Andy Fenn in the Tour of Britain
We are very pleased to see Andy Fenn (An Post - Sean Kelly) performing well in The Tour of Britain and it is great to hear that he has signed a new contract with Omega - Pharma Lotto (or whatever it will be called for 2012).
Andy visited us about three years ago with cronic back pain that wa s affecting his riding and he was about to be kicked off BC's cycling programme. We would like to think we helped in a small way but much of his success (apart from his natural ability and ambition) was his application to his off-the-bike exercises and determination to improve his core strength and posture. We checked his position and made only small changes to his saddle position but we did reduce the 13.5cm drop to his handlebars to ease the tension in his lower back. His feet were stabilised and a shim was added to help correct a leg length discrepancy. He took on board the suggestions we made and started including stretching are strengthening exercises in to his training programme.
It is very common for us to see very fit young riders with great potential who ride twenty hours a week who do not do any other form of exercise and their young bodies become unbalanced and injured.
Andy looked very smooth and well balanced in yesterday's (Tuesday's) break in The Tour of Britain and very stable on his saddle which is the very supportive San Marco Regal - good choice. Russell Hampton (Sigma Sport - Specialized) on the other hand looked a little cramped both in his leg extension and reach; but hats off to him for attacking the field of seasoned professionals on both stages.
The longer we do bike fitting and see riders of all types at Cyclefit the more we understand that a well conditioned body will perform better on a bicycle.
Many of our customers set themselves ambitious cycling goals that usually involve riding long distances over several mountains.
The usual plan is to ride a lot to improve stamina and endurance and throw in a few hills for the power and strength training. In many cases though before their muscular condition is where it should be from their endurance riding they read a magazine article stating that they can go 10% faster up hill if they do six weeks of hill reps in a big gear; and bingo they blow their knees out or their calf or lower back.
Luckily they choose Cyclefit to set up their bikes or build them a new machine for their challenges and we do what we can to stabilise the pelvis with the correct saddle and make sure their foot/shoe interface provides a stable platform.
Unfortunately we can't curb their enthusiasm, not that we would want to but becoming a cyclist takes patience and structure, ask Andy.
For anyone who wishes to build on their cycling or start cycling for next year we would recommend focussing on gym work between now and Xmas with longer rides at the weekends (unless cyclo-cross is your thing) and some easy rides in the week.
Graham Anderson from Balance Physio has his own views on cyclists: " They (cyclists) need some anarchy in their lives, they sit in the same position for hours on end on their bikes and many of their muscles switch off and become redundant. Many cyclists can spend eight hours a day five days a week sitting in front of a computer, they will sit on a train to and from work, then sit on a bike (if they are lucky) and after that they sit in front of the TV and their posture hardly changes throught out".
Graham would like to see a larger range of movement for cyclists in their exercises to 'balance' their muscles on and off the bike for better performance and injury prevention and so would we; and as the Pro's say: 'it is all about the condition'.
So take a tip from Andy Fenn and strengthen your body over the coming months and reap the benefits next year.