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
17:51

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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Coach Wharton
14:25

IMG_4528

Last Saturday, we attended the 2015 Lancaster bicycle rally, hosted by the greater Dallas bicyclists. Tracy and I met up with our neighbor Brian Bacon and rolled down through town for the 17 to 18 miles that it took to get to the gazebo that started the event. The rally is now 17 years old, and it is usually held on one of the best weekends of the year to ride a bike in Texas. The bluebonnets are looming, the Indian paints are out, there are some yellow buttercups, and recent rains always make the rest of the fields lush and green.

We were met at the start by several of our past and present clients. It is always heartening to see your work in progress. However, as these rallies have come to replace road racing, due to the lack of usable venues, and in general unwillingness to pay for other things,The events have become a venue for all of the faster cyclists to get in a vigorous workout on varied terrain. In years past, I have attempted to host "Ride with Richard" events, but this year, because of the extended spring, Tracy and I decided to instead just make it our ride.

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We actually turned this into a century by departing at 7 AM from our house in East Dallas. We were joined by our neighbor, Brian Bacon, who is a retired cat one. The trip down took just about an hour, and we rode past the Audubon Park, and the new horse Park that the city is promoting. Once we got to Lancaster, it was interesting to see how that area is developing with all of the warehouses being built in preparation for the large rail terminal that has been proposed and built finally for about 15 years. The roads down there to look to Lancaster were pretty smooth, but we knew that as we rolled into Ellis County, they would get more rural, and rough.

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When we got to registration, the place was busy and filled with cyclists, all of them clickety clacking in their bike cleats and talking general bike jargon. We met up with two more of our coaches, Wendy Hazelwood, and David Lopez, posed for some photographs with clients, and then made our way to the staging area.

One of the great things about the Lancaster rally, is the drum line. These talented musicians actually receive some of the funds raised by this rally, and they never disappoint. Our Star-Spangled Banner was played by another musician using a saxophone, and when the classic aircraft performed their flyover at the top of the hour, we all rolled out.

Early on, it was obvious that the pace was going to be high, with little room for mistakes. A lot of risky behavior was evident, as athletes tested their legs. I was near the front, with several of my friends, when maybe five minutes in, right before the turn past the airport, we were shocked to hear a lot of banging and clanging and scraping behind us. That almost always signifies a bike wreck. Turning the corner, we all sat up and looked over our right shoulders and saw that yes, there were a number of cyclists down. I also saw several of my cycling center jerseys among them. We neutralized, and I rolled back 100 yards until we reached the scene. Unfortunately, Tracy, David Lopez, and a client, Travis Pope, were all off their bikes and were either on the ground, or were trying to straighten out wheels and handlebars. David's front wheel was trashed, and after a brief analysis and test of range of motion, it became very obvious that Travis had suffered a broken right collarbone. Those of you that follow my Whareagle word press blog, know that in 2005 I broke my collarbone in late July at the goat neck rally, and it was unfortunate to see the same thing happen to a client and friend. All of us waited until we were certain that Travis and David had an easy way to get home and get back to their families, and for Travis, to get in touch with his parents, and then we continued our ride.

By this point, 10 or 15 minutes had passed, and it was up to us to properly announce ourselves and safely pass as a group of four. I believe over the course of the entire 63 miles, we probably passed almost 1400 riders. There is something to be said about proper passing etiquette, announcing yourself and your intentions, and just basically being a good diplomat or ambassador. We knew we were successful in this endeavor when we received a complement about this from a client and her husband on the following Monday.

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As the miles rolled by, Wendy, Brian, Tracy and I all shared the lead and rotated through very easily. We got to ride some incredible terrain, and because of the previous wet weather, the bluebonnets, Indian paints, and yellow buttercups that are so connected with this rally, were out in force. Around 40+ miles in, we passed another coach, Steve Nelson, and he had a helmet cam that captured our group for a few special moments. Tracy was feeling really strong, and she performed several surges throughout the ride that left us all suffering. Wendy, fresh off of a successful Ironman New Zealand, road exceptionally well in an even pace, and Brian showed his experience with smooth poles, and solid positioning when he was not in the lead. I'm not sure what the ridewithGPS.com link will say, but I believe we averaged about 23 mph as a foursome.

We got to the finish line just as we were about to sort of run out of energy. Once again, we were met with several friends and acquaintances who had either missed the rack or written past it, and we spent a lot of time thanking the organizers, almost all of whom are members of the greater Dallas bicyclists. Tracy and Brian both decided that they wanted to hitch a ride back to the neighborhood, but I decided to make it an epic day, and I rode home.

