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The energy requirements for a ride are dependent on:

the weight of the cyclist and equipment the distance the terrain (flat versus hilly) the speed of the ride headwinds or tailwinds

And the Calories to fuel the ride are supplied (via the intestinal tract)from food eaten just before or on the ride, or from the body's internal energy reserves (fat, glycogen) in the liver, fatty tissue, or in the muscle itself. ENERGY - POWER, CALORIES & WATTS Before we go any further, let's review the terms energy, force, power, Calories, and watts which are often used interchangeably. Energy is the ability to perform work. The presence of energy is revealed only when change takes place. Potential energy is stored energy (the energy which will let you roll down the hill on your bike, starting from a dead stop, without ever pedaling). Kinetic energy is the energy of motion (the energy contained in you - and your bike - when already rolling down that hill and evident if you run into someone while in motion). The measurement units for energy (either potential or released) are calories or Calories. Force is the ability of that energy to make a change - to change the state of rest or motion in matter. When force is actually applied, work (force applied over some distance) is done. The same amount of work is done if the task is accomplished in 5 seconds or 5 minutes. The rate at which the work is done is power - the more work per minute or second, the more powerful the force applied to do that work. And watts are the units used to measure power. The more force applied to accomplish the task in a shorter period of time, the more work done and the more power required to do it. Energy output can be expressed in absolute terms (time interval independent) or in as energy released over a specified or defined time interval (time interval dependent). The most common time independent energy unit used in the cycling literature is the Calorie. In the physical sciences (physics, chemistry), a calorie (small "c") is the quantity of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water 1 degree centigrade. As this unit is too small to easily express the energy needs of biologic systems, the Calorie (large "C"), which is equivalent to 1000 calories (small c again) or 1 kcal is often used. Unfortunately most nutritionists forget to capitalize the "C" when they are writing about "calories" (they really mean Calories), so don't get confused. If the energy released is measured over a set period of time, it is expressed in watts, and is a reflection of power.

Approximately 60% of the Caloric energy from the food we eat is lost as heat during the fabrication of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the high energy, intermediary molecule actually used by the muscle cell to power muscle contraction. Additional energy, again reflected as heat production, is lost when ATP is metabolized in the actual mechanical work of muscle fiber contraction. The net result - only 25% of the Caloric energy in the food we eat is actually used to power the mechanical work of the muscle cells. The initial heat loss associated with the conversion of Calories in food into ATP occurs slowly over several hours and is easily compensated for by our body's temperature control mechanisms, but the heat produced with the metabolism of ATP to power muscle contraction is concentrated over a shorter period of time and is why our body temperature rises (and we sweat to compensate) when we are exercising. Our bicycle, on the other hand, is very efficient in terms of energy loss. Over 95% of the muscle energy we use at the pedals is translated into forward motion and less than 5% is lost (again as heat) from the rolling resistance of the tires, bearing friction, etc. Some of the things we can do to increase the efficiency (decrease resistance losses) are:

keep bearings and chain well lubricated use light oil in bearings and bottom bracket for time trials use light greases - paraffin gives more resistance than grease use tires with a small "footprint" keep tires maximally inflated to decrease rolling resistance use thinner, more flexible tires (less energy taken up in sidewall deformation)

Curt Austin has put together a nice calculator to estimate power output (in Watts - you enter your own parameters) on his website. As energy used in Watts is directly proportional to Calories, this calculator will let you play with the numbers for weight, position on the bicycle, road grade, and air resistance/wind which we will discuss below. Here is an interesting question re the ability to "train" to increase power - with a f/u. It is annecdotal, without proof, but is worth considering. Q. I have added a ballast of 5.5kg's to my hydration pack(so my buds don't see) to see if I can train with it and then shed it on race day. I also always ride with my Sigma light and battery firmly secured in my water bottle cage(another kg at least) telling my mates its just too much trouble to take it off and put it back on again. I also have my race wheels that are 600g lighter than my traing wheels. I have read a lot of hill training tips and routines but the underlying goal is to increase your power to weight ratio. So I figured that if I weigh 70KG's and upped that to 77 for training, then shed it on race days, I would be scoring an an increase in my P 2 W ratio which would help me get to the top of the hills in touch with the real climbers. What I have found is, that I don't notice the extra weight once I have the pack on and I'm riding. I just find that when we dice for the crest of the hills my legs are on fire and I may come second, but I am not even thinking about the extra weight. Slowly I have managed to get back to where I was in the ranks of my chain gang with carrying the extra weight. I don't

have any power measuring equipment only HR and my HR on the climbs is +-8 BPM higher than before, depending on how steep the climb. I do manage to stay with my mates though. Do you think my plan has merit? A. If one believes that training (cardio and strength) is the body responding to stress, then adding extra weight for training and shedding for the race should work. I'll be interested to hear about your results. It is the saem concept as doing intervals to increase your cruising speeds. Don't forget to let me know. F/U Hi Dick, I had a great race today rode 2Hrs 29min 15secs for 100k's. There was no real wind to speak of. I did have some niggly feelings in my legs at about 95k's but no full blown cramps. If I can repeat this performance in November(19th), when I go up to ride the 94.7 in JHB, I'll be really chaffed. It is at an altitude 1500m higher than Cape Town and has a "sort of" climb in the middle of about 7k's 3.2% gradient. The rest of it is rolling hills. My goal there is a sub 2H30. WEIGHT The combined weight of the cyclist and equipment impact the energy requirements of a ride. This relationship is directly proportional i.e. a doubling of the weight on the bike doubles the number of Calories expended. And 2 pounds on a cyclist is just as much a problem as 2 pounds of equipment on the bike frame itself. Austin did a nice analysis on the effect of weight on performance. Here's his conclusion: I thought it would be interesting to see how weight would influence these curves. If I lost 10 lbs (about 5%), I would be able to go about 5% faster on the steepest hills, 0.4% faster on the level, and about 2% slower on the downhills. Over a simulated 20-mile closed-circuit ride with a variety of grades, a 10-lb difference produced a 33 second difference. This may or may not seem significant in the context of a time trial. On the other hand, there are two hills on this simulated route where the heavier rider falls back 14 seconds. That is, about 200 feet back and well-dropped. A two-lb difference that you can buy at a bike shop for $500 amounts to only 7 seconds on this circuit, but again, this could mean cresting a hill 50 feet behind your better-sponsored buddies. HORIZONTAL DISTANCE Horizontal distance. We all know that it takes more energy the further we carry any object. The same is true in cycling. On level terrain, the number of Calories expended is directly proportional to the distance and doubling the distance (weight remaining the same) will double the number of Calories required. VERTICAL DISTANCE (hills) Vertical distance, i.e. climbing a grade or hills requires additional energy as you overcoming gravity (essentially lifting the cycle/rider to a higher elevation). A common question is how speed on the flats compares to speed on an uphill slope. Using Austin's calculator, I first calculated the power output for a 170 pound cyclist & 22 pound bike on

the flats at 20 mph. It was 210 watts. Keeping energy output steady (at 210 watts), I then calculated the speed on a 1% (17.25 mph), 2% (14.6), 3% (12.3) and 5% (9.0) grade. What about descents and hilly terrain? How does weight factor into these riding conditions? You may have noticed that a heavier rider descends a hill faster (energy expenditures being applied to the pedals being equal) than a lighter one. This seems to fly in the face of a fact you learned in physics class about all objects falling at the same speed independent of their weight. But when going biking down a hill, the slope factor needs to be taken into account. The final speed down a long hill is the balance between the propulsive forces - total rider/bike weight x the sine {that's a trigonometric function} of the angle of the hill - and the resistive forces - wind resistance is the big one. And the heavier rider comes out ahead. If one does the exact calculations with twin brothers weighing 175 pounds, descending a medium slope hill, riding similar bikes, and in exactly the same aerodynamic positions, with one carrying 25 pounds of lead shot, the heavier one would go 26.73 mph while the lighter one would be slightly slower at 25 mph. And what about rolling terrain?? With climbing, the lighter rider has a definite advantage over the heavier one. And in rolling terrain with repeated ups and downs, the lighter rider comes out ahead. INERTIAL WEIGHT Finally, weight is a factor in sprints where inertia (the resistance to setting an object into motion - why it is harder to get up to speed on a bike than to maintain that speed) comes into play. It definitely takes more energy to accelerate a heavier rider/bike combination in a sprint. And extra weight in some bike components (rims for example) may require twice as much energy to accelerate as an equal weight in the frame. This is a result of the fact that with rotational speed you are accelerating these components much more quickly. (Note: this means you should upgrade your tires, rims, crankset, and shoes before you spend your extra $$ to decrease your frame weight an equal amount). The bottom line - the heavier you are, the greater the total energy requirements for your ride. And except for the special case of inertia, all weight is equal. So don't forget that the extra water bottle, the larger heavier tool set, and even that extra pancake you ate in the morning all require additional energy on the ride. And saving a few ounces by eating one less pancake will have as much impact on your performance as that expensive titanium item you've been saving to buy. AIR RESISTANCE, WIND, AND DRAFTING Along with the Calories needed to

counter the effects of gravity over come the friction and rolling resistance in the bicycle

you also have to overcome air resistance. That's the resistance produced as we cycle (from the air molecules all around us). Air resistance increases with your air speed (the velocity of our travel through that mass of air). Even with the best riding technique, a head wind will increase your energy expenditure per mile for any specific ground speed (the speed indicated on your bike computer). With the head wind, your air speed (and air resistance) is now GREATER than your computer indicates, the air resistance is higher than at a similar ground speed in calm conditions, and your energy needs are greater. Likewise a tailwind will decrease our air speed relative to your ground speed and make it easier to maintain any specific ground speed. And worst of all, this relationship is an "exponential" one which means that doubling our air speed MORE THAN doubles the Calories expended per mile traveled.(This graph visually demonstrates the fact.) A headwind on an out and back course always results in a slower total ride time than for the same course ridden in calm conditions as the time gained on the return trip with a tail wind doesn't make up for the loss from grinding into the wind on the way out. For a 12 mph wind, total time will rise by about 7%. Remember that the "speed" that determines your energy needs to overcome air resistance is your AIR speed, not the GROUND speed which is read from your computer. When you are calculating energy needs for a ride, it is the air speed that is used. A head wind should be added to your average ground speed to determine your air speed (and thus air resistance) while a tail wind should be subtracted from your ground speed. If you think about it, this makes sense - it is always easier to ride with a tail wind, ground speed staying the same. At cycling speeds greater than 15 mph, the energy needed to overcome AIR RESISTANCE greatly exceed those of the rolling and mechanical resistance in your bike. For example, in going from 7.5 mph to 20 mph:

mechanical resistance increases by 225% rolling resistance by 363% air resistance by 1800%.

