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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Coach Wharton

Pacing Yourself For the Critical Power Tests

Power Testing is an important and exciting week! 
15 - 1

This week, we are going to determine just how effective this last block of training really was. If you are new, this a chance to establish a Critical Power and Anaerobic Capacity baseline.  You will be performing a three minute, eight minute, and thirteen minute test over two separate days. On Monday and Tuesday, we will be performing the 13 minute critical power test, and on Wednesday and Thursday, we will be performing the, eight minute and three minute tests. The goal here is to make sure that the tests are performed as hard as you possibly can perform them. You are trying to generate as much power as possible over those periods of time. These will be performed on a 2% slope, and they will be self – paced.   This is what you will see on your screen during the tests.

Thirteen Minute Critical Power Display v2

If you have never done power testing before -   Getting a power testing session under your belt  is especially important for you as we will finally be able to get your accurate Critical Power (CP), and find out where you are performance-wise, so we can measure your progress going forward. We will walk you through it and explain everything.   Your goal is to get the experience of your first power testing session and practice pacing, smoothness and using your gears and cadence to generate power over the duration you are testing.

For those who have tested before- this is a chance to try and beat previous records and measure progress. 

Pacing Strategies. We experimented with different ways to attempt to get the highest average power. In the past I have advocated that you start a little bit easier, and should try finish strong.

The goal for these tests will be to maintain an even power out. I will be giving you each a goal, based on your numbers during last week’s 3 and 8 minute Pre-Test intervals, and other data from the PerfPro analyzer software. You will attempt to find a power output you can maintain without having to slow down for most of the test interval.  The graph will look flat for a longer period of time.  In the last 90 seconds, you will start to push it.  Your power should continue to ramp up during this time until the end of the effort, when you should feel like you are unable to go much harder. Again - LEAVE WITH NOTHING LEFT!!!

Here is an image to show you what I mean… Pay attention to the Red Line. This is an Exponentially Weighted Moving Average, and it shows you your "Real Time" metabolic effort in watts.
Rising Intensity Version 2 on 13 minute test

Focus this week on maintaining a STEADY POWER OUTPUT for most of the test, following the wattage goal set for you by Coach Wharton. Then, with roughly 90 seconds to go, up the cadence, up the power, and shift to get as much out of your system as possible! It’s literally “CRITICAL” that you do so! It is, after all, a “Critical Power” test!

We have to get EVERY KILOJOULE of energy out of you, in order to get a good value. The more information we get, the better we can gauge progress, and capacity. We want your weekend rides to be more enjoyable, and will do everything we can to help you continue to improve your fitness and cycling knowledge, through the studio, software, and testing.

Here are some cool things we will know about you as a cyclist at the end of your power testing session.

·         Your Critical Power Number (CP, or FTP) – This is the number on your display. It is individual to you and determines how much load you get during your workout. 

·         Your Power Duration Curve -  This will reveal to us an accurate estimate of how much power you can produce during different durations.  For example, how much power you produce if you were to go as hard as you can for 2 minutes, or 4 minutes, or 10 minutes, or 50 minutes, without actually having to do a max effort for that duration. 

·         Your W prime  - This gives the coaches at CCD a better idea of what your capacity is to do shorter, harder intervals above CP, and recover from them.

I would wish you Good Luck, but you don’t need it!

You have
  • SKILL...
  • KNOWLEDGE... and

See you at the studio!


PS – Be fed, hydrated, rested, and lightly salted before class. Hydration makes a HUGE difference!!



Understanding the Graphs, What They Show, and How to Use Them To Be a Better Cyclist.

What can I see on my graphs during my work out? 

There are a TON of cool features about your workout that you can view in real-time on your workout Noel Wallace - 2015-01-08T08-26-22 - Snapshot_copy1graphs. Here are a few:

·         Your Power Output

·         The load you are receiving

·         Your cadence

·         Your speed

·         Your heart rate

·         Your W prime depletion

·         Your O2 saturation and Hemoglobin(if you are  using the Moxy)

·         Your Critical Power Line (FTP)

How can the information on these graphs make me a better cyclist? 