Steve Nelson Handlebar cam

The science behind the ride is a little bit interesting. I need to preface this by saying that I honestly have never been this heavy, nor was I ever this unfed, through the winter. I am now weighing in at about 166 pounds, and in mid-March my threshold was below 230 W. I vowed that I would never let the wattage number drop that low again, and I am working very diligently on trying to get my weight back down to about 158. The weekend in Fort Davis was a kick starter, and it does help now that we have regular weekend events planned throughout the rest of the spring and the summer. I believe the ride was well over 3000 kJ, the intensity factor was around 78%, and my turning stress score was well above 300. If you're using Skiba scores it was just under 300. I believe I drank a 70 ounce camelback +2 24 ounce water bottles of Osmo, and I did also eat two separate 380 cal bars during the ride. I probably could've used a third bar, but I believe I gave it to someone. And I mistakenly thought at the finish line that I had adequately refueled with the cookies and fruit that they were offering. I kind of bonked at around 96 miles, but was still able to control my effort enough to make it home without a pitstop. Finally, when I weighed myself at the end of the ride, I was at or near my exact weight that morning, which was about a 163.

I guess this just reiterates the theme about Which Cycling Ctr., Dallas and online bike coach are centered… When you train for your quality intervals indoors, using perfpro, and then focus on solid aerobic cycling during the week outdoors, it really does make a difference on the weekends! When you combine that with a solid hydration plan and nutrition schedule, your stamina, speed, and strength all improve. I am happy to say that I'm now at about 257 W for threshold, and I'm actually looking forward to testing again soon, maybe even today.

That's really about it, we will have a bigger report on the next rally, and some of Tracy's racing next week. Until then, a member to take the lane, remember to stay on top of your hydration and nutrition, and always be visible, and think positive thoughts for Travis' speedy recovery!


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Coach Wharton
11:52

Using Saturated Muscle Oxygen and Total Hemoglobin to Measure the Need for Calories

A few days ago, I posted about all of the things I think I'm seeing when I put a Moxy Monitor up on a client's leg. Well, here's an example.

Mike Brandley is a client who focuses on mountain biking, so his season and schedule can be a little bit different than others. He came in early one morning this week, and while excited to be working out, during our warmup and bike prep, he revealed that he'd forgotten to eat on his way over. I told him I wanted to try the monitor on him, and that it might tell us some things that he and I might not otherwise know. 

Here's a cut from his workout. Unfortunately, we still need to get a broader range for the red line, which indicates Total Hemoglobin, but I'll provide several images to enforce my point, with details...
Mike Brandley - 2015-01-14T06-45-28 - Snapshot

Now, if you look first at the warmup, the green line is the SmO2, and the red line is ThB. Follow the red line out to about the beginning of the third green spike, and notice the little red notch. I was looking at the rider's dashboard, and I noticed this immediately. Also notice - the Rider's SmO2 was NEVER that high to begin with during the warmup, and it began to crater in to the SINGLE DIGITS during the first two intervals!

But wait - there's more. Notice how each time the rider recovered from an interval (Remember, the green line when it's low indicates the interval, and high indicates the recovery) at a HIGHER level? This is where my two terms from the previous blog post come in to play. I believe that Mike's "ACTIVE RESTING SmO2" level is pretty low - around 35-38%. However, IF WE HAD PROPERLY WARMED UP, USING A LONGER PROTOCOL AND SOME SHORT, SHARP INTERVALS AT HIGHER INTENSITIES, then we would have found that his "MAXIMAL SATURATED SmO2" would be around 60+%. This would have made for a BETTER WORKOUT, because we could have combined what we know about his SmO2 levels, with his wattage intensities, and adjusted things accordingly. 

BUT WAIT - THERE'S MORE!!!

Remember that little knock in the ThB Red Line that occurs around the recovery time after the third interval? Here it is in a close-up. 
Mike Brandley - 2015-01-14T06-19-54 - Snapshot

THAT, my friends, when combined with a LOW SmO2 during a Vo2-themed 2-minute interval... IS A CALORIE-RELATED BONK!

Look back up at the first graphic. After that little knock in ThB, it never really came back up. HOWEVER, after feeding him a BONK BREAKER, around 300 Kcals, and forcing him to drink a water bottle with an appropriate amount of OSMO Active Hydration in it, here's what happened....

