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
11:41

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:

 bikescore2

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.

bikescore1



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.



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Tracy
10:10

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

guyatdesk


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
sbcheststretch
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
 
behindthebackshoulderstretch

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: tracy@cyclingcenterdallas.com

 

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Coach Wharton
09:07

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.

wprime

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.

wprime2


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! 


CCD Flash Ride Images 112214-0407217
 

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.



Tracy
10:23

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.
bike-diagram-470

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. 


CPdispla500


 
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. 

thresholdintervals



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

thresholdrollinghills


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!