Cycling Center Dallas Blog
Cycling Center Dallas Blog
Here we talk about all things cycling - training, wattage, group rides, bike rallies, triathlons, weather, coaching, coaches, nutrition, ponderings, musings, and equipment! If you have a topic or a question, send us a note and we'll try to answer for you!
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Will's Wild Ride

Just a quick shout out to CCD'er Will Jaudes and his awesome ride in this weekend's rally. Will hung with the leaders at the Ennis FFA 100k, and every time I looked over my shoulder, he was there! Will made it to mile 52 before finally slipping back with another cyclist, but he still finished 4th overall. He credits his threshold and anaerobic intervals from September to now, and I believe him. Great job, Will! It's only going to get better!!


It's ALL about education!!!

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="150"]League Cycling Instructors Wharton (left) and Zarbo (right) League Cycling Instructors Wharton (left) and Zarbo (right)[/caption] SteveA, a friend in the blogosphere and highly regarded bike geek, was my guest in Dallas this morning, as we went through a Bike Ed class with guest instructor Dorothy Zarbo. A GREAT time was had by all, and we each learned quite a bit. I love teaching these classes, and then practicing the techniques in the surrounding communities. Dorothy was awesome, and lunch with a new friend was a special event. How can the Cycling Center of Dallas help YOU with YOUR confidence, riding on a bike in the city? E-mail today!!!



We'll be installing new videos on the hard drive at the Cycling Center of Dallas this afternoon. These include LOTS of scenes from some of the prime rides in Europe. Look for new protocols as well! Check out this new video from Paul, to help explain some of the new images.


What EXACTLY is happening when you can't keep up on the CT

[caption id="attachment_88" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Dr. Paul Smeulders, PhD. Inventor, and Dr. Paul Smeulders, PhD. Inventor, and[/caption] Below is a well-written piece by ErgVideo creator Paul Smeulders, that best-explains just what happens when you 'Bog Down' on a given section of a wattage-based CompuTrainer workout. Read carefully, but I think you'll leave with a better understanding of just what happens when you feel that strain getting too hard.
...Replying to a misunderstanding regarding the CompuTrainer's application of Load. The CT in ERG or MRC mode (RW note - MRC is what we use at the Cycling Center of Dallas) operates as a feedback control system where the setpoint target is your output power. Power is expressed as the sum of power components due to Rolling Resistance (has a speed dependence) and Braking Force (torque) x speed. When you are rolling along slowly, where the power due to Rolling Resistance is greater than the setpoint power target, the CT braking via electromagnetism just turns itself "off", since any further braking at that speed would cause power output to go up, even further from the setpoint. The CT is trying to regulate you always to the setpoint, as a function of Speed and the known braking force and calibrated Rolling Resistance. Thus, when your Rolling Resistance (RRC) is high (press-on is high) it requires you to go faster before the braking comes on at all. The power due to Rolling Resistance is higher for a given speed. I recommend a press on force of 2-2.5 in erg mode just so you can feel load changes in the 80-120W ranges more easily. (RW note: we use 1.0 -2.2 RRC in our class because of the different trainer stands we use, and the fact that we can't cinch them down at that angle as well.) When your wheel speed goes up beyond a point where the RR power is below the setpoint target, the CT magnets turn on, with regulated current. This is controlled carefully so that while you may see overshoots etc, the CT ensures you stay on target rather well. One need only examine the performance file from a controlled ERG or MRC workouts to see all of this. Now consider the case where the Rolling Resistance power is low and we are trying to ride at a hard, high wattage, like 350W. Let's suppose that at the speed we are riding, the Rolling Resistance is only 100W (I am making these numbers up for the sake of clarity). So the CompuTrainer has to apply braking at that speed of 250W, and for simplicity, let's just say it works out to X newton-m, so X*V1 = 250W, where V1 is the radian speed of the roller at this wheel speed so there is a direct relationship. Again, a ton of constants are being left out or wrapped-in if you will. Now you start to fatigue and SLOW DOWN, to say 10% slower, so 0.9V1. Lets suppose this new speed means the power lost to RR is now 90W. The CT wants you at 350W total STILL, so it must account for 260W of total power dissipation, and we are at a lower speed than before! Solving for the new torque Y, if

X*V1= 250 and Y*0.9V1=260, then Y=260X/(.9x250)=1.15X

So that simply means that the torque or braking force MUST GO UP (in this example by 15%) in order to hold the setpoint power when the speed goes down by 10% (a rider fatiguing), and this particular press on force that I just manufactured for simplicity. We are only talking about proportional relationships here. A=B*C If A is to be held constant and B goes down, then C must go up. It is that simple,and only complicated more by the Rolling Resistance a little bit. This has the impact of holding you to your setpoint target power regardless of speed or gear, and fails when you go so slowly that Rolling Resistance is the only contributing factor. Please note that this is NOT a discussion of accuracy. That is, if the CT has an inaccurate view of what it the setpoint power of 350 watts is, (due to miscalibration or other failure), it will do a great job of holding you to that inaccurate view of what is 350W. Accuracy with the CompuTrainer is a whole other affair. The INCREASE in torque when a rider is failing to hold the power target is EXACTLY the correct response we want in erg or MRC mode (remember the POINT is to force a target power out of the rider). The only other thing that could be done for a rider failing to hold the target of 350 W is to start driving the pedals faster FOR HIM. That would not do, since now YOU are not putting out the power at all, but only a fraction of your target total, and the CT would be saying "there there, let me pedal for you, everything is good, just sit there". The impact of this control in erg mode and ergvideo accordingly, is that you really fight hard to keep the pedals rolling. You do not have to carefully TRY to keep a target power precisely, as if staring at your SRM on a trainer. Just pedal, and the CompuTrainer (and all other automatic ergs) will adjust the torque according to your speed (and Rolling Resistnace) so that you ARE putting out the target power. Outputting less than target wattage means torque MUST come up, and it will crush you, indicating your failure to output the target power. I have an article on my forum (not trying to get people over there...I have it locked down for awhile just as a FAQ now) with some more insights into the relationship of RR and how erg mode works. They are  here and here (hmm, will these show as clickable links?) Thanks, Paul Smeulders, inventor, and
Visit my homepage for ergvideo, some funy promo videos to watch and understand the product:
So there you have it, a good, detailed, but still basic enough to understand article about how power works on the CompuTrainer. You'll get stronger, better workouts with CompuTrainer, ErgVideo, and Coaching through the Cycling Center of Dallas!!!!


