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Fitness questions and answers for May 1, 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.

Cyclingnews also has the full directory of all Form & Fitness questions and answers to our expert panel in a separate archive.

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.

Intensity Nausea on long rides Elbow tendonitis and saddle sores Set up tweaks Sweat rates Upper hamstring soreness Persistent bike fit issues



I'm a former category 3 racer returning to racing after 2 years (career comes first). This season I put in what I thought was a great base. 220 to 300 miles during the heavy weeks about 120 on my down weeks. I trained all I could.

My fear and my question is - in my desire to return to the volume that I once had I left some of the intensity out. I did very few sprints and only a few days of hill work. It is now May and I did my first crit and did horribly - the two previous road races where fine, however. My main question is if I didn't have a well rounded regime as far as intensity goes, how would I go about gaining that, or do I have to suffer like Jan? Thanks. By the way, Cyclingnews is the best site on the net. No joke.

Anthony Stephens

Dave Palese replies


Nausea on long rides

I have a problem with pronounced nausea on rides longer than 70 or 80 miles. On a century ride yesterday, I couldn't force myself to take in anything but water for the last 25 miles because of stomach upset. On rides of shorter duration, I can eat the usual energy sources (Clif Bars, bagels, bananas, fig bars, Gatorade, etc.) with no particular problem, but couldn't tolerate the same things toward the end of the longer rides I've done lately.

I don't think I ate too much (two bananas, a bagel and one Clif bar, a bit at a time). I stayed well hydrated and didn't have trouble finishing the ride, but I am training for a century with 12,000 feet of climbing, most of it near the end, and I am concerned that I will need energy I can't take in for the later stages. Any advice about nutrition choices less likely to cause nausea, or specific remedies for the symptoms themselves, would be much appreciated.

Gary Wagoner

Pam Hinton replies


Elbow tendonitis and saddle sores

Thanks for the great column. I read it regularly but have never seen a problem quite like mine. I am a 44 year old recreational road cyclist and rode about 3,500 miles/year, often for 3-4 hours at a time. I've been cycling for about three years. I have two distinct problems and wonder whether they might be related and what you would recommend.

First, I have a recurrent saddle sore issue, always in the exact same spot, on my left side, basically at the point where my leg ends and my glut begins. I religiously use chamois cream, keep the area clean, wear good quality shorts, etc. My doctor gave me a prescription for bactroban, which I apply to the area 2X/day. This regimen keeps the situation tolerable, but the sore never goes away completely.

Second, and more concerning to me, is tendonitis in my left elbow. (I am a righty, by the way). It was diagnosed last summer as tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) after I let it get so severe that I could barely pick anything up with my left hand. I can't think of any activity that I participate in other than cycling that could have caused this. I have lifted weights regularly for years without any problems, but the problem never surfaced until I started putting in some serious miles last summer. The doctor had me wear a wrist brace for several weeks and the rest eventually caused the pain to subside completely over the winter. As the weather has warmed up this spring and I've been getting out on my bike more often, I am starting to feel some tightness in my elbow and fear I am heading for a recurring bout.

Over the winter I had my bike fitted, which resulted in slightly raising the saddle, increasing the rise and decreasing the length of the stem, and rotating the bars back a bit. Although I definitely feel more comfortable on the bike now, this doesn't seem to have helped with the aforementioned problems. Since both the arm and saddle so problems are on my left side, I am speculating that they might be related, but am at a loss as to how, or what might correct these situations. Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated - thanks again for a fine column.

Steve Nickerson

Steve Hogg replies


Steve then responded:

Thanks for the response. I do have a leg length discrepancy which the person who fit me attempted to address by altering the cleat position on my left shoe. I will try the trainer exercise and get back to you.

Steve Hogg replies


Set up tweaks


I'm a 30 year old male recreational rider. I am 6 feet tall and weigh 158 lbs. Over the course of the past couple weeks I have been playing with the cleat position on my Carnac shoes because after about 30 minutes I get numbness between my big and middle toe.

During this period, I have been more conscious of my foot position and my overall position on my bike. One thing I have noticed is that I tend to pedal with my toes down. During my custom fit session for my bike, I remember the fitter pushing my heals down at the 6 o'clock position.

This is where I should add that my flexibility is poor, which I believe is the reason I'm not getting my heals in the proper position. My solution to this problem was to lower my seat (Selle Italia SLR) by 2mm, which has seemed to helped. I've actually increased my speed by about 1.5mph since lowering my seat. I feel like I am spinning better with the seat at its new position. In addition the numbness in my toes seems to be getting better.

The problem now is that I seem to be a little less stable on my bike. Should I move my seat back since I lowered the seatpost? If so, how much? Or, should I just stick with the original set-up and work on my flexibility?

