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Why Am I So Sore?

Why Am I So Sore?

01 Jun 2009 22:27

I am training for a week long tour in the mountains. I am coached by Carmichael Training Systems with this tour being my main goal for the year.

I was training well by the end of April in Australia with 80-90 km rides, 1200-1800 m of climbing, and the legs feeling half decent at the end of the ride.

I took 10 days off for vacation after returning to Canada and returned to training in the local hills. I was up to 80-90 km after a week with 1800 m of climbing, but my legs were awful (especially hamstrings). I am also not able to sustain steady state intervals as well as when I was training in Australia. In addition, my recovery is longer as it takes me a good 2-3 days to recover from these rides compared to right to ride the next day in Australia.

Other than the time off the bike during my vacation, the main differences between training in Australia and Canada are:

1. I am now mainly riding a new bike (Cervelo R3) rather than my custom Lynskey (based on a Serotta fitting). The R3 was setup the same as the Lynskey, but I noticed that with the same setup (seat position relative to the stem, and seat height), I am too far back when doing the plumb line test.
2. The R3 has a Prologo saddle and the Lynskey has a Selle Italia SLR saddle.
3. Perhaps diet. I am eating less pasta/rice and more vegetables.
4. Hills are different. In Australia, they were more 4-8% over 6-10 km, while in Canada they are more up and down with 8-12% over < 2 km.

Do you think I am sorer in the legs, particularly the hamstrings, and have a longer recovery because of different fit/bike, different saddle, different hills, different diet, or the break off the bike?

Thanks for your input.
User avatar elapid
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02 Jun 2009 00:51

10 days off the bike is a lot. To go right back to where you where before, with steeper climbs may be too much, too soon.

The bike difference may have some to do with it, but many people change bikes(road to mtb even) during the season and don't experience any issues. You could go back to your custom bike and see what happens. If everything goes away, then you know it's likely the fit of the Cervelo. You say the two bikes are set up the same... but do they really fit the same? .... (the angles, TT length, stem length, saddle height, saddle length etc.)

I never use seat distance to the stem as a guide unless the two seats are exactly the same. Different seats put the rider in slightly different positions(the sweet spots vary) so when comparing them you can't use the tip to stem measurement with any accuracy. You could also move the saddle on the Cervelo forward a bit, and see what happens. I also suspect the saddle heights may not be the same, even though they are by measuring. Again ... different seats.. ...different sweet spots.

Either way ..... Do you stretch your hamstrings? Check out this thread: http://www.thehubsa.co.za/forum_posts.asp?TID=34397
lostintime
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02 Jun 2009 11:24

Thanks for your reply lostintime and for the link. I do stretch my hammies, as well as quads and calves. I also don't have any soreness in the lower back or hip flexors.

I have moved the saddle forward and will try this new position on my intervals tonight. I was also going to ride the Lynskey this weekend on a longer ride to see if I have the same problems during and after the ride.

I totally agree with the positioning/fitting and am wondering whether it is worthwhile to get another fitting for the R3.
User avatar elapid
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02 Jun 2009 14:06

Well I think you have highlighted most issues that could be the cause of your problem.

1) different bike.

Could be that you have to get used to the new geometry, and saddle fore/aft, perhaps handlebar height and your (slightly) new position. I guess that any (intensive) training on a new bike/position, which results in a slightly different use of muscles, will reinforce soreness. If you do lots of hills/mountains, I'd reckon it impacts especially on the hamstr.

You could perhaps swap the saddles (why get rid of the one that you were used to, and which fits your buns like a glove) and play a little with the exact position of the saddle so that it feels right.

2) different hills.

If you climb alot in the saddle, 4-6% gradual 6k climbs, at one point your body is well adapted to that specific type of climb using that position. If you then go to 2k 8% climbs, still staying in the saddle, obviously your body needs to adapt to the changed circumstances. To me it seems it's comparable to doing 3x20 reps 75kg while then, out of the blue doing 1x20 reps 120kg. Is your cadence the same, do you have the right gears etc,

3) Nutrition.

Since the duration is shorter and the gradient steeper, it seems you are mainly building muscles, so perhaps add some protein to your diet?
User avatar Bala Verde
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02 Jun 2009 16:26

The only other thing is you might be riding too hard after being off for 10 days. You might be overtraining your body. I'd back off and do some longer easy rides for a few days and see if the legs recover.
nightfend
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02 Jun 2009 22:56

Best thread title ever!
yetanothergreenworld
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07 Jun 2009 20:15

An update: I changed the saddle and did a basic homestyle fitting on the R3 and still had some soreness during, but not after, my interval session during the week. Rather than persisting with the R3 as is, I rode my custom Lynskey this weekend. Two 120 km rides with 1800 m and 1350 m of climbing, and feeling great. Some soreness, but to be expected and no prolonged recovery. I am getting a fitting on the R3 this week.

