Friday, January 30, 2009

Criterium interval training on spin bike






Chris Carmichael Criterium Interval Training video workout:
-10 minutes warm up
-7 intervals at 2 minutes on, 1 minute recovery
-5 minutes recovery
-5 intervals at 2 minutes on (30 seconds variable), 1 minute recovery
-5 minutes recovery
-5 intervals 1 minute on, 30 seconds recovery
-8 minute cool down.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chris Carmichael training

Moses from London

Moses - Today I clocked 94km/h on my rollers. Above you can see how my Fuji Track Pro transformed since the days at Kissena Track.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pedalling technique

Strength Leg workout - squat and split squat

Lissandra Guerra from Cuba


East German Track Cycling coach in Barbados

German cycling coach supports Barbadian Juniors

German cycling coach Emanuel Raasch, a former East-German track rider, will start a training programme with Junior cyclists in Barbados. Raasch, who is also the personal coach of Barbados' successful track rider Barry Forde, believes that there is a lot of potential in the Caribbean island's youth, and intends to add more colour to international cycling.

"Barry Forde is really the only exotic international rider", Raasch said with the help of an interpreter at a press conference this week. "I hope to bring up some of the junior Barbados riders up to the international level. The Caribbean riders are capable of becoming very good sprinters, just as the established European sprinters."

Fifteen junior cyclists recently took part in a two-day cycling camp under Raasch's guidance, and although the German coach will return to Europe to resume his international schedule, he intends to return to Barbados in February 2006 to help prepare some junior cyclists for the Commonwealth Games to be held in Melbourne, Australia in March. Nevertheless, Raasch knows that results do not come overnight and affirmed that he expected true results only in three to five years.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Olympics2004 - Bailey vs Bos

Josiah Ng and Ryan Bailey in Japan


Proprioception — from Latin proprius, meaning "one's own," and perception — is one of the human senses. There are between nine and 21 in all, depending on which sense researcher you ask. Rather than sensing external reality, proprioception is the sense of the orientation of one's limbs in space. This is distinct from the sense of balance, which derives from the fluids in the inner ear, and is called equilibrioception. Proprioception is what police officers test when they pull someone over and suspect drunkenness. Without proprioception, we'd need to consciously watch our feet to make sure that we stay upright while walking.

Proprioception doesn't come from any specific organ, but from the nervous system as a whole. Its input comes from sensory receptors distinct from tactile receptors — nerves from inside the body rather than on the surface. Proprioceptive ability can be trained, as can any motor activity...... more

Functional Training by Matt Brindle

Functional Training by Dan Kehlenbach

As resistance training becomes more accepted by endurance athletes, coaches and conditioning specialists are seeking dynamic training programs to prescribe to their athletes. Functional training can provide a unique challenge that benefits all aspects of athletic performance as well as offering an enjoyable supplement to traditional resistance training.

Functional training is defined as "training for a specific purpose or duty" by Juan Santana, one of the most respected strength and conditioning specialists. The concept of function varies from activity to activity and from individual to individual, thus encompassing a wide spectrum of activities. What is functional for one group of individuals may not be functional for others. For example, training strategies for strength and power sports may not be functional for endurance athletes, and the training program for an elite cyclist will not be functional for the beginning rider.

Functional training should address the unique concerns that face all ultraendurance athletes:

-Potential for overuse injuries due to the training volume necessary for success
-Strength and flexibility imbalances
-Inevitable neuromuscular fatigue that can hamper the performance of virtually every athlete. --Core strength weaknesses that diminish the efficient force production between the upper and lower extremities.

Functional training programs and exercises should involve integrated activities that demand balance and coordination to enhance proprioception (joint awareness). The methods and equipment used for these dynamic exercises hold several advantages over traditional or machine-based resistance training. First, these activities require that the athlete create his or her own stability necessary for the exercise rather that relying on a machine or bench to provide the stability. The table below illustrates the difference between the single leg squat and leg press exercise.

Leg Press -------------------------Single leg squat
Supine (lying back) -----------------Standing
No stabilization/balance required ---Substantial balance/stabilization required
Bilateral (two-leg) ------------------Unilateral (one-leg)
Non sports specific position ---------Sports specific positioning

Comparing the two exercises it is easy to explain why many athletes can leg press far greater than their body weight but may lack the functional strength and stability to perform a single leg squat.

Using tools to enhance balance and stability recruits often-neglected stabilizer muscles, which may result in fewer overuse-type injuries. This concept is referred to as prehabilitation - realizing that a potential for injury exists and the specific prevention strategies implemented to prevent such occurrences.

Another advantage over traditional resistance training is that these training tools are very affordable and portable. Equipping a home gym with machines similar to a health and fitness center would cost thousands of dollars not to mention the extraordinary space requirements, yet for a few hundred dollars any spare room or garage can be set up to perform hundreds of exercises with just a few pieces of equipment. The portability of this equipment allows the traveling athlete to continue workouts, or allows several athletes to get together in a club or team approach and perform exercises together.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of functional training is simply the enjoyment. Many of these exercises bring back the elements of fun, play and experimentation, which is something that most of have forgotten over the years. Remember how much fun exercise was growing up? Using stability balls, medicine balls, bands, and balance boards is fun.... or FUNctional!!