Now that you have a visual of what exactly is going on during your ride, you can react to it and get instant feedback. You see immediately how smooth you are pedaling, and can attempt to improve that (cadence and power line – but be patient! This is harder than you may think).  You can see how you paced the last interval and how that affected your cadence, and ability to successfully complete it. You can see what is happening with your ability to recover between intervals (W Prime). Based on what you’re seeing during your workout, you can adjust to improve your efficiency, pacing and approach to better meet your goals. 


Coaches look at pedaling efficiency as something to help you gauge and improve upon using the graphs


One of the more basic, but most important elements of improving as a cyclist, is to become more efficient.  Since you can SEE your power and your cadence line right in front of you, it’s easy to determine if there are a lot of fluctuations, or if your power line stays pretty smooth.  

Take a look at the graph below.  The light blue line represents the power output and the pink line represents cadence, or rpm.  Notice how much the light blue line fluctuates?  The cadence is also not smooth…. or steady.  Since these two elements are related, the constant fluctuation of this rider’s cadence is resulting in a power output that is neither smooth or efficient.  This means wasted energy and lost momentum.

notsmooth (1)

Now, look that this next graph.  Notice how the the power output is much more steady, and follows the load very closely?  The cadence is also steady, except for one data dropout around minute 36. 

Developing the ability to pedal smoothly as well as keeping your power output more steady and consistent will save energy, and make you a much more efficient rider. If you are constantly letting your cadence drop and then chasing it back down, you are losing momentum.  To get the momentum back, you have to go harder that what you would have otherwise needed to do . All those spikes in effort will suck your energy tank dry much more quickly.

By developing the ability to maintain a smooth consistent power output, you will be able to ride longer before fatiguing.  You will also be able to ride faster at the same effort level.  


Here is another example of two wattage lines to compare

8minuteinterval noelcropped

This is an interval from a workout one of our veterans did where the rider did a really great job pacing and staying smooth during an 8-minute rising intensity effort.  As you can see there are very few fluctuations in his power line. Compare that to the next image, where the cyclist’s power during the interval fluctuated greatly.

In both of the images, Heart Rate is shown in bright red. If you look at the rise and fall of the heart rate in image 1, you can see that the cyclist is really pushing himself, and his heart rate is NOT recovering completely. Every interval yields a new high by a beat or two, and every recovery stays high by a beat or two. This is good information – it helps cyclists understand the relationship between heart rate and power output; in other words, cyclists end up working harder and harder INTERNALLY to get power OUT to the pedals.

Look also at Image 2’s green line. That’s called “Saturated Muscle Oxygen”. When a muscle is stressed, different things happen. In this case, because the intervals are hard, the amount of oxygen in the muscle is being steadily decreased. The results are individual, but once your CCD Coaches know what your highest SmO2 is, they can ‘tune’ the workout to get you in to different ‘zones’ for training. So now, we can see what’s going on INSIDE (Heart Rate, Muscle Oxygen, even Total Hemoglobin Counts), as well as OUTSIDE (Cadence, Power, Speed when outdoors).


The last example we will give you is an example of a failed interval


Looking at this part of this cyclist’s workout, we can see that this rider failed on the last two intervals shown.  But why?  Well, you can see the red line that represents their W prime reach zero.   What this tells us is that this was a successful interval and overall workout in taxing this rider to the limits of their capacity, and they did a great job in accomplishing the work required to get to that point. It also tells us NOT to expect the cyclist to recover for the last interval in such a short time. This rider would have successfully accomplished the workout goals for this day.  We don’t always want to expire cyclists’ W’ – we DO want to set goals that adequately fatigue and help riders adapt for better loads, more frequent intervals, etc.

All of this is viewable on-screen, and the Graphs complement the Dashboards.   This is one more reason why the workouts at Cycling Center Dallas are so effective; we study this, we teach and train it ourselves, and our ability to interpret this information in real-time is unique.


5 Reasons Why Suspension Training is A Great Strength Training Tool for Cyclists and Triathletes

You know core strength training is important. Increasing core strength and stability will improve your power and balance while increasing stamina and delaying fatigue.

Cycling is a non-weight bearing and non-impact activity. But while this may be part of what draws you to cycling, it doesn’t do you any favors in terms of  bone density. Studies that show cyclists have lower bone densities than other athletes, which could leading to greater chance of injury on and off the bike.  Strength training can offset this but giving your body the stimulus it needs to develop and maintain bone mass.

