured my pelvis in 3 places in a crash. Approximately 10 years ago I had a series of 3 injections in my back to deal with L4-L5 disc issue and the left side leg weakening sciatica which accompanied it. 3 years ago I had a very serious fall at the track resulting in a free fall landing on my backside. I have had PT and Chiropractic therapy to correct a tilted and rotated pelvis....probably dating back to the fractured pelvis. Yep, I am an old war horse!

This off season I took over 2 months off the bike. Starting this year the pain is back with a vengeance and feels like someone is stabbing the outside of the knee with an ice pick. The pain can start as early as 15 miles into the ride. I have worked on the premise it is ITB tightness. I trigger point, compress on a closed cell foam roller and stretch the IT and the quads......all of which hurt like hell. I would say I am flexible in my back since I can easily bend in half. My inner thigh muscles are not as flexible but I do yoga/stretching at least 2-3 times a week. My quads also seem flexible since my heel can touch my butt when stretched.

I did get a new bike and the brain trust looked into changing the position a bit. I am now 1cm higher and a bit more forward of my old position. I read with interest your comments, on your website, about foot positioning for women being 5-10 mm farther forward. I wonder how much lower the saddle would need to go to facilitate this? I suppose you would encourage I do the "hands off" test, yes?

Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated.

Ann Marie

Steve Hogg replies:

If you are going to move your cleats back, there may be implications for seat height but rarely are they more than a few mm. Occasionally more. Sometimes a change of cleat positioning will dramatically alter a riders pedalling technique and as a consequence the seat height change, either up or down may be larger than a few mm.

Bike position

I'ma 37-year-old female, 5ft 5in tall. I ride 3-4,000km per season, trainer in winter, this coming season will be my first race season.

Can you explain to me how to set my fore and aft position in accordance with my femur: tibia ratio?

I've been riding a 52" Cannondale R800 but have recently been thinking that the seat is possibly too far back the reach too long. The measurements are:

Seat - headset 667mm
bb - headset 751mm
seat - bb 647mm
seat - bb 46mm

(100mm stem and a San Marco seat.)

Two reasons I'm asking :

I injured a tendon in my knee last July by raising the seat too high (lack of knowledge), and the other is, in my pursuit of fixing this now on-going problem I've been trying other bikes (last resort) and a trek women's specific 51" frame felt great. I felt "centered" and solid in the hips, although all the info I could find said that according to my proportions I should be riding a bike with a longer top tube. It seems like the fore/aft position must be more important than the top tube reach which can merely be set later with a longer stem. I've shortened up the Cann. as much as possible (seat post, stem, handlebars) and can go no further.

The specs on the Trek were hugely different than those on my Cannondale. I took it home from the shop to ride the trainer, 40 min. with no knee pain. Normally the sensation/pain is experienced on the forward-down part of the rotation.

seat - heatset 610mm
bb - headset 735mm
seat - bb 674mm
seat - bb 10mm

100mm stem, my San Marco seat, my own pedals

Kelly Burgess

Steve Hogg replies:

I don't place much faith in measurement based systems of rider positioning so don't get too hung up on what someone says that your body proportions dictate. What is more important is how you function which is not the same thing as how you measure. Equally, in my view your femur/tibia ratio is part of a positional picture but not something definitive. By this I mean that other factors can/will override any implications of this.

Knee pain redux

Last week Steve Hogg asked Jake how much he'd packed out he spacers under his cleats. Jake responded:

I have recently packed up the right cleat, first just 5mm and now approximately 8mm. That seems to have helped a great deal, so I plan on using a Look cleat as per an old response of yours in order to shim (almost) the entire 1.1 cm. I haven't yet enlisted an observer as you suggested, but just from my own observations I do in fact rotate my pelvis down and forward. Upon reading more from the archives, I saw a number of references to "building up" or "twisting" the seat in order to account for pelvis function. If my pelvis drops down/rotates on the right side (presumably in reaction to my shorter right leg), would packing the cleat with 1 cm spacer take care of this or should I look into twisting or building up the seat?

Also, with respect to KOPS, am I to take it that this would have absolutely no bearing on my knee pain, and I should look into comfort, not "fighting the bike," and ensuring that power is coming from my hips (as well as trying the hands-off-the-bars test you suggested in the archives)? In any event, I appreciate the assistance...thanks again.

Steve Hogg replies:

By all means play with the size of the shim under the shoe. Once you find what is most effective, don't be surprised if it is more, less or the same as the measurable discrepancy. Other compensatory factors can play a big part on this so decide on shim size by what feels most even and natural.

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