Functional Training Toys
There are many tools and toys that can be incorporated into a functional training program. Here is a sample listing of some popular functional training modalities:

Bodyweight: A fundamental element to functional training is for the athlete to develop control over one's body before attempting to externally load an exercise or movement. Using body weight exercises forces the athlete to focus on balance and dynamic stabilization during the movement. Examples of excellent bodyweight exercises include push-ups, pull-ups, dips, squats, lunges, split squats, step-ups, and bridges (explained later). Best of all, no equipment is required and these exercises can be performed virtually anytime and anywhere.

Medicine Balls: These training tools are making a comeback in the gym. While leather balls are still popular, today's medicine balls are weighted rubberized balls that can be gripped easily and thrown against a wall or to a partner. Medicine balls are available in many sizes and weights ranging from 2-30 pounds allowing many dynamic core exercises to be performed.

Stability Balls: The stability ball (SB) is one of the most versatile functional training tools on the market. Resembling a large beach ball, stability balls allow the athlete to perform hundreds of exercises that can improve balance and core strength. Since the ball is unstable, stabilizer muscles are constantly recruited to prevent the athlete from falling off the ball!

The SB can change the dynamics of even the simplest of exercises. For example, performing an overhead press on a traditional bench is a common exercise for shoulder development. Performing the same exercise seated on a SB forces the athlete to focus on proper posture (since there is no back support on the ball) and negotiate the balance demand of performing the exercise on an unstable surface.

One word of caution: avoid purchasing a SB at a department store. These balls do not stand up to the rigors of repeated use even in the home setting. This is especially true when using external loads such as dumbbells or medicine balls. For safety's sake, it is worth the extra few dollars to purchase a ball specifically designed for commercial settings.

Steps/Boxes: Steps of various heights can be used to increase the difficulty of lunges, split squats, step-ups, push-ups and other exercises. As an example, elevating the trailing foot in a split squat increases the intensity of the exercise as well as providing an additional balance and flexibility challenge. Many steps for aerobics are adjustable in height (usually 4-8 inches) and are ideal for home use.

Bands/Tubing: Rubberized tubing is an excellent tool for all aspects of resistance training. One unique feature of bands and tubing is that the resistance can be geared towards different vectors. Gravity is always dominating a free weight exercise - it always exerts a downward force. With bands, exercises can be set up so the resistance originates from different regions. For example, to modify the lunge, a band can be placed around the waist and anchored in different locations. The resistance can come from the side, the front, or the back and adds an additional balance, stability and strength demand to the lunge exercise. Another benefit of bands is that they are very portable and can be used anywhere, which is especially helpful when traveling.

Balance boards: Balance boards are excellent tools for training both static and dynamic balance. Simply standing on these boards presents a unique challenge and can be enhanced by performing different exercises while on the board (explained later).

Three excellent sources for equipment are:
Ball Dynamics
Perform Better
Power Systems

Program Integration
With the popularity of functional training, there is no reason to abandon traditional resistance training. Functional training and traditional training can provide an enjoyable supplement to one another. Many health clubs have stability balls, medicine balls and other equipment available to provide integration between the two strategies of training. Every training method is a tool and has its purpose, whether that is machines, barbells, dumbbells, bands, tubing, stability balls, or medicine balls. Every tool has a specific purpose, and the bigger your toolbox, the more options you have with program design.

Remember - there is no one correct way to strength train. If you ask 20 different gourmet chefs to prepare their favorite chicken dishes chances are that all the methods to prepare the chicken will be different, but they will all taste good. The best program is the one that the individual finds enjoyable and doable. So, keep your training fun, or better yet, keep it FUNctional!

Sample Exercises: illustrated

more info

Monday, January 26, 2009

Jason Kenny from Great Britain

Rebecca Romero from Great Britain

US revamps track program

USA Cycling revamps track program

By Steve Frothingham
Posted Oct. 31, 2008

USA Cycling is launching a revamped track program intended to get young trackies more international experience early in their careers.

In recent years, USAC has sent national teams to four track World Cups each season. Under the new program, the team will send some riders to all the UCI Track Calendar events, as appropriate, including European Grand Prix races and 6-day races.

USA Cycling also will launch several domestic track training camps.

"USA Cycling aims to identify and develop a deeper pool of track racing talent by providing increased exposure to world-class competition at various non-traditional events," according to a statement released by the group Friday.

"We've already built a successful model for athlete development," said Pat McDonough, USAC's Director of Athletics. "Now it's just a matter of specifically applying it to track riders. We've shown in other disciplines that consistent exposure to international competition is the most effective way to develop world-class athletes, so we needed to expand upon that idea for our track athletes. In the past, sending a team to four World Cups a year didn't provide our athletes with the amount of high-level racing necessary to improve. We expect this new endeavor to address that."

