Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Return to the bike after back injury....slowly

The problems with my back forced me to take some time off.  After the Franklin race in July I hung up the bike.  I tried for a while to get things back to normal with very little success.  I finally went to get an MRI.  It revealed bulging/herniated discs, spinal stenosis and arthritis.  That explains my problems.

Physical Therapy was not really an option for me.  In all reality they could not do anything that I wasn't already doing by myself.  However, with a confirmed diagnosis, I could target my problems with more confidence that I was doing the right thing.

Since the MRI I have had some really good progress.  I'm by no means healed, but I'm getting there.  I have targeted the bulging/herniated discs with extensions exercises and inversion therapy.  Day to day activity does not bother me.  Running is good, rowing is good, but I still get pain in the back and numbness down my leg when I ride, Versa Climber and Jacob's Ladder workouts.  Much of that is due to changing my posture and my muscles becoming tired quickly because they are being used differently.

While on the bike, my piriformis and QL on my left side get tight, tired and that is what causes the pain.  I have decided for the time being to limit my rides to trainer rides.  This allows me to ride, focus on posture and when I get tight, sore or numb, I can get off the bike to fix the problem.  I get back on feeling fresh again.  I will continue this format until I can ride with out pain for at least an hour.  This same protocol will be used for cross training activities like the Versa Climber and Jacob's ladder.

I am optimistic that I will be back to my old self soon.  Maybe not for a early season start, but by May I feel I can be competitive again.

I know many cyclist suffer from back issues so I will continue to post here to give information about what works and what does not.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Wandering Wheelmen

I cam across this video today on twitter.  I thought it was very cool.  Really made we want to get back on the bike, especially with a group of friends on back country roads.  All of these racers are inspiring and motivating.  American cycling hope is alive and well.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Training Levels and Training Zones for Cycling and Running

Cyclist tend to train in two different methods.  First would be Zone training.  These are focused zones which are defined by heart rate and/or power levels.  Every day is a focused day working on a specific zone.  Secondly would be those racers who use group rides as mock races.  There is no focus on zones the ride dictates what is being trained.  Then compare that to runners who often train within the same zone consistently.
Training Zones
Training zones, as mentioned are often defined by heart rate, power or pace.  Typically there are enough zones to cover most of the energy systems used by your body.  Keep in mind that you can never isolate an energy system, but you can focus on its development.  For me and my clients I use the 7 zone method.
  1. Recovery
  2. Endurance
  3. Tempo
  4. Threshold
  5. VO2max
  6. Anaerobic Capacity
  7. Neuromuscular Power
Heart rates and power levels are defined within these zones.  Also defined within these zones are time limits for the intervals.  For example Zone 5-VO2max:  it takes your body about 2 minutes to reach this level.  Therefore in order to train that level, each interval should be longer than 2 minutes.  If you go too long you won't be able to maintain this level and you will drop down.  The time limits than would be set at 3-8 minutes.  Does the rest period matter much when doing these intervals?  Obviously a shorter rest would mean a harder workout.  Is there a method to determine rest intervals?  For many people the answer is no.  Do you rest until your HR comes down?  Or until your legs feel better? Or is it just a number of minute/seconds that you have used before?

The question to ask is what exactly are you training?  For cyclist do you go exclusively on power numbers?  Runners, do you go exclusively on heart rate numbers?  The reason I ask is because those are two different measurements that though they are related could mean very different things.  Have you ever wondered what your limiting factors are?  Legs or lungs?  That statement really asks the question where is your weakness?