Note: New Page about CompuTrainer and Wattage Load

[caption id="attachment_88" align="alignright" width="150"]Dr. Paul Smeulders, PhD. Inventor, and Dr. Paul Smeulders, PhD. Inventor, and[/caption] I've added a new page, written by ErgVideo inventor and CEO, Dr. Paul Smeulders, that explains just how CompuTrainers apply load and resistance when you pedal, and how that changes with speed and rolling resistance. Check it out! ErgVideo



No classes Monday the 7th of September. Have a great Labor Day!


The Importance of a good warmup

With a new series of classes, and several new faces in class, I thought it might be a good idea to revisit warmup theory and application. [caption id="attachment_76" align="aligncenter" width="425" caption="Just part of a complete warmup"]Just part of a complete warmup[/caption] There are a few reasons why I like to see people at the Cycling Center of Dallas get in early, so they can do a proper warmup. First off, it sets the tone for a good workout. Hustling in at T-10 minutes, then rushing around as you throw the bike on the mount, put your shoes on, etc. doesn't prepare the mind for the intervals ahead. Second, remember the physics behind the physiology. The CompuTrainer, as well as your bike and body, need time to raise internal temperatures, increase heart rate, vasodilate the bloodstream, and increase the levels of lactic acid in the system. Now, you usually think of lactic acid as the enemy, but it's not. It's a valuable source of energy that just takes time to process after creation. Raising heart rate, intensity, and body temperature will also raise levels of lactate in your blood. Research (link below) has shown that a proper warmup will also improve performance. Finally, in order to get the best accuracy, the CompuTrainer needs about 20-25 minutes to get warmed up, and get the tire warmed up to a stable temperature for accuracy with our wattage-based workout. When you get in to class, give yourself at least 20 minutes. Use the first 10 minutes to warm up body, bike, and tire, then do a coast-down calibration. Ride for a few more minutes at a slightly higher load resistance, and recalibrate. If the numbers are similar, you're good, and no further calibration of the CT is necessary. But if you still have time left, try this: Perform anywhere from 1 to 3 30-second "spin ups", where you go out and increase resistance to above threshold, and pedal at a fast clip (110 rpm+) for 30 seconds. After that 30 seconds, drop the load, coast for a few minutes, maybe 3, then perform it again. Do it one more time as time permits... When class starts, you'll find yourself performing a better workout, for a longer period of time. Finally, don't forget - IF weight loss is your goal, then the extra 20-30 minutes will only enhance your calorie burn, putting you closer to a caloric deficit, and pending weight loss. Remember, that's IF your goal is weight loss. For everyone else, this is a chance to get a great warmup, improve stamina, and prepare for a killer workout.


Full classes and Open Classes

[caption id="attachment_68" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Group Sweat at the Cycling Center of Dallas"]Group Sweat at the Cycling Center of Dallas[/caption] Quick update for those who missed out on the first week of classes.
  • The Tuesday/Thursday 6:30pm classes are full. No positions will be added at this time.
  • Tuesday/Thursday at 7:30am is full.
  • Two slots are available at 6am on Tuesday and Thursday.
  • Two slots are available at 6:30pm on Monday/Wednesday.
Please contact Coach Wharton immediately if you are interested in joining class. The program has begun, but I can make exceptions for Threshold Testing over the weekend.


How to best perform your FTP Time Trial

[caption id="attachment_62" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Prep for the Test, then Ace it!"]Prep for the Test, then Ace it![/caption] The ErgVideo FTP Time Trial is a test that is used here at the Cycling Center to determine your "Functional Threshold Power", or FTP. Functional Threshold is best described as the Average Power that you can sustain for 60 minutes. However, since we usually don't have the full 90 minutes that would be required for such a test (60 minutes plus a 26 minute warmup, give or take), we usually use the 20-minute test, and then make the assumption that the 60-minute power would be 95% of this 20-minute average. But part of the test is actually knowing HOW to take the test. This link from Hunters Moon at an English website called "Flamme Rouge", provides an EXCELLENT description of just how, and how NOT to perform a time trial. Check it out.


September - November Classes

Everyone listen up! The September through November class schedule is now available to one and all! We'll be focusing on getting that crucial jump on 2010!! That means lots of Threshold, some Vo2 and some brisk rides to simulate packs. We'll also have numerous new videos from which to choose, so open up your senses, bring some upbeat music, and let's get ready to Rock & Roll towards the New Year! Off-Season? There IS no off-season! It's just pre-season for the upcoming calendar flip! Space is available, and if you look at the Cycling Center's website, you'll see that we've added two new classes: Monday & Wednesday at 3:30pm, and Tuesday/Thursday at 8pm for the late-comers! Come check it out!