Athletes tell me they know strength training is important but they also have trouble fitting it into their workout schedules. Fortunately, now there are tools to make it easier to accomplish effective strength workouts faster and in a more spore-specific manner.

Suspension training is a relatively new strength-building technique that’s widely adopted in other fitness disciplines, but largely undiscovered by cyclists and triathletes. Even many coaches I’ve talked to have overlooked it, despite the fact that suspension training is proven to deliver precisely the strength and stability benefits cyclists and triathletes need most.

Here are five reason why you need to make core strength  development the heart of your off-season training.

1. Learn to move your body…. not a bunch of weight plates.

Suspension training works by requiring you to move and stabilize your own body weight through a variety of movement planes. Compare this to traditional weight machines or barbells that have you sitting or lying down, core supported, locked into a predetermined path of motion, pushing a consistent mass over and over.

Think about it. Weights may help increase your ability to push a bar around, but they don’t translate into real-world (= on-bike) benefits nearly as much as doing a bodyweight or suspended pushing movement. Or any movement which requires proper core stabilization and control of your body in space (you know, the way riding your bike does).

Building strength for individual pieces of your body without teaching those piece to function together is both inefficient and dangerous. The approach contributes to poor movement and does not translate well to the demands of cycling and triathlon. That doesn’t mean there is not a place for machine work. But for someone training to support endurance performance, it should be secondary to developing the strength and mobility required to move and stabilize your body as a unit.

Suspensionforcyclist5_copy2. Achieve your goals more effectively, in less time, wherever you are.

Less time in the gym means more time for riding, friends and family, or just recovering/relaxing from your last tough workout. With suspension training, you don’t need to drive to the gym/find parking/check in/put your stuff in the locker, and hope it’s not too crowded to get time on the machines you want.

Suspension devices, by contrast, hang up on the door or anchor pretty much anywhere. In fact, were developed for Navy SEALS to use in barracks or anywhere they happen to be, outdoors, in barracks, or in hotel rooms.

You crank out two or three sets of 3-5 different suspension exercises covering a variety of movements. And you’re done. You do the work, you make it count, you get on with your life. Plus, suspension works while traveling, on the pool deck, in the park, wherever. Finally, a suspension trainer is a lot cheaper than the variety of weight machines or dumbbells you would need for a workout of comparable movements.

3. Get stability you can use.

Functional resistance training is more than just pushing weight around. It’s about developing motor patterns and neuromuscular timing that achieve best efficiency of movement.

Strengthening stabilizing exercises like hip abduction or side planks are a good start, but simply strengthening these muscles will not teach them when they need to fire to maintain proper body alignment while performing movements powered by larger, stronger muscles.

Here’s an example. You’ve probably watched someone do a squat or a step-up where their knees collapse inward. This is most likely happening because the stabilizers on the lateral part of their legs are sleeping on the job; failing to activate properly to create alignment of the knee, hip and ankle joints before the larger muscles contact to extend the hip and knee.

Similar alignment issues may find their way into your pedal stroke or run mechanics. Specific suspension hip movements or single leg balance work (depending on your level)will help improve this alignment. The muscles responsible for stabilization need to know both when and where to fire so they can create the stable platform enabling the prime movers to do their job. This is especially true for maintaining a solid pedal stroke on the bike when fatigued, or during the single-leg stance phase during the run.
 Suspensionforcyclist4   Suspensionforcyclists3_copy
4. Develop injury resilience.

For the endurance athlete, strength training should be less about building muscle and more about building strength and resilience. The breakdown in form that comes with fatigue not only depletes your energy reserves, but can also result in negative loads on your joints and muscles. This often contributes to acute and/or overuse injuries that slow your training or sideline it altogether.

5. Control your body through your core.

A strong core that can maintain control of both your and your bike can be a saving grace when you are hit by that unexpected gust of wind or get slammed by that unseen pothole. It will also help you maintain run form through adverse conditions  or fatigue, and even drive your swim stroke.

Everything done on a suspension trainer requires that you engage your core. This stabilizes your position and develops strength. It also increases your ability to control your body in space as your arms and legs create force against resistance. And those increased core abilities deliver benefits that come from better control in all aspects of your endurance performance.