This is why drafting (which cuts down air resistance) provides such an advantage in high speed events. At 20 mph, drafting a single rider reduced energy requirements (measured by VO2 needs) by 18% and at 25 mph by 27%. In order to benefit from drafting, you've got to be in the drafting bubble behind the cyclist immediately in front of you. And in a crosswind the bubble will NOT be directly behind the rider in front but will be some angle away from them. The effectiveness of this bubble decreases with the distance, being the greatest if you draft closely and falling off until there is minimal benefit at 5 or 6 feet. The important fact is that you will get some benefit 3, or even 4 feet, back - and its a lot safer than being directly on the rear wheel of the rider in front of you.

The rider being drafted also gains a slight advantage. This is explained by the fact that the low pressure behind the lead rider is increased in a pace line, giving the leader a slight "nudge" due to the pressure differential between the high pressure ahead and the low pressure behind. This is why a NASCAR racing car will go 1-2 mph faster when being drafted. Since wind resistance plays such a great role in the overall resistance we get when riding, it makes excellent sense to draft. Better if closer, but that comes with practice and skill as well as trust in the front-rider's smoothness and consistency. Your frontal surface area affects your air resistance. Wind tunnel results show that eliminating the drag created by projecting 4.5 inches of a pencil into the airstream will provide a 158 foot finish line advantage to a cyclist in a 25 mile time trial. That baggy jersey or upright position may be costing you minutes. Let's review the factors in air resistance again: Air resistance =.5*(rho/g)*Area*Cd*V^2

rho=air density g=gravity area= frontal area of the rider and bike (scrunch down, less area, faster ride) Cd=coefficient of friction (smoother rider and helmet, and less protrusions from the bike, the lower the Cd. This also refers to the shape of the frame, wheels, etc. A tube, spoke, fork shaped like a wing has a lower Cd than round spokes, tubes,or forks.) V=air speed - which is squared (ie going from V=7mph to 21mph is a 3x increase in speed which is then squared and the force required is now 9x)

SHOCKS/SUSPENSION Shocks, both front and rear, will affect your riding over uneven terrain on a mountain bike. Front shocks decrease vibration transmitted to the shoulders and allow more concentration on the course (no energy issues here). The older rear suspended bikes without a rigid rear triangle could absorb some pedal/rear wheel energy, but this is less of an issue with the newer rear suspensions. One study did compare rigid frame (RIG), front shock (FS), and fully suspended (FSR) mountain bikes using the same riders and course. The front suspended bikes finished 80 seconds ahead of the RIG and FSR bikes over a 31 minute course!

THE BOTTOM LINE - HOW MANY CALORIES DO YOU "BURN" WHILE CYCLING? To calculate the Caloric requirements of cycling, you need to total the Calories needed to maintain your basic life processes (your basal metabolic rate or BMR) which are needed

even if you were not exercising and the Calories used for the physical activity itself. A third component called the "thermic effect of food" refers to the energy expended in digesting, absorbing, and transporting food energy to the cells in the body. Thus your total Caloric needs can be expressed as: CALORIC NEED = CAL(bmr) + CAL(physical efforts) + CAL(thermic effect) As a rule, the average American, pursuing the average recreational activities and chores of daily living (mowing the lawn, etc.), uses: 1. 23% of their Calories for physical activity 2. 10% of their daily Calories for the thermic effect 3. 67% of their Calories for the BMR THERMIC EFFECT This is a straight 10% of all the Calories you actually eat, so you can easily calculate it. (You add up CAL(bmr) and CAL(physical effort) that need to be replaced and add another 10% to cover the energy needs of digestion and absorption.) ENERGY REQUIREMENTS IN A COLD ENVIRONMENT It was mentioned that a cold environment does NOT increase the BMR but requires the expenditure of additional Calories to produce heat energy and thus maintain a constant body temperature. Generally this is from muscle activity and is most noticeable with shivering to generate extra heat energy when your core temperature is falling. While riding there will be some "waste" energy (from the inefficiency of converting eaten of stored Calories into power at the pedal) but then again, the wind chill effect from riding will accentuate heat loss and tend to counterbalance this effect. How many additional Calories are neededin the cold? At rest, roughly 16 Calories per day for every degree F below 98.6. Although one can argue about exact BMR and find different formulae to calculate basal Caloric requirements, the following gives an estimate of the approximate extra energy needs (again, per day): Additional Calories/day for a cold environment = (98.6 - ambient temperature in degrees F) x 16 which would then be added to the BMR calculation and Calories used for exercise. Does exercising in the cold markedly increase Caloric needs? Probably not by a factor that is of any significance to a cyclist, but it once again demonstrates the multitude of variables that need to be considered as one estimates the Caloric needs of exercise and cycling. QUESTIONS Question:I have a heart rate monitor that calculates Calorie burn based on my activity level and I was wondering if I should feed just that number or add that number to my daily requirements. - WTD

Answer: I wouldn't calculate your Caloric needs from a HR monitor. For example, does a 200 pound muscular guy with a HR of 180 burn as many Calories as an out of shape 200 pounder at the same heart rate?? Watts expended relate to work done. Heart rate doesn't. If your basal is 1700 and you really burn 1000 with exercise, you need to eat 2700 between the 3 meals and supplements during that 24 hours.

Formula for the Energy Requirements of Cycling

From Bicycling Science by Frank Whitt and David Wilson, p.157 W = Cv [K1 + {K2(Cv+Cw)(Cv+Cw)} + {10.32Em(s/100 + 1.01a/g)}] Where:

W = power in watts o 1 W = 1 joule/sec o 69.78W = 1000 calories/min = 1 kilocal/min = 1 Calorie/min o 1 Calorie = 4186 joules Cv = speed of cyclist in meters/sec o 1 mph = .447 meters/sec o 1 mph = 1.609 kilometeres/hr K1 and K2 are constants (see table below) Cw = headwind in meters/sec Em = mass of cyclist and bicycle in kg o 1 pound = .4536 kg s = slope or grade in % a = acceleration of the bicycle in meters/(sec)(sec) g = gravitational accel = 9.806 m/sec-sec at sea level





K1 K2 Assuming:

15 kg 80 kg
7.845 0.3872

10 kg 75 kg
3.509 0.2581

a level road no head wind constant speed i.e no acceleration or deceleration ideal road or mtn. bike and rider

the formula can be simplified to: W = Cv* [(K1**) + (K2**)(Cv*)(Cv*)] *Cv is your AIR speed (ie the resistance you are pedalling against is the resistance of the air to your body and bike as you ride) and is not the GROUND speed off your computer. So if there is a head wind, add that speed to your ground speed to determine the velocity for this formula. And if it is a tail wind, subtract it from your ground speed. If you think

about it, this makes sense - it is always easier to ride with a tail wind. This formula quantitates how much easier. **The constants K1 and K2 are for a road rider/bicycle/gear of 85 kg (187 lbs) or mountaion bike/rider/gear of 95 kg (210 pounds) . If you need to be more specific, the original derivation is referenced at the top of this page. But biking is NOT an exact science, and this formula will at least get you into the right ballpark. If you want the energy expended at the pedal in Calories/min: Cal/min (expended at the pedal) = [(K1)(Cv) + (K2)(Cv)(Cv)(Cv)]/69.78 As the body is only 25% efficient at best in converting Calories eaten into Calories delivered as power output, the number of Calories that would need to be eaten per minute to sustain a speed of Cv mph would be: Ingested Cal/min = {[(K1)(Cv x .497) + (K2)(Cv x .497)(Cv x .497)(Cv x . 497)]/69.78}/.25 So if you know the average speed (velocity) of your ride, and the total time you were out, you can calculate the number of Calories "burned". Here are a few examples (average speed for the ride, on the flats):

5 mph - 7 Cal/mile - 37 Cal/hr 10 mph - 13 Cal/mile - 133 Cal/hr 15 mph - 23 Cal/mile - 349 Cal/hr 20 mph - 37 Cal/mile - 742 Cal/hr 25 mph - 55 Cal/mile - 1374 Cal/hr 30 mph - 77 Cal/mile - 2303 Cal/hr

Effects of a hill on energy needs for cycling

I often receive questions re the energy expenditure on hills versus the flats. For example: Q. I was wondering if you knew the relationship between speed and effort for a given gradient. Obviously, when climbing you are using most of your effort to overcome the force of gravity. Is the relationship between speed and effort linear (i.e. to double your speed on a climb you need to use double the power / watts) or squared (i.e. to double your speed takes four times the power) or something else? JC The basic energy requirements for the flats versus a slope are based on these formula. But if you want a quick and easy way to do the "what-ifs", there is a great little calculator for Speed For Given Power found at Analytic Cycling - a very nice collection of calculators for the cyclist interested in the technical aspects of energy use on a bike. I did a few quick what-ifs and following are the results. (I tested the calculator to assure myself it took into account the exponential increase in resistance related to wind resistance which becomes a significant factor at speeds over 15 mph - it does). First, what happens if one wants to keep energy output steady i.e. you want a speed on a slope that keeps your heart rate the same. How much should you slow down. Assumptions:

Power 250 watts Frontal Area 0.5 m2 Coefficient Wind Drag 0.5 Air Density 1.226 kg/m3 Weight Rider & Bike 75 kg Coefficient of Rolling 0.004

At speeds of 20 to 25 mph, one needs to slow approximately 2.5 to 3 miles per hour for each degree increase in the slope of the hill - or increase heart rate and energy expenditure. At slower speeds, only 1 to 2 mph as almost all the energy differential is being applied to overcoming gravity and very little to overcoming wind resistance. I decided it would be interesting to look at it from the other direction i.e. how much extra enery (in watts) would one need to use to keep speed constant. This assumes that wind resistance is uncahged and all the extra energy goes into ovecoming gravity. Here is the result making these assumptions:

Speed = 25.12 mph Air Density 1.226 kg/m3 Weight Rider & Bike = 75 kg

Since wind resistance stays equal (speed is steady), there is a linear relationship of an additional 80 Watts required for every 1% increase in slope. A. Now back to the original question. As you can see from this discussion, this requires a knowledge of the slope of the hill as well as wind resistance. I decided it would be easiest to go back to the calculator and, assuming you were riding at a relatively easy 5 mph on a slope of 4%, calculate how much more work it would be to climb the same slope at 10 mph and then at 15 (assuming you were really chasing your buddy). The answer for a 75 kg bike and rider were:

5 mph = 74 Watts of energy 10 mph = 158 Watts 15 = 263 Watts

So double the speed and it will take twice the energy.