SmO2 did NOT really recover to near the previous 'Maximal Active Saturation' level, but the "MINIMUM SATURATED SmO2" level, or the 'Vo2' Plateau that I believe leads to the best biological response for the rider on THAT given day, bottomed out at a HIGHER level for each interval, around 10, then 12, then 14 percent. Now, let's add wattage back in to the picture. 
Mike Brandley - 2015-01-14T06-45-41 - Snapshot

Mike's Critical Power, on paper, is about 255 Watts. These were two-minute intervals, based on slope, and I wanted him to finish the intervals with an average over the two-minutes at 110-120% of Critical Power. I don't have the CP/FTP line on the chart, but you can see that he was able to rally, and completed the entire workout, performing rising-intensity intervals, at the appropriate training dose. 

What's the moral of the story? 

Sometimes, the wattage doesn't give us the complete picture. Having onscreen Muscle Oxygen and ThB gives the smart coach an extra tool to determine what's best for a cyclist on any given day. In this case, we were able to more quickly determine that Mike's fasting from the night before could lead to a failed workout. Had we been using wattage alone, we may have collectively ended up beating our heads against a wall as we tried harder and harder to accomplish something that just wasn't feasible. Instead, we rectified it immediately, got him fed, watered, and salted, and he was actually able to IMPROVE the quality of his intervals, and later, ACHIEVE THE GOALS SET OUT FOR HIM, without throwing in the towel. His Muscle Oxygen range helped him get the proper training dose, in conjunction with wattage, and the ThB values gave us a really good clue about how much was in the tank, and how quickly it was depleted. It's hard to show in this blog, but for the savvy reader, if you download and purchase a copy of PerfPro Analyzer, the 'Analyze' tab includes max,min, and average Smo2 and Thb PER INTERVAL. I've taken the liberty to export the chart to Excel, where I made a simple graph. 
Mike Brandley ThB Lap Averages

What you see is that after the initial 'Bonk', he ate and drank, and had a ThB Rebound. Later, it tapered off again, AS HIS POWER CAME BACK UP, and for the last 10 minutes of the workout, which was two, separate 5-minute intervals AT CRITICAL POWER, well, the ThB continued to rise. 

I'm convinced that this tool, in the right hands, can complement our goals of helping recreational cyclists accomplish their goals, each and every workout, through the combination of watts, heart rate, and now, muscle oxygen and total hemoglobin. Here's my takeaway from this client and his workout, some of it's simple, some, notsomuch. 

  1. ALWAYS show up for a ride or training session properly rested, fed, watered, and salted. That's what Grape-Nuts and Greek Yogurt is for. 
  2. EAT and DRINK throughout the workout. I don't care if you're trying to lose weight. Training to raise your Critical Power will help you burn more KiloJoules, ergo, KiloCalories, and you'll end up losing the weight anyway. Eating and Drinking a light-sugar solution like OSMO, will help keep the ThB Levels and SmO2 levels higher. I THINK having a higher value in both, is optimal.
  3. IF you know an athlete's SmO2 levels for "Maximum Active Saturation", you can then modify a workout and train for DOSE, instead of training for a wattage output goal. We know more about Mike's Max Saturation, and per the later intervals, his appropriate minimum saturation. We'll train for DOSE, and use WATTS as the resistance, while setting a general FLOOR for SmO2. We'll also track his HR, which I bet, I bet I bet, will drop as he gets back in to his training regime. 
  4. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS WARM UP! Starting a workout cold or unprepared can hurt you physcially as well as mentally, so ALWAYS give yourself 20-30 minutes to warm up, and ALWAYS include several 20-40 second pick-me-up intervals at high intensity, with adequate recoveries, so that you will begin the intervals with the highest SmO2 and THB levels possible.

That's it for now - I'll try to write more in the upcoming days, but until then, don't forget - if you haven't come in for a first ride, download the App and let's get you in. The upcoming season is nigh upon us, and in Texas at least, it won't be cold for long!!!

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Coach Wharton
16:59

Power First, THEN Cadence -- Training for Climbs at Cycling Center Dallas

You know - in Texas, we're pretty lucky. We have endless miles of roads, most of them flat or rolling, and our idea of 'Hills" or "Hilly Terrain", usually means no more than about 2 or 3 minutes of suffering, max. Sure, if you head out to Ft. Davis, there's a couple of good, steep climbs that will certainly challenge you, but let's face it - we don't live in the Rockies or the Appalachian Range. I WISH we did, but hey. We still have great rides in all the Cardinal Directions, and favorable weather most of the time, to boot. 

However - the course we've selected for next month's "Ride With Richard" Rally, the Paluxy Pedal, has - what could be called in North Texas - Hills. Here's the Vertical Profile.

Paluxy Pedal Vertical Profile

Now, I'm not too concerned with the part in the middle - that LOOONG climb up toward the steep stuff. I'm more concerned with helping you train for all of those LITTLE, SMALL, SHORT, SHARP bumps that are all over the first part of this map, and near the end. Those are the hills that will eat in to you, rob you of precious energy, slow you down, and make you anxious. They're especially mean if they occur early and late in a a ride, like this one. 

