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Alex Simmons

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Alex Simmons last won the day on November 4 2016

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About Alex Simmons

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    Transitions Legend!

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    Bellingen, NSW

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  • Year of first Tri race?
    1900

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  1. Training volume when not signed up to anything

    It might help to set some small intermediate goals, like working on an particular aspect of your performance that could use attention - it might be a skill, a tactical execution matter, or a particular discipline that needs a bit more work than others typically, perhaps an equipment matter that needs attention. Most of all do enough of the stuff that you enjoy doing and have some fun. The hours are less important than keeping the motivation level high enough to be consistent with the hours you do. Maintaining a basic fitness level is much easier time wise than seeking to raise fitness/form to peak or near peak levels, and it will pay dividends when life allows you to devote more time to your training. 11 hours/week is definitely plenty for this purpose. Even if you are only able to do a handful of hours per week, they can be constructive, enjoyable and good for your mental well being. A brief respite from life's stresses - and that's where making the training enjoyable/fun helps a lot - when training itself becomes a mental stress added to rest of life, you can fall off the cliff. Sometimes it means getting creative - trying perhaps to combine family time with a form of exercise, even if not as hard as you might do yourself, it has its own rewards. When you get the competition goal in sight and rest of life factors change such that you have the opportunity to commit more time, then building from a basic level of condition is much easier and way faster than having let it go.
  2. ALTITUDE TRAINING ADVICE

    The benefit is to the 3 week cash flow of the altitude room operator. Use the money for something worthwhile, like a surprise for your significant other.
  3. Do I need to worry about my cadence when training?

    As to impacts on knees and other strain injuries - aside from the impact of all the running which is obviously a factor - when it comes to the bike alone these injuries are usually the result of: - crashes or not adequately dealing with pre-existing conditions - attempting to do too much, too hard, too quickly, and/or for too long for a given current state of fitness, training load and experience (same for any exercise modality) - inadequate bike fit I doubt pedalling at lower cadences has all that much to do with it, perhaps a small contributor. The above factors are more likely to be the issue. The forces are very low in cycling and they are non-impact forces at that.
  4. Do I need to worry about my cadence when training?

    Thanks. I've no idea about how Carmichael writes. I doubt I'll ever read anything he writes unless it's details of his out of court settlement about doping of junior cyclists.
  5. Do I need to worry about my cadence when training?

    This is going to be long... Cadence per se is a red herring. My point is that as a point of performance management then considering cadence as a factor in isolation makes little physiological sense. So no, I won't make much of a concession that cadence per se makes much difference to the physiological adaptations that matter for sports such as triathlon and IM (or road cycling for that matter). Cadence only has meaning when you consider it at the same time as torque or power, as well as the nature of the crank inertial load (essentially mass and velocity), crank length, the actual and intended effort level (especially relative to mean maximal power) and the nature of the resistance forces in play at any given time. IOW what cadence one ends up with and "makes sense" is quite a variable feast, both for an individual and between individuals. Anyone that tells you that such and such a cadence is best is blowing smoke up your arse. When riding a bike on the road it's not actually possible to control cadence in isolation. Try it. To end up with a cadence outcome we have to either change effort (power) which is a function of both the speed and force of muscle contractions, and/or change gear, and/or change the resistance forces in play (e.g. change from flat road to a hill). In general we can't control the latter, so we are left with effort level and gear choice. We can't isolate muscle contraction velocity from muscle force. The physiological adaptation of greatest importance in the sport of triathlon and IM is improving one's sustainable aerobic power - it's fundamentally a metabolic adaptation (rate of ATP production and turnover) and not so much a neural one (speed/timing of muscle contractions). The forces are just way too low and relatively slow for cadence factors in isolation to really matter much. What does matter is the amount of work we do, the way that work is executed (i.e. the progression in workload) and the mix of intensities in that workload suitable for eliciting the desired adaptations that matter. Cadence really isn't much of a factor in any of that. The 4 things that influence sustainable aerobic power are: gross efficiency VO2max fractional utilisation of VO2max at a given sub-maximal effort level the energy released per litre of oxygen used which varies a bit depending on a few things such as fuel substrate mix (i.e. fats v glycogen). As you move into higher non-sustainable power levels then alternative and inefficient metabolic pathways come into play in order to supply the power demand. Of the above, the one factor we have most trainable control over is fractional utilisation of VO2max at threshold (doesn't matter which sort of aerobic threshold you choose, the principle still applies). We can make some changes to VO2max through training but it's significantly a factor of who your parents were. Efficiency, well, not so much but there are some things one can do. In ultra endurance events such as IM, there is a natural tendency to gravitate towards a style of effort that results in a higher efficiency of motion rather than maximal sustainable power for the duration and since IM cycling is a sub-maximal effort it tends to be associated with a riding style that results in lower cadences than what a time triallist might end up riding at. There is not a lot in it though and the minor differences in efficiency are largely swamped by other factors, such as race day fuelling strategy and power pacing strategy for variable terrain courses. Ride too hard up one hill and in a handful of minutes you can blow all the efficiency savings made elsewhere. Some might talk about running after cycling - sure but again that's going to be a function of how hard you rode and what's left in the tank than the rate the cranks were turning. And when this was examined in a controlled manner it was found that prior cycling cadence (from 60rpm to 100rpm) had no effect on subsequent running performance. Hence the answer is it is unlikely to be much benefit in going down a path of seeking to control or change one's cadence for its own sake. There mere fact that so many have experienced success at each end of the cadence spectrum should tell us something. As to those with personal experience of what worked for them, that's great but it's impossible to remove the bias and lack of controls in such self-selected anecdata, such that it can be conclusively be a causative factor as opposed to simply a correlation, and most certainly one should not think that what they believe worked for them will be right for others. Overpowering belief with objectivity is a really hard thing for humans to do.
  6. Do I need to worry about my cadence when training?