Energy to power muscle contractions is released when oxygen combines with chemical compounds in the cell to produce Adenosine Triphosphate or ATP. These chemical reactions are called oxidation. The amount of energy produced can be limited by either the amount of oxygen available within the cell or the chemical compounds (carbohydrates, fats, and protein) which are oxidized as an energy source or fuel. The foods we eat provide these three energy containing compounds: carbohydrates, fats, and protein. As you will read, carbohydrates are the primary energy source for short, maximum performance events (sprints) and for the average cyclist. Fats can also serve as an energy source for the cell, being important in endurance events (usually performed at less than 50% VO2 max.) Proteins are generally used to maintain and repair body tissues, and are not normally used as an energy source to power muscle activity. The cardiovascular system delivers the oxygen necessary for oxidation. Oxygen is extracted by the lungs from the air we breathe and then transported via the circulatory system (bound to hemoglobin) to the cells where it will be utilized. One of the end products of energy production, carbon dioxide, is transported from the cell back to the lungs by the circulating blood and then leaves the body in expired air. There are two limiting factors in cellular energy production.

Availability of oxygen. When there is adequate oxygen to support the energy needs of the cell, metabolism is said to be aerobic. When the demand for energy at the cellular level outstrips the ability of the cardiovascular system to provide adequate oxygen for oxidation, a more inefficient form of metabolism, anaerobic metabolism, comes into play. Availability of appropriate fuel. Although fats, proteins and carbohydrates can all be metabolized to provide energy to power the cells, carbohydrates contain much more energy per gram than fats or protein. Thus, assuming adequate oxygen, carbohydrates are much more effective than fats at providing energy and thus one "hits the wall" or "bonks" and "runs out of gas" when metabolism is fat based as opposed to carbohydrate based.

OXIDATION & ATP Food energy is released via oxidation - a chemical reaction with oxygen. When oxidation occurs outside the body - for example in the burning of oil (a fat) in a lamp, or the use of a flaming sugar cube (a carbohydrate) as a decoration in a dessert - the energy is released as heat and light. In the cell, this same energy from carbohydrates and fats in food is released more slowly and in a form that can be harnessed to support basic cell functions or transformed into mechanical movement by muscle cells.

Controlled oxidation in the cell is accomplished by "refining" these three basic compounds (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins), to a single common chemical compound adenosine triphosphate (ATP). It is ATP, the intermediate synthesized as the cell metabolizes (or breaks down) these three basic compounds that actually transfers the energy content of all foods to muscle action. ATP is composed of a base (adenosine), a sugar (ribose) and three phosphate groups. The chemical bonds between the phosphate groups contain the energy stored in this molecule, and it is the breaking of these bonds (as ATP is converted into ADP or adenosine diphosphate) that provides the energy to power muscle contractions and other cellular functions. PRODUCTION OF ATP - THREE PATHWAYS There is a limited storage capacity for ATP in the cell, and at maximum work levels the ATP stored in the muscle cells will be depleted in a few seconds at most. Thus, to sustain physical activity, the cells need to continually replenish (resynthesize) their ATP. There are three pathways for ATP synthesis, and the one used by the cell depends on both the degree and duration of the physical activity. The first pathway involves the metabolism of phosphocreatine - another high energy molecule found in all muscle cells - to directly resynthesize and resupply cellular ATP. But phosphocreatine is also in limited supply and provides at most another 5 to 10 seconds of energy which limits its usefulness to sprint activities. Once phosphocreatine supplies have been depleted, the cells must switch to one of the other two pathways that regenerate ATP - one requiring oxygen (an aerobic pathway) and another that does not (anaerobic). Aerobic metabolism, which requires oxygen (is oxygen dependent) refers to several different chemical processes in the cell, which produce ATP from all three food elements - carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Aerobic metabolism supplies the ATP needed for endurance activities. Glycolysis, also known as anaerobic metabolism, occurs in the absence of oxygen and is limited to carbohydrates (glucose, glycogen)as a fuel source. Anaerobic metabolism is limited by the buildup of excess protons (H+ ions, acidic compoounds) in the cell within minutes. This acidic environment then impairs muscle cell contraction and producing actual physical discomfort or pain resulting in a degredation of athletic performance. Anaerobic is generally the source of energy only for short bursts of high level activity lasting several minutes at most (sprints). At one time it was thought that lactic acid was THE acidic compound responsible for muscle pain and impaired muscle cell function (and physical performance). However recent work has shown that to be untrue. Although lactic acid is produced in the cell during energy production, it appears to be an intermediary in glucose metabolism serving an additional protective function to prevent the development of excessive acidity, while other acidic compounds are actually responsible for the impairment of muscle cell function.

THE BALANCE OF AEROBIC AND ANAEROBIC METABOLISM As one begins to exercise, the anaerobic pathways provide for the initial ATP needs while the body shifts into gear to increase adequate oxygen to the cell - increasing both breathing and heart rates. As more oxygen is transported to the exercising muscle cell, the aerobic pathways (metabolizing both fats and carbohydrates) pick up the slack and anaerobic metabolism tapers off. However, anaerobic pathways continue to provide a small amount of ATP energy, and small amounts of lactic acid are still being produced. At this level of production, lactic acid is actually a source of cell energy as it is metabolized by liver and muscle cells. It is only as cell energy needs rise (as in a sprint, for example) and a significant shift occurs towards anaerobic metabolism as the more dominant metabolic pathway for energy production that lactic acid levels begin to rise (paralleling the rise in other intracellular acidic compounds). Aerobic pathways are used by the muscle cells for energy production (metabolizing both fats and carbohydrates as an energy source) up to exercise levels of approximately 50% VO2 max. At that point (called the "crossover point" ), although metabolism is still oxygen based (aerobic), it shifts towards glycogen as an energy source (and fat metabolism decreases). Then, as 100% VO2max is approached, and the cardiovascular system can no longer provide adequate oxygen to the muscle cell to continue aerobic ATP production, either the phosphocreatine system, or anaerobic metabolism pathways once again cover the cells energy needs. When the level of activity drops back to less than 100% VO2max, and oxygen is once again available to the cells, metabolism once again shifts away from anaerobic pathways, and excess oxygen is available to regenerate phosphocreatine and metabolize (clear) the excess acids produced during the anaerobic sprint type activity. With training, changes occur in the cardiovascular system and muscle cells that support higher levels and longer duration of physical activity before anaerobic pathways are needed, and also clear lactic acid more quickly leading to faster recovery from anaerobic sprints. LACTIC ACID Could lactic acid be considered as good for us - not the message of the 70's? The answer is a definite yes. Not only is lactate

an important intermediate in glycogen/glucose metabolism, it serves an additional function to protect the cell from the excess acidity of anaerobic metabolism. And as shown in one elegant study, it can actually be used as a fuel source to limit glycogen use.

One reason trained athletes can perform at a high level is their training leads to muscle adaptation to perform at a higher level before anaerobic metabolism occurs and lactic acid buildup develops. ENERGY CONTENT OF CARBOHYDRATES, FATS, AND PROTEIN

The energy contained in equal weights of carbohydrate, fat, and protein is not the same. Energy content is measured in Calories (note the capital C). Carbohydrates and protein both contain 4.1 Calories per gram (120 Calories per ounce) while the energy "density" of fat is more than double at 9 Calories per gram. The disadvantage of fat as a fuel for exercise is that it is metabolized through pathways that differ from carbohydrates and can only support an exercise level equivalent to 50% VO2 max. It is an ideal fuel for endurance events, but unacceptable for high level aerobic (or sprint) type activities. Carbohydrate metabolism is much more efficient than fat metabolism assuming adequate oxygen is available (ie aerobic metabolism). But once VO2max has been reached, and anaerobic metabolism takes over, the efficiency of carbohydrate metabolism drops off dramatically. Carbohydrate will produce 19 times as many units of ATP per gram when metabolized in the presence of adequate cell oxygen supplies (aerobic) as opposed to its metabolism in an oxygen deficient (anaerobic) environment. In the well fed and rested state, the human body contains approximately 1500 carbohydrate Calories (stored as glycogen) in the liver and muscle tissue, and over 100,000 Calories of energy stored as fat. The carbohydrate Calories are adequate energy for several hours of brisk cycling (80 to 100 % VO2max), and if one slows the pace to 50 - 60 % VO2max where fat Calories can be utilized, there are enough energy stores to support cycling at this reduced speed for days. How can these facts help you in designing a program to maximize your performance?? If one does not supplement glucose stores in the body (snacking while riding), you will run out of carbohydrate stored in your muscle and liver cells after 2 hours of aerobic activity, and the bonk occurs. This term describes the fatigue resulting from muscle glycogen depletion. Without adequate carbohydrate to fuel continues high level muscle activity, it is impossible to maintain a high level of energy output and one has to slow to speeds of 50% VO2max where fat metabolism can provide the needed Calories. The bonk can be delayed by using oral glucose to supplement muscle glycogen stores. On a long ride, a rider that snacks will have more glucose available to fuel that final sprint. Two other strategies are to 1) minimize extremely energy inefficient anaerobic sprints earlier in the ride (remember they are very inefficient in terms of ATP production) and 2) whenever possible, ride closer to 50% VO2max to take advantage of supplemental Calories available from fat metabolism. In addition to eating while riding, these two strategies will help to save a few more grams of muscle glycogen for that final sprint to the line.

