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Bike Fitting - Testing

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Riding Slow to Get Fast ?

Tis the season to start thinking about preparing for next season. Your re-entry into a training plan may have already started or may not occur until December or January, but in any case some thought about how to best maximize your time and improve your fitness and performance for 2009 is a good idea.

We, and many coaches and forums, are often questioned and debated with about approach to 'base' training. Specifically, does it make sense to put in 'base miles' or Long Slow Distance (LSD) for several months prior to increasing intensity as the season approaches. The answer to this question, like any training, physiology or science question, is not easy or the same for any one person because an athlete's limiters and time available must be taken into account.

Our methodology usually involves a series of tests, normally including a FaCT test, to assess the athlete's limiters. If it is apparent an athlete is very limited by basic endurance then we would likely look at including long rides at 65-75% of Max HR until it became apparent that the athlete was no longer limited, or as limited, by basic endurance. Often once this limiter is addressed we may include more intense training, even during the traditional 'base' period.

The limitation to spending 1-4 months doing only LSD work comes when athletes are not able to ride enough to stress the fitness they have already built. For an athlete with 'unlimited' time to train a period of basic endurance can be an effective component of yearly training because they can ride long enough to stress their existing system. However for athletes with limited time to train it can become difficult to add additional stress with only endurance rides. It is for for these athletes that a diversion from conventional periodization is often an effective alternative. An athlete with restricted training time could aim to get in 1-2 long days at 65-75%. The rest of the week would then consist of shorter rides focused on muscular endurance and depending on the athlete a day or 2 of harder intervals (sprints or Vo2 work). This methodology could potentially allow an athlete's weekly level of stress to gradually increase and their fitness improved despite a static weekly volume.

The key for those with limited volume is to keep training interesting (varied) and focused on limiters (vs. a generalized plan that may or may not address your limiters). Certainly take a few weeks to get back into training with some easier/shorter rides before trying to add in intensity but the idea of periodizing your stress may be the key to improving on a limited volume this Off- Season.

Thanks for the question ... keep them coming !

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Fitting Testimonial With Some Weight

Received this Testimonial just the other day and thought it carried some meaning. This client has been using and recommending The Steve Neal Performance Fit for many years now, to family, clients and friends.

Why does this have meaning? Well he pays for his fits and gets no discounts for telling his friends. He has returned numerous times for each new bike, regardless of discipline. He knows many people and services in the provincial and national cycling industry, so he is exposed to all the fitting methodologies available in stores and clubs across the country and could get many of them for free.

But he chooses SN Performance Fit for his bikes. Thanks Usman.
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< "Bicycles are the most efficient machine devised by man - a bicycle can translate upwards of 95% of human muscle power into forward motion. But the efficiency at which a human can transfer power to the bicycle is purely a function of how well he or she can interact with the bicycle. In the simplest of terms how well you - the bicycle's motor - interact with your bicycle is based solely on how well the bicycle fits you.

Whether for competition, recreation or transportation ensuring a proper bicycle fit will pay more dividends in comfort, efficiency and
performance than any other single performance upgrade.

'The Steve Neal Performance Bike Fit' places you on your bike in a position that maximizes both comfort and pedaling performance. It is by far the best investment any cyclist can make in their cycling experience."

Usman Valiante
Director, Cycling Advocacy

Bicycle Trade Association of Canada

Monday, October 20, 2008

'Off Season' brings Amanda Sin Marathon Success

Have had a few people ask where Amanda Sin has been lately (no that is not her pictured above). This past weekend she put about 6 weeks of good run/strength training to the test at the Toronto Marathon.

Her Result ?
4th age group, 11th female, 143rd overall for boys and girls!
Time: 3:16, which qualifies her for Boston if she wants to get crazy about it!

Her race was a very well paced effort with a negative split and many competitors passed in the last half, something that both Steve and I try to teach all our clients, regardless of the event.

Her Training ??
- Not your usual Marathon routine, with only 5-6 weeks until the marathon filled with long days at work we focused on shorter runs (longest being ~23km), and intensity from intervals (200meters to 12min). Along with this some strength helped ensure her body would be able to handle the extended run this past weekend, without ever approaching marathon distance AND without going over 9hr/wk of training (this includes strength/yoga/running)

A very motivating case study for anyone looking to achieve endurance goals along side their family / work commitments. Obviously Amanda is a very fit athlete already but given a greater time before the goal event even a 'normal' person could meet some challenging goals, with some personalized programming based on similar methodology.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Question from a rider - bike fit - posture - cadence ...

I was asked the following questions from a rider...I thought I would post them and my answers...I get variations of this question a lot

Hello Jennifer -- Carl asked me to chime in a bit on this. Really great answers from Marc H. I will try my best and cut and paste your questions below:

1. What is the proper position of the spine on a ride? Lumbar curve or arched like a cat? I've seen both in magazines

In my opinion...well I guess all the following comments are ... duh! :) I think that you want to really focus on great athletic posture...even though you are sitting on something...so more like proper lumbar curve...like a proper squat position when you are passing through the 90 degree point...If you keep a strong athlete pelvic tilt then you will be able to transfer more power...cycling is a counter re-active sport...the more you push on the pedal on your left leg -- the more you have to react and withstand the transfer from your right side above your pelvis to transfer all the power to your wheel -- so the stronger you hold your pelvic tilt the better especially when applying more power -- I have my athletes work on this during sprints where the tighten the core first then do their sprint.