Find out more about Small Group Personal Training Sessions or View the Schedule and sign up for a session today!

Coach Wharton

What is BikeScore?


What is BikeScore?

BikeScore is a way to gain "points" for your workouts.  It is basically a points system that tells you how much training stress a workout gave your body. The more points, the more training demand that workout placed on your body. This value takes the concept of time spent working out, as well as how hard the workout was, to give you a score.  Each workout at Cycling Center Dallas has a BikeScore. With BikeScore, we can give you a specific target for each workout, as well as measure a gradual increase in your training over time, by gradually increasing your overall BikeScore each week.  Here are some typical BikeScores you may obtain during a ride...

 - Less than 50 - very low (recovery complete by following day)
 - 50-150 - low (recovery generally complete by following day)
 - 150-300 - medium (some residual fatigue may be present the next day, but gone by 2nd   day)
 - 300-450 - high (some residual fatigue may be present even after 2 days)
 - Greater than 450 - very high (residual fatigue lasting several days likely) 

Most of the workouts at Cycling Center Dallas are between 70 and 90 points per hour.  The closer the bike score gets to 100 for an hour workout, the harder the workout is going to be.  However, a ride outside can be much higher due to the longer duration.  Remember that bike score takes into account both the intensity and the duration of the workout.  So a long hard group ride or rally could easily get up into the high 200s, or even 300's, and will probably leave you with some fatigue the next day or two.

How do we use this in class?

To obtain accurate bike scores for you we first need to know your correct Critical Power(CP).    BikeScore takes into account all the time you spent above and below CP, and how long your workout lasted. We have a BikeScore goal assigned to each workout located Here:


So, for this workout, if you were to complete the workout goals at your CP, you would have earned 82 points.  If you start paying attention to the bike scores, you will notice they gradually increase a point or two per workout each week.  This is because we plan the workouts to gradually increase in difficulty as you adapt to the training and become stronger. So you will be getting more points per workout as well as a gradual increase in your overall points through the training block.  After your workout, you can also find your BikeScore in your the report that was emailed to you.


How can knowing this make me a stronger cyclist?

Being able to plan and measure your training doses is a powerful tool.  Now, instead of shooting in the dark with workout goals, we can now give you a “progression” strategy to get you to your goals more efficiently and faster.  We challenge your body with appropriate intensities, and slowly grow the load in a way you can adapt to and continue to meet the demands of each workout. Each block slowly grows your BikeScores, and finishes with some testing so we can go into the next training block with your new CP values.

Now, what you do on your days away from CCD also will accumulate BikeScore Points.  If you have an on bike power meter, you can obtain your BikeScore from outdoor rides, and get a complete picture of your training. Download this data at home and share it with us, or bring in your head unit, and we can download it while you wait. Either way, this information will help us, help you, achieve your goals when cycling! And remember - if you don't have it already, you can also purchase a copy of PerfPro Analyzer. At this time PerfPRO Analyzer is only available for Windows, but it will allow you the ability to look further into your workouts and augment them with outside ride data.

Next week we will be taking a look at the the Relative Intensity (RI), and where this value fits into workouts you are you doing at CCD.

Find out the 3 SECRETS as to why the Cycling Performance Classes are so effective!

Get a peak at the 3 core concepts that combine the science of physiology and performance training into cycling workouts that are INDIVIDUAL to you, and lead to better results.


Why your day job is hurting your cycling training (and how to fix it)


If any of these describe your lifestyle, this blog is for you:
  • If you are a working professional with a demanding job that requires a lot of time at a desk
  • You travel a lot for work.
  • You spend a lot of time driving for either work or family obligations.

One of the most common issues I see with working professionals who are also amateur or recreational athletes is the negative effects on posture that they bring into their training. 

Here is an example:

Jim came into the Cycling Center Dallas studio the other day to start training. He is a recreational
cyclist who wants to be able to ride with his favorite groups, but also wants to look good, get some muscle tone, and not have to worry about tweaking something in his spine, which sometimes holds him back.  He is a working professionalbadbikeposition and work demands often take away his training time.  He is very serious about his career and usually ends up spending A LOT of time at his desk. 