Skeletal muscles makes up over 1/2 of the body weight in a lean individual. All muscles (quadriceps, biceps, etc.) are composed of thousands of muscle cells. And these individual muscle cells contain two proteins - actin and myosin - which chemically interact and shorten the cell (and along with it the muscle itself) when the muscle cells are stimulated by a nerve impulse. The interaction of the actin-myosin complex, which results in the shortening or contraction of the muscle cell, requires the energy in the form of ATP. TWO TYPES OF MUSCLE FIBERS The muscle cells contain two distinct types of muscle cells or fibers. Type I (slow twitch, SO fibers) - These muscle cells shorten at a relatively slow speed and generate energy from both fats and carbohydrates via aerobic metabolism . They are the major muscle fiber in use at 70-80% VO2max. Type I cell characteristics include:

high concentration of mitochondria for aerobic metabolism increased intracellular myoglobin (which gives the muscle its characteristic red color) to store and transport O2 low concentration of glycolytic enzymes used for anaerobic metabolism relatively fatigue resistant

Type II (fast twitch, FG fibers) - These muscle cells are less efficient than the slow twitch cells and are almost entirely dependent on glycogen as fuel. They are called into action for sprints when the athlete approaches 100% of their maximum performance (and are working in the anaerobic range above 100% VO2max). Type II cell characteristics include:

low concentration of mitochondria high concentration of ATP and glycolytic (ATPase) enzymes a rate of shortening 3 to 5 times that of a type I muscle cell

The relative proportion of type I and type II fibers within a muscle varies from person to person and is determined by genetics (ie inheritance from your parents). However, with limits, this ratio can be modified with exercise and training. Successful endurance athletes have a preponderance of slow twitch muscle fibers (up to 90% of the fibers in the calf in cross country skiiers) while sprinters have more fast twitch fibers. Short term studies in bicyclists (5 months) failed to show a change in the ratio of cell types (percentage of slow vs fast twitch fibers) in leg muscles, but a longer multi-year study has suggested that this ratio can change with time, continuing to change for at least 5 years with regular training.

But even without a change in the ratio of cell types, there is no question that both slow and fast twitch fibers can markedly improve their metabolic capacity with training. (see also Principles of Training) But all training may not be positive for muscle cell adptation. A recent article (Derman et al, Journal of Sports Medicine, 15:341-351, 1997) described muscle cell biopsy changes in athletes that:

had a history of high volume exercise training for years (5 of 9 had performed at the national or international level) presented with chronic fatigue had a syndrome of excessive late onset muscle soreness and stiffness

Muscle biopsies from the vastus lateralis demonstrated cell structure abnormalities. They specualted that repeated bouts of high volume trainig over years (with repeated microtrauma) might lead to chronic muscle structure changes and symtpoms. At this time there is not enough evidence to call this, but it may represent a unique subset of elite athletes that present with training problems. MEASUREMENT OF ENERGY OUTPUT (POWER) Energy output (or work) is expressed as power (the amount of work done during a specified unit of time). Power output can be measured as steady state power output (maintaining a steady speed for minutes to hours) or maximal power output - which require maximal activation of the ATP-CP energy system. The latter reflects the maximal muscle power of the athlete and is limited by the amount of ATP and CP available in the cell - about 6 seconds. Curt Austin has put together a nice calculator to estimate power output (in Watts - you enter your own parameters) on his website. Malcolm Firth also published some comparative numbers in an online coaching forum. (As the amount of ATP-CP available to the muscle cell is limited, Malcolm's maximum power output over several minutes would be lower than that achievable in a brief sprint lasting 5 to 5 seconds): "In February 1998 I did a small research project in which a group of 24 cyclists were asked to do two tests on a CompuTrainer (an electomegnetically braked turbo trainer made by RacerMate of Seattle, USA). The first of these was a step increased load test to voluntary exhaustion in which the load began at 100 watts and was increased at approx 20 watts per minute. After a break of at least three hours the cyclists then rode a simulated ten miles time trial on the CompuTrainer with the instruction to complete the distance as quickly as possible. Some of the data is summarised below:

Average Age: 33.17yr (standard deviation 12.97, range 16yr-61yr) Average Max Power for 1 min: 367.46 watts (st dev 62.74w, range 263w-487w) Average Max Heart Rate: 187.29bpm (st dev 12.16bpm, range 163bpm-211bpm)

Average 10 mile Time: 25min 52sec (st dev 1min 50sec, range 29min 09sec 23min 02sec) Average 10 mile Power Output: 286.46 watts (st dev 49.88w, range 215w - 375w) Average 10 mile Heart Rate: 177.08bpm (st dev 11.78bpm, range 145bpm199bpm)

The average 10 mile heart rate worked out at 94.5% of the mean max heart rate.(st dev 2.81%, range 88.41%-97.41%). If you go to my web site at you will find an article giving details on how to use the average ten miles heart rate to estimate heart rates for other training and racing intensities." QUESTIONS Q.I was hoping you could shed some light on how I might be able to shed some upper body muscle mass to lighten up a bit. I have 7% body fat and have not been to the gym in a year, although most of my life has been dedicated to weights until now. I don't want to lose any leg strength in the process. A. Except for inactivity (accelerated by overall weight loss) , I am unaware of any way to decrease muscle mass. Thus I think you are looking at a long term program of increasing or maintaining lower body stress on the muscles (biking, weight lifting) to maintain or increase mass there while discontinuing all upper body weight work. Q.What is the density of muscle tissue? A. This depends on whether you are asking about weight density or energy density muscle is 4 Calories per gram of weight versus fat at 9 calories per gram of weight.


Delivering Oxygen to the Muscle cells

cardiac output (transporting oxygen to the cells) VO2 (oxygen consumption with exercise) measures of cardiovascular fitness skeletal muscles changes in CV physiology with age

Regular exercise (walking, running, cycling, etc.) stimulates changes in the cardiovascular system, lungs, and muscle cells which improve work capacity - for both endurance and sprint activities. Added health benefits include a decrease in resting heart rate and a lowering of maximal blood pressure with submaximal exercise. These changes can be measured with an exercise program that elicits 60% of your maximum heart rate for 30 minutes, 4 times a week. Understanding the physiology behind this training effect will help you in developing your own training program. The cardiovascular (heart and blood vessels) and pulmonary (lungs) systems work together to deliver the oxygen necessary for efficient (aerobic) energy metabolism to the exercising muscle. Oxygen is extracted from air in the lungs and then transported in the blood to the cells where it is extracted and utilized. The byproduct of energy production, carbon dioxide, is then transported back to the lungs by the circulating blood and leaves the body in expired air. CARDIAC OUTPUT The major reason for an increase in exercise capacity with an aerobic training program is the rise in the maximal cardiac output (amount of blood pumped by the heart per minute). It plays a bigger role in increasing maximal exercise performance than does the increase in oxygen uptake and utilization by the skeletal muscle cells. Since our maximal heart rate does not change, and may even be lower, following exercise training, this increase in cardiac output is the result of a higher stroke volume (amount of blood pumped per heart beat). Cardiac output = stroke volume x heart rate. The increase in stroke volume is a result of both a hypertrophy (enlargement) of the left ventricle muscle (athletes heart) as well as an enhancement of the hearts contractile state, probably mediated by the autonomic nervous system. THE LUNGS The lungs job is to exchange (extract) oxygen from air drawn into the microscopic air sacs (alveoli) for carbon dioxide, a waste product of metabolism. Normally a half liter of air is drawn into the lungs with each breath (which for the average cyclist is about 3.4 to 4 liters per minute - respiratory rate x air exchanged per breath). A competitive cyclist

can exchange an additional 2 liters (6 liters per minute) while the legend Miguel Indurain was reported to have a respiratory capacity of 8 liters per minute. Although our respiratory capacity is relatively fixed (as a result of inherited factors such as body habitus and the size of our thoracic cavity), you can, with practice, increase your lung capacity to some degree. OXYGEN CONSUMPTION (VO2) VO2 is the amount (expressed as a volume or V) of oxygen used by the muscles during a specified interval (usually 1 minute) for cell metabolism and energy production. Maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max) is the maximum volume of oxygen that can be used per minute, representing any individuals upper limit of aerobic (or oxygen dependent) metabolism. It can be expressed as an absolute amout (again as a volume per minute) or as a % of each individual's personal maximum (%VO2max). VO2max. dpends on:

lung capacity (getting oxygen from the air we breath into the blood which is passing through the lungs cardiac output (the amount of blood pumped through the lungs, and of course the muscles as well, per minute) and the ability of the muscle cells to extract oxygen from the blood passing through them (the arterio-venous or A-V O2 difference)

Each of these factors improves with aerobic training and results in an increase in VO2max. The arterio-venous (A-V) O2 difference results from oxygen being delivered and extracted form the blood being delivered to an organ (usually muscle), the arterial concentration, and the blood leaving, the venous concentration. Oxygen extraction) and thus the A-V O2 difference, increases with exertion (almost doubling at maximal exercise versus at rest) as well as with training (increasing for any set level of exertion). At levels of exertion greater than the VO2 max., the energy needs of the cells outstrip the ability of the cardiovascular system to deliver the oxygen required for aerobic metabolism, and oxygen independent or anaerobic energy production begins. Anaerobic metabolism is not only less efficient (less ATP is formed per gram of muscle glycogen metabolized) resulting in more rapid depletion of muscle glycogen stores, but also results in a build up of lactic acid and other metabolites which impair muscle cell performance (even when adequate glycogen stores remain). The build up of excess lactic acid will be ultimately be eliminated when exercise levels decrease to an aerobic level and adequate oxygen is again available to the muscle cell. The build up of lactic acid (and amount of oxygen which will ultimately be needed to eliminate it) during anaerobic metabolism is responsible for oxygen debt (the period of time required to remove the excess lactic acid) and recovery phase that follows anaerobic exercise.