2. What is the proper tilt of the pelvic bone? Ant or post?

In order to get a proper pelvic tilt you really need to sit slightly on the front of your ischium (sit bones -- it is the only big word I know..) if at all possible but this take some getting used to and flexible hamstrings as well as a solid core stability to hold it for as long as you need to ride -- if you are a CrossFitter you should be fine here...

3. What is the opinion on standing on the bike? I try to keep myself in the saddle but occasionally stand up, especially at intersections. What about on hills? Should we try to remain seated?

I have met a few world class athletes that can stand efficiently over long periods of time...so likely working on sitting for longer climbs is better as you will be able to utilize more of your pedal stroke this way...try and focus on pedalling more and more with your hips and over the top of your stroke as the climb gets steeper...

4. I remember seeing somewhere to keep the body positioned more forward on the saddle so I would assume we're not sitting on the sits bone. Not sure my question here.

I think I mentioned above that you do want to use your sit bones...our skeleton is much better at supporting weight and therefore transferring power than soft tissue

5. I don't have a cadence monitor yet and I am having problems with hills. First, in order for me to get to my route that seems to work with all bike workouts, I have to climb a pretty daunting hill for about 1.5 miles.

Regarding cadence you are likely doing pretty well self selected. However...there have been many studies on major road tour races and the average RPM of the peleton is around 90 to 94 but there are some athletes outside of that range obviously. One thing you can do is find a nice steady climb...ride at a fixed heart rate that is manageable...and set your cadence at the following...70 75 80 85 90 95 100 and do about 5 min at each but keeping the same heart rate approximately...you will notice one will feel very comfortable and smooth and you will likely go the furthest on this one as well...that is your current optimal RPM -- now if you go further on a different one you feel comfortable then you might want to practice more on that RPM so you can feel comfortable on it and likely be more efficient... Basically never feel like you are fighting the gear. A couple of more things...when you are riding try just pedaling through the top only...the downstroke...the bottom...and up...do this on different terrain and you will start to learn which part of the pedal stroke is more important on various terrain... I really hope this helps and enjoy riding your bike!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Cross Training Season

Cross Training can mean different things at different times of the year and different points in
one's yearly training plan. For myself I am enjoying some decreased and les s structured hours doing activities other than the cycling that composed so much of my in-season training. The last few weeks have had many runs and some strength work providing a change of pace both mentally and physically. Today held both strength and run workouts for me.

Read about my Strength workout at Steve's CrossFit Site !

Later in the day I joined a long time friend and client, Brent Berger for a ride in the rain. We practiced maneuvering our cross bikes around a local park in the mud/rain and worked on run-up technique before heading to the HBCC cross night for some barrier work! For Brent, who has taken some time away from the bike, cross training means prepping for some November Cyclo-x races, which also provides a change of pace for Brent's body and mind before settling into some long winter endurance sessions in preparation for 2009.

What are you doing to give yourself a break ??? Remember that your body and mind can only take so much training/racing stress and try to back off and enjoy some time to experience the things you have 'deprived' yourself of during the season. Not every race and ride needs to be attended and any lost fitness will come back, especially with renewed enthusiasm and motivation.

On that note its time for Dairy Queen ... Pumpkin Pie Blizzard is the Blizzard of the Month!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Peter Glassford

Bromont Pic -- the start of a breakthrough season

Just wanted to congratulate Peter on a very successful season.

Hard work, dedication to training plan, organization and attention to detail along with a superior nutritional plan are just some reasons for the success.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Congratulations Emily!

I just wanted to congratulate Emily on a great season...6th at Worlds...another National Championship...and also another Provincial Championship to add to the list!!

With the amount of time it took to pop the cork on the champagne I guess this is another great example of training specificity :) ... it took forever but was super fun to watch

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Transrockies on Our Performance Bike Fit

Apart from the details from Cam and Peter provided about Transrockies 2008. We were fortunate enough to hear back from one of our Bike-fit clients who tackled the race after getting a SNPD Bike Fit earlier in the Summer. During Ted's Fit we worked on establishing the most stable position for him on his bike by adjusting stem length and saddle position but then spent a lot of time on posture on the bike (both picture demonstrates a great 'flat back' with the pelvis tilted forward - Ted is closest rider in both pictures). This instruction is almost as important as the fit in helping prevent/decrease problems like the back pain Ted was experiencing prior to his fit.

Here is what he had to say:

My initial problems were primarily lower (lumbar) back pain, which would occur when riding both my road bike and my mountain bike. I could 'push through' it for awhile, it would get to a point where I would have to stop. In the weeks following my fitting session, this was definitely eliminated by 'refitting' the bike and working on my pedaling form.

In short - fit worked out AWESOME! I didn't have any back pain at all throughout the entire event. A little bit of knee pain - and Achilles heel problem after the couple of stages with long, unstable, uphill walking sections! Going to have to get a new pair of shoes though the race completely killed them!
A few months out and I was able to enjoy the all of August and September riding and exercising as usual. Pain free.

Definitely could not have done the TransRockies without it, Thanks!

Ted M.
Ps. Check out our Blog http://blaineandtedstransrockiesadventure.blogspot.com/

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