Next question: would you take the R3 or the Lynskey on a week long tour through the mountains (850 km over 6 days with 40,000 feet of climbing)? I haven't much time to decide, because this tour starts in a couple of weeks.
User avatar elapid
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08 Jun 2009 12:22

elapid wrote:An update: I changed the saddle and did a basic homestyle fitting on the R3 and still had some soreness during, but not after, my interval session during the week. Rather than persisting with the R3 as is, I rode my custom Lynskey this weekend. Two 120 km rides with 1800 m and 1350 m of climbing, and feeling great. Some soreness, but to be expected and no prolonged recovery. I am getting a fitting on the R3 this week.

Next question: would you take the R3 or the Lynskey on a week long tour through the mountains (850 km over 6 days with 40,000 feet of climbing)? I haven't much time to decide, because this tour starts in a couple of weeks.


I'd take the one with the best fit, the one you feel most comfortable on. A week is pretty long to dread the idea of being on that bike you haven't gotten used to.
User avatar Bala Verde
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08 Jun 2009 14:46

This is a great thread, not trying to highjack but i have a similar issue. I am sore even after easy fat burning rides.

I used to race a lot, never more than a local CAT3 racer in Michigan, but after a 4 to 5 year layoff because of having kids I am trying to get back into riding shape. I know its going to take more than a season to get close to where I used to be so I am trying to be under no illusions.

No changes to the bike, position or etc. Same bike as I used to ride.

I am riding between 70 to 80 percent of HR so easy rides. Because of hills I do go over that but not extreme. The problem is even if i take a rest day I am finding that I am still sore, same soreness if I did a fast training ride.
euphrades
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09 Jun 2009 21:30

70 to 80% of your max heart rate is not an "easy" ride. Even if you feel fine, your body is going too hard to recover properly.

For an average amateur racer, you should be riding under 120 bpm on recovery rides. Maybe use only the small chainring on your recovery rides to promote a lower heartrate.
nightfend
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14 Jun 2009 04:39

Last update: 120 km ride on the R3 yesterday and it was tough. The last 60 km, I had constant upper hamstring pain; lower back, shoulder and neck pain; and quadriceps pain on seated climbs. After recovery, I had quite intense quads pain especially walking downstairs.

The R3 has the same setup as the Lynskey. I had a professional fitting a few days ago which set the R3 exactly the same as the Lynskey, which has the same seat tube and head angles and top tube length (seat height; saddle to bottom bracket distance; saddle to stem/bar distance; distance from saddle to stem; etc). The saddles, wheels, pedals, crank lengths are all the same. I don't feel as though there is any difference in the ride quality, so it is not as though the R3 is appreciably stiffer and causing a harsher ride.

Does anyone have any ideas why the R3 chews me up and spits me out, while the Lynskey seems so much kinder?
"If you're going through hell, keep going." - Winston Churchill
User avatar elapid
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14 Jun 2009 05:05

elapid wrote:The R3 has the same setup as the Lynskey. I had a professional fitting a few days ago which set the R3 exactly the same as the Lynskey, which has the same seat tube and head angles and top tube length (seat height; saddle to bottom bracket distance; saddle to stem/bar distance; distance from saddle to stem; etc). The saddles, wheels, pedals, crank lengths are all the same. I don't feel as though there is any difference in the ride quality, so it is not as though the R3 is appreciably stiffer and causing a harsher ride.

Does anyone have any ideas why the R3 chews me up and spits me out, while the Lynskey seems so much kinder?

Somewhere there is clearly a difference. Firstly you need to ignore top tube length and seat tube length - they are irrelevent. the important measurements are
a) saddle position w.r.t. bottom bracket. This is totally independent from tube lengths and angles, and is a combination of saddle height and forward position.
b) saddle position w.r.t. bar setup. ie tip of saddle to bars and drop to bars.

Measurement a) for height and forward position has a huge effect on lower back, ITB etc. You also need to be careful if the saddles are different, since measuring saddle height is then more complicated.

If you have two bikes with exactly the same tube lengths, saddle type and bar setup, you can still have totally different positions if the seat angles are slightly different.

You should also carefully check saddle angle, since different seat posts make it difficult to get this exactly the same between two bikes.
davidg
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14 Jun 2009 13:11

Thanks for helping out.

davidg wrote:a) saddle position w.r.t. bottom bracket. This is totally independent from tube lengths and angles, and is a combination of saddle height and forward position.
b) saddle position w.r.t. bar setup. ie tip of saddle to bars and drop to bars.


All of these measurements are the same (saddle to BB, saddle to centre of stem, and drop from saddle to bars). However, the first two were measured from the back of the saddle rather than the tip of the saddle.

davidg wrote:You also need to be careful if the saddles are different, since measuring saddle height is then more complicated.


The saddles are both Selle Italia SLR, one older than the other.

davidg wrote:You should also carefully check saddle angle, since different seat posts make it difficult to get this exactly the same between two bikes.