Long hours at the computer and in a car have left obvious marks on his posture.  Tight shoulders, tight chest muscles, a lack of mobility in the upper spine…i
t could be any one of those or all of them.  At this point it doesn’t really matter, because whatever is causing it, the effects on his movement are going be the same.  

We spent several sessions addressing this issue by working on corrective movements throughout his workouts and/or after his workouts. I also gave him a couple of quick and easy, specific stretches to do at home. Within a few weeks, his range of motion and posture were noticeably better.  He was more aware of it, and his positioning looked better on the bike.  He also remarked that the pain he felt in his neck and shoulders during the last half of long rides was significantly lower.  He was definitely ecstatic about his progress and results after our sessions.

If you have tightness in your shoulders, torso or back, it could be affecting your training.


Try this test at home:markshouldertestnormalrtarmup

1.  Stand tall with your arms loose at your side

2.  Make a fist in each hand, and in one motion place your right hand over your head and down your back as far as possible.  At the same time, take your left fist up your back as far as possible like this image shows:

3.  Have someone take a photo of your hands behind you (if you don’t have anyone to take the pic, set up your phone to take a video and then replay, pause and take a screen shot).

4.  Switch hands and repeat, with the left arm up top, and right arm down below.


Now….look at the pics of both sides.  What do you see?  markshouldertestwide

If both fists only have a small amount of distance between them and are pretty equal in that distance.  You probably don’t have anything to worry about. 

If there is a large gap between the fists, like this image shows, you probably have either tight shoulders, tight chest muscles, or you are lacking mobility in the upper part of your spine. It could also be “all of the above.”  All of these are limiters to both performance and everyday quality movement.

If you see there is a difference in the distances between your first and second image, like this....You not only have tightness and mobility deficiencies, you also have an asymmetry between the sides 
markshouldertestnormalrtarmupwithlineof your bodymarkshouldertestwidewithline.  Asymmetries are bad.   They cause bad things to happen because one side of the body is having to keep up with the other, even though it’s at a disadvantage.  This causes compensatory movement patterns and unequal forces on that body.  Which often leads to additional imbalances and increased risk of injury.

Tight muscles in the chest and back, or a lack of mobility in the upper spine (or both), can negatively affect your bike position, and if you are a triathlete, your run and walk mechanics, and extension in your swim stroke.  If you have imbalances mobility and flexibility.

This type of posture could also result in decreased aerobic capacity throughout any activities you do.  Think about it… is it easier to breathe when you are hunched over, or standing up tall, allowing the expansion of the diaphragm?

How to Fix It

If you find you are not able to get your fists anywhere close to each other, or there is a large difference in the range of motion between sides, don’t worry, there are things you can do to start correcting this. Depending on the severity, and the ultimate causes of your lack of mobility and tightness, you may need a more extensive corrective program, but here are a few stretches and exercises to get you started.  
The first 2 stretches are for chest and shoulders.  I think the pics speak for themselves on showing what you need to do.   The last stretch is awesome and I feel most people need to perform it, so I will give that one some special attention.

Chest stretch:
Hold about 30 seconds
This will lengthen and increase flexibility of the muscles in the front of your shoulders and chest.

Shoulder stretch:
Repeat 20-30 seconds each side

This will work the shoulder muscles through both and internal and external rotation.



Thoracic spine stretch:

Tight shoulders may not be the cause of a round back and shoulders.

If you have poor mobility in your thoracic spine (upper back), you are forcing the surrounding areas to take up the slack in that area and perform duties they were not meant to do.  This creates harmful compensations. 

Below is a great stretch for the Thoracic spine. Try this one after long rides or a long day at the office. It will probably feel unbelievably amazing!

1. Lay on on your right side with your left leg bent and slightly forward of the right leg’s knee, and resting on a foam roller (use a rolled up towel, or any kind of block if you don’t have a roller).

2. With your left hand, reach across to the gap between your left hip and elbow. Place that hand on the rib-cage. Then, twist gently back toward the floor with the left shoulder. Keep your left knee contacting the foam roller or towel.  

3. Attempt to get your shoulder blade of the left side as close to the floor as possible, and then extend the left arm out to the side.

4. Hold for 20-30 seconds and then repeat on the other side. 

tspinestretchme  tspinestretchmarkandtravis

Keep the knee on the roller.  This will make sure you are working the mobility in the upper spine, and not opening up the hip to get there.