Legs or Lungs?
During a given workout, do you want to train your leg strength/endurance or are you looking to improve on your heart and lungs ability to work within the zone prescribed.  If you are going on exclusively power numbers, then you really are more concerned with muscular strength and endurance.  Let me pose another training scenario.  You want to train Zone 5 but are looking to do intervals that last only 30 seconds with a rest interval of 30 seconds.  Since it takes about 2 minutes to reach Zone 5 (which is the absolute top of your aerobic capacity), the first few to several intervals are not training this system properly.  However, once you reach that zone, the short rest interval will not allow your body to recover.  Eventually you will spend the entire 30 seconds of an interval in Zone 5.  If using power exclusively, the first several intervals might be in or above zone 5 power, but you are not training zone 5 at this point.  Near the end of the series you may not be able to maintain zone 5 power, but your body is still working in that training zone, your legs just don't have enough endurance to keep up.  I have come up with a method to better define the goals of your workouts.  I call these training levels.  Combine them with the training zones to better focus the outcome.

Training Levels
I have defined training levels into 4 different areas:
  1. Steady state
  2. Impulse
  3. Intervals
  4. Repetitions
Example:  Level 4 Repetitions in Zone 5 VO2max.  This workout could be defined as 5-minute repetitions with 5-8 minutes rest or full recovery.  The goal of this workout would be to see if you can give 100% effort during each of the repetitions.  This will primarily work the muscle endurance at that level as well as the energy system.  For cyclists this could be a prologue practice.  Each effort would be the equivalent of a short prologue.  For runners it could be mile pace practice.  In this type of workout you would want to stop the repetitions at the point that you could no longer maintain the proper power output or pace, because that is the goal.

I define steady state as any training done in any zone that is just a constant effort.  Impulse training usually has a foundation zone and you would perform short bursts out of that zone and then return to that zone after the burst.  Think about it as covering an attack.  You are at tempo, burst to Zone 6 then have to settle back into tempo.  Intervals usually will have a rest period no more than the work period.  These typically will work Zone 5 regardless of the length of the interval.  Repetitions are defined by having the rest period equal to or greater than the work period.

By combining Zones and Levels together, you can get much more out of your workout and better attack your weakness and strengthen your strengths. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lose fat, lose muscle, recover from injury and get ready for next season

I chose to end my season early this year because my back issue really becomes an issue on my bike.  I had still been getting the numbness down my left leg while riding.  I was evaluated by a physical therapist and given a number of exercises to do to recover and fix my problem.  The issue stems from currently having a muscle imbalance in which I have weak glutes and weak obliques.  My sacrum is stuck in a flexed position.  The bent over riding position would require the sacrum to extend.  Since it does not, it pinches my sciatic nerve.  Riding is hindering my recovery. 

For the past few weeks I have done the exercises and worked on strengthening and cross training to keep at least somewhat in shape.  I am not yet fixed, but I do have more good days than bad days.  Most everyday activities do not effect my back now.  Sitting for long periods, or being in a car for a long time will irritate it a little.

Right now posture is key.  I really need to focus on posture for everything I do.  If during a workout I let my posture suffer and pinch the nerve, then I probably push back my recovery a little.  It has been difficult to find good alternatives.

Versa Climber:

I use the Versa Climber as an off season conditioning tool.  It really works well to do short high intensity interval training (HIIT).  However, currently it has been hurting my back.  You can see here that you do have to hold your posture and currently it is still pinching my nerve.

Jacob's Ladder:

Another great cross training machine that we use during the off season for conditioning.  Talk about tough work.  Once again though, its tough for me to maintain posture and it pinches my nerve.


I would not have thought that running would have helped me but I gave it a shot since I was training someone who was getting into running.  I have been using my five finger shoes which force a mid foot strike and improved posture.  Guess what?  No back pain.  It actually relieves any aches that I have before the run.  This has been my primary source of exercise except for the strength training I have been doing to fix the imbalance.

Because of the lack, or change in time I have spent working out, I have gained some extra weight.  Therefore I am struggling to get my weight down to were I want it and not overdo the training which would slow my healing process or create new injuries.

