Upgrading Categories, Fat Burning, Food Allergies and More – Ask a Cycling Coach 233

Upgrading race categories, the myth of “the fat burning zone,” food sensitivities vs food allergies and more will all be covered in Episode 233 of The Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast.

Youtube Live Video:

Topics covered in this episode:

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Episode Notes:


Love it! Looking forward


Peeing on the bike. Bet you the discussion will be make only focused.

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This episode hasn’t appeared on Apple Podcasts yet. Any ideas why?

The episode will be available soon after we finish the live stream. I just need to edit the audio and upload it. So, look for the podcast in about 2 hours from now, if not earlier!


Sorry @Tucker - I just realized it is Thursday. I’ve been convinced all day it is Friday! Been one of those weeks! :slight_smile:


Dang that ankle looks terrible!

No worries @mikethg! The podcast is all done uploading. So, you should see it in your Apple Podcasts feed now. :+1:

Thanks for listening! :grin:

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I assume you mean “male” focused, and no, the discussion was not gender specific.

We covered a rarely discussed approach to solving this problem that is the same for both men and women.


Hey guys so the question in the live stream has me second guessing my plan. Increasing my fitness and ftp is my main priority for this year rather than focusing on one particular race. I had a year off after an injury and became a parent. I guess my “A race” isn’t until 2021, so would I be better suited bouncing between base and build and skipping the specialty phase until next year? The answers to the live question made it seem specialty phase is more to keep things sharp rather than continuing to build fitness.

I thought the food sensitivity talk was well researched and presented clearly. Thanks for taking the time to do that!


Jonathan’s suspension explanation was good but his elitist attitude to bike brands is tiring.

Every reputable brand works hard on their suspension kinematics and all differ throughout their product range to suit the intended riding style of the bike.

Jonathan it’s time you took your turquoise coloured glasses off and ride some other brands. Who knows you might see what you’ve been missing out on.

You guys said at the start that you like to be an honest authority on what you talk about but you are making out that you need to spend a fortune to have a decent mountain bike. It is simply not true and if you look at the pointy end of XC and marathon racing there is actually not a Yeti to be seen. Scott, Canyon, Merida, Specialized… all mainstream brands with bikes at all pricepoints.

Otherwise great podcast.



The coaches have discussed that you can: Base & Build and repeat

The discussion on conjugated Linoleic acid was fascinating. But I couldn’t help but cringe when @Nate_Pearson basically said, “Just take a pill”. From the way I understand it the CLA in natural food sources is very different than the CLA found in supplements. CLA in supplements is basically created from industrial seed oils. I think I will stick with grass-fed beef, butter, milk, and eggs.

I went and watched the specific section you are referring to…and I didn’t get the vibe you are claiming.

I don’t think his comment was brand specific, more so making a factual statement that the lower spec versions of bikes across all manufacturers have to make cost compromises and one of the areas that they do that is with shock tune/spacers/etc.

Certainly the lower end suspension has improved dramatically in recently years, but many of the shocks on lower end bikes lack a custom tune specific to the bikes kinematics for cost purposes, where adding spacers to adjust the shock to your body weight and riding style will be beneficial.

For example: Rocky Mountain Element. Ripping bike.

The lowest spec has the Performance DPS shock (which lacks a low speed compression in “Open”) versus the Performance Elite DPS shock (which does have dedicated low speed compression for open mode). You can certainly ride with the Performance, you might just have to play around with spacers to get the same type of feel as the Open Mode + medium for low speed compression.

For the lower end models, Yeti does custom tunes even for the performance level shocks, and many other boutique brands will do as well (most DW-Link bikes need a custom tune to work well, while some single pivot designs just use an off the shelf model).

It’s a spec level concern, not a brand level concern for the most part.


Listened this afternoon and thought he said “or just take a pill” and I laughed :thinking: Thank you Nate!


Spec levels don’t make a difference to suspension kinematics so pivot placement and leverage curve, the suspension design, are the same all through the range. If the bike has a progressive or linear leverage ratio it’s the same on all spec levels.
Damping adjustments are completely separate to volume spacers and if you are using lsc as a substitute for spring adjustment then you are simply badly masking a poor setup.
When a bike company specs a bike they need to order the damping tune from the suspension supplier as all shocks have different compression shims that can be installed. A lot of the time a bike will also come with volume spacers installed if that is how they engineered the suspension to work. You can tweak it but if it needs 4 spacers to work well then they aren’t going to ship the bike with none.
A custom tuned shock is a custom shimstack that the bike company orders that is not one of the off the shelf High, Medium, or Low options that most brands choose. On top of that a company needs to choose the overall length and stroke of the shock that fits their design, not just for packaging but also that suits the leverage ratio and amount of travel the bike has. This will also have a big impact on how a bike rides.
With the wealth of knowledge out there now it’s pretty hard to find a suspension design that doesn’t do exactly what the designers want it to do.

But Jonathan said for a good rear suspension design you’ll need a high end build or a boutique brand because they put a ton of work in to make sure it’s perfect.
My point is that is all brands put a ton of work in to get their suspension right. Sure top end builds get you more fine adjustments than lower ones but they will all be in the ball park from the factory and whether you buy top end or entry spec you still need to set it up for your size and riding style.

Reading back it seems I did lash out a bit at him but it seems every time mountain bikes come up he takes the opportunity to plug Yeti and speaks of them as if they have the perfect suspension system. I understand he’s a Yeti ambassador but all the other advice on the podcast is unbiased except for this and so as I said, it’s tiresome. There are so many great bikes and brands out there, at many price points.


This is exactly my point though. There can be a difference in the tunes for the same exact bike depending on the spec/manufacturer. Many companies get a custom shimstack across the spec range for a given model these days, but not all. It depends on the brand and also the shock being used.

Most brands have gotten a lot better at this in recent years, but it wasn’t until very recently that the expectation shifted towards getting a custom tune for the lower model bikes.

Certainly there is a difference between the Fox DPX2 on the top spec Marin Rift Zone Carbon and the X-Fusion on the cheapest version. Even though they both have custom tunes, the shocks are going to behave differently and you probably won’t get the X-fusion to perform to the same level as the DPX2.

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