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TRIA Orthopaedic Center Your Cycling Blog

Physio Ball Training in Cycling

May 30, 2013

The physio ball or the Swiss ball has made inroads into almost every strength training program in every sport. Physio ball training helps increase balance and improve core strength at a lower intensity. For athletes just starting, the impacts are dramatic.  For the more seasoned athlete, the benefits are gained in 2-3 weeks of training but do not produce a higher level of performance beyond the initial gains.

Check out this post by Paul Rogers, a former Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Australian National Sprint Cycling Team.  For his team, he did not see any benefits of the Swiss ball during the time his team used the ball training method.

So what does this mean?  If you are looking to improve your performance on the bike, simply add other training methods to supplement the Swiss ball.  Do not make it the only method of training used during off-bike workouts over a long period of time.

Some examples of other training methods include:

  1. Dumbbell training on two feet
  2. Dumbbell training on one foot
  3. Bodyweight training
  4. Olympic lifts

To increase your performance, you must increase the stress you place on the body.  The ball does not provide enough stress to gain the benefits you desire by itself.  Therefore, supplement your training with the mentioned methods and you will see better numbers from your investment.

For more information, visit The McCarthy Project


Kowalski’s Collegiate All-Star Erica Zaveta Discusses 2013 Nature Valley Grand Prix

May 23, 2013

Erica Zaveta is returning to the Nature Valley Grand Prix for her 2nd year on the Kowalski’s Collegiate All-Star Team. Erica sits down with Jimmie Kaska, of Sports Radio 1400, and discusses her past experiences, challenges, and what she expects as she returns to the Grand Prix.


Rising Star, Emily Georgeson, Talks about 2013 NVGP

May 16, 2013

Sports radio 1400 interviews Emily Georgeson. Emily is a young upcoming racer from Wisconsin. She qualified to race in the Nature Valley Grand Prix through the Nature Valley Pro Chase amateur qualifier series. Emily talks about what it will be like to race in front of the home crowd. Also what inspired her to enter racing and her goals as a racer.


Want to hear more Sports Radio 1400?  Check out  the Water Cooler with Jimmie Kaska here!


Counting Calories? Does it really work? By Stephen McCarthy, The McCarthy Project

May 10, 2013

We have all heard the stories about food quality over the last couple years.  Today, I am going to mathematically prove that you can count calories, stay on task, and still not meet your nutrition goals.

Lets Do this.. For the sake of time, I am going to setup a fictitious person and their goals.

Female, 35, Very active lifestyle and works out 3-4 times a week.  Recommended number of calories per day 2400.  A little high based on the US Department of Agriculture Food Pyramid, but we are giving you some wiggle room based on your lifestyle.

Lets see…

  • Breakfast 400 calories
  • Starbucks Coffee 240 cal
  • Lunch  400 cal
  • Sports Drink 200 cal
  • Snack 250 cal
  • Supper 600 cal

Total calories 2290 cal, well below your goal for daily intake.

All looks good on paper, so what is the problem?

Choose Organic over Genetically-Modified Foods

Current food stuffs do not have the same nutrients in the food as the non-genetically modified, organic food.  So you may be eating all the right items, but not supplying your body with the nutrients your body needs to work properly.  Not all tomatoes are created equal. For that matter, not all food is created equal.

The world of genetically-modified foods and food grown with pesticides and chemicals has been proven to be not of the same quality of food from years past.  Check out this study on the comparison of food products at the genetic-level. The study shows that in some cases, the food may be almost 10 times less nutritious.

For the sake of argument, we will run with the thought that the food is only two times less nutritious that it could or should have.  You now need to consume 4580 cal, not 2290 cal to gain the benefit you need for your body to operate properly and recover.

You are literally going in a deficit every day if you do not choose your food sources wisely.  You are eating the right foods, but your body is starving.


Choose natural (organic) foods and control the sources of those non-gmo items.

Follow this simple rule and you will meet your nutritional goals, train at a higher level and recover quicker from your workouts without even changing what you are eating.

For more detailed information on this subject, visit The McCarthy Project


Captain Kirk and the Knights of Nature Valley

June 21, 2012


Charlie Schlatter, one of our moto marshals, composed this epic tale about the cancelled Cannon Falls Road Race, and we thought it provided a great behind-the-scenes look at another aspect of the Nature Valley Grand Prix. 

They arrived one by one on their various two-wheeled steeds. Clad in their full armor, ready for whatever a bicycle race might require of a guy on a motorcycle. Most of them claimed an affinity for bike racing, but all they really wanted to do was to ride their bikes. Lined up along the road they looked like some odd collection, colors, shapes, ages, and equipment all different, all individual.