The saddle angle is the more difficult part. This was changed from a slightly nose up position on the Lynskey to a slightly nose down position on both the Lynskey and R3. I haven't ridden the Lynskey since this saddle angle was changed. Also, while both seat posts are FSA 2.5 cm setbacks, the seat post on the Lynskey has microadjustments but microadjustments are not possible on the R3 seat post. Do you think saddle angle can make such a difference if everything else is the same?
"If you're going through hell, keep going." - Winston Churchill
User avatar elapid
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14 Jun 2009 14:01

elapid wrote:All of these measurements are the same (saddle to BB, saddle to centre of stem, and drop from saddle to bars). However, the first two were measured from the back of the saddle rather than the tip of the saddle.

You would normally measure setback from the tip of the saddle to a vertical line dropped through the BB

The saddles are both Selle Italia SLR, one older than the other.

This is a good saddle with a carbon base, same as I use. Should not see much sag compared to a nylon base, but worth checking. If it is a gel model, there could be more 'set' in the older one

The saddle angle is the more difficult part. This was changed from a slightly nose up position on the Lynskey to a slightly nose down position on both the Lynskey and R3. I haven't ridden the Lynskey since this saddle angle was changed. Also, while both seat posts are FSA 2.5 cm setbacks, the seat post on the Lynskey has microadjustments but microadjustments are not possible on the R3 seat post. Do you think saddle angle can make such a difference if everything else is the same?

Absolutely. This will change where you sit on the saddle and change the effective height. Normally you should measure your saddle height at a position approx 120mm from the back (ie approx where you sit). But if you tip the saddle down you will slide forward. This will also change your relationship with the bottom bracket and with it height and knee position.


It would be worth dropping a plumbline from your knee to see where it sits relative to the pedals in a 3 o'clock position (after riding a few minutes on an ergo) Do this on both bikes to see if there is a difference.

Bike setup in fine detail can be a difficult thing, so it would be worthwhie contacting a reputable coach to confirm.

Good Luck
davidg
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14 Jun 2009 15:03

davidg wrote:It would be worth dropping a plumbline from your knee to see where it sits relative to the pedals in a 3 o'clock position (after riding a few minutes on an ergo) Do this on both bikes to see if there is a difference.

Bike setup in fine detail can be a difficult thing, so it would be worthwhie contacting a reputable coach to confirm.


Thanks again. I've am coached by Carmichael Training Systems and I have sent the video of the fitting to my coach.

The plumb lines are the same.

I will ride the Lynskey today and see how the saddle angle changes the quality of the ride.

After reviewing my fitting video, the fitter commented that I could increase my saddle height by 1-1.5 cm because my knee looks too high at the top of the pedal stroke which is closing up my hip angle and resulting in my knee being too bent at the bottom. Do you think this is too much of a change in saddle height in one sitting?
"If you're going through hell, keep going." - Winston Churchill
User avatar elapid
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14 Jun 2009 22:21

elapid wrote:increase my saddle height by 1-1.5 cm because my knee looks too high at the top of the pedal stroke which is closing up my hip angle and resulting in my knee being too bent at the bottom. Do you think this is too much of a change in saddle height in one sitting?

Probably, but I am more inclined to think that your bike fit wasn't very good if you are this far out.

I did make such big changes when I first started out, but now they would be no more than 1-2mm, if at all.
davidg
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22 Jun 2009 03:57

but what does your Carmichael Training Systems coach say about all this?
User avatar Martin318is
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30 Jun 2009 01:40

I took a couple of years off riding due to bad bike fit (my own fault, no-one to blame). I am finally injury free and very comfortable on my bike. I would suggest if you have a high quality bike, like a lynskey, that you can ride comfortably, then ride that bike. I hope you get lucky or get some help to set up your cervelo, as I am sure that is a very nice bike, but don`t waste too much time.
biker77
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30 Jun 2009 04:06

I just finished the Bicycle Tour of Colorado on the Lynskey and had a good but challenging time (600 miles, 40000 feet of climbing, 6 days). One problem I encountered on days 2-4 was heat stress and I think this was because I was wearing a Camelback. This resulted in the same problems I had on the R3, but I was quicker to look after myself with ice packs, aspirin and early nights during the Tour. So I actually think that it may be heat stress secondary to lack of ventilation because of the Camelback rather than a fit problem. I completed the last two days without my Camelback, which included climbing over Cottonwood (12126 feet) and Independence (12095 feet) Passes for 130 and 169 km, and had no problems with heat stress.

My CTS coach looked at the fitting video and saw no problems. He has sent the video to another coach who is better at biomechanics, but I haven't heard word back from that analysis yet. My CTS coach thinks it could just be a matter of getting used to a different bike and, now that I have finished one of my goals for the year, I can now try to get accustomed to the R3.
"If you're going through hell, keep going." - Winston Churchill
User avatar elapid
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30 Jun 2009 21:54

Glad that your tour went well. If I am riding over 100km I will always take my camelback as two bottles just isn`t enough if it is over 75F or if it is very humid. Have you tried experimenting with what you are putting in your camelback? I use to use gatorade as it was easily available in the grocery store. However, it was too high in sodium for me and I would end up with cramps and feel terrible. Same story just riding on water.
biker77
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