It's a long ongoing debate regarding aero position on a bike and the gains losses of being in a low aero position vs a higher one. People talk about how low or high your front end is in terms of aero dynamics, comfort, power output, and physiologic stress. I would like to address the respiratory system and how it is greatly influenced by the aero bar elevation in aero position. By no means am I saying I am the first to address this topic, but no where have I seen objective data presented that shows the respiratory systems abilities in a high position vs low. I am lucky enough to both have access to a Guru Dynamic Fit (DFU) Machine as well as a very portable respiratory monitoring device.
Here are the parameters of my experiment:
I set up two positions on the DFU, one in a position at the end of the riders functional range of motion for how low he can ride safely and one 90mm higher. Here is what I measured:
So, as you can see, the first 3 mins shows the riders ability to breathe in the low position and the last 3 mins shows their ability in the higher position. While in the low position there were some respiratory difficulties measured that could lead to a drop in performance. While the rider was quite able to breath over 5L breaths, he was struggling to maintain them consistently. Once I shifted the DFU into a higher position for the final 3 mins, his volumes and breath rate completely stabilized and relaxed. It's very interesting to have some objective data to support this theory of bike position.
This experiment was done at Kelowna Cycle on the DFU machine in our fit lab.
Bike fits can seem like an unnecessary expenditure when it comes to cycling if you're not familiar with it. Cycling is an expensive sport! However, a bike fit should be as important to you as purchasing your cycling shoes. Cycling is a highly repetitive motion with a lot of variables. Without a bike fit, you are prone to repetitive use injury, discomfort, and less efficient position. Imagine trying to drive you car with the seat all the way back and that's just a very basic example!
The challenge with getting a bike fit is knowing if your fitter is reputable. A good bike fit runs anywhere from $300-$500, but it's dollars well spent if you have a good fitter. I am prone to knee pain and tendonitis. It can be very frustrating and debilitating. If you have pain, you can't ride. A bike fit prevents these injuries. If you get injured due to a bad bike fit (or no bike fit), see a massage therapist and chiropractor(one that doesn't just crack your back) and get a bike fit ASAP. I have put off getting fits or gotten new shoes slapped cleats on without a fitter. I seem to pay for it every time!
I have had some great fits! In Colorado, my fitter was Adam de la Pena at Wheatridge Cyclery. When I moved to Kelowna, BC I had to find a new fitter. I was delighted to meet Luke Way from Balance Point. Balance Point is a company that offers coaching, physiology testing, camps, spin classes, bike fits...you name it! They are fantastic and stay ahead of the curve in all avenues. I was impressed with no only my bike fit, but with my physiological assessments and some of their coaching recommendations.
What should you look for when getting a bike fit? These have been hallmarks in my experience with getting bike fits.
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All natural (and yummy healthy!) Eatmore Bars
1/2 cup honey
1/2 almond butter (or you can use all natural peanut butter or any type of nut butter)
1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (can use 1/2cup carob chips w/ 1/2cup of chocolate chips as well)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups rolled oats/or quick oats/or steel cut oats
1 cup chopped nuts (any kind...I've used peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts...you name it!)
Melt honey and nut butter in saucepan on low. Stir in chocolate chips and vanilla. Mix well. Remove from heat. Stir in rolled oats and chopped nuts. Pour into greased pan (the larger the pan, the more thin the eatmore bar will be). Cool in fridge and cut into squares.
I tend to store these in the fridge as they get soft pretty fast (depends on what texture you like). These also freeze really well! So I'll take them out of the freezer before a ride then they're soft when I eat them on the bike ;-)
Going into this race I have to admit that I was more nervous then I've been for a race in a long time. Without a doubt, it because I've struggled a bit this season with my own results. Season started great with Salty Dog, but quickly got challenged. With a DNS at Oliver, then a DNF at IMCdA, I was feeling less like a finely tuned machine and more like a UFC fighter fighting up a weight class. That makes my season sound kind of crappy, when actually this season has been one of the most rewarding to date! As a coach, I was rolling all six's! Watching my athletes crush race after race was such an incredibly cool thing! Trust me when I say, I could go on and on about my athletes this year! Just awesome!