Captain Kirk called the band together just as the rain began in earnest. Wearing a yellow raincoat, his imposing, tall, grey countenance was unmistakable. He gave us a lecture on safety and proper moto-marshall technique.


For this reporter, it was the second storm of the day. The first was in St. Paul, where our entrance to the freeway in the pouring rain had been enhanced by hail stones beating on our helmets and bikes. The Captain immediately dispatched me, the scout, to find suitable shelter for the band. Finding the deli full and the pizza parlor too small, we held out under an awning for a time. Then one of the knights discovered a bakery and coffee shop.


The knights assembled there. Made bold by draughts of coffee and sweets, we sat down at the long table. The boasting began. We rode in the cold rain with Sir Jim. We led a bicycle race in the Rockies with Sir Les. We rode through rain and dirt in the far north with Sir Charles. We dodged tornadoes. We envied the spirit of youth, who would try all of the above without armor or gear. Sir Duane displayed his new suit, a bright green shell that looked impenetrable. Sir Les quietly admitted that his raincoat had been blown from the back of his bike on the way and could someone lend him a raincoat? Outside the sky was full of thunder, fork lightning, and gusts. The Knights held forth, swapping yarns and eyeing each other’s gear, until the coffee was gone.


When the rain finally let up enough to see a little, the band left the bakery to return to their duty stations at the start of the race. There, Captain Kirk informed them that the race was officially cancelled, and that their services were no longer needed. The sky began to threaten once again.


The Knights of the long table, having been dismissed, were released to ride their own rides home. Someone said the big storm was yet to come. Captain Kirk and this scout considered the situation. I, the scout, suggested waiting until the pending storm had blown over. Captain Kirk merely started his engine.


Off we went, into the gathering dusk, trying to clear the fog from both the inside and the outside of our soaked helmets as we rode. The rain began in earnest as we swung into the traffic headed north. On we rode, I the scout in the lead. When I could see far enough, I noticed a really black cloud bank looming. I was headed straight into it. I saw the red-eyed devil’s herd stampeding along the top edge of that ragged black cloud as I rode head on into it. The rain increased. I passed a highway overpass, thought about stopping under it, and immediately rejected the idea as foolishness. If we weren’t to be washed away, a truck would surely kill us. On we went, as the flood waters collected. If we crossed deep water, I never saw it. I was blinded by the heavy rain. Visibility was nearing zero. Tail lights in front of me became emergency flashers blurred by sheets of rain and spray. I followed them up the nearest exit ramp, up a hill and onto a side road. There, to the right, a pickup had taken shelter behind a small building. Deep muddy water surrounding it prevented me from following it there. The roadsides were awash as well. I turned my bike into the storm, let it idle, and stopped in the deluge. The wind tried to push me over. Sheets of rain blotted out the headlight. Captain Kirk, following me, had not even made it up the exit ramp. I could barely make out his headlight several hundred yards down the hill, also stopped.


The rain let up a little. Captain Kirk made it to where I was yet stopped, idling. We could not speak. The rain let up a little more. The ditches were filling with water and beginning to wash over the road. I put the bike in gear and rode onto the highway. With tail lights ahead of me, I could stay on the road. We rode into heavier rain, and heavier still, until visibility was gone once again.


At last I noticed a lighted sign and a turn off. I took it. Fording a couple of new rivers, we arrived at a restaurant. We went in. The scout took off his armor and left it in the doorway to drip and leak on the floor. Captain Kirk just tromped to the table, trailing water. The waitress asked what I’d like. I replied, “A double shot of Jack Daniel’s.” But none was offered. We settled for coffee and food.


When we finished, it was still raining hard. We put the gear back on. We strode to our bikes. We forded the new rivers and returned to the highway. Through the mess we continued.

At last, somewhere just south of St. Paul, we rode out of the rain. Slowly I began to be able to see again. We picked up speed. We got home.


There is no word from the rest of the Knights, except for Sir Duane, who has unfortunately reported that his new, impenetrable armor leaks water.


How to Recover After A Long Bike Ride

June 14, 2012

With the Menomonie Gran Fondo this past Saturday, we thought it would be nice to a deeper look at how you can recover once you are done with a ride like that.

By:  Jane Schwartz Harrison, RD, Nutritionist

Congratulations! You just finished a long and challenging ride. But wait! Don’t abandon your nutrition needs just yet. The right mix of recovery foods will go a long way to helping you feel less sore, less stiff, and less tired in the hours and days that follow. A smart nutrition strategy includes a follow-up plan that will re-feed your glycogen stores and repair muscle tissue. Make sure you follow these five tips for prime recovery:

Timing Counts

The minutes immediately after you’re off the bike (when there is increased blood flow to your muscles) is when your body is most receptive to refueling.