MEASURES OF CARDIOVASCULAR FITNESS VO2 max. or maximum oxygen uptake, is considered the gold standard of cardiovascular, pulmonary, and muscule cell fitness. It is usually standardized per body weight and expressed in milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute, and is the maximum amount of oxygen your body (basically your muscles) can utilize. The VO2 max for an elite cyclist can range from 70 to more than 80 ml/kg/minute. It is generally measured on a treadmill or bicycle ergometer at a sports medicine clinic with the appropriate equipment. Exertion at or beyond 100% VO2max can be sustained for a few minutes at most. With training, you will increase your VO2max. as well as the ability to ride for longer periods at any % of your VO2max. The following all indicate that an individual's VO2max has been reached:

VO2 plateau - no further increase in oxygen use per minute even with an increase in work performed heart rate within 10 beats of the age predicted maximum heart rate -this is the basis for using your maximum heart rate as a surrogate for your VO2 max when designing your personal training program) plasma (blood) lactate levels > 7 mmol/liter

For those of you interested in the mathematical expression of VO2max, it is the product of the arterio-venous oxygen difference (the oxygen content of blood leaving the heart minus that returning to the heart and thus the amount being extracted by the working skeletal muscles) and the maximal cardiac output (the maximal heart rate times the volume of blood pumped per beat). This is called the Fick equation.

Ranges of VO2max by age/sex Calculating %VO2max based on your % of your MHR (Maximum Heart Rate).

Anaerobic Threshold (AT; also known as lactate threshold)is the level of physical performance at which the muscles produce more lactic acid than can be removed (by the liver and muscle enzyme systems). It is expressed as a percentage of VO2 max - or as indicated above as a % of its surrogate or maximum heart rate. At levels of exertion appraoching VO2max, there is a rapid increase in blood lactate levels. Cr. Concimi, a physiologist, suggested that it can be identified as the pulse rate deflection point with increasing exrcise (see the Concini test below). Your AT limits your rate of maximal exertion (remember it can be exceeded for only a few minutes as you build up oxygen debt) and thus can be assumed to be reflected as the maximum physical effort you can maintain continuously for 30 to 60 minutes. The more you exceed your LT or AT, the more quickly lactic acid will accumulate and thus limit further increases in your performance. As most cyclists dont have access to lab facilities, you can estimate your AT with a 30 minute (about 10 mile) time trial. The average heart rate you can maintain is a good approximation of your AT.

An individual's AT will improve with training, and cyclists with a higher AT can work at a higher level of energy expenditure for longer periods, defeating opponents of equal (or even greater) physical strength but with lower ATs. This concept explains why interval training, which is generally anaerobic, will improve performance. Concini Test Another method of measuring your AT (and LT) is the Concini test. As a cyclists efforts increase, their heart rate generally increases in a direct relationship to the energy expended (a linear relationship). But at some point the heart rate begins to level off even as the speed (and energy expenditure) continues to increase. This is the anaerobic threshold, that point at which oxygen cannot reach the muscles fast enough, lactate accumulates, and performance suffers. After an appropriate warm up, using a single gear and a relatively high speed, the rider gradually increases his or her speed by 1 km per hour every 300 meters or so. Heart rate is graphed versus speed, and the break point on the graph is the AT. Lactate Threshhold Recent work has focused on the blood lactate threshold (LT) as a reflection of an individual's level of training. The lactate threshold is that % of VO2 max. at which the cardiovascular system can no longer provide adequate oxygen for all the exercising muscle cells and lactic acid starts to accumulate in those muscle cells (and subsequently in the blood as well). At high levels of activity (but below 100% VO@max), there are always a few muscle cells (not entire muscles, but a small number of cells within those muscles) that are relatively deficient in oxygen and thus producing lactic acid. But this lactic acid is quickly metabolized by other cells that are still operating on an aerobic level. At some point, however, the balance between production of lactic acid and its removal shifts towards accumulation. This point is the LT. It is usually slightly below 100% VO2 max., and will improve with training (move closer to 100% VO2max). Those with an increased LT not only experience less physical deterioration in muscle cell performance for any level of %VO2max, but also use less glycogen for ATP production at any level of performance. Thus an improvement in LT allows the individual to perform at maximal levels for a longer period of time before running out of adequate energy (glycogen) stores. Resting heart rate, your heart rate on awakening in the morning, is a simple but effective indicator of your level of training. It will fall as you train, but then begin to rise again with overtraining. Cardiac Stress Testing for asymptomatic coronary artery disease. THE SKELETAL MUSCLES There are two types of fibers: type I, or slow twitch, and type II or fast twitch. The slow twitch fibers are more energy efficient and use both fats and carbohydrates as an energy source. They are the major muscle fiber in use at 70-80% VO2 max. Fast twitch fibers on the other hand are less efficient, use mainly glycogen as fuel, and are called into action for sprints as the athlete approaches 100% of maximum performance. Although the ratio

of slow to fast twitch fibers is generally controlled by genetic (inherited) factors, this ratio does change (often over years) with an ongoing training program. Along with these visible changes in the muscle cells, there are microscopic and metabolic changes at the muscle cell level with training. These include an increase in the size and number of the muscle cell mitochondria, an increase in the activity of various metabolic enzymes in the muscle cells, and an increase in the number of capillaries in the muscle that supply blood to the individual muscle cells. The net result is an increase in the amount of oxygen extracted from the blood in a single pass through the muscle (the arterial - venous oxygen difference). SUBMAXIMAL EXERCISE Endurance training (usually defined as training at less than 60 - 70% VO2max) improves the overall efficiency of the cardiovascular system as reflected in a smaller increase in heart rate for any given exercise intensity, and is also thought to promote a shift towards the use of fat as an energy source (more efficient with 9 Cal per gram versus 4 Cal per gram with carbohydrates). This is suppoted by the observation of a smaller increase in the plasma free fatty acid levels (indicating enhanced fat oxidation) at these activity levels. CHANGES IN EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY WITH AGE Aging results in a progressive decline in the functional capacity of various body systems, and is reflected in a 9 to 10% decrease in maximal aerobic exercise capacity in sedentary individuals. It is well documented, however, that endurance training can attenuate this age related decline to about 5% per decade, and can also improve exercise performance in older men and women.And if you are more than 40, it may be time to consider cardiac stress testing for asymptomatic coronary artery disease.

Aging and Physical Performance

There are two approaches to the relationship of aging and physical performance. Most athletes are concerned with the effects of aging on their own abilities to perform and compete. But for the nonathlete, the question is often whether physical activity can counteract or blunt the aging process itself. From that perspective, the answer is yes it can, and it has been estimated that 30% of all deaths from heart disease, diabetes, and colon cancer are related to inadequate physical activity. One study indicated that no more than 20% (and more likely less than 10%) of adults in the US obtain sufficient regular physical activity to have a measurable impact on their health and fitness levels. Is it safe to exercise as you age? If one uses common sense, the long term health benefits far outweigh any potential cardiac complications. One should avoid the extremes such as exercising above and beyond the level you have trained for, environmental extremes of temperature and humidity, and exercising when not feeling well. But even orthopedic injuries, which might be expected to be more common in the older athlete, do not appear to be increased with activities of moderate intensity and duration. EFFECTS OF AGING ON PHYSIOLOGIC FUNCTION Physiologic and performance measures peak in the late teens and 20s, and then decline with age. However they do not all decline at the same rate, and the rates of deterioration vary according to lifestyle (the old use it or lose it philosophy). a) Bones (osteoporosis) Aging is accompanied by a loss of bone mineral content. Aside from using calcium supplements to minimize bone loss, there is no support for a role of diet in preventing this natural process. On the other hand, there is excellent evidence on the benefits of regular physical activity to maintain muscle and bone structure. b) Muscular strength Strength levels for men and women are at their peak between the ages of 20 and 30. Without a regular exercise program, there is then a decrease in muscle mass from muscle fiber atrophy hat becomes particularly apparent at age 60 . However, this is a combination of aging effects on the muscle/ nerve unit AND a decrease in daily muscle loading. One study of men between the ages of 60 and 72 years, training with standard muscle resistance exercises, demonstrated an improvement rate equal to young adults. Another group of 70 year olds who had regularly trained from age 50, had a muscle cross sectional area equivalent to a group of 28 year old students. c) Neural function

Reflexes do slow with age, but as with muscular strength, activity minimizes the effects. Active men in their 70s had reaction times equivalent to inactive men in their 20s. d) Pulmonary function Once again, there is a decrease in lung function with age that can be blunted with regular activity. These studies indicate that a lifetime of regular physical activity may retard the decline in pulmonary function associated with aging. e) Cardiovascular function

aerobic capacity declines twice as fast in sedentary individuals and may even plateau with a regular training program. the maximum heart rate does decline with age cardiac output also falls with age - partially related to heart rate, but also from a decrease in stroke volume

But a group of active 45 year olds on a regular endurance exercise program, followed for 10 years were found to have maintained a stable blood pressure, body mass, and VO2 max. during the ten year period. HEALTH BENEFITS Ben Franklin once said that the only constants in this world were death and taxes. The negative effects of aging on physical performance should probably be added to this list. However numerous studies have demonstrated the dramatic effect a regular exercise program (riding three to four times a week) can have on blunting the inevitable changes.