The initial emphasis will be on men's and women's endurance races, followed by a long-term sprint program scheduled to be begun in 2010. The programs will use the infrastructure and resources already established by USA Cycling for its U-23 National Team in Izegem, Belgium, and its women's National Team in Lucca, Italy.

For the 2008-09 season, the United States has six UCI-registered track trade teams with a total of 18 athletes. The American trade teams include Hawk Relay Cycling, Ouch Pro Cycling, Proman Racing Team, Rock Racing, South Bay Wheelmen and Verducci Breakaway Racing.
USA Cycling will not send a national team to the season's first three World Cup events in Manchester, England; Melbourne, Australia; and Cali, Colombia. However a national team comprised of development athletes will represent the United States at round four in Beijing and the fifth and final World Cup in Copenhagen.

The Manchester World Cup, which starts Friday, will feature two U.S. riders — Shelly Olds (Proman) and Becky Quinn (South Bay Wheelmen).

"Because of the support of several track trade teams, many of our top athletes will continue to compete at World Cup races," said McDonough. "The alliance we've created allows us to better invest our resources by redirecting them into the development of the next generation."


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fitness myths debunked

MYTH: Muscle turns into fat
REALITY: Muscle and fat are two completely different tissues that have different functions, so it's physiologically impossible to turn one into the other. If you stop exercising, your muscles atrophy, so you lose the tone you worked so hard to create. And if you eat more calories than you burn, you'll gain fat.

MYTH: You need to exercise 30 minutes straight to get fit.
REALITY: Three 10-minute cardio stints offer the same healthy payback as a single 30-minute one. If you are trying to peel off pounds, of course, the more you do, the faster you'll succeed. But don't feel guilty if all you can squeeze in is a few minutes here and a few minutes there—it all adds up.
Short on time? Ratchet up the intensity of your workout: Go hard for 30 seconds on the elliptical or jog for a minute in the middle of your walk to maintain your fitness level and your habit. And remember, anything you do—whether it's a brisk 5-minute walk or carrying heavy groceries to your car—for any period of time, provides some benefit.

MYTH: Overweight people have a sluggish metabolism.
REALITY: Though some folks do have metabolic disorders that slow their metabolism, fewer than 10 percent of overweight people suffer from them. In fact, the more you weigh, the more calories you'll burn during exercise at the same relative workload as a slimmer person. If you notice the scale climbing higher, worry about your activity level, not your metabolism. Try this fat-burning workout to really see results.

MYTH: Lifting heavy weights make women bulk up.
REALITY: Women don’t have enough of the muscle-building hormone testosterone to get bulky, even using heavy weights. The truth is, some people will gain muscle faster than they lose fat, so they may look bigger until they shed some of the flab and reveal the slim, toned muscles underneath. Shape sleek muscles with this workout from The Biggest Loser's Jillian Michaels.

MYTH: You can’t lose any weight by swimming.
REALITY: OK, it’s true that long-distance swimmers who navigate colder waters tend to retain body fat for insulation. But ask anyone who laps it up while training for a triathlon: You will sizzle off pounds in the pool, since swimming burns 450 to 700 calories an hour! One reason you might not shed flab doing freestyle? If you throw in the towel and cut your workout short. Keep it going with this full-body water workout from gold medalist Amanda Beard.

MYTH: Stretching before exercise prevents injuries and enhances performance.
REALITY: Researchers are still scratching their head over this one, since studies have yet to show conclusively that limbering up has any effect on staving off strains and other injuries. But they do know that stretching regularly can make bending, reaching, twisting and lifting easier. Best move: Save your stretching for post-exercise, when muscles are warm. MYTH: You burn more calories exercising in chilly weather.REALITY: If you shiver through a long run in the frigid winter air simply to experience the extra calorie burn, you might want to come in from the cold: You do torch a few extra calories during the first few minutes, but once you get warmed up, the caloric expenditure is the same whether you’re exercising in Siberia or the Sahara. Try a treadmill circuit workout with a great playlist to keep you going!

MYTH: When your body gets used to an exercise, you'll burn fewer calories doing it.
REALITY: Unless you've adjusted the intensity, you'll burn as much jogging or cycling today as you did last week, last month, even last year. Experts say that this principle only applies to exercises that we're naturally inefficient at, such as using the elliptical machine: After five to six sessions, you'll be smoother in your movements and expend fewer calories—but the difference is only about 2 to 5 percent.

MYTH: The calorie readout on machines is accurate.
REALITY: If only! Research has shown that some types of machines can be off by as much as 70 percent. The culprit? Contraptions such as the elliptical machine haven’t been around long enough for exercise scientists to develop the appropriate calorie-burn equations. On the upside, stationary bikes and treadmills, the grandfathers of the gym, generally give a fairly precise reading, particularly if you enter your age and weight.
Rather than swearing by what the machine says, use the calorie readout to monitor your progress. If the tally climbs during the same workout for the same duration, you’re working harder and getting fitter. An online calorie calculator can give you a sense of which activities burn the most.

Score more tips on making your workout more effective and fun at Find ways to fit in more workouts on the Fresh Fitness Tips blog.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Andrew LaCorte 2008 National Champ - Sprint 35-39

Video Clip

Components of Power

ANATOMY - the length of the levers (bones), and the positions of attachment of tendons and ligaments.