Here is a picture of me from this morning:

Usually I have been racing at a weight of 183 lbs.  Currently I am above 195.  My goal will actually be to get down to 175 for next racing season.  Follow this blog as I will report the workouts, diet and challenges that I am facing while trying to work through this challenge.  I know many athletes push through nagging chronic injuries and are challenged in finding the right amount of training and diet that works for them.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Team Success Starts with Registration

I just recently noticed something concerning the results posted on USA Cycling.  Take a look at the results here from this weekend criterium at Todd Stadium in Newport News, VA.  These are the Cat 3 results:

Men - Cat 3
 Place Points NameCity, StateTime USAC #BibTeam
1243.99Nicholas Tempest   Virginia Beach, VA 328886   Tri Power
2259.51John Gray   Chesapeake, VA 256083   Virginia Beach Wheelmen
3275.04S Curtis Smith   Henrico, VA 236138   Team 3Sports

4290.56Josh Moore   Virginia Beach, VA 212047   Atlantic Velo-Virginia p/b Walt's Racing

5306.08Jake King   North Garden, VA 231130   Hot Tubes Development Cycling Team, Inc.

6321.61Timothy Pope   Chesapeake, VA 230804   Fat Frogs Elite

7337.13jeffrey hellner   Hampton, VA 296544   JRVS/American Pride

8352.66Luis Guillen   Youngsville, NC 281805   Constellation Cycling

9368.18Owen Hassig   Arlington, VA 186551   Squadra Coppi / Vapiano USA

10383.70Tyler Cloutier   Charlottesville, VA 360809   

11399.23Joe Altomare   Hampton, VA 290623   Celerity Cycling p/b Brooks Systems

12414.75Kenneth Sumrell   Poquoson, VA 304878   Fat Frogs Elite

13430.28jimmy deaton   Virginia Beach, VA 8975   Team Tripower
14445.80Joshua Goyet   Virginia Beach, VA 58274   Virginia Beach Wheelmen
15461.32Tim Shockley   Virginia Beach, VA 60982   Virginia Beach Wheelmen

16476.85Christian Sheridan   Crozet, VA 167388   Charlottesville Racing Club

17492.37Mark LaDow   Camden, NC 344832   
The thing I want to point out are the symbols all the way to the left side.  The top three medals are obvious but lower down under myself and teammate Tim Shockley you will see silver ribbons.  These are because we were on the same team as the second place finisher, therefore we got Team 2nd Place.

The Virginia Beach Wheelmen have always been team centered.  We were started with friends who enjoyed racing together and hopefully winning together.  Our non cycling friends would ask many times "how did you do this weekend?"  Our answers reflected the top finisher of our team.  This last weekend, when asked, we answered "2nd place".  Usually the top finisher on a team doesn't get there alone.  Even if he raced alone that day, the support of his team during training had a play in how well he raced.  Therefore my team always takes an individual victory as a team victory, we don't see the difference.

I really don't know how long USA Cycling has been placing these ribbons to support the fact that cycling is a team sport, but I do like the idea.  Now to real point of my post.  Notice the winner was Nick Tempest of Team Tripower.  Nick was led out on the final lap by his teammate who sacrificed himself for Nick's victory.  That teammate was Jimmy Deaton.  Jimmy should have received a gold ribbon by his name but he did not.  The reason is because Nick signed up under Tripower and Jimmy signed up under Team Tripower.  In order to support USAC's attempt to really highlight cycling as a team sport, do your part by discussing with your club the team name that all racers should use when registering for the events.  Its the least you can do to support those who sacrifice their personal glory for the team.  Now, for all to see, there is no question when we answer "we got 2nd place."