At what point did food become the enemy? We all have that well-meaning friend who lends a book about all the reasons that gluten will leave lesions in the brain, pasturized milk will destroy your immune system, and meat will inevitably lead to cancer. Just as you begin to try a few vegan recipes, your friends pops by bouncing with energy, urging you to consider the Paleo diet. She has never felt so alive, she has discovered a 4th dimension to the world, and implores you to do the same. Intensity increases when you are convinced that you are poisoning your child by sending them to school with a sandwich and yogurt. The mind is torn, as you try and reconcile this with the feeling that your own Mum did you no wrong.
I like this article from Precision Nutrition, as it reminds us of how we are all physiologically different. We process food differently as individuals, but we also process food differently based on our activity, and time of life. A vibrant child will break down and utilize a carbohydrate quite differently than a sedentary adult. Saturated fat used to cook vegetables is absorbed differently than when combined with refined flour and high sugar. A tall lanky ectomorph requires different nutritional input than a petite mesomorph. There are individuals who could literally die from consuming gluten, and Olympic athletes at the peak of their fitness eating pizza.
I post this article to remind us to explore food and enjoy food. Be aware of your how your own body responds to foods. Be aware of your goals with changing your diet. Is it about body composition, energy, mental clarity, recovery from training? Keep a journal if you are making a change, and note what is changing over time. Most importantly, stop feeling guilty about food, and be confident in what seems to be a good fit for you at any given time.
Gluten Free & Diabetic Friendly
· 2 eggs
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 2 cups applesauce, unsweetened
· 1 banana, mashed
· 6 packets of Sweetleaf Stevia or 1½ teaspoons stevia powder or use ½ cup honey
· 5 cups, Old Fashioned rolled oats
· ¼ cup flaxseed meal*
· 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
· 3 teaspoon baking powder
· 1 teaspoon salt
· 2¾ cups milk
· Optional toppings: raisins, walnuts, chocolate chips
The warm afternoons are disappearing, and I lament the end of summer ice cream and a beer on the patio. Aw, just one more before it's winter. There is a chill in the air, and I dash into the coffee shop and warm up with a grande latte...oh, and bran muffin...I only meant to eat half. I am off to the lunch room, and my salad looks cold and unsatisfying. With nose to the grindstone this fall, I feel I deserve a hot bowl of chilli and a warm scone with butter. I would drink that water, but it'll make me cold. Ah, another coffee won't hurt...it might even wake me up! I undo my belt buckle one notch. Strange. I'm still exercising and eating well....well mostly. Ok, so the pool is closed, and spin classes start next week, and our weekends have a little busy with visitors. I am witnessing the Perfect Storm for fall weight gain. Time to turn it around, and make fall work for me. Here are a few tips!
The Breakfast Ritual
Get your day started with veggies and protein. It takes exactly 10 minutes to whip up this stir fry for brekkie. Throw on eggs for more protein if you like that. If you make a double batch, lunch is already made! For fast food style curry, simply put a can of coconut milk in a jug, add 2 tablespoons of Thai Red Curry paste and a splash of fish sauce and soy sauce. When you have served out your breakfast veggies, pour this on the top and let it heat through, and lunch is all made!
Luke: Hey Andrew!.. I have a great idea for some epic weekend training!!
Luke: Yeah, Let's run the Peak to Beak 18k foot race, then do the Test of Humanity 4hr mountain bike marathon!
Andrew: Have fun with that!
On paper, this challenge seems very doable and not all bad... After all, I was looking at a total of just over 5hrs of effort. 'Not so bad', I thought to myself. Classic case of 'What did I get myself into!!'
Despite the rainy weather and frigid waters, our Canadian team represented at the Age Group World Championships in London, England. We are so proud of our 4 BPR athletes that competed!
See their race reports here: