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When you're ready, enter the numbers like this...
- Enter your FTP in the box for "Sustainable Watts".
- CdA stands for 'Coefficient of Aerodynamic Drag" - basically, it tells you how much air you're displacing when you're moving. Use the drop down and switch to 'Hoods", which will move the box next to it over to '.350'.
- Now, this part is metric, but if you'll take your body weight, add twenty pounds to get an estimate of your bike's weight with bottles and such, and then divide that number by 2.2, you'll get your weight in Kilograms. Round up or down, and enter that value.
- For Chainring, take a look at your bike first. Look at the INNER chainring. It's usually either a '39' or a '36' or a '34'. MOST of the bikes these days come with 39-tooth chainrings up front on the inside, but shine a light on your bike and look for a number stamped in the metal. Enter that value in the next box.
- For Tyre radius, most of the world uses 700x23, but you can look on the side of your tire to get specifics.
- Crank length is critical, so look REALLY HARD at the bottom of the crank, near where the pedal attaches, for a number, like 165, 170, 172.5, or 175. Place that number in the Crank Length box.
- Finally, show output in "Cadence".
- Then, click "Calculate"!
Cadence goes up, as does speed, although you're a lot more likely to feel the cadence than the velocity. But yeah - it does matter.
What does it all mean??? Well, for one thing... While you can get a good idea of your workout intensity from Heart Rate... you'll get a more acute sense of your work, with Wattage. Secondly - while Heart Rate Monitors can be purchased for around $50, Wattage meters, which WERE once in the stratosphere in terms of cost, continue to decline in price, while remaining both accurate and consistent. This image shows the successful merge between the Physics of Wattage, and the Physiology of Heart Rate. You can't have one without the other, but it's the Wattage that determines the success of your workout - with heart rate alone, you're just not getting the full picture.
Stay tuned, though. Cycling Center Dallas is working with a MoxyMonitor, to measure Muscle Oxidation levels and Total Hemoglobin, which, when combined with wattage, will yield a TRULY complete picture of the cyclist, inside, and out, in real-time.
Curious? Come by for a visit, or register at CyclingCenterDallas.com for your first class - it's free, and you'll leave smarter, and more driven, to achieve your fitness goals with us. I promise.
The workouts are hard, they are based in scientific theory and application, and they lead to great results. But until recently, Cycling Center Dallas was not placing much more than a verbal emphasis on the importance of a good, nutritious, calorie-dense, recovery.
Okay - when we left off at the last posting, we were learning that for John Cyclist, 107% of 150 watts equaled 161 watts. So, if the CompuTrainer is giving you a LOAD or TARGET of 161 watts, well, you need to GENERATE WATTS at, or near, 161 watts.
Here's a dashboard from a recent ride. Take a look. There is a LOT of STUFF going on!!!! But if you look on the LEFT side, you'll see "LOAD", which is the Power pushing AGAINST you, and you'll see "WATTS", which is the Power you're pushing back. LOAD or TARGET Wattage will never change color. BUT... "WATTS" can and will. Furthermore, if you look FURTHER DOWN, you'll see a HORIZONTAL BAR that is the SAME COLOR as the "WATTS" value. Do you see the Copper colors?
WATTS are displayed on the dashboard in both NUMERICAL and BAR CHART FORM. Depending on how far ABOVE or BELOW you are in terms of RANGE or PROXIMITY to the goal wattage, it will change colors. For kicks and giggles, here's an image of the range itself.
So if it's GREEN, you're close enough to the goal. If it's COPPER, you're a little too hot, and if it's YELLOW, you need to pick up your effort a bit. BUT HERE'S A LITTLE SECRET...
IF YOU ARE TRAINING AND THE WORKOUT IS JUST BASED ON LOAD, WELL, THE POWER WILL TAKE CARE OF ITSELF! IN OTHER WORDS - JUST PEDAL AT BETWEEN 17 and 25 mph, and the WATTS will MORE OR LESS equal the LOAD. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO THINK. YOU JUST HAVE TO PEDAL.
Now - there's a little bit more to look at here, so bear with me. Do you see a small triangle on this image? That's the LOAD or GOAL wattage, identified by the pipper.