41% less likele to die from heart disease 58% less likely to develop diabetes

And the training effect is so effective that the aging process may be held at bay for up to a decade or more. In fact, for any age group regular riders are 150% less like to die from all causes. NUTRITION AND THE OLDER ATHLETE Although there is a trend towards an increased percentage of body fat after age 30, there is good evidence that a resistance training program will minimize the loss of muscle mass, and good eating habits and self awareness will prevent weight gain. There are no special dietary needs for older athletes. However there is less "physiologic forgiveness" or latitude to skip the pre-event carbohydrate meal, and an increased sensitivity to major fluid shifts from sweating and inadequate replacement, but aside from this decreased tolerance for physiologic abuse, the principles of nutrition are exactly the

same for all age groups. This includes vitamin, mineral, and electrolyte replacement as well as the use of ergogenic aids such as diet supplements and unusual food products. STRATEGIES TO STAY AHEAD OF THE CURVE

It's not just the miles you put in. Athletes who maintain or increase workout intensity tend to see their VO2 max decline at a lower rate than those who focus on higher mileage but at a slower pace. Stay with those intervals - year round. Aim to keep the heart rate is at 85 - 90 % of max. There is a drop off in muscule volume near age 60. Keep lifting those weights. You will need a little more recovery time than when you were 25. So take factor in a little off the bike rest time to let those muscles heal between workouts. Stay on that balanced diet with an emphasis on fruit, vegetables, more whole grains and enough protein to help main muscle volume. And, of course, plenty of carbs to replace what you will be using on those rides. Keep your life in emotional balance and enjoy family, friends and other activites. Don't just focus on the biking to the exclusion of all else.

Cycling regularly is great for lower body strength, but leaves a lot to be desired for the upper body muscle groups. And this can be a major liability - both for roadies who need that extra edge in road competitions and for mountain bikers who need this upper body strength to lift, jump, or just plain muscle heavier bikes over rough terrain and obstacles. A reasonable approach is to focus on building strength (not bulk) in the winter and then backing off to just maintain it during the peak riding season. Strength from the weight room will help with on the bike performance, but 3 sets of leg presses at 400 pounds is different from the riding demands of roughly 30,000 pedal strokes during a century. When you're riding, resistance is in the range of 10-40 pounds per pedal revolution. So for the riding season you need to convert that weight-room strength to cycling-specific power with intervals, training time trials, and hill work. WHY "MUSCLE UP"? 1.The upper body, including abdominal muscles, is an integral part of the pedal stroke. A strong torso provides the rigidity to deliver maximum power from the quads to the pedal. On a level stretch, a strong rider will barely move their upper body while those who are tiring will rock their pelvis on the saddle. And watch a group of road riders in a sprint or a technical single track rider pulling and rocking their shoulders and handlebars. This motion actually levers the bike, adding to the power of their legs on the pedals. 2. Muscle strength in the quads and legs can mean the difference between walking and riding up a short (10 to 15 pedal stroke) hill. 3. A strong upper body gives additional protection for those falls that are part of the sport. 4. Muscle strength and endurance help prevent the fatigue of the constant jarring and correction that are part of a long descent - and in turn this freshness helps to maintain sharp reflexes and technical RECOMMENDED EXERCISE PLANS There are two approaches to resistance or weight training. The first is the "keep it simple" approach one can put together at home and on the bike, and the other is the more "traditional" using free weights. Both should be done 3 times a week (2 times at a minimum) to maximize benefits. Most coaches recommend a program of strength building (higher weights, fewer reps) in the winter and then a shift to lower weights (perhaps 50% max) and more reps (3 sets, 50% max.weight, 25 reps OR 2 sets, 25% max.weight, 50 reps) as the cycling season approaches to mimic the ways you use your muscles on the bike and to decrease the possibility of injuries.

The following idea builds on the concept of transitioning from a pure muscle building program to one that mimics how you use those muscles on the bike. Do a 3 - 5 minute "muscle reeducation" on the spin cycle after lifting. This stresses the muscles and then uses a sport specific task to coordinate the firing patterns of the muscle cells. The same concept is being applied when a coach uses a medicine ball to encourage new firing patterns. KEEP IT SIMPLE (i.e. you don't have free weights available)

Shift down 2 cogs on your bike during a long endurance ride, and concentrate on pushing and pulling through the pedal stroke at 60 - 80 RPM for 30 seconds. Repeat 6 times. A second set can be done after a 5 minute rest. An alternative to squats. Dips on the back of two sturdy chairs. Crunchers for the abs and low back. Push-ups.


Upright rowing - strengthen deltoid and shoulder for extra protection in a fall. Pull up - reproduces the pulling up you use on a steep uphill. Squats - upper thigh parallel to the ground-for that quad strength for steep climbs. Bent over rowing - to stabilize the handlebars when pedaling hard. Step ups on a platform with weight on shoulders - one leg at a time-for quad strength. Push ups - mimics the push on the handlebars used during technical rides through dips and on uneven terrain.

COMMON WEIGHT TRAINING MYTHS 1) You have to lift extrememly heavy weights to increase muscle size. Not so. Competitive body builders, whose success depends on muscle size, work with only moderately heavy loads using multiple sets of up to 12 lifts per set. The chance of injury with extremely heavy weights outweighs their benefits. 2) You can sculpt your body by using multiple reps with light weights. Up to a point this is true. But anything more than 15 reps per set offers little benefit. 3) The up side of a lift is more important than the return side. The up side, when you actually lift a weight, is called the concentric phase. The return, when you allow the weight to return to its starting point,is the eccentric phase. While both are important, there is evidence that the eccentric phase may actually have more impact on developing muscle strength. It is recommended that you lift with a two count and return to the starting postion with a four count.

4) Abdominal crunches will build up your back muscles. While crunches will strenghten abdominal muscles and protect your back, back extensions are needed to strenghten the spinal erector muscles. 5) Weight lifting increases aerobic capacity. Although a rider that is in better shape might ride more efficiently and thus for longer periods at any speed, there is no evidence that weight training will increase your VO2max or AT/LT. That's not to say that you can't add aerobic work to a weight session however. Aside from the warm-up it can be helpful to incorporate two or three "spin-bike", ergometer or stair-master aerobic "breaks" between standard exercises. These aerobic sessions should be limited to 3 to 5 minutes each so as not to detract from the core exercises (squats, toe raises, leg extensions, ab work, etc). BUT WILL WEIGHTS INCREASE MY PERFORMANCE? Even though most coaches include weight training in their programs, there is controversy on this point - particularly as to the usefulness of weights during the cycling season. Lance Armstrong's coach, Chris Carmichael, recommends building leg strength with low repetitions and heavy weights in the winter, then switching to the bike for high-repetition power work in the form of intervals up steep hills. But cycling physician and trainer Max Testa says to begin the winter with 3-4 sets of 12-18 reps with medium resistance, then progress to 3 sets of 25 reps followed by 2 sets of 50 reps with light weights. Testa's reason for high-repetition/low resistance leg training: "When you pedal you use a very small percentage of maximum strength on each pedal stroke." The moral? The physiological law of specificity can't be avoided. Weight-room strength has to be converted to cycling-specific fitness before it's of much use on the bike. The following article also suggests that any benefits are minimal, at least for endurance performance. BISHOP, D., D. G. JENKINS, L. T. MACKINNON, M. MCENIERY, and M. F. CAREY. The effects of strength training on endurance performance and muscle characteristics. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 31, No. 6, pp. 886-891, 1999 Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of resistance training on endurance performance and selected muscle characteristics of female cyclists. Methods: Twenty-one endurance-trained, female cyclists, aged 18-42 yr, were randomly assigned to either a resistance training (RT; N = 14) or a control group (CON; N = 7). Resistance training (2wk-1) consisted of five sets to failure (2-8 RM) of parallel squats for 12 wk. Before and immediately after the resistance-training period, all subjects completed an incremental cycle test to allow determination of both their lactate threshold (LT) and peak oxygen consumption V(dot)O2). In addition, endurance performance was assessed by average power output during a 1-h cycle test (OHT), and leg strength was measured by recording the subject's one repetition maximum (1 RM) concentric squat. Before and after the 12-wk training program, resting muscle was sampled by needle

biopsy from m. vastus lateralis and analyzed for fiber type diameter, fiber type percentage, and the activities of 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase and phosphofructokinase. Results: After the resistance training program, there was a significant increase in 1 RM concentric squat strength for RT (35.9%) but not for CON (3.7%) (P < 0.05). However, there were NO significant changes in OHT performance, LT, V(dot)O2, muscle fiber characteristics, or enzyme activities in either group (P > 0.05). Conclusion: The present data suggest that increased leg strength does not improve cycle ENDURANCE performance in endurance-trained, female cyclists. But there is another, often overlooked, benefit of weight training. We're discovering that cycling may contribute to bone loss in both men and women because it's not a weightbearing activity. So cyclists should crosstrain for bone health. Weight training and jumping (like rope skipping) are helpful.


(versus energy bars) Energy bars are a convenient source of Calories for use before, during, or after exercise. Most contain about 200 calories per serving/packet. Originally intended to be a convenient energy sources for refueling during workouts, markets have developed for bars before and after workouts, for women, for those trying to lose weight, for those on 40-30-30 diets, and for those on low-carb diets. Carbohydrate is the most important and usually main source of energy for during-exercise bars. Bars marketed for recovery (after exercise) often contain protein, generally about 20% of calories. Although claiming that protein enhances recovery, the science is light. The only mineral additive that has consistently been shown to be important for athletes is sodium. Other ingredients such as anti-oxidants, electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs are of questionable value. And of course there are the usual questions such as the following (fill in the name of any commercial product): Q.I just read your article on "CYCLING PERFORMANCE TIPS - Optimizing Personal Athletic Performance - >ENERGY BARS, ENERGY GELS - ARE ADDITIVES HELPFUL??" and was wondering if you had come across the "Access Bar" from Melaleuca? I have been recommended this to help with training as it is supposed to help the body access the fat >supplies at the outset of exercise rather than glycogen. I have attached a link to a document that I found on this and was wondering what your opinion was. - MM A.Putting up a lot of metabolism pathways on a webpage is a red flag that there may not be any real facts to back up the claims. They can can wow the reader, but the real question is whether they have tested 6 riders using this product with 6 using plain old coca cola or other enegy supplements you can buy over the counter. The later (a test in the field or under real life conditions) is the only way I know of to prove that the extra $$ you are spending are getting you any significant benefit on the bike. The following are several interesting ideas for homemade snacks to take on that next ride. They not only can provide some taste variety, but they are definitely easier on the wallet than the commercial energy bars.The following recipes are generally low or non fat (except those containing peanut butter). However, palatability - improved with a little fat - is often important to keep one eating during a ride, so try to find the balance for your tastes.