Try these stretches either after workouts, on recovery days or after you have spent a lot of time seated.

See which ones feel the most challenging for you.  The odds are that this is also the one you need to do the most.  If you have an asymmetry, work the tighter side one or two more times.

And don’t push through pain. If any of the movements cause pain, back off how hard you are straining.  If you still find there is pain with movement, there may be another issue going on.

Although there are other areas of your body that tend to exhibit pain and tightness when you have to sit all day or have poor posture, I have found the Thoracic spine is one of the more common and easily corrected areas with cyclists whose daily activity is creating pain, which presents limitations on their cycling.

Stay tuned for more articles and posts, and contact me if you have any questions, need a more extensive program, or are interested in setting up a full functional movement screen and corrective exercise session.  my email is:


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What is W prime and how can it make me a stronger cyclist

In this image, W prime is represented in the lower left-hand corner, as a percentage of whole. When a cyclist has an intense interval, W prime is depleted. During recovery from the interval, W prime makes a return at a somewhat consistent and well – known rate.


What is W prime?

W prime stands for a physical amount of anaerobic energy every individual has available to them above Critical Power. It is measured in joules and individuals have between 2000 and  28,000 Joules available above Critical Power. 

As you may remember from the previous blog post, Critical Power is the highest average power that an individual can maintain before their energy systems switch over to less efficient methods. When an individual generates power above Critical Power, they may do so over a very limited period of time. When an individual is pedaling below Critical Power, most of the energy comes from aerobic systems, which is the most efficient system in the body. 

Taking both time and intensity into consideration, W prime is the amount of work you can do above your critical power.

For example, look at the pic above.  This person is during an interval at 255% of Critical Power. And interval at 255% will drain your W prime very fast, and will need to be a short interval.   Whereas and interval at 120% will still drain your W prime because it is above CP, but will take much longer to delete it significantly. 

Everyone has a limited amount of W prime, and everyone regenerates their W prime in roughly the same time periods.  There are differences in both genetics and fitness, but now we have the ability to see how we are using our anaerobic capacity in right in front of us during our workout. We can see it being depleted as we are working hard during our interval, and also see its regrowth after the interval, during the recovery period.

The intervals within workouts at CCD are planned taking into account both W prime depletion rates, and recovery rates.

What we are doing in Cycling Performance Class right now.  All of our intervals over the next five weeks will begin with the same 15 minute protocol, which is designed to intentionally reduce a cyclist’s W prime. Once a cyclist is in a fatigued state, we are performing intervals that are longer, but are below Critical Power. The result is a more effective workout, because of the loss in W prime from the first 15 minutes. In most cases, W prime will return to something between 80 and 100%.   I have built intervals in the middle of the workout to once again, tax the anaerobic system and bring W prime back down to a level at or below 50%. Then the second threshold interval begins. This interval is again under Critical Power but still of adequate intensity, and it makes for a highly effective workout.


In this image, the green line indicates the cyclist’s W prime. You can see that with the first three intervals, W prime is reduced, while the longer interval shows that the green line begins to rise again as this person is recovering from the previous anaerobic intervals. As the second set of intervals begin, W prime once again declines, almost getting down to zero, before it rebounds. Working out at or with a reduced W prime, may improve performance because of cellular adaptations that occur during recovery.

We will be increasing the intensity of the intervals in order to witness progression. However, we are not going to attempt to dip too far down into our W prime in the second half of our intervals each day. The reason for this is because the focus for this two-month series is going to be on stamina and threshold intensity.  Threshold intensity is just slightly below Critical Power, thus making it aerobic, but it will be of sufficient intensity and close to Critical Power that it still presents quite the challenge.

Let’s go over the fundamentals:

·W prime is every cyclist’s measured anaerobic work capacity.

·Anaerobic work capacity is measured in joules, which is energy. Most cyclists have between 2000 J and 28,000 J available to them. It can be improved with fitness.

·To acquire W prime, a cyclist needs to perform Critical Power testing (stayed tuned for a more detailed blog on this later for those who have not done it). We peroform Critical Power Testing at Cycling Center Dallas and Online Bike Coach every eight weeks, and it consists of a three minute, eight minute, and 13 minute mean maximal power test each. These are done over two days or more.

