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  Last updated: 2/22/2010


Your "personal best" in any aerobic athletic event or endeavor is ultimately limited by your inherited (or genetic) makeup. But on the practical side, it is really the triad of

  1. optimum training
  2. nutritional support specific for that training and the event
  3. proactive and adequate recovery
that will decide how much of your genetic potential is realized. In fact, it is not that unusual to see someone of lesser potential beat an athlete with the genetic gifts based on their commitment to a balanced training program.

Your genetics set the limits of your lung capacity, ratio of muscle fiber types, body habitus, and the mechanical aspects (advantages/disadvantages) of the relationship between limb and muscle lengths. Detailed analysis of family pedigrees suggests that both positive and negative genetic factors can be traced back for up to 6 generations.

This combination of inherited traits not only sets the ceiling or upper limit for personal maximal performance, but can also determine how quickly you will respond to a training program to achieve your optimum. Two riders, using exactly the same training program for an event, will improve at differing rates. A study of 650 subjects demonstrated that a group of riders on exactly the same endurance training plan, stratified into 5-10% slow responders, 5-10% rapid responders, with the remainder spread inbetween. And their ultimate improvement in VO2 max varied from 4 to 40%.

Understanding how you respond (compared to others) is just one part of tailoring your unique training approach which will address your strengths and needs to be understood to minimize the expected frustrations when you see someone else improving at a faster rate.

You can gain an edge by understanding these advantages of following a sound training regimen for an event to give you the edge you need. The content of this website, although originally written to minimize the limiting effects of poor pre event and event specific nutrition, will also touch on training theory and tips as well as the third component, a proactive recovery training strategy.

Here are 5 tips to consider.

How can you tell when you've reached your maximum potential? Individual measures such as AT and VO2 max. measure physiologic performance and can indicate when certain "body systems", such as the cardiovascular system, have plateaued. But it is the combination of several measures that will give you the best indicator that you are reaching your personal potential. For example, here are three measures that are commonly used:

No single number or test will do the job. That is why there is an art to designing a training programs for cyclists and success can't be reduced to a simple mathematical formula.


Not to be forgotten are the health benefits of regular riding. Those that ride three or four times per week are

In fact, the death rate from all causes combined is reduced by more than 50% for those who participate in regular aerobic exercise.

In the following webpages I will try to help you understand the physiology of training and nutrition, and provide some practical tips along the way.

Dick Rafoth

(Also discussed on the wwwcptips Blog)

Cycling Performance Tips
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