As LOAD changes, the pipper will also move around. When the Horizontal bar is GREEN, it's right on top of the pipper. So as you go through your intervals, watch your power bar as it fluctuates near the pipper. As you become a better cyclist, your ability to hold wattage, and "STAY GREEN", will improve!
Continuing down the list. THIS is something you should look at, because it displays the cumulative average power PER LAP or INTERVAL. In this example, the rider is generating 189 watts, but her LAP or INTERVAL average, is 175 watts. This HAPPENS to be 119% of FTP, which you can see in WHITE at the bottom. Furthermore, if you look to the right, you'll see...
SO... Going back to the countdown timer, if we look at the GOAL in terms of % of FTP....
Well, in this case, the rider's AVERAGE POWER per LAP or INTERVAL, is about 3% above their goal. As a result, the HORIZONTAL BAR is COPPER colored, which means that they're a LITTLE HOT, and the CompuTrainer will be doing stuff behind the scenes to help the rider keep their wattage closer to the target.
OH yeah - remember RRC? Well, when you calibrated... it saved the information, and it's presented, HERE.
Finally, take a look at this workout profile. It shows the workout, and the intervals as they rise and fall. LOAD or GOAL wattage will rise and fall for you, based on percentage of FTP, and it will be based on YOUR FTP.
As the red line moves from left to right, your LOAD will increase and decrease, and you'll need to generate an equal number of WATTS, in order to achieve the training effect.
That's about it for now - all you really need to remember is that MOST of the time, you just need to pedal. The CompuTrainer and your Coaches will do the rest. You'll be challenged like you wouldn't believe, but you'll also be able to literally watch your fitness improve in real-time, and you'll get the feedback you need to continue your improvement. When we revisit PerfPro, we'll talk about some of the other dashboard screens, and how you can use them to check on your results, progress, and reasses your goals as you raise your ability to pedal faster, pedal harder, and pedal longer than ever before!
Watts per Kilogram!
When the workout begins, you'll see a LOT of numbers doing a LOT of things. Let's try to Simplify them in order of importance. In Column 1, Row 1, below your name, you'll see EITHER the word "LOAD", or "GOAL". This is the WATTAGE that is being placed against the tire. It's the amount of POWER that you'll need to overcome. This is the LOAD or GOAL Wattage of each Interval.
One Column over, still in Row 1, you'll see "WATTS". This is the Power, or WATTAGE that YOU are Generating AGAINST that "LOAD" or "GOAL". Think of it this way: When "LOAD" is 100, you've got 100 watts pushing against you, and then you'll have to generate 100 watts. When "LOAD" goes to 150, YOU have to go to 150. 200? 200! It's a 1 to 1 ratio, and it ALL hearkens back to Sir Isaac Newton, and the THIRD LAW OF PHYSICS....
"For Every Action - There Is An Opposite, and Equal, RE-Action!"
So when the Load Generator Generates a LOAD.... YOU must Generate POWER!!!
So remember - "LOAD" or "GOAL" is the Challenge, and "WATTS" shows you that you're meeting that CHALLENGE.
I'm going to pass over RPM and HR, which stand for Revolutions Per Minute (or "Cadence"), and "Heart Rate". Those have their importance, but it's harder for us to get that information on the dashboard all the time, and they're such individual values, that I'd like for you to leave it up to us coaches to help you better understand what they mean and how to use them.
Instead, let's look at "MPH", or "Miles Per Hour".
I've said before that for a CompuTrainer, the Load Generator tends to work best between 17 and 25 MPH. To get to that speed, all you need to do is make sure you're in your BIG chain ring up front, and you're somewhere in the MIDDLE of the REAR CASSETTE in back. Remember - COMPUTRAINER SPEED IS NOT INDICATIVE OF THE REAL WORLD. IT MEANS NOTHING IN REGARDS TO YOUR FITNESS. WE DO NOT MEASURE DISTANCE TRAVELED OVER TIME. WE JUST USE MPH TO MAKE SURE YOUR LOAD AND WATTS ARE CLOSE TO 1:1, AND YOUR CADENCE IS RIGHT FOR YOU!!!!
Sorry to use all caps, but this is important. GEAR SELECTION is what determines SPEED in the studios at Cycling Center Dallas. Furthermore, for those of you who really think you're HOT DOGS and that RULES don't apply to you, well, we have a TRAP to ENSURE that you'll comply!!!!
