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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cyclingcenterdallas
13:18

The Art of the Recovery!

A post last week was all about "The Art of the Interval". Well, this week, let's discuss "The Art of the Recovery" between intervals. The Interval is where the training itself is done. It's where you induce Di-Stress, in order to create the affect of Eu-Stress, where a little suffering creates a stronger athlete in the long ride. But one of the variables that is usually discounted is the body's ability to recover from each individual effort. The longer the recovery, the better your next interval's quality would be. However, in the real world, this usually isn't the case... Sometimes, it's critical to know just how many "arrows" you have in your quiver or arsenal, and you can determine that by SHORTENING your recovery between intervals. This doesn't allow the body adequate time to recover, and it forces you to dig deeper to finish every effort. It's a perpetually losing battle, and it ends up becoming one of the most critical pieces of the training concept. Think about it this way - if you're in a paceline, and you have the ability to ride with more effort, and recover more quickly with every effort, that should allow you some capacity to then use your senses to notice when other riders are not pulling as strongly, or are taking longer to recover. Then, as the stronger cyclist, you get the freedom to choose whether you want to keep that cyclist in the pack, or drop them and continue on, one cylinder lighter, but surrounded by stronger cyclists. For triathletes, the same thing can apply. On rolling courses, gravity and friction always win. Better to put your effort in to the climbs and create a more stochastic wattage display of "PUSH" vs. "EVEN" effort, and then recover on the descents, than to back off on the climbs, and suffer a loss in speed or performance. She who can keep the power on, more often, and recovers better over ever-shorter periods, is the one who can usually enter the transition in a stronger position overall. There is some physiology surrounding recovery, but suffice it to say that 3-5 minute recoveries are usually adequate for most intervals from 3 minutes to 20 minutes in duration. Shorten the recovery, and you increase the stress. Increase the stress, and adapt. Adapt, and then, perform. Voila!

cyclingcenterdallas
22:24

Ian's update

"Ian, what was the race winning move for you?" "With about 5 miles to go, I was in a pack of maybe 4, and I knew there were three 1 to 2 minute hills, and I realized that I was gapping the competition as we climbed our way back to the finish line. So I attacked, used my strength in the steep stuff, and soloed in for the victory!" The following paraphrase and color injection is brought to you by the Cycling Center of Dallas and Online Bike Coach.

cyclingcenterdallas
21:49

FIRST CCD VICTORY OF THE YEAR!!!

Congratulations to Ian Sewalt of the Matrix Cycle Club! Ian won the Cat 4/5B race in Copperas Cove this weekend! BRAVO IAN! I can't wait to hear your report and see your wattage file!

cyclingcenterdallas
08:46

New! Come check us out on YouTube!!!

Comments welcome! Look for a Flash version on our main page soon!

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cyclingcenterdallas
22:17

The Art of the Interval

Serious cyclists tend to throw the term "Interval" around pretty loosely, but it's defined as a period of time or length where intensity is increased (in CCD cases, power is the measurement of intensity) towards achieving a goal. Most intervals are blockish in nature, but some are sloped, angling up or down. Some can even be jagged, and those tend to REALLY resemble some of the best that nature's terrain or conditions can throw at you. Week 2, Intervals 2 was one such set of intervals. They were 6 minute hill simulations, but each one spent about the first minute at roughly 120% of threshold, followed by a dip to anywhere from 101 to 91%, then variations up to 106%, with the final two minutes of each interval rising anywhere from 105 to 126% of Threshold Intensity! So it started out at a high intensity (throwing the legs in a low shock), then backed off to let you learn how to tolerate and process the stress and lactic acid, then it pushed you harder, and harder, and harder, 'till you were just seconds away from actually grinding to a halt! BUT.... That was usually the time where the 'Hill' reached it's Apogee, and the intensity backed off. I classify the workout as a Vo2 workout because it averaged wattage in the Vo2 range, but I love it because it felt just like a Vo2 effort ought to... Hard, easier (but still tough), then harder, and harder, and anaerobically harder, until your eyeballs were about to pop out, but then it backed off. We did this 4 times, with one single 3:30 effort at the end that resembled a steak knife. Bravo to everyone that did these efforts. They'll benefit you on climbs, in breakaways, solo efforts, and for the triathletes, it'll help you sustain a power effort, to, say, get away from someone and leave them in your dust. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

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cyclingcenterdallas
07:40

Manual Adjustment of Threshold

It's 6:45am and I'm putting my class through the usual paces. We're in a Vo2 block right now, and we're going just a little more gently, in order to 'break in' the legs and prepare them for the short, sharper, harder intervals that will be coming in the next few sessions. Right now, I've set everyone up at 104% of Threshold. So, if the Threshold is at 104%, and the interval is at 105%, then they're doing the effort at 109%. However, every cyclist is different. Some people take longer to warm up. Some people may or may not have had enough sleep. Some people may not have had enough to eat or drink. Some people may just not have it on some intervals, when they may have it on some others. That's the beauty of the 'Floating Threshold'. I told my clients this morning - "I'd rather have you finish the interval at a lower level of intensity, than to fail the interval and either restart after resting, or wait until the next interval." Again - it's better to drop your threshold a little early, keep the cadence and speed up between 17 and 25 miles per hour (where the CompuTrainer works best), and finish the interval, than to stop and try to 'reset' your body. There's no shame in dropping the watts. Everyone does it, even me. The workout is still excellent, and you know exactly where your weak spot is. I'd rather have 97% of the physiological effect, than 60%.

cyclingcenterdallas
21:30

There's just something about that Threshold Test!

There's just something about a Threshold Test. It's about gauging yourself. It's about looking at that average value and trying so desperately to pull it upward. It's about knowing what a previous 20mmp value was, and beating it, either by 1 watt or by 10. It's also about losing some power, looking back over the past few weeks, and knowing EXACTLY where it went wrong, and why. The Cycling Performance Classes give you Consistency, Effectiveness, and Safety, all in one location. The riders who have signed on for this quarter will undergo about 4 Threshold tests, separated by serious blocks of Vo2max intervals, some Threshold intervals, and a fantastic 5 week block of race simulation and preparation. Hopefully the numbers will reveal rising thresholds, but just as important, if the attitudes we saw this evening are an indicator, we're going to see A LOT of sweat and determination going in to the cranks over the next 12 weeks! Enjoy the ride!

cyclingcenterdallas
09:51

Classes resume on MONDAY

The Winter quarter of classes resume on Monday, the 5th. There will be an orientation and threshold test for all parties on Monday and Tuesday, and we will begin a month of Vo2 efforts to raise that Maximal Aerobic Capacity. We'll also start charting our progress in the "Wall of Fame", available on this website. There are gains to be made, so let's start the year off right, and focus on intensity and consistency. W/Kg!