SKILL - the degree to which you have learned the correct movements for your sport, so they have become automatic neuromuscular sequences in the cerebellum of your brain.

CONTRACTILE MASS - the number and size of the contractile fibers of your muscles.

BODYFAT - the amount of dead weight in fat your muscles have to carry.

STRENGTH - the force at which your muscles can contract.

BALANCE - your posture in standing and moving, and the balanced development of opposing muscle groups that yield it.

FLEXIBILITY - the elasticity of your muscles and connective tissues.

COORDINATION - the linking of muscle chains into smooth, complex movements.

REACTION SPEED - the efficiency of the neuromuscular connections between your muscles, nerves and brain.


by Dr. Michael Colgan.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Project Tiemeyer

It's been a busy year and this final chapter of our Project Tiemeyer is long overdue. To recap where and how this all started, let's look back over the past few months.

When the process started, I was riding a custom Ground Up track frame that did everything I could ever want from a frame. Stiff, strong, durable with tight handling--a great track bike that fit me perfectly.

Took a few months off that frame and rode a Planet-X, a Teschner Track Pro and some place along the line started working on getting a custom Tiemeyer Signature track frame designed and built. When the dust settled, the season ended and we started preparing for winter. Only one track bike is in the garage ready to be taken to the Dick Lane Velodrome. The FixedGearFever Project Tiemeyer is dialed in and ready to go!

From the beginning, this has been a review of the Tiemeyer "experience." When you compare the Teschner Track Pro, the Planet-X and Tiemeyer Signature, you can look only at the hardware or you can look at the big picture. Looking "outside the box" that gets delivered to your front door shows you a much different picture.

Let's open up the box and talk a bit about the Tiemeyer. The Tiemeyer Signature design sticks out in a crowd. It's been imitated by numerous other frame builders but duplicated by none. The wing-shaped Reynolds aluminum has proven itself in a wind tunnel, the design is simple and could even be considered "basic" by many. Having said that, Dave has not cut any corners in the design, construction or finish. The welds are smooth and even, the Spectrum Powder Works finish is flawless. Dave installs each headset, checks the alignment and finishes each frame himself. No details are left unchecked. When you open the box, you are looking at one of the nicest frames you will ever see.

Assembly is a breeze. The seat tube is reamed to a perfect 27.2, the rear end is 120mm so your wheel slides in without any issues, and the threads in the bottom bracket are cut and chased so you do not have to worry about any paint. With your Chris King headset (which comes stock) installed, you are minutes away from having your new bike rideable.

One thing you will notice about the Signature is the weight. You are not purchasing a super lightweight frame here. While I do not have an accurate scale to compare weights of frames, I will tell you it is probably a 4.5-5 pound frameset. This is both a plus and a minus for some people. The gram geeks will get worked up about the weight of the frame, but please for a moment consider that a stock Fuji with a Zipp disc and a light front wheel will fail the UCI weight limit test. The Signature is designed to be raced around a velodrome, not up a mountain. It's designed to be stiff and fast. This has been accomplished!

Back to the setup. Having worked with Dave on the design of the frame, you have your design diagram (included with your shipped frame). You have the measurements right there. You know what stem you need, you know how high and how far back to put your saddle. Right away, you are set up and on your way to the track. Your bike will be right at home on the track!

Racing four distinctly different bicycles in a season is odd. Over the years, I have developed an ability to sort out a bicycle quickly, which helps, but I am always "uncomfortable" until I've ridden or raced a bike a few times. For me, it's "can you handle an oh-$#*! situation well?" Get through something that scared you a bit and you know you are comfortable on a bike. When I got on "Wilson" (the name I chose for this bike), it wasn't like others. The fit, the feel--it was exactly what my mind and body expected. I knew it would steer similar to others. I knew it would be stiff. I knew it would handle like a track bike. All this and the fact that the bike fits me perfectly (it was designed for me--with my input), all work together to make this a great ride.

The first couple of rides were basic training sessions. A lot of playing to see how the bike felt turning right, turning left, jumping, backpedaling--all of the standard tests I do on a bike I am testing. All of this made me feel comfortable and ready to do just about anything on the frame. I managed to squeeze in one last race of the year at the track. I'd love to tell you that Wilson helped me to win everything by taking lap after lap. The unfortunate thing is, that even a super-fast, aero frame won't make a mule into a race horse. The bike did everything I asked it to, but after an injury-filled month, I just didn't have the legs to end the season with a big win on my new Tiemeyer. But the bike was definitely not the limiting factor.

The final test of the Project Tiemeyer came a week later at a training session. Riding around motorpacing behind a friend I trust on a bicycle and a motorcycle, as relaxed as can be, at 25-ish mph. I am not sure what exactly happened but the motor slowed a good bit. I was close and another rider was above me. It was one of those "oh-$#*!" situations I referenced earlier. If my brain didn't tell the bike what to do or the bike didn't do it, I was going to learn what a butt cheek or shoulder bouncing on concrete feels like. A split second later, it was all over. Perfect. No bump, no crash, no issue. We all said "whoa" and sorted it out. Good deal.

