Fitness questions and answers for November 27, 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.

Pelvic asymmetry and knee pain
Heel fracture
Bicycling, hip replacement, and crank arm length
Maximum heart rate
Leg length
Road rash scars
Crank arm length for TT bikes

Pelvic asymmetry and knee pain

I've had knee discomfort for 2 years first in my right now my left knee. I've had two 3-D dynamic bike fits with both showing the right hip in front or anterior to the left in the frontal plane. As expected the right knee is also held anterior or in front of the left knee. The tech's answer was:

1. Place varus wedges on cleat in right shoe.
2. No wedging in left shoe
3. Move cleat forward (foot back) on right shoe
4. Move cleat backward (foot forward) on left shoe
5. Place 2.5 mm washers between pedal spindle and crank arm bilateral to increase stance width

The first fit was in 2005 and I only had pain in right knee (lateral aspect of patella). The changes he made have finally reduced the problems with the knee so that I can ride. Now the left knee is the problem with pain along the lateral and inferior aspect of patella (same as right knee). Increasing stance width deemed necessary because of tibil varum (bowleg) bilateral. The right knee now tracks right over the right foot. The left knee however has a "varus wobble" in that the knee moves lateral to the foot at the top of the stroke with a subtle inward or medial rotation on the downstroke.

Any ideas on how I can address this issue at the hips? The tech said correcting asymmetry issues can only be made at the shoe /cleat interface i.e. moving cleat fore/aft, varus /valgus shims. How would I address this with offset seat? I've covered all bases as far as core strengthening, flexibility, etc are concerned.

Steve Hogg replies:

G'day Scott,

Heel fracture

I've just spent 3 months in a jigsaw cast recovering from a badly fractured calcanium (heel) sustained whilst on a 3 week mountain bike holiday in Whistler, BC. I'm male, 31 years old and 59kg. I may have broken my heel throwing myself down the technical downhill trails in Whistler but I'm also a 24hr and 100km enduro mountain bike racer.

I spend a lot of training time on the road bike. I have been doing physio on my left leg for past 2 months (I could remove my cast) and my calf muscle doesn't look quite so skeletal anymore but it is substantially smaller than my right calf. My left thigh is now also smaller. I've been on my road bike on a turbo trainer for the past month to help build it up. My question is, are there any specific on bike and off bike exercises I can do solely on my left leg to even it up with the right? I don't want to start riding only to then have imbalance problems when my stronger right leg compensates too much for the weak left.

Mike Harper
Leeds, England

Scott Safier replies:

Hi Mike,

Bicycling, hip replacement, and crank arm length

Dear Cyclingnews fitness experts,

I am a 60-year old male who had a hip replacement (BioMet metal-on-metal; the M-38A model, I think) in February of 2004 (pretty soon I will be 4 yrs post-op). I am an avid road cyclist and have logged at least 1000 miles in each of the last three years. I do mostly 15 to 30 mile rides over the rolling countryside near my town. I ride for fitness and also because I find cycling very enjoyable.

My hip feels great, my orthopaedic surgeon tells me my prosthesis looks fine in my x-rays, and he says I can ride all I want. I am actually considering the purchase of a new bicycle. The main reason is to get a bike with a triple crank to give me lower gears to make pedalling up hills easier. My current bike is a rather old model with 170 mm crank arms and only a double crank. All of the current bikes my sizes (56 cm) have slightly longer 172.5 mm crank arms. Do you think this small increase in crank arm length would have any adverse effect on my ability to pedal or the wearing on my hip joint (from the increased range of motion)? Or is the increase so small (about 1/10 of an inch) that I should not worry about it? The folks in the bicycling magazines say a longer crank arm provides more leverage so there is actually less force required to turn the pedals. I would greatly appreciate any insight or advice you could offer. Thanks very, very much.

Yours truly,
Chuck Schworer

Scott Safier replies:

Hi Charles,

Dario Fredrick replies:

Hi Chuck,

Maximum heart rate


I have a question regarding Maximum Heart Rate.

I have recently purchased a polar heart rate monitor.

I have been testing my maximum heart rate over the last couple of days and am puzzled by the results. I have been using the steps in the Lance Armstrong Performance Programme.

I am 35 years old male, live in Sydney, I am 190cm tall, weigh 88 kg, am quite fit and I Ride 3-4 times a week, a combination of road and mtb single-track.

(I am riding solo in Kona 24 soon. Hope to do about 260km) Not that means anything.

During tests over the last couple of days both road riding and running, my MHR achieved is 160/min. Why? Going on traditional formula 220-age/2 = 193/min

I don't get it. Am I unfit? Are there any external factors that could influence this (dehydration?). Can I increase my MHR by training more?

I would appreciate any help on the mater

Shaun Connolly

Dario Fredrick replies:

Hi Shaun,

Leg length

Good Day,

I'm a 25 year old competitive cyclist. I've done a bike setup at a sports physician, and the following problem was brought to my attention.

According to manual measurements and observations on the trainer my left leg is overextending. I was told that my left leg is 0.5cm shorter than the right (I can't say if it's the top or bottom part of the leg).To compensate for that my left cleat was moved about 3mm forward. I've done some training with this setup and I can already feel discomfort in my left knee. Should I leave this cleat position like this or change it back to my old position (was according to Steve's suggestions).

My feet have also an inwards angle. (In other words, my normal walking shoes is worn out excessively in the insides at the front foot and the rear foot). It was suggested that I use 2 LeWedges under each cleat (thick side of wedge to be inwards). Should I try to fit another 3mm spacer under the wedges of the left leg to compensate for the leg length difference?

Thank You I appreciate your help.


Steve Hogg replies:

G'day Juan,

Road rash scars

Hello all!

I enjoy reading your column and have learned a great deal from it. My inquiry is concerning a scar I have just below my knee. I fell while riding a few months ago and scraped up the skin below my knee. While it was healing, I kept it covered with antibiotic ointment and a bandage. Now, there is a big scar there. I've been putting Vitamin E on it 1x/day for several weeks and not really seeing any change yet. Do you know of other treatment methods and their pros and cons to reduce the appearance of scars from "road rash"?

Greg Findura

Scott Safier replies:

Hi Greg,

Stretching for cyclists


Feb 06 l had a femoral osteotomy and lower limb internal rotation. I also had about 24mm of femur removed to correct a leg length discrepancy. August 07 I had the hardware removed from my femur. I have now started back training, and am now seven weeks into my adaptation stage in the weight room. In the last week I have had a slight twinge in my right knee on the outside where the ITB attaches (the same side as surgery).

Can you recommend any good stretches specific to cyclist for stretching the IT band?

If the pain gets worse or there is no improvement l will go back to my physio.


Dario Fredrick replies:

Hi Alex,

Crank arm length for TT bikes

Hi Steve Hogg,

I wanted to thanks you first for helping me overcome my knee problems and move up the racing division. I am racing Cat 3 now and I am putting together a TT bike for myself and I was wondering is there any advantage to having the TT crank a bit longer than the road bike crank. My TT bike right now has a 175mm DA crank and my road bike is setup for 172.5 DA crank. I am 5'10" with normal proportions (legs are not exceptionally long and torso isn't also exceptionally long, kind of proportional). I believe my inseam is 87cms. Anyway I was wondering whether I should swap the 175mm crank out or the difference is small enough to ignore. I just don't want to wreck my knees and end up with patella tendentious again! I am not a exceptionally fast spinner, my AVG cad for my TTs is usually 85-90!


Steve Hogg replies:

G'day Hani,

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