On a side note, this race was tough.  We went into it with a team plan to win the race via a breakaway.  If we could not establish a winning break, we had a plan for a good leadout.  For those their I think you can agree our 2nd place was an easy 2nd and we did give it everything we had to come up with the victory.  The winner, Nick, also raced well.  He did not sit in and wait for the sprint.  Actually at one point I bridged up to him to form a two man break and he was riding so strong that I could assist at all.  I had to signal to my team to start chasing.  It was a good race, as always.  Thanks again to the promoters. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Nutrition for Better Performance: The Pre-Workout Meal

I am going to start this post with a couple of questions:
  • Do you have a pre-race meal that you eat?
  • Do you have a pre-workout meal that you eat?
  • Are they the same?
A couple of weeks ago I had a client who decided to go on his endurance ride in the evening and the last time he ate was breakfast in the morning.  When he reported his ride back to me he stated he felt a little tired.  He then explained the didn't eat because he wanted to burn more fat during his endurance ride in order to lose a little weight.  Does that sound like anything you have every done?  I would have to say that most endurance athletes have thought along those lines before.

Back to my originally three questions on this post, do you have a standard meal for training and racing?  Again I would probably say that most racers do have a standard for pre-race but not for pre-ride.  Why?  I would guess it is for the same reason we swap wheels to race, it makes us faster.  We want to be as prepared as we can for the race and that usually means not playing around with our diets and eating something that we know will work for us.  Then why not do the same thing for training.  The point you really need to focus on here is what is the goal of your training session.  It should never be the goal of training to go out and bonk.  Therefore your pre-ride diet should be as important if not more important than your pre-race diet.

Let's say your coach has given you a ride for the day that included some sprints in the early part of the ride and then a tempo and endurance segment at the end for a total of 2 1/2 hours.  If you chose not to properly eat and during the form sprints you completely exhausted your glycogen stores and had nothing left for the remainder of the ride, did you get the most out of the workout.  Come race day, will you be the best prepared.  The answer of course is no.  If you don't properly prepare and take every training session seriously you won't get the most out of your training.

What I attempt to do is to fuel myself about 2 hours prior to the start of my training session.  This then requires planning of my day.  This meal or snack that I will eat prior to my ride will be about 200-400 calories depending on my ride I have planned.  Now I am not much of a calorie counter so I may be slightly off when it comes to this.  The goal though is to eat enough to fuel me for at least and hour ride.  Anything more than an hour and I am eating while riding as well.  Don't think that if you are training for 3 hours that you need to eat 3x the food.  You want most of the food out of you stomach prior to riding.  Otherwise it will just sit in there as blood is diverted to the working muscles.

A typically pre-ride meal will consist of food from the moderate glycemic index.  This could be fruits, oatmeal or my favorite Shredded Mini Wheats.  The idea is to create insulin release to store the sugars as glycogen but you don't want to create a spike that would occur with high glycemic index foods.  I will also usually add a little protein in for good measure.

A typical breakfast for a morning ride (410 calories):
  • bowl of Shredded Mini Wheats with Skim milk ( 340 calories)
  • Beet Juice (70 calories)
This is usually eaten 2 hours prior to riding.  If I am feeling a little hungry before leaving I will eat a banana.  The cereal gives me a lot of good carbs that are moderate on the glycemic index.  The milk will give me some protein.  I use skim milk to keep the calories down.  The beet juice, well the reason for that may be for another post.  Now I am good to go and will be ready to accomplish the goals of my workout.

What is your pre-ride meal?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bike Handling Skills: Bunny Hopping

Part of my Junior Training Program is to ensure they are taught how to handle their bikes.  It was actually something I was never taught to do even though I started racing at the age of 12.  I want to make sure that these young athletes have the skills to be proficient and safe.  Of course it does not end there, everyone can benefit from skills training.  If you think you need skill training then you probably do.   If you don't think you need skill training, then you definitely do.