The only "shortcoming" of this frame won't affect very many people. Most people race their track bikes on smooth, well-kept velodromes where you can run 150-gram tires and ride 220-gram rims. Those of us in Atlanta, St. Louis, Queens and other tracks that are not so smooth, this frame isn't as smooth as its carbon fiber competitors. Perhaps I am brainwashed, perhaps I am making this up, but I went from a fully carbon frame/fork to a carbon fork with an aluminum frame. The components were the same (literally). In shorter events/sessions, there were no significant differences. In longer events/sessions, I started noticing increased "butt adjustment" and hand numbness. This is nothing I have not experienced on my Ground Up (steel).

Some of you may scroll back to my Planet-X review. You may compare my comments on the BT Aluminum frame I reviewed a few years ago. Some could say "there is a Tiemeyer banner on the side of FGF." When you put it all together you will find that I generally haven't ridden a bad frame. I liked the BT Aluminum, I liked the Planet-X. I enjoyed racing the Teschner Track Pro. I love the Ground Up. What can I say? I've tested some great bikes and been honest about all of them. I'm keeping the Tiemeyer. No questions asked.

When you consider that for $1,850 you will get a custom-made frame, a Chris King headset, a Reynolds fork and a Spectrum Powder Works finish, some would say that is a great deal. Add in the knowledge of frame design, years of experience, the iterative design process, and the fact that you are working with one of the classiest men in the bicycle industry, you have just created the best deal in the industry. For the money, I know of better value in track frames. The "best value" award is often given to a lesser product that performs well. That is not the case here. You get a world record-capable frameset, made just for you and built to last. If you are looking for a professional quality track frame, you owe it to yourself to consider the Tiemeyer Signature!

read more at Fixed Gear Fever

Velodromes around the World

- Algeria (3)
- Argentina (39)
- Armenia (1)
- Australia (90)
- Austria (1)
- Azerbaijan (1)
- Barbados (1)
- Belarus (1)
- Belgium (16)
- Bolivia (3)
- Brazil (8)
- Bulgaria (3)
- Cameroon (1)
- Canada (10)
- Chile (5)
- China (23)
- Colombia (9)
- Congo, Democratic Republic Of The (1)
- Costa Rica (1)
- Croatia (Hrvatska) (1)
- Cuba (1)
- Czech Republic (7)
- Denmark (7)
- Dominican Republic (1)
- Ecuador (5)
- El Salvador (1)
- Estonia (1)
- Finland (3)
- France (118)
- Georgia (2)
- Germany (53)
- Greece (3)
- Guatemala (1)
- Honduras (1)
- Hong Kong (3)
- Hungary (1)
- India (13)
- Indonesia (6)
- Iran (Islamic Republic Of) (3)
- Ireland (1)
- Italy (55)
- Jamaica (1)
- Japan (76)
- Kazakhstan (1)
- Korea, Republic Of (14)
- Kyrgyzstan (1)
- Latvia (1)
- Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (1)
- Lithuania (1)
- Madagascar (1)
- Malaysia (2)
- Mali (1)
- Mexico (17)
- Morocco (1)
- Mozambique (1)
- Netherlands (14)
- New Zealand (24)
- Nigeria (1)
- Norway (5)
- Pakistan (1)
- Panama (1)
- Peru (3)
- Philippines (1)
- Poland (9)
- Portugal (6)
- Puerto Rico (2)
- Qatar (1)
- Romania (1)
- Russian Federation (12)
- Slovakia (Slovak Republic) (2)
- Slovenia (2)
- South Africa (13)
- Spain (71)
- Sri Lanka (1)
- Suriname (1)
- Sweden (1)
- Switzerland (5)
- Taiwan (4)
- Tajikistan (1)
- Thailand (4)
- Trinidad & Tobago (3)
- Turkey (2)
- Ukraine (4)
- United Kingdom (30)
- United States (27)
- Uruguay (5)
- Uzbekistan (2)
- Venezuela (14)

Fixed Gear Fever

Friday, January 9, 2009


Competition Tapering
You've trained hard, prepared well, got your weight down, power up and you are as fit as you've been all year. Your key event is just around the corner; so what now? When is enough, enough? When is too much, too much? And when's the right time to throttle back to be mentally and physically fresh for your big day? We'll try and answer most if not all these questions in this month's article. But if you're stuck for time, the short answer is; it depends!

What is a taper?
A taper is considered to be a period of time where the volume of training is reduced in the days or weeks leading up to a key event to prevent training-induced fatigue from impacting your performance on the day. It isn't done for every event just the one or two a year that you have pre-determined to be your key objectives for peak performance.

The key to a well executed taper period is finding the best balance between recovery and sustained training.

A structured taper will allow the body to recover from the accumulated fatigue of hard training without reversing the affects of training adaptation. The best training and form in the world can all be wasted with an ineffective taper period. Get it right and you'll fly on the day, get it wrong and you'll not be competing to your full potential

Pump Up The Volume?
Most definitely not! You'll have noticed from my earlier statement that only the volume of training is reduced during a taper period, not the intensity. Some people lose the full advantage of a taper period because they reduce both volume and intensity. Ensure you differentiate between the two and success is at least a step closer.