Off the shelf products such as o bananas

peanut butter and jelly sandwiches Fig Newtons Pop Tarts relatively low-fat chocolate bars like Milky Way. Puddings (fat free) o Make with skim milk for a fat free, high carbo treat on the bike. o 4 ounces = approx. 100 Cal and 22 grams of carbo Brownies (fat free) o Follow the directions on the premixed package, but substitute 1 banana and 1/2 cup nonfat yogurt for the oil and eggs. Be careful with nuts and toppings which will add loads of fat. o 1 average serving = 100 Calories and 18 grams of carbo Dry cereal in a sandwich bag - Capt. Crunch, Cinnamon Apple Cheerios o 1 ounce = 110 Cal and 25 grams of carbo Pancake Sandwich o Toast or microwave 2 frozen pancakes (waffles) o Spread with jam and wrap in a baggie o 2 - 4 inch pancakes + jam = 195 Cal and 35 gram of carbo Energy "gel" o Mix an energy drink at 5 times the recommended concentration (cytomax tropical fruit was the brand mentioned) and then carry a second water bottle to wash it down. Not quite cheesecake o Sandwich shortbread cookies with non fat cream cheese and raspberry jam. The three components can be carried separately and mixed during stops as well. Commercial squeeze tubes (refillable) o fruit prepared as baby food o bananas and peanut butter mashed together o peanut butter and banana flavored energy gel Trail putty o 1/2 cup of peanut butter o 2 tablespoons honey o 2 1/2 tablespoons dried non fat powdered milk o 1/2 cup raisins o Roll into a log, then roll in coconut or chocolate. o Chill and then wrap in plastic wrap. Four blender ideas - for before or after the ride o 1) 1/2 cup orange juice 1/2 cup pineapple juice 2 bananas touch of honey o 2) plain non fat yogurt skim milk
o o o o

banana pineapple chunks ice cubes milk orange juice bananas



cranberry juice orange juice strawberries pineapple chunks bananas frozen fruit bars ice cubes Muffins These may be the ideal cycling snack. It's just a handful in size, and can be tailored to your needs. The only drawback is that they tend to crumble the longer they are in your jersey. Here's one recipe for an example: Oatmeal raisin muffins
o o o o o o o o o o

1 1/2 cups whole wheat (or white) flour 1 cup uncooked oatmeal 1 tablespoon baking powder 3 tablespoons sugar (try honey if you'd like) 1/2 cup raisins (other fruits are optional) 1/4 - 1/2 cup nuts if desired (they are high in fat) 2 egg whites 1 cup non fat milk 1/4 cup vegetable oil Preheat oven to 400 F. Mix flour, oatmeal, baking powder, sugar, and raisins in a large bowl. In a second bowl beat egg whites, then stir in milk and oil. Add liquid to flour mixture and stir till blended - do not overmix. Bake 15 to 20 min. until muffins spring back when touched.


For many years it was believed that a 2.5% concentration (glucose or glucose polymer molecules) was the maximum that could be tolerated without delaying gastric emptying and producing nausea. However a recent study of cyclists demonstrated normal gastric emptying with 6 to 8% solutions, and nausea occurred only when concentrations were pushed above 11%. The old standbys - fruit juices and cola drinks - have a sugar concentration of around 10% (a typical carbonated drink will contain 38 grams of sugar per 12 ounces with 140 Calories). Although sports drinks supplemented with glucose polymers can provide more Calories per quart at the target 10 - 11% concentration, studies have failed to demonstrate a performance advantage of complex carbohydrate drinks over those compoced of simple sugars if the same total Calories were ingested.

The advantage of the polymers is the absence of a sweet taste and nauseating properties of high concentration glucose drinks, which can be a barrier to maintaining an adequate fluid intake. Many people enjoy their own homemade versions of commercial sports drinks. The basic recipe is not complicated and homemade sports drinks can provide all of the same benefits when mixed properly. Gatorade (tm) is formulated to give the following per 8oz serving:

14grams Carbohydrate (5.9%) 110 mg Sodium 30mg Potassium 52 Calories

Alternatives to this commercial product can be made using one of the following recipes: Recipe #1

10 tbs. sugar (5/8 cups or 120 grams) .75 tsp Morton Lite salt (4.2 grams) 1 package of unsweetened Coolade mix for flavor Water to make 2 liters

Nutrition Information (per 8 ounces). The recipe will give a total of 124 grams of solute which in 2 liters water gives a total of 6.2% concentration.

14.2 grams carbohydrate (6%) 53 calories 103 mg Sodium 121 mg Potassium

You'll notice that the amount of potassium is quite a bit higher than Gatorade, but the rest is pretty close. As excess potassium is eliminated from the body by the kidneys, and some experts feel a high potassium helps to minimize muscle cramps - and hypertension if taken long term - this is not necessarily bad. However, if you wanted to reduce the potassium to the level of a Gatorade product, another option would be to use 1/2 tsp. each of regular salt and the Morton Lite Salt. This would change the composition to:

104mg sodium 40mg potassium

Recipe #2 (if you wanted to reduce the amount of potassium, or simply didn't want to buy some Morton Lite Salt

1/2 cup orange juice 9 tbs. Sugar 3/8 tsp Salt Water to 2 liters

Nutrition Information (per 8 ounces):

14.4 grams carb (6.1%) 104 mg sodium 28.4 mg Potassium

(you could substitute 2 tbs. of lemon juice for the orange juice and it would come out the same - or at least close).

Recipe #3 (using cups and quarts)

4 tablespoons sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup boiling water 1/4 cup orange juice (not concentrate) or 2 tablespoons lemon juice 3-3/4 cups cold water o 1. In the bottom of a pitcher, dissolve the sugar and salt in the hot water. o 2. Add the juice and the remaining water; chill. Yield: 1 quart

Nutrition Information (per 8 ounces):

Calories - 50 carbohydrate 12 grams sodium 110 milligrams potassium 30 milligrams

Recipe #4 (if you prefer an all fructose drink)

125 mL (1/2 c) orange juice (or other sugar-containing beverage) 125 mL (1/2 c) water 0.25 mL (pinch) salt

Nutrition Information (per 8 ounces):

Calories - 59 carbohydrates 14 grams

sodium - 118 mg

Recipe #5 Lemon-orange sports drink

1 caffeine-free lemon tea bag Water 2 tablespoons sugar 1/8 teaspoon salt 4 tablespoons orange juice o Bring 16 ounces of water to a boil. o Steep lemon tea bag. o Dissolve sugar and salt in the tea and let cool. o Combine the tea and orange juice and chill.

Nutrition Information (per 8 ounces):

Calories - 60 carbohydrates - 15g sodium -130mg

LINKS I have found several other links with suggestions you might want to review.

Energy bars and drinks specifically for the cyclist. And a few ideas elsewhere on this site.

Form and Technique

This page will compile a number of comments on form and technique.

Smooth pedal stroke

Using a fixed gear bike to improve smoothness in your pedal stroke. Use of a fixed gear bike will focus you on your pedaling technique as well as increasing leg speed and strength. The mechanics of a fixed-gear bike require you to pedal as long as the bike is moving forward. Inexperienced riders should consider using a fixed-gear bike on a stationary trainer for the first couple of rides. Pedaling continuously will develop a smooth pedal stroke as you spin down hills and increases leg strength as you climb the hills. Generally, gearing for a fixedgear bike will be light (42x19, or about 60 gear inches), which is a nice balance for various types of terrain. You might consider using an old road bike, adding a fixed-gear rear wheel from a used bike shop. Unthread your chain from the rear derailleur, shorten it, and place it around the small chainring in front and the single rear cog, and you're done. You can also use a track bike for this purpose. You will need to install at least one brake before you go out on the road.

One-Leg Pedaling One-leg pedaling is another approach to adding strength (and variety to your indoor training at the same time). Normally, when you pedal with both legs, the leg that pulls the foot through the bottom of the stroke and back up to the top of the 360 degree "cycle" is under used (as the other leg, when pushing the crank through the downstroke has significantly more power and thus allows a bit of slacking). Learning to pedal a complete, 360-degree circle with both legs working together will make you a better rider. Practicing with one legged drills will embed this idea into your pedaling style. 1. Warm up on the trainer for 20 minutes while pedaling with both legs. 2. Unclip one foot from the pedal. Rest it on a chair or stool just outside the left pedal circle.

3. Pedal at 90 rpm using your right leg, using an easy gear until you get accustomed to the feeling of one-leg pedaling. The muscles that lift your thigh and push the pedal over the top will fatigue quickly at first, but you'll improve rapidly. 4. After a few minutes, switch to the other leg. Cadence - If you're relatively new to cycling, you are probably riding at a cadence that is below your optimum. Most new riders think they are getting a better workout if every pedal stoke is a strain and the quads are burning. Although there's a place for lowcadence workouts, during a normal ride, aim for a smooth spin at between 85-100 rpm (pedal revolutions per minute) which is much more efficient -- and easier on the legs, especially the knees. Lance Armstrong has popularized high-cadence pedaling. He spins at about 90 rpm on even the steepest climbs, and he's regularly over 100 rpm in time trials. Does this mean you should be pedaling at a high cadence as well? Although your cadence can be increased through training, it may not fit with your personal physiology and biomechanics. The make-up of your leg muscles (the ratio of fast-twitch to slow-twitch fibers), combined with your fitness, will self-select your cadence. For most experienced riders, ideal cadence is in the range of 80-100 rpm - and most tend to automatically pedal at around 90 rpm in normal condition . Non-cyclists tend to spin a bit lower at around 60-70 rpm. Try this to see what cadence may be the best target for you. 1. Locate a protected 2-mile stretch of road (without significant cross streets or traffic). Ideally slightly rolling. 2. After you warm up for 15 minutes, ride the route hard in your biggest gear. Note your finish time and your heart rate if you have a monitor. 3. Recover for 15 to 20 minutes with easy spinning. 4. Ride the course again at the same heart rate (or perceived exertion if you don't have a monitor). But this time choose a rear cog that's one or two steps larger and allows you to keep your cadence about 100 rpm. Note your time for the same course. 5. After a day or two of rest, do the test in reverse - larger rear cog (lower gear ratio) first. 6. Compare your times. For most riders, the lower gear and higher cadence will produce faster times for less perceived effort. Here are two drills that may be helpful in increasing your cadence and maintaining the smooth spin of a veteran.