·This series of classes, we are intentionally drawing upon W prime early, and then performing long intervals just under Critical Power in order to help improve stamina and rejuvenate that value.

W prime is the most modern way to observe the training dose of any set of intervals. This is exclusive to users of PerfPro studio, and Coach Wharton and Cycling Center Dallas, as well as Online Bike Coach. W prime is just as important as Critical Power. In many ways Critical Power will sometimes not improve, while W prime will improve.  That is especially important if you ride with groups, compete in cycling races, or even if you are going for Strava records over short distances. If your W prime improves,  your ability to handle surges, hills at pace, attacks and  repeated sprints will have also improved.

This is all an effect of specific interval type training, good Coaching, and experience. If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about how to use Critical Power and W prime when cycling outside, contact us for an appointment.

If you have not yet attended a Cycling Performance Class,
check the Class Schedule and sign up today to experience it for yourself! 

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Find out the 3 SECRETS as to why the Cycling Performance Classes are so effective!

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Cycling Performance Class: Understanding Critical Power and how we use it in class.

Today we are going to do a quick overview of the most important number you will see during your workout at Cycling Center Dallas, which is the number next to CP on your workout display.  CP stands for Critical Power, is measured in watts, and is a number that is specific to you. It is a marker of your fitness, which will be discussed below.

CP stands for Critical Power, is measured in watts, and is a number that is specific to you

All the work we do in our Cycling Performance Class is measured in watts.  When you are pedaling your bike, you are producing power in the form of watts.  This is the same measurement used to gauge how much power a light bulb uses to produce light.

Do you remember this old commercial where Lance Armstrong was pedaling on a stationary bike in the basement of a large office building, basically supplying power for the entire building.  When he stopped to take a break…the lights went out and the office workers got a little irritated at him until he started up again. 

It was a parody, but there was also some truth to it. Obviously no one person is going to be able to
produce enough power to generate enough electricity for an entire building…. you get the point.

Now, let’s discuss how we increase and decrease that power throughout the workout, in an effort to train and raise your CRITICAL POWER.

What is Critical Power?  In short…it is a number measured in watts. The simplest way to explain what it is would be the highest average amount of watts that could be produced consistently before your body starts to become fatigued and inefficient. In the cycling world, we will say this is about an hour.  Don’t worry, we are not going to make you actually do that.   We have other ways to get an accurate gauge of your specific value.

Don’t know yours?  No problem.  That is completely normal if you are just starting out.  Our coaches will talk with you during your first class and start you with what they feel is an appropriate number.  This can be adjusted during your first workout as we observe your progress.  When you are ready, we have a special series of workouts that will help us find your exact number.  If you already are training with power, and have an idea of what yours is, we will just use that.

Why is this number important?  Your CP number is important because this is the number that will tell us how much resistance to give you during your workout.  Your CP is individual to you, and the workouts are designed to give you resistance based on a percentage of CP.   This allows everyone in the room to get the exact same workout relative to them.  So…what this means is that someone who is just beginning can ride next to someone much more experienced and they are both working just as hard.   The beginner’s CP will be lower, but the workout will still be equally challenging for both cyclists.

Below is an example of what you will see in your display during your workout. 


How do I find out my correct CP?  If you are new to training with power, a CCD coach will talk to you about what your level of fitness is, and what you are currently doing in your riding.  We will adjust during the workout to get your CP within a range that results in a challenging, but manageable workout.   Every 8-weeks we do a week of tests as part of your workouts that give us a more accurate number for you. 

Will my CP ever change?  Yes!  As you get stronger, and your fitness improves, you will be able to produce more power.  As a result your CP will increase and we will need to adjust it in the studio in order to keep challenging you.  The testing will also let us know how you are progressing and it is motivating to see your power to up as you get stronger.   The other result will be that you will find you are feeling stronger and more confident with your outdoor rides, riding longer without getting tired, and keeping up with people who used to be faster than you. 


Take a look at the workout profile below. 

·         On the left side your will side the percent of CP scale.

·         One the bottom you will see the duration of the workout.

·         The red line represents where we currently are in the workout (this one is just starting).  It will scroll across the profile as the workout is in progress.

·         The blue represents the percent of FPT you will get in resistance, or the intensity.  The higher the blue bars, the more resistance you will have to pedal against during your interval. 