Here we'll try to discuss the merits of a taper and the advantages it could bring if you allow yourself to follow a few simple rules and guidelines. I say, "allow yourself" because it still surprises me how many people ride long and hard up to two days before a key event. They're nervous, that as the big day approaches, they'll lose valuable fitness if they don't stay at full throttle. You can't get any fitter in the last week before a key event; it's a fact!

Remember the FIT principle?
Good training is all about manipulating three critical factors to get the maximum return on your training investment. The Training Methods & December Planning factsheets explain these factors in more detail.

To cut a long story short, a good training programme relies on adjusting the Frequency, Intensity and Time (duration) of your workouts to physically overstretch your body to create a sustainable adaptation to your training load. The key word is "sustainable." You can't overstretch your body indefinitely. You need to schedule active rest, recovery and adaptation periods in to your training plan, then finish it off with an equally well planned taper period.

A taper is a cross between a rest period and an activity period. You still stress your body before a key event, you just do it for a shorter activity period, which gives you a longer recovery period. You get to "rest" rest, after your key event! To make the point absolutely clear; tapering isn't resting! Please don't confuse the two.

How long is a taper?
As I said above, and will continue to say throughout this factsheet; it depends. If you're training for an Iron Man event you might need to take a three week taper. A full on sportive like the Marmotte, L'Etape or Quebrantahuesos would probably require a 10 day taper; a 25 mile time trial might require just a 7 day taper. It really is horses for courses and requires a little trial and error to get it just right. The only problem is, you don't want to be "erroring" when preparing for your key event of the year. But you have to start somewhere, and to be honest, I've never heard of anyone saying they tapered too much!

The quantifiable benefits
Again, there is a key word in the heading above; quantifiable. These things have been measured by clever people with clever stuff; there is scientific research to back these concepts up. So it's worth paying attention and at least giving the next paragraph or so the benefit of the doubt.

Research suggests that a well planned and executed taper can lead to an increase in oxygen uptake, an increase in muscle glycogen levels and an increase in an athlete's strength and power. Some studies have measured a 3% increase in power, and an increase in sustained endurance, over control groups that never undertook a taper period.

Now I can hear a few of you scoffing at 3%. But consider this...

Everyone I know wants to target the hour for a 25 mile time trial. It's the place where everyone wants to be and it's difficult to hit for the "normal" cyclist, especially here in Jersey. Most "normal" cyclists (those with a job, a family, and a life!) end up around the 62 minute mark in Jersey for a 25 mile time trial mainly due to the 30 or so corners and junctions on the courses. A well executed taper, giving a minimum of 3% improvement, would knock two minutes off that time! Two minutes without having to train any harder! How good is that?

There is no template
Just as each individual reacts differently to the same training stimulus, the same is found for tapering. Don't do what your mates do or copy a schedule from a book.

You cannot write a cookie cutter template taper that works for everyone. Each individual needs to find the taper that works best for them. Having said that, there are at least some indisputable rules of tapering that have to be followed.

Frequency has to remain around 80% of previous training patterns.
▼ Intensity has to remain at or above that of competition level.
▼ Time (volume) has to decrease by at least 50-60%.

So, if you're training five times a week, you don't cut back to two sessions, you drop to four. If you have a power meter you know exactly, from previous race data, where you need your power levels to be. So your intervals need to be at race pace, plus some! And as for time, if your endurance ride is four hours, you cut it back to two to two and a half hours. These are all starting points for you to work from.

As I said, there is no template, and these figures aren't prescriptive. But they do make excellent starting points against which to prove your theories when you taper for one of your less-important objectives.

The taper period isn't exclusively used for physical recovery and adaptation. Nutrition is as key to your training and tapering as any physical activity you may undertake. Your performance on the day relies heavily on the food you eat the week before the event. Just because you've cut back in one aspect of your training doesn't mean you can let discipline slip in another.

Eat the correct food in the correct quantities and at the correct time. Keep your glycogen levels stocked by eating little and often. Don't eat three big meals a day, eat five smaller ones and make sure you remain hydrated at all times.

Don't compromise your whole preparation period by neglecting this vital piece of your competition jigsaw. And don't underestimate the psychological effects of treating yourself to a dessert in the taper period. You've trained hard for a prolonged length of time and are now as fit as you'll get.

One small dessert isn't going to hold you back. Reward yourself for your training effort before the big day; but not the night before! It all adds to the confidence that you're as well prepared as you can be and are looking forward to competition day.

Planning your training
This next section provides empirical evidence of a controlled, structured, season long build and taper, planned in October and executed in August.

In the table below you can clearly see, the overload and taper principles at work, from my actual SRM race and training data files. The first red block is La Ronde Picarde sportive, at the back end of that year's competition period. Season over, I recovered in October with short, easy, steady-state 50k rides with a tiny Training Stress (TS).