Use a down hill to practice. Spin in a small gear on a slight descent, then gradually increase your cadence until your pelvis begins bouncing on the saddle. Back off about 5 rpm so (the bouncing stops). Hold that cadence and concentrate on a smooth pedal stroke for one minute. Cruise back up the hill and do it again. Relaxation is the key to pedaling at a high cadence without bouncing. Keep your elbows, shoulders and hips loose. Use a that tailwind that you have stumbled across. Shift into a moderate gear and gradually increase your cadence until you're at 100-110 rpm. Hold it there for 30 seconds, then gradually ease back to 80 rpm. Repeat several times.

How do you estimate your cadence if you don't have a cadence fundtion on your computer? Set your computer display oto show seconds show. Using your right foot, count how many times it is at the bottom of the stroke during a 15 (or 30) second interval. Then then multiply by 4 (or 2). That will help you develop a sense of what 90-100 rpm feels like.

The secret to smooth shifting, especially on hills, lies in planning. Anticipate you'll need an easier gear and shift a few seconds ahead of time - including shifting to an easier gear at the bottom of the hill while you still have momentum. Just as you move the lever, ease up pedal pressure. The shift will occur during one crank revolution. If you time it right, you won't lose significant speed. And if you are worried, push a bit harder for several strokes before lightening the pressure on the shift stroke. Bottom line: Any time you shift either derailleur, be conscious of your pedal pressure. Shifts made during a moderate application of power have the best chance of being smooth and quick.

Paceline Training
Paceline Skills. A great way to improve paceline skills while limiting risks. Excerpted from "With a few friends, find a hill several hundred yards long. It doesn't have to be steep. Ride up in a paceline. Work on pedaling smoothly and maintaining 12-18 > inches between bikes. Here's the key to this drill: Keep the speed low. Around 5-7 mph is perfect. Everyone should be pedaling with the same cadence. No one should be struggling to keep the pace. Low speed ingrains smooth technique. In a normal paceline, if you speed up, you quickly overrun the next wheel. If you let a gap open, it takes effort to close and this messes up riders behind. But at slow speed on a gradual hill, there's less

penalty for mistakes -- and you can simply put a foot down if you make one. Trade the front position after short pulls. Just 20-30 minutes of this slow-motion drill will make you and your friends noticeably better when you're in a paceline that's traveling 3 times faster." And a second article, same e-zine ( "Catch a draft! The best way to learn good drafting technique is to pair up with an experienced rider. So if you're an old hand, help a new rider learn. If you're a newbie, find a grizzled vet who's willing to help. In this example, we'll assume you're the rookie.

Ride at a moderate pace on a low-traffic road. Put your front wheel about 3 feet behind your guru's rear wheel. As you feel comfortable and confident, get a bit closer -- maybe 2 feet, then 18 inches. o Notice how the draft is stronger when you're closer to your partner's wheel, weaker as you drift back. Notice how you feel more draft when speed increases. o Feel how the draft moves slightly to the side in a crosswind. Protection increases to the right of your partner's wheel when the wind is from the left, and vice versa. Good drafting depends on smooth, even pedaling. If you pedal and coast, pedal and coast, you'll find yourself getting too close to your partner or too far back. Keep the crank turning and use slightly more or less pedaling force to maintain a constant gap. Now practice rotating the lead. o The front rider checks over her shoulder for traffic, drifts a couple of feet to one side (determined by wind direction, road conditions or traffic) and slows slightly by soft-pedaling. o You take the lead not by accelerating but by keeping your speed constant as your partner slows. Pedaling will feel a bit harder because you're bucking the wind. Glance at your cyclecomputer to make sure your speed stays steady. o Stay close as you pass each other while rotating the lead. The closer your shoulders are, the less wind each of you will be pushing and the narrower your combined width. That's important so motorists can deal safely with your presence. o When you're the person dropping back, begin accelerating slightly when your front wheel is beside your partner's rear wheel. Then you can slip in behind before a gap opens."

There are two challenges in cornering technique. The first is avoiding a loss of momentum when you are in a competitive situation and the other is just the opposite with too mush speed going into the corner and the edge of the road rapidly approaching.

Slowing too much The secret here is to keep your momentum during turns. Novice riders will waste their momentum when cornering, while the more experienced will sweep through the curve and open a gap that costs others precious energy to close. Corner after corner, this efficiency really adds up. A few tips:

Shift down before the turn. If the corner is tight (which will naturally make you slow), shift into a lower gear before you enter the corner, stop pedaling, and start leaning the bike. If you are in too large a gear, it will take more time to get back your momentum. Practice standing versus sitting when exiting the curve. Cornering soaks up your speed, so you may choose to stand and sprint to regain momentum. However, standing uses more energy so in wide, sweeping corners you may opt to stay seated, and work a little harder to keep contact with the group (especially in a downhill turn). There are additional benefits of standing out of corners. o You use body weight to power the pedals and the tendency to shift to a lower gear. o Standing avoids the temptation to use more forceful pedal strokes in the saddle and increase knee strain. o Standing relieves saddle pressure - and even a few seconds will add up to decrease discomfort over the ride. o Standing will stretch your legs - and back. This will combat the stiffness that occurs with long rides. If you get in the habit of standing for a few strokes after most turns, even if it isn't necessary to stay with the group, you'll ride more comfortably.

Be prepared to sprint. Be ready to invest a sudden burst of energy after each turn. But if you can stay seated, and still stay with the bunch, it will save you energy to use on that final sprint at the end of the day or in the hillier sections.

Going too fast

Lean into the curve. It's better to increase your cornering angle even though you may lose traction and fall to the inside. Consider the alternative - slide down or ride off the outside of the road and hit things like guardrails or trees with more than just road rash to deal with. Stand. Give your tires more grip by standing and putting most of your weight on your outside pedal. Virtually all of your weight should be on it. Push your bike into the turn. The bike should always be angled more than your body. Brake early, then not. Take off as much speed as you can before the turn, then release the levers. This goes against instinct, but braking in a turn makes a bike want to straighten, the opposite of what you need it to do. You can also feather the

rear brake, but be ready to let up if the wheel grabs and threatens your control. Don't even think about using the front brake while turning. It is a sure way to send the bike where you're aren't aiming or cause the front wheel to slide out abruptly. Eye On Your Line Use your eyes to corner better. The next time you take a corner at speed, concentrate on eying your line. Don't stare directly in front of your wheel, watching for debris, cracks or potholes. You won't notice even more dangerous obstacles farther ahead. Instead, "sweep" the whole corner with your eyes before you enter. Just before you begin the turn, look through it to visualize the correct line. The trick is to visualize your line just before you begin to lean the bike. Then you can spot hazards and make adjustments without risking control. Remember, the bike goes where you look. Focus on the best line all the way through the turn and that's the path your wheels will take. It always helps to have another point of view. Here are a few tips sent to me by a coach in Maylasia, Nick Flyger. (Thanks Nick) "For fast, accurate and safe cornering I teach people the following (most to least important)..."

Look where you want to go and ALSO shift your pelvis on the seat so it faces into the corner. Keep you chest close to your top tube and handle bars, lowers the centre of gravity and prevents the unstable feeling. On highspeed descents I am practically kissing my handlebars. Point your inside knee into the turn by sticking it inwards towards the apex of the corner. Some people (Lance among them) say keep it tucked on the tube. I feel this makes it harder to lower your centre of gravity, also GP motorbike riders practically put that inside knee on the ground and they are going much faster! Keep pressure off the inside pedal but keep pressure on the outside pedal. However, that force must be directed vertical towards the ground not directed down the vertical line of the bike which is leaning inwards. Doing this correctly adds additional force in the direction of gravity helping to increase the friction on the tire and prevent it sliding out on you. As you make the turn keep pressure on the outside hand. Sounds a little weird... "Turn the opposite way of the turn" but the front tire acts like a gyroscope, so pushing away from the turn causes the bike to lean into the turn! It's one of the reasons kids find it hard to learn to ride a bike. However once they gain confidence they go faster, the angular momentum of the wheel then helps them to stay upright because it is harder to turn the handle bars to lean or corner the bike, where as at slow speeds it is easy to over adjust and hit the pavement.

Precision Steering (look where you want to go)

Ever want to ride on a narrow strip - white line at the edge of the road or a surface with the grooves running the direction you are going? For example a bridge with a surface of flat timbers going the direction of the road? Or avoid a pothole or wet manhole cover (which can be as slippery as ice)? Here are two secrets that might help:

The first is to keep your eyes focused 20 - 30 feet ahead. Don't look down at the front wheel. It's tempting to look just ahead of the front wheel to make sure it's going where you want it to. But this results in frequent steering corrections that translate into wobbles that make you lose your line. You can practice on the road by riding on the white line along the edge of the road. Remember to keep your focus 20 or 30 feet ahead.

The second is to look where you want to head, not at the obstacle you want to avoid.

The common factor is to look where you want to go as staring at an obstacle makes you track to it. Your body (and bike) follows your eyes. First look at the obstacle to remember where it is, but then train your eyes on the best line around it. Let your peripheral vision, keep tabs on what you want to miss.