  • Aim to eat within 15 to 30 minutes, and do not wait longer than 45 minutes.This is essential!
  • Then continue to eat at regular intervals for the next 24 hours to keep up replenishment.

Carbs Are Key, Protein Secondary

Carbs are the most important recovery nutrient. They stimulate the release of insulin, a hormone that helps build muscle and restock glycogen stores.

  • Aim for 1 to 1.5 grams of carb per kilogram of body weight in the first 45 minutes. Keep this up for about four hours after the event, or until you eat a larger meal.
  • For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, eat 70 to 100 grams of carbs per hour. One gram of carb has four calories, so that translates to about 300 to 400 calories of carbs as soon as possible after you get off the bike. You can break it up by having something 15 minutes after you stop, and again in another 15 to 30 minutes.
  • For the following 24 hours, your carb intake should be about six to 10 grams per kg of body weight (450-750 grams of carb for a 150 pound person).
  • Adding some protein to your carb can improve your recovery, but don’t overdo the protein (or fat) in the first couple hours, as that can slow the absorption of the carbs.

Smart Recovery Meal Ideas

Here are some meal/snack ideas that contain about 70 to 80 grams of carbs and eight to 15 grams of protein:

  • Large fruit smoothie made with milk or yogurt
  • Peanut butter sandwich and large carton of juice
  • Bagel and yogurt
  • 16 oz 100% juice and two ounces of low-fat cheese
  • Chocolate milk and a one or two granola bars
  • ¼ cup raisins, a large banana, and 16 oz. milk
  • Large baked potato and cottage cheese
  • Recovery drink with mostly carbs and nine to 10 grams of protein

Save higher protein intakes until at least two hours after the event. This could include chicken breast, fish, lean steak, high protein drink, etc.

Replace Fluids and Electrolytes

Replacing fluids lost by sweating is critical in order to prevent dehydration.

  • Your goal will be to drink on schedule during your ride and lose no more than 2 percent of your body weight (three pounds for a 150 pound person).
  • During training, practice weighing yourself before and after to get a sense of how much fluid you lose. For every pound lost, you need to drink 16 oz of fluid.
  • A pound of sweat contains about 90mg of potassium and 400 to 700mg of sodium.
  • As long as your recovery food or drink contains some salt or potassium, you don’t need anything special. One banana has 350 mg. Even foods like a cup of yogurt (520mg), large potato (800mg), cup of OJ (475mg), etc have plenty of potassium.
  • Sodium can also be found in most foods, from bagels and sandwiches to dairy and granola bars – just don’t choose low-sodium foods after the ride and you should be fine!
  • Don’t rely on sports drinks for potassium unless they specifically have it included. Check labels for sodium, as they vary.

With this recovery plan in place, you’ll be ready for another long ride in no time!


Position of the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and athletic performance. J Am Diet Assoc. 2000;100(12):1543-1556.

Hargreaves M, Hawley JA, Jeukendrup A. Pre-exercise carbohydrate and fat ingestion: Effects on metabolism and performance. J Sports Sci. 2004;22(1):31-38.


A Surprising and Delicious Recovery Drink

June 7, 2012

Whether you are racing your bike or training to ride the Menomonie Gran Fondo, as you begin to increase your amount of exercise, recovery starts to become more important.

Despite all the science that has gone into all the recovery drinks on the market, it is beginning to look like the kids favorite, chocolate milk, just might be your best option, and because of that we are excited that KEMPS low-fat chocolate milk is the “Official Recovery Drink” of the Nature Valley Grand Prix.

You might be saying, “wait a minute, chocolate milk? Really?”

But a growing body of research supports chocolate milk’s recovery benefits after strenuous exercise.  Most recently, a study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise suggested that recovering with chocolate milk can give runners a performance edge. Researchers from Connecticut State University, University of Connecticut and Eastern Michigan University, found that when recreational runners drank fat free chocolate milk after a strenuous run, they ran 23 percent longer during a subsequent exercise bout later that day and had a 38 percent increase in markers of muscle building compared to when they drank a carbohydrate-only sports beverage with the same amount of calories. It’s also been shown to help athletes tone up gain more lean muscle and lose fat when compared to drinking a carb only beverage and contains 9 essential nutrients that an athlete needs, including some not typically found in recovery drinks.