The bunny hop is probably the simplest and most critical skill to practice.  I teach it in 4 parts:
  1. Front wheel over the obstacle:  At slow speed approach the obstacle and compress your handlebars down to "load" yourself.  Then "spring" up and take the front wheel with you over the obstacle.  Once this is proficient, we move to the rear wheel.
  2. Rear wheel over the obstacle:  With clipless pedals, the rear wheel could almost be pulled up from the pedals.  However, some of the best bunny hoppers are BMX riders not using clipless pedals, they are using momentum.  So even though the pedals are a tool, try and use momentum.  This is accomplished much like the front wheel.  Approach the obstacle at slow speed.  Ride the front wheel over it, then compress the rear wheel to "load" by standing and bending your legs.  "Spring" up and lean your body forward to bring up the rear wheel.  The wheel only needs to clear the obstacle, not high enough to endo yourself.
  3. Both wheels at slow speed:  When doing slow speed bunny hops, you will do the front wheel and rear wheel separately as stated above, but in one pass over the obstacle.  This is like timing a slow speed climb up on a curb.  Approach the obstacle, "load" and "spring" the front wheel over then immediately "load" and "spring" the rear wheel over.
  4. Both wheels at speed:  Now it is time to put it all together.  Approach the obstacle with enough speed to clear it.  When you approach it you will "load" the front and back wheel at the same time.  This is done by standing with pedals parallel to the ground.  Bend your arms to load the front and your knees to load the rear.  Spring them both up at the same time bringing your body slightly forward for momentum.  You only need to jump enough to clear the obstacle.  No need to get "sick air" here.  Try and land with both wheels at the same time.
Claire pulling too much from the rear and landing heavy on her front wheel.

Claire correcting the problem and landing perfectly.
 You can clearly see the difference in the above photos.  When you load your bike and then spring up and slightly forward, it truly is slightly forward.  To much forward movement will result in the rear wheel coming up too high.  The faster the approach, the less forward shift is needed.  Also you can see in the second picture Claire has returned to a lower position, shifting her center of gravity and thus making the landing safer.  She still has room to compress her landing so she doesn't hit too hard.

These skills, especially with young juniors, are best done in a grass field.  She is still using her road bike to practice.  I use a piece of PVC pipe for her to jump as the obstacle.  In one session she made an extreme level of progress.

Feel free to leave comments, questions or suggestions.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Nutrition for Better Performance: Post Workout

Many athletes will train hard, buy the best equipment, analyze their power files and develop training plans for optimal performance.  Recently I have taken a serious interest in a very overlooked component of performance which is nutrition.

The focus on this post will be eating after your workouts.  You should strive to eat your recovery food immediately after training.  For cyclist, this could mean getting extra chamois time.  The window really is 20 minutes, therefore your post workout food should be prepared prior to your workout.  When doing some research as to exactly what this food should be I ran into some contradictions.  It is widely accepted that the food should contain carbohydrates and protein, but how much of each?  I was taught that if you were mixing a drink for fuel during a workout it should contain a ratio of 4:1 carbohydrate to protein.  For recovery purposes it should be a ratio of 2:1.  Many suggestions today that can be found state the same, however there a plenty of studies that have shown that it should be a 4:1 ratio for recovery as well.

The purpose of this recovery meal is to replenish the stored glycogen that is found in your body and that was used during the workout.  Immediately following your training, you body is the most susceptible to replacing the glycogen.  The carbohydrates will be converted to the glycogen.  The added protein will double the insulin response and will increase the restoring of the glycogen.  In a study there were 100% increase in the glycogen restore in those that took a carbohydrate protein meal.  When doing a search as to what ratio was better, the studies that suggested a 2:1 were more strength related training while those that suggested a 4:1 were endurance related.

The post workout meal could be broken down into two stages, the snack and the meal.  The snack needs to be immediate and start the process of storing glycogen.  The meal needs to follow and be consumed within the 2 hours after the workout.  Here is a thought:  Within 2 hours after a workout you should consume 0.3-0.6 grams of carbohydrates.  I will take me for instance.  I weigh 185 lbs currently.  If I go out for 1 hour doing intervals I probably am closer to needing the 0.3 grams of carbohydrates.  That is 56 grams I would need to consume.  If I went out and performed threshold efforts for 3 hrs, I probably need to replenish more on the level of 0.6 grams per pound which would be 112 grams of carbohydrates.  Then when you add your protein in, it means, in keeping with the 4:1 or 2:1 ratio you will need to consume 14-28 grams of protein (4:1).  Lets say than I decide after my workout to eat 2 hard boiled eggs (12g of protein) and 1 banana (31g of carbohydrates).  I would then want to consume the remainder of the meal within two hours. 