I planned (and rode) the rest of the season in progressive overloads and distances to peak for June and again in September. You can see the Sarthe & Bossis rides were shorter but more explosive to give an overload for my two key events, The Pyreneene and the Hubert Arbes which took place a week apart in June.

After a July back-off, so I could watch the Tour, I then began my end of season build up with Courir Pour La Paix in August. I tapered properly for this event and ended up just 2 minutes behind the comeback kid, Bernard Hinault; yes that one!

My final and key event of the year, and the most "stressful" was the Lapabie in September. Once that was over I went back to October's 50k wind-down rides. Here's a full season at a glance with the peaks and troughs and tapers.

You can see from the actual training figures above that Training Stress and Intensity Factor build each month to give a controlled, progressive, sustainable overload. Ideally, your season should be planned the same. As should your run up to your key events.

You don't need a power meter to do all this. You can gauge the "hardness" of your training and events on experience, distance, climbing and possibly average speed. Don't over complicate things, I can because I'm sad! This is a very simple concept that can be as easy or as complicated as you wish to make it. Keep it simple!

Psychological benefits
Do not underestimate the psychological benefits of a taper period. If a taper is carried out correctly you can actually feel yourself getting stronger as your key event approaches.

The mental lift this gives is enormous. To be in with a chance of performing well on your chosen day you need to peak both physically and mentally. If one of these factors s just slightly off song you could compromise your chances of successfully fulfilling your goal. It doesn't matter how strong you are, if you're not mentally fresh you could be handicapping yourself against less powerful but mentally more attuned athletes. So refresh your brain as well as your muscles.

Common sense touches
The taper period is an ideal time to concentrate on technique and strategy. As fatigue occurs and the emphasis is on completing intervals or sets, it's all too easy for technique to drift as you fight for that last ounce of race-winning fitness. Use the taper period to concentrate on doing the small thing right. Don't drift just because the sessions are easier; use the time to sharpen your skills and enhance your awareness.

If you train in the evenings, due to work or family commitments etc, but your key event is in the morning, try to use the taper period to train at the same time of day as your key event. This will allow your body to adapt to the environment and conditions in which you will be competing.

As you train to a lesser level, make sure you adjust your nutritional strategy accordingly. It would be a shame if you put on a kilo or so during your taper period because you forgot to throttle back on your carb intake! Also, remember that fluid replacement and balance is just as crucial in a taper period as it is in an activity period. Don't get to your key event dehydrated!

If you're competing away, or at home, save your sunbathing until after the event. Sitting in the sun the day before a key event may help with your tan but it isn't conducive to optimal hydration levels. Common sense, but I've seen it done.

Also, if you've got new kit or nutrition products don't save them all up for the big day. Test them during your taper period. It's no use having a brand new pair of race shoes for the big day if the cleats are misaligned or your new shorts have a seam just where you don't want it! Test your kit in the taper period and if you have new tyres get them scrubbed in before you go flying up the road. Literally!

The message
Each athlete and each cycling discipline requires differing combinations of physiological, psychological and technical abilities. Therefore the same athlete will require differing tapers for differing events. A taper that worked for a 180k sportive isn't the same one to use for a ten mile time trial. And differing athletes will require different tapers for the same events. Find what's best for you in your chosen discipline.

No one got to a race fatigued because they recovered too much the week before a key event. If in doubt err on the side of caution and do less. Go for a ride and when you feel good; go home!

Sometimes it's that simple. A while back I saw someone go on a 40 mile club run, then contest the last mile dash and give it a big sprint at the end. Thought nothing of it.

The next day I see them half-way down the results sheet for the Island 50 mile Time Trial Championship! What on earth were they thinking? Did they really believe they'd get a fast time with a heavy workout on the Saturday! Maybe they did.

Train hard, taper well, realize your potential.

Marymoor Velodrome

Useful Cycling and Track Racing Information (Requires PDF viewer.)

2008 Racer Book

Safety Etiquette and Rules

Marymoor Madison Rules

Marymoor Map and Track Markings

Gear and Speed Chart

Track Cyclist's Bill of Rights

Cycling Terms and Slang

Road Rash Wound Care

Do I Need a Coach?

Featuring Mario (Alex) - up and coming Sprinter

Above picture taken today 1/9/2009 - temp 30 degrees and windy, a far cry from the hazy hot and humid days of August 2008 as seen below.

Check out his blog -

Video clip below

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Track Cycling

Track Cycling

About sprint track cycling
Sprint track cycling involves a range of events from sprints to kierin to individual time trials. These events require intense efforts that generally last for less than 90 seconds
Longer track events such as scratch races and the Madison are better suited to endurance-trained cyclists and athletes competing in these events are referred to the "Fuelling Fitness for Road Cycling" article.

Sprint track cycling relies on speed and strength and the ability to create a large power output. Power to weight ratio is important for sprint cyclists who aim to maximize muscle mass while keeping body fat levels reasonably low.

Sprint track cyclists will do most of their training on the track, in the gym and possibly on a stationary bike. Often training on the road is incorporated early in the season or to break up training to assist base fitness and maintain suitable body composition.