    Not everything measured matters. In these discussions I find it curious that no one ever talks about what the right torque to ride at is. Why is that?
  7. Do I need to worry about my cadence when training?

    Anecdote, anecdote, Let's get into anecdote. I want to hear your cadence talk... Sung to the tune of Olivia Newton John's "Physical"
  8. Do I need to worry about my cadence when training?

    Cadence* is a big fat red herring. Don't concern yourself with it as you can't control it anyway. Focus on what you can control - i.e. your effort level (power) and what gear you choose (which just needs to be suitable for the task at hand). Cadence is simply an outcome of those choices and the resistance forces acting against you. Lots of myth, folklore and belief based statements rehashed here in this thread. Coincidentally this morning I had a long chat with one of the world's renowned cycling biomechanics experts (Dr Jim Martin). * And if it were something to be interested in really people should be talking about circumferential pedal velocity since that is a function of cadence and crank length and is a better representation of the velocity of muscle movement.
  9. Arm angle on TT bike

    I'm not sure why either.
  10. Arm angle on TT bike

    It was less about any individual and more about the general ill conceived notion of looking at random still photos and deciding whether it's a good position for someone or not and/or making recommendations on changes on basis of a still image. IMO/IME photos tend mask a lot of positional things and make some things appear to be that really aren't the case. IMO unless you are looking at and/or capturing data on someone actually pedalling on their bike under load, it's not overly helpful for assessing position.
  11. Arm angle on TT bike

    Do people not consider professional bike fits? With someone that knows what they are doing and works with you over time to adjust as you change? Having a well fitted bike is the most important thing you can do for your cycling.
  12. AUS AG doping bust

    Some "recreational" drugs are only prohibited in-competition. Always better to read the WADA list as published by WADA.
  13. AUS AG doping bust

    Because i. many substances and methods are prohibited since they can mask the use of other prohibited substances and ii. being ergogenic is not a necessary requirement for a substance to be prohibited. Read the WADA code to understand why. It's very clear. Neither alcohol nor marijuana would result in a ban in such situations because i. alcohol is not prohibited and ii. marijuana is only prohibited in-competition. There are some sports where discovery of these drugs in-competition would result in sanction, e.g. motor sports - and these are sport specific exceptions. Do not confuse legality with doping - they are different issues. I use this Venn diagram to help explain the difference:
  14. AUS AG doping bust

    Which drug? You just mentioned "recreational", which is hardly specific. Alcohol is a recreational drug, as is cocaine, marijuana, MDMA and so on. All have quite different effects on athletic performance and each is treated by the WADA code on the basis of the criteria outlined in the code. And if it falls in the prohibited list, then there are also those that are prohibited at all times while others are only prohibited in-competition (e.g. cannabis). Again, if people ever actually read the WADA code then all of these questions would never arise, because it's all covered in there. In essence, the ergogenic capacity of a given drug or method is not per se the only reason it may be prohibited by WADA. If you don't get why, then read the WADA code. It's not some willy nilly nonsense made up on the spot - it's the result of years of careful assessment, well considered information, research analysis and advice by specialists in the field and incorporated into a code adopted by almost all nations of the world, all Olympic sports and many others sports on top. As for whether a recreational drug is also on the prohibited list depends on whether it's been assessed that it should be based on the criteria that are well explained in the WADA code. Don't confuse illegal/legal with WADA prohibited/not prohibited.
  15. AUS AG doping bust

    Once again I suggest people read the WADA code.
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