John Mason

Steve Hogg replies


John then responded


Thanks for responding to my email. When I say I feel less stable on my bike, I mean that when I pedal at a higher cadence the bike feels more twitchy in the front wheel. It's harder to ride along a straight line. I remember having a similar feeling when I was riding a bike that I wasn't fitted for and it ended up being too small of a frame for me.

The position I was in was more over the cranks, and as a result, I think I was putting too much upper body weight on the handle bars. Since I am having a similar feeling on my current bike, I thought maybe I should move the seat back slightly to "stretch" me out over the bike more. Let me know what you think. Thanks again.


Steve Hogg replies


Sweat rates


I was wondering if there was any formula or way to determine how much water to consume during a bike ride. I don't want to carry extra water/fluids if I don't have to, for weight reasons, but I also don't want to be dehydrated. Where I'm riding now, do to the number of steep hills, I can get a pretty good work-out in an hour or so. What is your recommendation on the amount of water to be drinking?

Jeff Manning

Ric Stern replies


Upper hamstring soreness


I recently went on a group ride which turned into more of a race. Afterward, my left upper hamstring felt pretty sore. It hurt to walk up stairs that night but the next day, it felt much better.

I never had this soreness before with my current bike setup and have been pretty happy with my setup. I followed Mr. Hogg's advice, got information from the body scan and listened to my legs to get to my current setup.

My question is: should I change my bike setup to alleviate stress on the hamstring? Or put it off to too much too soon and avoid the group ride trap until I'm fitter. I don't want to adjust the position and get into trouble somewhere else. For example, moving my seat too far forward to fix the hamstring issue and then running into knee problems.

Here are my details:

Age: 40
Height: 5'7''
Weight: 148lbs
Bike: Cannondale R600, 54cm
Cranks: Shimano Compact, 170mm
Saddle Height: 73cm
Saddle setback: about 8cm, accounting for unused portion of the narrow part of the seat (Fizik Arione)
Handlebar drop: about 6cm
Stem: 80mm, 100deg facing up
Pedal setup: big toe metatarsal little less than 1cm behind spindle.
Cycling goals: 23 mph on the local 10mile TTT, then get into racing at Cat 5 level.
Current Training: 5 days per week, 1 long ride ~ 2 hours, 1 speed work out, 2 one hour aerobic rides in zones 1-2 (Joe Friel's definitions), 1 threshold workout/group ride.

I like to ride in a group for the experience but I am debating if I would be better off just doing a controlled threshold work out on my own. Currently I do about 100 miles per week.

Also - the terrain around here is hilly and there really is no finding a truly flat ride. A "flat" 20 mile ride would include about 500 feet of climbing overall. Please let me know if you need more information and thanks in advance!

Marc Davidson
Massachusetts, USA

Steve Hogg replies


Persistent bike fit issues

I have bee reading Steve's responses and recommendations regarding many bike fit questions for months now. Here is some background and my situation.

HT/WT: 70 inches/155lbs Pedals/Cleats: Dura-Ace 2005/Full float Cleats with 1 set of Lemond wedges set as you noted in previous posts for size 43. Crank: D-A 172.5mm

I'm a Cat 1 Road, MTB and Cyclocross racer with the latter one being my most successful; competing in World Cup events this last season. I've been tested with Lactate and Vo2 semi-annual basis for the past 3-4 years. My training volume is about 17 hours of training per week, not including competitions.

My problem is that when doing seated efforts my left leg starts to loose power and I have to stop the effort or get out of the saddle to continue on. Once I feel this coming on the damage is already done making the "out of the saddle" move that last futile resort. The location of the pain is the left inside quad/hip. The inside side of the left knee quad head area or medial side and behind the knee with an accompanied small amount of outer left hip pain.

This pain/problem appears only when I'm seated. When I do off road anything I'm off and on the saddle enabling me to not fatigue my left leg. This is the reason why I'm able to do much better in cyclocross then in a TT. I can compete against the same people on the road and I'll be minutes back, but when the cycling turns off road the tables are turned. Frustrating!

What I have done: No x-ray or MRI Computrainer spin scan: 60-55 left leg, 40-45 right leg under hard, normal and minimum effort. I completed this test for the first time last week. I stretch and perform core exercises 3-5 times a week depending on my training intensity. I've rode Power Cranks for a year now with excellent results. I'm now able to produce more power because of this training. I fear that I have strengthened both legs in their current state. One the days I ride the PC's I still feel the symptoms after the training regardless of which crank I use.

I've performed the trainer test with a spotter looking at my pedalling as your have requested in previous posts. Findings: my right hip rotates down/drops and my left heel drops lower on the down stroke than my right foot. I lowered my saddle height 3mm and I put a 3 mm shim under the right clear and moved it rearward 2mm. I've had this set for about 3 weeks now with no real reduction in symptoms.

I hope that this information is helpful. Please let me know if you have any further questions or tests you need me to do - thank you.

Michael Gallagher

Steve Hogg replies


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