If MPH gets above 27mph..... well, no matter what your LOAD said the moment before.... the PerfPro Software get's ANGRY, and ADDS A TON OF WATTS to your LOAD!!! It will KEEP THIS LOAD ON THE WHEEL until you drop your WATTS back down a good bit, and to DO THAT, you'll need to SLOW DOWN. It's a GOVERNOR, to keep you compliant. GOT THAT? 17-25mph is best, and anything over 27 means you'll end up dragging cinderblocks until you break down and start weeping.
Now - let's take a moment to look at another part of the Dashboard...
Look to the RIGHT of the area where your name is. Do you see that acronym "FTP", it stands for "Functional Threshold Power". FTP is the ESTIMATED power that you can generate over 60 minutes. FTP is the UBIQUITOUS value that we focus on raising when we train. The more fit you get, the more watts you can generate over different and varying periods of time. Wattage Intensities that are ABOVE FTP, can, over different durations and levels above FTP, RAISE FTP. So ---- where are most of our intervals at Cycling Center Dallas performed??? You guessed it - AT or ABOVE FTP!!! If you don't know your FTP, well, don't worry. We test for FTP about every 2 months or so, and like the guys at the State Fair who can accurately guess your body weight, we've developed a keen eye for determining fitness and FTP.
Now - here's one thing you need to know. If we're in Fixed-Gear mode, and shifting is not necessary, but you feel that an interval may be too hard or too easy, USE THE PLUS "+" or MINUS "-" buttons on the LEFT SIDE OF THE CONTROLLER, to RAISE or LOWER your FTP. FTP determines the intensity of each interval, and you can modify that value with those buttons. Now, you may ask... "What are we really changing with the raising and lowering of the FTP?" Well, that can be found, right HERE:
This is going to require a little juggling with the eyes, and maybe a little math, but have a look at this image. If Joe Cyclist has an FTP of 150, and the interval that he is performing has a "LOAD" set at 107% of FTP, then he's got to GENERATE... 161 WATTS for 2 minutes. The option for cadence is also there, but remember - Cadence is a bit personal, so we'll look at it on a more individual basis. Instead - look at the % of FTP, look at the remaining time, and then look at the "LOAD", and watch your "WATTS". As long as the "WATTS" color stays GREEN, more or less, you're ACCOMPLISHING the GOAL set out for you by the coaches. If the interval feels too tough... press the "-" button on the Controller, and DROP YOUR FTP a bit. If you want to challenge yourself, FIRST TALK WITH THE COACHES, but sure, go ahead and hit the "+" button a couple of times, and RAISE your FTP. 107% of 165 is... 177. Try THAT for 2 minutes, and then see how you feel!?
There is a LOT more information that I'll be sharing with you over the next few days and weeks, but let's call it a day for now. Remember that "LOAD" is the resistance the generator is placing against your rear wheel, "WATTS" is what you're generating against the generator :), and "LOAD" is based % of FTP, which you can control with the "+" and "-" keys. If your "WATTS" are more or less colored GREEN, then you're doing the workout properly. And remember - if you speed PAST 27mph.... the program will lay down some serious punishment until you back off.
Until then, have fun, enjoy the workout, and don't forget to download your own copy of PerfPro Analyzer, which will give you the ability to keep your files on your own PC, and look at them in different ways, so you can assess your progress independently, or with the help of your coach. WATTS UP, GANG!!!!
- Make sure that you are in a gear that will allow you to speed up beyond 25 mph.
- Press "F3", or, the CENTER BUTTON on the BOTTOM ROW. You should see the screen on the handlebar controller change from the word "PRO" or "PROe" to a speed. Go ahead and speed up by pedaling faster until you see dashes appear on the controller screen.
- STOP PEDALING WHEN YOU SEE THE DASHES!!!! REPEAT - STOP PEDALING WHEN YOU SEE THE DASHES!!! Let the wheel coast down to a stop.
- Do not pedal! Instead, look at the handlebar controller screen. Ideally we want the top screen to read between a 1.8, and a 2.5. This is in pounds of pressure being placed against the tire. It is called press – on force. If the top number is above or below this range, call a coach over so that he or she may make adjustments to increase or decrease the force against the tire.
