Fitness questions and answers for October 3, 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.

Bunch training tips
Winter training
Time trial positioning
HR and LT
Hunger flats
Vitamin B injections

Bunch training tips


I am a 30 something female MTB racer who excels in longer (marathon length) events. I train on my road bike in the winter and join in on the local road club ride on the weekends. My problem is that I often get dropped when the group surges and I cannot keep up. One might suggest that the riders in this group are just too strong for me, but I am actually equal to or faster than many of these riders on MTB rides (and not because of superior skills). I seem to ride at a very steady and consistent pace that starts out a little slower but never lets up. How can I train myself to be able to respond to the ever changing pace of a group road ride? Thanks.


Kim Morrow replies


Dave Palese replies


Winter training

I usually bike during the winter. But since I moved, it will no longer be possible for safety reasons. (In Canada, the snow and very low temperatures can render the streets quite treacherous.) I plan to start training indoors at the first snow fall, about mid-December and start again in April. I will workout on a stationary bike (or a trainer, not sure which yet). However I want to supplement that with stairs workout to help keep my biking legs. The motion of going up the stairs seems very similar to that of biking. Would going up the stairs solicit the same muscles as biking? Would do you recommended?

Marc G. Richard

Dave Palese replies


Time trial positioning


I have been very interested in your discussion on positioning and bike fit. I am trying to avoid any knee problems since I had meniscus surgery on my right knee a few years ago due to a non-cycling related injury. Currently, my fore-aft seat position is set using the balance test described in your column and it has resulted in a comfortable position on the bike and no problems.

My question is should the position be changed at all when you are using aero bars for a time trial? I have seen lots of photos of triathletes and they look to be much further forward on the bike than I am. What is your recommendation? Thanks.

Dave Walker

Steve Hogg replies


HR and LT

I just finished my first year of bike racing and had a great time. I have been very sedentary for the last 12 years and friends talked me into buying a bike to lose weight, and I did 25 pounds over the season. I am 36, male, 5'10", 155 lbs. I utilized Friels training manual and tried to follow a 400 hours a year training plan. It worked well, I finished all races I entered, even top fifteen in a regional championship. My question is where from here. My last two 40k TT average heart rates were 182 and 181, and my max I saw on any race was 193 (5 mile hill climb). Most articles suggest that "pro" cyclists have a LT at 93-95% of their max HR.

Mine obviously is in that range but I am as new to cycling and working out as you can get. What does this mean? For determine next years training plan how do you improve the LTHR which seems to already be fairly high. Is the lactate system as improved as it can be and all I can improve is strength?


Dave Palese replies


Ric Stern replies


Hunger flats

I am a 50 year old male who has been riding fairly religiously for about 18 months now. I am 6' 2" and overweight. I started at 270lbs something but have dropped to around 240lbs. I have changed my eating style pretty much towards Weight Watchers; my last vice probably is that I will drink 3 to 4 cans of diet soda a day sometimes more.

I used a formula that came with a Nike exercise watch to initially set my max heart rate at 175. I ride with the monitor and watch it closely. We tried to ride (usually my wife and I on a tandem) or a couple of friends of mine and myself 3 to 4 times a week; usually 15 to 30 miles in the mornings and try to do 40 to 60 on the weekend. My problem is this I really have a hard time keeping my heart rate down where it should be all though I am not sure where optimal should be. I have noticed that I could immediately tell when my heart hit 160 back in the beginning by an erratic beat. Now I occasionally hit 170 or 175 standing going up a hill and don't realise it other than I can't breathe.

I have been to a doctor and had a check up and he said that I am as healthy as a horse but I did not do a stress test - he said he didn't see the need unless I just wanted one. Bottom line is I have 40 mile legs and have only been over this distance a couple of times with success. I have tried to eat pasta on the night before and oatmeal and bananas in the morning and have tried eating a Clif Bar or banana once an hour or so and have tried to drink at least a litre of water an hour usually with some sports drink added. With no real change. I did manage to do 45 miles this weekend but went by myself which allowed me to be less aggressive. The same ride about two weeks ago I couldn't finish and spent the rest of the day cramping to the point I was afraid to get up of my rear.

I live in the mountains of AZ where we ride at 5000' to 7000', and it's really hilly; I manage to average about 15 mph and did the 45 miles in almost exactly three hours, but I feel very slow compared to others. What is the best way to handle my heart rate and where should I be with it and are there some guide lines as far as eating and drinking while riding. Thanks for any information you have to share.

Shirley Pulsipher

Pam Hinton replies


Vitamin B injections

Hi, I've got a quick question about vit B injections. I've heard of riders having an injection of vit B before a major race to get an extra 'boost'. I was wandering if this is legal and what the effects, if any, are. If it is legal and it has been shown to improve performance, how long prior to an event should you have it done and would your local GP do it? I hope I'm not being naive and this is in fact banned.


Pam Hinton replies


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