If you take anything from this post it should be to treat your post workout meal like you would a critical interval within your workout.  Find out what works for you, whether it is a drink, food or a mixture of both.  Do some research on your own and play with different combination of foods.  Lastly, leave comments on this post as to what works for your and what are your favorite post workout meals.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Richmond International Raceway Cat 3/4 Race

I have really enjoyed this race for the simple fact that we tend to have large fields.  In the past 2 years we have had 100+ in the Cat 3/4 race, this year was smaller but still had 60+ riders start the race.  Of those 60+, two of them were from Virginia Beach Wheelmen.  With only two of us we know we would not be able to 'control' the race, but we still really wanted to race aggressively.

John Gray and myself got in a good warm up:

Photo taken and enhanced by Dan Gibson.
We lined up ready to go, and we needed to be ready:
Photo taken by Dan Gibson

This seems to be a hard course to get away on, but I didn't want to rely on history, so if it looked good, and we missed it, I was going to chase it down.  Right off the bat, Jake King and a rider from Richmond Velo Sports took off and got a little gap.  Jake is always dangerous off the front and since Richmond had like 15 riders in the race, I figured they could shut things down if needed.  I chased it down.  The chase down told me my legs were feeling pretty good.

I'm not in the best shape yet, but John has been having a stellar year so far.  The thought was this, if we missed a break that need to come back, I could chase it down before it got too far out.   If the pack did not go with me and I caught them, one of two things could happen.  If I felt good, join them.  If I didn't think I could stay in the break, then I would slow them down and break them up.  John then kept an eye out and attacked to join or establish breaks in the hope to get him away. 

With just a handful of laps to go, a small break was up the road.  It was close enough that we should be able to catch them on the run into the finish, but far enough away that if we didn't make the move they could slip away.  With 2 laps to go I decided I needed to attack to chase them down.  The pack would either come with me and give John a chance to sprint for the win, or I could join them and sprint for the win myself.  As I approached, two of the three riders gave up, but the third, Kristian from Fat Frogs, kept going.  I was catching him, but it was taking a lot out of me.  As we rounded the first embankment on to the back straight away the pack caught us.  John was near the front and as the pack slightly slowed, he attacked.  It was a good move to try and go for the win.  The pack reacted and I was unable to get back into the top 10 riders so decided to just sit up.  It was a good move on my part considering the riders that went down in the second embankment.  John's move put him in great position, but it was a little too long and he was swallowed at the line but still managed a 10th place finish.  I came across, safely, in 47th place.

Our moves didn't pan out in a win this week but we were proud of our racing.  I have told John that you must want the win more than you fear the loss.  Of 60+ riders in that field, even the non sprinters think they have a chance to win or place high if it finishes in a field sprint.  That is why a lot of times the fly away move with a couple laps to go will tend to work, because no one wants to sacrifice themselves to catch that late move, even when they have teammates.  For us, a win by one is a win by all of us.  No one on our team has a problem with sacrificing for the team.  We know that sometimes, if you want the win you have to go for the win and not just settle for a field finish.  That is what we did this weekend.  Both John and I made our moves to win the race, it just didn't happen, but we can hold our heads high.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Race Review: Snowball Crit #1 A-Race

This year there have been a number of early season training races.  However, for the Virginia Beach Wheelmen, the Snowball #1 was our first of the season.  John Gray, Tim Shockley and myself represented VBW, each with our own specific goals.  For me, build confidence.

It has been a rough cycling year for me.  Fighting my back injury meant inconsistent training.  Whenever I thought I was good to go, I would have to take some time off.  My off season pretty much consisted of high intensity cross training on the Concept 2 rower and Versa Climber.  I rode as much as I could but limited most of my training to solo rides or team rides.  My fitness level is good, I have been posting some decent power numbers.  My weight is a little higher than what I wanted but that is because I didn't do much in the way of long base miles.  Overall I really didn't know what to expect from today's race.