Because KEMPS low-fat Chocolate milk contains the right mix of carbs and protein scientifically shown to help refuel muscles, it helps restore muscles quickly to their peak potential. Because of this athletes and coaches, like Nick Folker the USA Swimming Trainer and Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of California, are recognizing the benefits of refueling with low-fat KEMPS chocolate milk. “It has the right carb to protein ratio scientifically shown to help the body recover, high-quality protein to help repair muscles and fluids and electrolytes to replenish what’s lost in sweat. It’s so simple, plus it tastes great!” said Folker.

Want more information on the benefits of KEMPS low-fat chocolate milk with strenuous exercise? Visit for additional information.


Preventing nerve damage while riding long distances

May 31, 2012

The experts from TRIA Orthopaedic Center return today to discuss another common cycling issue–numbness. Marc Swiontkowski, MD discusses the common causes of numbness for cyclists and some easy steps to take to prevent it.


Prolonged pressure on nerves produces ischemia (loss of small blood vessel blood flow) which in turn produces various symptoms. These are primarily numbness and later tingling and electric shock like symptoms. Rarely in the case of mixed nerves, prolonged pressure can produce weakness and lack of function.

For cyclists the areas of concern are the hands and the crotch. In the hands the median nerve supplies the feeling to the thumb, long, index and half of the ring finger while the ulnar nerve supplies the other half of the ring finger and small (pinky) finger. The ulnar nerve supplies the motor function (power) to a lot of the small muscles in the hand (intrinsic muscles) as well. The pudendal nerve supplies the feeling to the genitalia.

Prevention of the symptoms involved is the best strategy for avoiding these problems. In terms of pressure on the nerves in the hands, changing positions on the handle bars every few minutes is the key.

There are 5 different positions that one can place your hands on standard drop bars- even more postions are provided if you are using an aero bar extension. You should experiment which positions feel the best in terms of control of the steering and generation of power with the pedal stroke. Identify which are your 3-4 favorites and rotate through them every hour during a ride or race.

As far as the crotch goes changing positions is the key there as well. The recommendation is to stand for 100-150 pedal strokes every 5-10 minutes. This will get the pressure off the pudendal nerve and will prevent saddle soreness as well. Standing is particularly valuable when climbing hills and in this situation 50% of time standing as well as 50% sitting are reasonable goals. Standing also provides mandatory changes in hand position which will get the pressure off the median and ulnar nerves.

As with so many potential injury situations in cycling, understanding the principles of prevention is the key to success and comfort while riding for pleasure or competing in this great sport.


Up, Up, and Away (Part 2): Conquering the Hills of the Gran Fondo and Elsewhere

May 24, 2012

One of the best things about the Menomonie Gran Fondo is the chance to ride the same course that the pros ride later that day, but this is also the biggest challenge as well.

Here is the second part of USA Cycling coach Fiona Lockhart’s tips to help you conquer the hills that will break up the race later in the day.

by Fiona Lockhart, USA Cycling Coach

If You’ve Got the Gears, Use Them

Once you do have an appropriate gear setup on your bike, make sure you use them!  One of things that makes me want to weep as a coach is when I see someone struggling up a hill, mashing a huge gear at a cadence of about 40, and I look at their gears and see that they have at least one, if not two or three, easier gear options to choose.  Sometimes people will tell me “I want to save them in case I need them.”  Sister or brother, I’m telling you:  you need them.

Once your cadence starts to drop below about 70 rpms, your leg muscles will start to fatigue pretty rapidly, and it’s the kind of fatigue that is hard to recover from.   So it’s in your interest to try to keep that cadence above 70 as much as we can (and 80 or 90 might even be better, depending on the grade of the hill).  This has the additional benefit of taking some pressure off your knee joints, because there’s an awful lot of torque that occurs at the knee when we’re applying a lot of force at a low cadence.  That means using all the gears you have, and practicing shifting in and out of different gears when you are working hard to increase your ability to do it smoothly and prevent the chain from jamming.  Of course, if you don’t have any easier gears to use, then you just have to work with what you have.  But if you find that you are always riding below 70 rpms on hills and you’re always out of gears, then by all means re-read the paragraphs above about cranksets and cassettes and think about making a change.

Pace Yourself

You’re always going to be breathing a little bit harder on the hills (or a lot harder), but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to control the effort somewhat.   I will sometimes see people accelerate at the bottom of the hill, which might be a useful strategy if the hill is very short and you’ll just be able to pop over it quickly, but for most hills that take more than 30 seconds to climb, you’re better off trying to settle into a steady pace and maintain it for the duration of the climb.  If you exert too much energy in the first half of the hill and blow up, you’ll suffer more over that last half than if you had held back a little bit early on.

