VO2 max testing

29 March, 2012
Peter Ladd wearing mask and seated on test bike

Peter Ladd at the tail end of the VO2 test

Cyclists generally have a desire to measure performance and development to the ends of preparing for an event or just for the sake of ensure we are sustaining fitness levels but not at the expense of our overall health and well being. With electronic monitoring device so readily available we can take account of speed, distance, cadence, heart rate altitude, temperature and power outputs have all this graphed and GPS coordinated.

Recently the cycling community was offered a unique opportunity to undertake some different testing through the Latrobe University Exercise Physiology Laboratory with VO2 max testing in lab controlled conditions. VO2 max (also maximal oxygen consumption, maximal oxygen uptake, peak oxygen uptake or maximal aerobic capacity) is the maximum capacity of an individual’s body to transport and use oxygen during incremental exercise, which reflects the physical fitness of the individual. Read the rest of this entry »


Nana Naps essential

29 January, 2012
Road sign reading: Trouble concentrating? Powernap now

Part of the routine: don't fight the afternoon nap, it's all part of the recovering cycle.

Australia Day – our own nation’s day and long weekend and the roads are usually very busy not only because of the holiday but also it is one of the last free weekends before school go back.

A custom on our country highway and byways are the road slogan warning us of the feeling tired, battling the yawns, weary and driving? Advice of the Road Traffic Authorities is to take a power nap or get out of the car and revive your drive.

Long weekend see service agencies offering cups of tea or coffee and a biscuit encouraging drivers and families to take a break and arrive alive and survive. Combination of the rest, the stimulant of coffee or tea, and food in the stomach all add to relieving the stress and concentration of driving and tiredness.  Read the rest of this entry »

CoachPro offers locally grown cycling wisdom

21 October, 2011
Small child rolls down a slope on a balance bike while his father watches from above.

Dedication, desire and discipline: Matt Wallace can help anyone achieve their cycling goals, no matter their age, if they can bring the three "D"s to the equation.

“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”

At the age of 10 Matt Wallace was set for 10 years of Motocross racing before starting a long and successful cycling career which is spanning 18 years and now continuing in a new phase as a cycling coach.

Matt’s chosen disciplines of cross country Olympic distance MTB and road cycling took him across many world and international stages. Under the initial guidance of his father and uncle, both accomplished cyclists and training partners, Matt was not coached until entering the AIS. Partly on the belief that he was not good enough to warrant a coach this regret has changed Matt’s thinking and desire as a coach learning from his own short comings of “A coach can add an objective point of view”. “Dedicated riders need to be told when to rest as they are vulnerable to overtraining”, something Matt has now structured into all his programs and openly shares with others he shares cycling with. Read the rest of this entry »

On the road to good health

9 September, 2011
Bikes parked against every surface available near a cafe

Good company: cycling benefits both physical and mental health.

Who does not love getting a present? We all do. Presents need to be opened and used and it pays at times to understand the terms and conditions of their use and maintenance regimes. Life is bit like this, we have been given a wonderfully made body mind and soul, which need regular feeding exercise and rest we need to know the terms and conditions of use as well as restrictions.

At a recent men’s health week evening local doctors spoke of men’s health related issues and the statistical evidence for men in a country and rural environment being at risk.  The message was simple yet so profound worthy of sharing in the hope of impacting others for their good. The value of men’s healthy sexual relationships for the good of partnerships and how the failure in this area can be an indication of stress or other health related issues. Men need not be embarrassed to visit their GP to discuss as all the hype of medication to improve may not be the right application to fixing cause. Read the rest of this entry »

Cycling for biggest loser and family

11 February, 2011
Four cyclists riding through a forest in Western Australia

Biggest winners: a cycling lifestyle brings all kinds of benefits. Photo: Mediawise

Reality TV can draw many people into watching others struggle making life changing decisions in recognition that they too have a similar hurdle to climb over; taking the first step to commit to change their life’s circumstances. The struggles depicted are close to life and the answers that are presented can be transferable into making change with the right motivation and exercise of will power.

The 2011 biggest loser is back on reality TV, the process of weight loss has not changed but is being adapted this year to reach the family unit and how a family can be supportive and work together. The gaining of knowledge of what is a healthy nutritious diet, a weekly menu combined with an exercise regime that is fat burning by strengthening the cardiovascular by working on anaerobic and aerobic capacity. One of the keys in getting started is a regimented, well structured and supported program with regular checks and balances and reviews to monitor progress and celebrate successes regardless of how small. Read the rest of this entry »

Keep a sense of relativity

9 July, 2010
A man on a fold up bike with a newspaper strapped to the pack rack

Paper trail: a trip to get the newspaper starts every day for this retiree. Photo: Eddie Barkla

A common point of conversation runs along the lines of: “You must be so fit doing all that exercise”. The response will always be yes, but it is all relative. Most riders or people in general would like at sometime to be fitter and for instance ride longer distances more comfortably and at a greater average speed or conquer the challenge of the hills they face or participate in group rides more often. These are not necessarily measures of the level of fitness where the individual rider or person is at, but more a desire to be achieving more and conquering the mindset that is stopping them from reaching their dreams and desires.

It is all relative to time available to fit the life style and need of the individual as well as age, levels of past exercise regimes and time on the bike and many more variables.  When you stop comparing with what is right here and now with what you wish your were, you can begin to enjoy what is. Personally I find it just as exciting hearing about a new rider starting off and continually breaking new ground extending boundaries in un-chartered territory as it is hearing about an elite athlete winning a major competition. They are both relative achievements taking a measured amount of commitment that is greater than they had to produce previously and there is a heightened sense of enjoyment and achievement until the next challenge faced. Read the rest of this entry »

Getting the right mix of air and techniques

17 January, 2010
Man on a bicycle just coming over the top of a hill

Breathe right: correct technique will get you over stressful situations (like hills) a lot easier. Photo: Christian Barkla

There’s a story about Socrates in which a proud young man supposedly asked, ‘Oh great Socrates, I came to you for knowledge.’ Socrates led him down to the sea into waist-deep water. ‘Tell me again what you want,’ he said. ‘Knowledge.’ Socrates pushed him down under the water, holding him there for 30 seconds. ‘Now, what do you want?’ The young man spluttered, ‘Wisdom, oh great Socrates.’ Again the philosopher pushed him under. When he let him up again, he asked, ‘What do you want?’ ‘Knowledge, oh wise and …’ he managed to spit out before Socrates held him under again, this time even longer. ‘What do you want?’ repeated Socrates. The younger man coughed and gasped. ‘Air!’ he shouted, ‘I want air!’ Socrates replied, ‘When you want knowledge as much as you want air, you’ll get knowledge.’

I have used the above story to reflect on one of the most important aspects of becoming a proficient athlete in the sport of cycling, through the simple but much needed art of “controlling our breathing”.  Not all of us come from a sporting background and our ability to master the art of controlled breathing when placed under duress is not a natural action. Read the rest of this entry »