- If the top number is between the ranges of 1.8 to 2.5, press the bottom center button again, and look in the upper right-hand corner of your dashboard. The RRC value is interpreted as the rolling resistance calibration. If the value is green, and is between 1.8 and 2.5, then all is well. If there is a no reading, then you need to repeat the above process. If the top number is outside of that range, once again, get a coach to make the adjustments, do not hop off the bike and attempted your self, and repeat step three. Once you are in range, press that "F3" button in the bottom center row, and again, look at the dashboard in the upper right-hand corner.
Once you get comfortable with calibrating your you will begin to feel more confident in your ability to set up the bike and rear wheel properly. A proper rolling resistance calibration is critical to ensure good values, and a better workout. Sometimes we will ask you to calibrate twice, especially if you calibrate before warming up completely. And as a rule of thumb, you can assume that every .01 pound of pressure is worth one half of 1 Watt in terms of accuracy. Once Compu trainers have warmed up, they do not drift much at all, and their accuracy is within 1%. We have copy trainers in the studio's that are perpetually being rotated through to racer mate in Seattle for calibration with their machines. This is to ensure that your data remains accurate, consistent, and helps you improve your power output, your power to weight ratio, and measure your energy output.
Fore more in-depth information, I'm going to pull from the script itself, found in the CompuTrainer manual...
"An error during calibration of 0.01lb equates to a change in load of 1/2 W at a speed of 25 mph. You may wish to recalibrate more than once to confirm that your rolling resistance value is consistent to within .05 2.10 pounds. If the value continues to drop for two consecutive measurements, this indicates that the tire and load generator may not have yet reached a stabilized operating temperature. Continue to warm-up and repeat."
At Cycling Ctr., Dallas, when we use slope based intervals, we limit the grade 2 no more than 6%. If you are a fit cyclist, with a high FTP, then setting a press on force, or RRC, to about 3.00, is not inappropriate. Again, the lower your FTP, the lower you can set your RRC. Here's a table to help you out...
|Fixed-Gear Workouts or Non-Slope Interval Workouts...||Use an RRC of between 1.8 and 2.5lbs.|
|Slope Intervals up to 3% or Intervals with Sprints...||Use an RRC that's higher, closer to 2.5lbs.|
|Slope Intervals up to 6%...||You may set your RRC press-on force up to a 3.00...|
- STAY WIDE - FIRST TO THE RIGHT, and THEN, IF YOU CAN, GO LEFT! The route is slightly longer, but it's also a bit less steep. This is a good rule of thumb for any steep climb with turns - stay wide... it's worth the extra 10 feet or so.
- SHIFT IN TO AN EASIER GEAR EARLY!!! If you don't, all sorts of things can happen, including dropped chains, the inability to shift at all, broken chains, rubbing, just stuff you don't want to deal with. So shift with your left hand early, and use EVERY GEAR in your rear cassette.
- PEDAL TO THE TERRAIN. Sometimes pedaling requires that you grind. Sometimes you can spin, and some times it's in between. FEEL the hill, and SHIFT to meet the slope.
- Stand when you have to, but when you DO stand, COMMIT to the CLIMB. Standing is more powerful, but it's also more taxing on your body. If you get out of the saddle, keep your chest out, your chin up, and your cadence steady.
- When seated, try to keep the front wheel lighter through less pressure. Less pressure gives you the ability to put MORE pressure on the rear wheel. You don't want to 'wheelie' up the climb, but just try to keep the gravity on the back end of the bike.
- As mentioned earlier - focus on good form. Keep your back flat, your chest out, your chin up and looking at the Event Horizon, and keep your shoulders relaxed. You will NOT climb this at an epic pace. It's a grind. Watch the video for more pointers.
- SMILE! Seriously - it releases better hormones and energy, and lowers your anxiety.
- IF you have to dismount, make SURE you CLIP OUT EARLY, and GET YOUR BUTT between the SADDLE and the STEM. Bend the knee that is still clipped in, and land on your free leg's heel. That SHOULD translate to a safe dismount, but remember, a bicycle is most stable when it's moving, and that critical moment when you're balancing off of one pedal only can be hazardous. That said, if you train at Cycling Center Dallas ----- you SHOULD be able to climb it ALL THE WAY!!!