Once again, use your gears appropriately.  Practice shifting smoothly into the gears you need at the base of the hill.  You will want to have an easy enough gear that you can climb with, but you also don’t want to shift into too easy of a gear too early and lose a bunch of momentum.  Remember, you can always shift during a climb.  It’s a little harder on a hill to make the shift with your front derailleur (as the jumps between gears are bigger), so you usually will want to make sure you are out of your biggest chainring in the front when you start the climb, but then you can use your gears in the back to fine-tune your shifting as you move up the hill.  And plan ahead – thinking in advance about what gear you’d like to be in as you start the climb will help you avoid the mistake of shifting into too big of a gear and using too much energy early, or shifting into too easy of a gear and losing all momentum.

Be Happy

I used to race against a girl who was always smiling when we were climbing big hills.  It would alternatively amaze and infuriate me – “Really, this is making you happy?  COME ON, THIS HURTS A LOT.”  But in retrospect, I think it was a great thing – either she was, indeed, just happy to be hammering up a hill, or it was a very effective psych-out strategy for her competition.  Either way, she wins, figuratively.

But honestly, attitude does matter.  As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, hills are hard for everyone, but the way you approach the climbing of that hill can make all the difference between having it be a good or a bad experience.  Try putting some positive spin on the next hill you climb:  “These hills are making me strong”.  “The view from the top is going to be awesome.”  “I bet the downhill will be fun!”  Usually, this will make not only the hill but the whole ride a lot more enjoyable than if you are cursing (inside or outside) the whole way up the climb.

Increase Your Fitness

Well, duh.  But it does need to be said.  I started out this blog post by saying that the laws of physics tell us that it takes more energy to move a mass up a hill.  The more fit we are, the more we can comfortably meet those energy demands.  Apart from the things I’ve mentioned above, there isn’t anything magical about training to become faster on hills – the stronger we are, the less energy we’ll need to get up the hills (or the same amount of energy but we’ll go faster).  And how to increase that fitness?  Well, first and foremost, ride as much as you can (within reason).  And get out and train on hills, because they’ll make you work hard, and that hard work will make you strong.  I’ll talk in a later blog post about how to structure that training so that you have a good balance of hard work and rest and recovery.

So yeah, gravity is a law.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t bend the rules a bit.


What are signs an cycling injury is serious?

May 19, 2012

The experts from TRIA Orthopaedic Center will be checking in from time to time to share tips for cyclists on a wide range of topics. Today’s installment is from Anne Moore, MD, CAQ who focuses on Musculoskeletal Primary Care/Sports Medicine. She will be talking to us about signs an injury may be severe and may need medical assistance.


Cycling injuries occur across a spectrum of severity.

Many bike injuries are caused by overuse or ramping up into activity too quickly. Falling off the bike can involve more serious injuries, such as abrasions, muscle/tendon strains, ligament  sprains (or tears), fractures, joint dislocations and concussions.  Typically,  pain or soreness which occurs after activity and resolves with rest is less worrisome.  Pain that occurs during biking may be a sign of an injury that could benefit from further medical evaluation.

Soreness is simply less intense than pain, and can certainly be expected with intense physical activity.  One of the most basic prevention strategies for these types of injuries is to undergo a formal bike fitting and make sure that you do not overload any body part simply due to malalignment.   Additionally, cross training with strength training, flexibility exercises, swimming, and core stabilization can help overall fitness and minimize overuse injuries.

If a fall is sustained while biking,  open skin wounds should be cleaned thoroughly and may require antibiotics  and/or stitches.   If localized swelling, redness, or bruising  occurs at an injury site, this should be evaluated by a health care provider, especially if it persists for days (sooner if sharp pain or loss of function accompanies the injury).

Although helmets are necessary and can protect riders from skull fractures, serious head injuries can still occur with falls from a bike.  Concussions are the most common of these injuries, and  should undergo formal  medical evaluation. Some typical signs and symptoms of concussion can include headache, dizziness, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, feeling foggy, visual disturbances, feeling nauseated, or changes in sleep. The majority of concussions resolve within 1-2 weeks, but lingering symptoms are more concerning.

As  a recreational and competitive sport, biking  is especially beneficial for people with knee arthritis since it does not tend to overload the joints.  However for patients with low bone mineralization/osteoporosis, it is not very beneficial from a bone strengthening standpoint.  None the less, biking provides several other health benefits, and can be  enjoyed throughout one’s lifetime.