I decided that I needed to finish today's race in the pack.  I wanted to get comfortable in the pack, in the turns and really work on shifting gears and accelerating out of the corners.  This training race was just that, good training.  I had not ridden in a pack since last racing season.

John Gray has really been training well and was using today's race to see how aggressive he could be and attempt to establish himself in a break.  I kept an eye on his efforts and moved to the front to help cover or block when he made his moves.  Some of the breaks he got in had some serious promise but unfortunately he missed the winning break.

Tim, much like myself, needed this race to establish a level of racing confidence that he has lost by not racing much in the past few years.  He did well, moving around the pack and even putting in an effort or two at the front.

John ended up in 6th place and Tim and I rode in somewhere in the pack.  Although it may not sound impressive, it was a victory for all of us.  We know what we can do, now we need to show how far we can push ourselves. 

I am already looking forward to my next event:  Snowball Crit #2 A-race.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Bike Fit

For those that have been following my posts, you know that I have been dealing with injuries for the past year.  It has essentially been low back pain, though the origin of it is more complicated.  I have come a long way, but not healed yet.  One part of my recovery was to make sure that I was sized properly on my bike.  I wanted to be sure that my bike was not adding to my problem.

In mid-December I went to East Coast Bikes in Ocean View to have Iesha Shipp size me.  Iesha is a certified bike fitter, plus with her extensive knowledge of anatomy (yoga instructor), she was perfect to be able to get me set up properly.  After an extensive interview she took notes and measurements on my body, including my flexibility ranges.  Aaron assisted Iesha by taking all of my current measurements I had set up on my bike.  After all of this I got on the bike for rest of the evaluation.  With no changes to my set up at this point, this is what I looked like (take a minute and look at these photos before scrolling down, can you tell what needs to be changed?  Leave your guess or opinions in the comments):

Seat height?  GOOD
Plumb line?  GOOD, slightly back but within a good range.
Stem height/angle?  That needs to be discussed.

The best picture to see my problem is probably the first one.  It is not an issue with my bike, but its an issue with how I ride my bike.  You always hear that you should keep a flat back.  Do you know what is meant by that?  Where does the flatness of your back originate?  What should have caught your eye is the angle in relation to my saddle that is made with my sacral.  It is essentially straight up and down.  The back bends at the lumbar, thus not creating a flat back.  Not only is it non-aerodynamic, but it has put a lot of pressure on my back.

If everything on my bike is good, how then should we fix this problem?  The answer is to learn how to ride differently.  When I told my teammates about this issue, Tim Shockley told me that his former coach, Peter Teeuwen used to always tell them to roll their hips to put their sacral at a 45 degree angle.  Its funny, been riding for decades, no one ever told me that before.  Its hard to evaluate yourself so most of the time, things like this go unnoticed.

Ieasha thought that a different stem my make it easier for me to transition.  Using the stem adjuster, we tried it out:

Better, but quite awkward.  In reality, it was not going to be easy to change riding position, because any change would feel strange.  I just had to bite the bullet though and make a conscious effort.  We put back my original stem and I tried it out:

Here is a side by side:

I would like to report that prior to getting this fit done, my back would hurt and my left foot would go numb within 30 minutes of my ride.  After consciously changing my riding position, I have not had any foot numbness on the bike.  My back pain is not gone completely, but it actually feels like a tiredness not a pain.  Because of the change in position, I need to strengthen and stretch certain muscles before this because really comfortable.  It gives me a lot of hope that my issues are going away.

The bike fit that only dropped the nose of my saddle down a hair, seems like it could change me as a racer.  Thank you Iesha, Aaron and East Coast Bikes.

Please feel free to leave opinions and comments, I would love to hear what you think.