World Cup track meets are held throughout the year with elite track cyclists earning points to qualify for World Championships and Olympics. Track cycling is usually held over the summer months in Australia on both indoor and outdoor velodromes.

Training Diet
The aims of the training diet are to balance energy intake for high quality training and recovery, to enhance strength gains and training adaptations, and to maintain appropriate body fat levels.
The training diet should be nutrient dense and provide a variety of foods from all food groups.

The training diet does not need to include the large amount of carbohydrate typical of road cyclists. Inadequate carbohydrate stores would rarely be a limiting factor to sprint performance. Sprint track cyclists should consume 3-4g carbohydrate/kg body weight/day, depending on training phase.

If longer duration training sessions are incorporated into training programs, carbohydrate requirements will increase.

Sprint track cyclists have relatively high protein requirements (~1.6-1.8g protein/kg Body Weight) to gain and maintain muscle mass and strength. Lean red meat, chicken, fish and low fat dairy products provide good amounts of high quality protein.

To help achieve appropriate body fat levels, sprint track cyclists should limit energy dense foods including chocolate, pastries, soft drinks, alcohol and takeaways. These foods can add excess calories and contribute to higher than desirable body fat levels.

Fluid Needs
'Tracks' or velodromes can be indoors or outdoors, therefore conditions vary considerably. Fluid requirements vary considerably dependent on volume and type of training and the environment. Athletes need to know their individual fluid requirements to avoid under or over consuming fluids.

Track bikes don't have bidon cages, therefore fluid intake during track races is not practical or possible. Fluid intake in the pits between races and during training is important but excessive fluid intake is not required and could leave a cyclist bloated or uncomfortable.

What Should I Eat Pre-Event?
Carbohydrate is rarely a limiting fuel source in a sprint event. For sprint events the pre-event meal should leave the athlete comfortable and psychologically ready for the event more so than providing any particular mix or amount of macronutrients.

The pre-event meal should be eaten ~2-3 hours prior to the warm up, and foods lower in fat and fibre are generally better tolerated. For example, fruit salad + yoghurt, breakfast cereal with skim milk, tinned spaghetti on toast.

What Should I Eat/Drink During Competition?
Often athletes will be racing several times over a night/day and there is plenty of opportunity to eat and drink between races.

If the competition is stretched over a whole or several days, the athlete needs to ensure adequate carbohydrate, protein and fluid are maintained over this time. The total amount of carbohydrate/protein required over the day would be consistent with training days. Racing schedules may interfere with regular meal times and smaller meals and snacks between races may be more appropriate.

If the time between races is short then drinking fluids such as a sports drink rather than eating is appropriate.

Nervous athletes or those unable to eat during a competition may benefit from sports food supplements such as bars or gels to maintain appropriate energy intake during competition. However, these are not usually necessary in addition to normal meals and snacks

Excess food and/or carbohydrate beverages during breaks and over the competition day could contribute to excess energy and consequently weight gain and/or leave the athlete bloated/uncomfortable

What About Recovery?
Recovery from a day of racing is important especially if racing again the next day. Recovery nutrition includes both between races and at the end of a day of racing.

Being prepared with appropriate food, fluid and supplement choices is a good strategy. Regular foods such as sandwiches, yoghurt, cereal bars, and low fat milk drinks are useful. Some specialised sports foods containing protein and carbohydrates such as powerbar performance bar may also be appropriate especially if appetite is suppressed after high intensity racing. Being prepared can help prevent a trip to the food stall and potentially dangerous temptations!
After a day of racing a substantial meal including both carbohydrate and protein such as stirfry with meat & vegetables or baked fish with salad and rice is also important to assist with recovery.

Recovery after training helps maintain training performance. High intensity sessions including resistance training should be followed by food/drink containing 10-20grams protein and ~1g carbohydrate/kg bodyweight (ie 80g for 80kg cyclist).

For athletes with restricted energy diets, this may be planned to fit in with a usual meal.
It is suggested that consuming food/drink containing 10-20g high quality protein prior to resistance training could enhance recovery. The following foods provide approximately 10g protein:
200g low fat yoghurt,
50g tinned tuna/salmon, 40g lean chicken,
35g lean beef/lamb,
1 cup low fat or soy milk or
2 eggs.
For ideas on recovery specific for strength training see fact sheets on 'increasing muscle mass' and 'protein for athletes'.

Other Nutrition Tips
Supplements are used widely in road and track cycling, with some being well researched and supported by science while others are poorly researched. It is important to be completely aware of the ingredients and legality of any supplements (including herbs, vitamins and minerals) taken.

Creatine is scientifically supported to enhance strength gains and recovery between repeated bouts of short high intensity training. For information on Creatine refer to the Creatine Fact Sheet

Bicarbonate may also be useful in sprint events to buffer the lactic acid build up. The usual dosing of bicarbonate is 0.3mg/kg body weight 1 hour prior to exercise, however appropriate dosing should be practiced in training under the supervision of a sports dietitian or sports scientist.

How to get involved
Visit Cycling Australia at to contact your local state cycling organisation

Sports Dietitians