Here is another example of a workout using percent of FTP to give resistance


One more thing.  THE LOAD DOES NOT CHANGE WHEN YOU SLOW YOUR PEDALING DOWN! So when it gets tough, the best thing to do is to fight to keep your RPM, or how fast you are pedaling, in your goal range (more on that later). You RARELY need to shift in the studio. In fact, shift your gears until you are in the big ring up front, and somewhere in the middle cassette in the rear. A speed between 17 and 25 mph is best.

This was an overview of one of the many ways we use Critical Power in the Studio.  In the meantime, let us know if you have any questions.  If you would like to learn more and experience a workout using these concepts, sign up for any of the Performance Classes on the schedule HERE

What we went over today is at the core of most workouts you will do at CCD.  But there is also much,much more!! Stayed tuned for more postings on additional aspects of Performance Classes!  

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If you have not yet attended a Cycling Performance Class, sign up HERE to get more info how Cycling Center Dallas uses the latest advances in Science of Performance to get you the results you want. 

Check the Class Schedule and sign up today to experience it for yourself! 


Coach Wharton

A Quick Preview of the September and October 2015 Program at Cycling Center Dallas!

Get more out of every workout with the best trainers and coaches in the Metroplex!

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Stage 21: 21 Days of the Tour de France, 21 Tips for Cycling in July! Set a Goal!


Well, it's over. The 21 stages have finished, the jerseys awarded, the elation, the heartbreak, the countryside, the millions of spectators... and now comes the Champagne.

These riders, their teams, directors, and sponsors, share a passion for this sport, and show that passion on the world's most beautiful stage. France in summer is like no place else, and if you ever get the chance to view it, or participate in a tour, give it a serious thought.

Most of these riders and teams are goal-oriented. When you ride, think about where you've been, where you are, and where you're going. Think about the elation, the challenge, and the struggle as you accomplish those goals. If you find one goal is just a little too far out of hand, well, that's what Cycling Center Dallas is for - we live to help people become better, more accomplished cyclists and triathletes. It can't be done with your legs and lungs alone. It takes heart, soul, spirit, and a holistic approach. It takes good equipment, knowledge, and reinforced passion.

There's sort of a let-down in the last week of July and early August, when the Tour de France has ended. But in North Texas, we do have one incredible goal to look forward to and prepare for - the Hotter 'n Hell! Think you're up for the challenge? Register today and come see us - we'll help you get there!!!

We hope you've had a wonderful July, full of rides, sun, road, recovery, and revitalization. We've got a great program for August, and we'll be introducing several new training themes and ideas in the remainder of 2015. Enjoy the rest of your summer, and come visit!

Coach Wharton

Stage 20: 21 Days, 21 Tips for Cycling in July! Why do you Ride?!


Why do you ride? I'm sure there are lots of reasons, but it's something you should reflect on frequently. Here's a short story about a Monk and his students. I hope you enjoy the parable!

One day a Zen teacher saw five of his students return from the market, riding their bicycles. When they had dismounted, the teacher asked the students,  "Why are you riding your bicycles?" 

The first student replied, "The bicycle is carrying this sack of potatoes. I am glad that I do not have to carry them on my back!" The teacher praised the student, saying, "You are a smart boy. When you grow old, you will not walk hunched over, as I do." 

The second student replied, "I love to watch the trees and fields pass by as I roll down the path." The teacher commended the student, "Your eyes are open and you see the world." 

The third student replied, "When I ride my bicycle, I am content to chant, nam myoho renge kyo." The teacher gave praise to the third student, "Your mind will roll with the ease of a newly trued wheel." 

The fourth student answered, "Riding my bicycle, I live in harmony with all beings." The teacher was pleased and said, "You are riding on the golden path of non-harming." 

The fifth student replied, "I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle." Upon hearing THIS, the teacher went and sat at the feet of the fifth student, and said, "I am your disciple."


The Tour de France is about MORE than just a single winner. It's about strain, stress, teamwork, individual pursuits, and survival. When you ride, think about where you've been on your two-wheeled journey, today and in the past, where you are, and where you're going, with the goals you've set. 

Cycling Center Dallas is here to help ALL cyclists achieve their goals and get more out of every single ride.