Well, let's look at a few things together, shall we?

FIRST - If you've been training with us at Cycling Center Dallas for the last few weeks or longer, you know that YOU ARE GOING TO BE PREPARED! 

SECOND - We are training to help raise your power output, i.e. - your wattage. More POWER means that you'll climb faster, which means that you'll be done quicker. 

THIRD - Remember when we use "COURSE MODE" in our workouts?! Well, we are training for SLOPE as well as POWER. SLOPE, however, requires a new trick, and that is CHANGING GEARS and CADENCE. 

Remember our most fundamental metric - "FTP" or "Functional Threshold Power". That's the AVERAGE POWER that you can generate over 60 minutes. It's on your dashboard. You look at it every time you ride at Cycling Center. When we spend time ABOVE it, we're working on ways to RAISE it. When we spend time BELOW it, we're riding efficiently. MOST of the time, we're working on intervals at higher cadences, and I still believe in cadence work with wattage. BUT, we also need to work with cadence and SLOPE when we're climbing, and fortunately, there's this little web page that can help us understand just what's required, in terms of cadence and power. 

Rob Kitching at www.cyclingpowerlab.com has created a TON of great work for cyclists, so much so that we've actually hired him to build our updated Rider Results Page! We've got a lot of plans for projects together that we won't worry about here, but for now, head on over to this page, and have your bike handy...

When you get there, you'll see some great script explaining what the page does and how it works, and you'll have about 7 different blank boxes that allow you to modify the results at the bottom of the page. 

When you're ready, enter the numbers like this...
  1. Enter your FTP in the box for "Sustainable Watts".
  2. 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'. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. For Tyre radius, most of the world uses 700x23, but you can look on the side of your tire to get specifics. 
  6. 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.
  7. Finally, show output in "Cadence". 
  8. Then, click "Calculate"!
What you'll get is a VERY detailed analysis of your SPEED (in Km/Hr) and CADENCE, based on SLOPE. You'll also notice that it starts at 5%, and this is because that's the incline where gravity really starts to take over for speed and inertia, and you end up spending more energy fighting the hill, instead of fighting air resistance. The steeper it is, the slower you'll go, and the more energy is spend on slope.

Here's one that I did, just to get us started on an example. 



Notice that at 6% slope, depending on where my chain is on the rear cassette, I'm pedaling at between 68 and 87 rpm. If the slope goes up to 8%, then my cadence drops to between 54 and 69 rpm. Now, think about the intervals that we do when we are in what I'll call 'Fixed Gear' mode. We're usually at about 80-100 rpm. The intensity is the same, but the cadence is MUCH higher. However, when we hit slopes, which are 'real world', well, cadence comes down. 

Let's take this even further, shall we? 

Let's play with the Sustainable Watts. We'll be climbing at 120% of FTP or more, so let's add some real intensity to the climb. Let's also use a more realistic crank length for me, which is 170mm, and see what that does for us. 

Notice how my cadence at 6 and 8% went up? Notice how my speed rose as well? Now - remember how long those INTERVALS AT 120% were, the last time you attempted them? You KNOW you can do the INTENSITY, now, let's use our GEARS, to get the best CADENCE, so you can climb it at the smartest VELOCITY!

You can also use this page to play a LOT of 'What If's', like figuring out what can happen when you increase your power, change crank lengths, lose weight, change tires, move positions... all of it. Me? Well, yeah - like everyone, I want to lose a little weight. Let's say 6 pounds, which is about 3 Kilos. Let's see what that does...

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. 

Go ahead and play with the gears, chain rings (it just occurred to me that maybe some of our lower FTP riders may have a prevalence of 34's...), and write down the cadence values or print the screen and bring them to class. We'll then come up with plans for the rolling hills of the Paluxy Pedal, further helping you roll your way over hill and dale, with greater Stamina, Strength, Speed, Skill, Confidence and Competence. All courtesy of your coaches at Cycling Center Dallas!!!

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Coach Wharton
15:56

Handling the Heat - the Cycling Center Dallas Way!!

We often get asked - "How do you ride in the heat?! I can't STAND IT!" Well, there are no simple answers, but being native North Texans, we can give you a couple of pointers that will definitely make a difference.
  1. DRINK MORE, DRINK OFTEN, DRINK MORE OFTEN! - Take a look at this hydration chart. Start by looking at your weight, then, scroll over to columns two and three. I'm weighing in at 160-164 lbs right now, so I'm looking at a MINIMUM of 25 ounces per hour, and in times when I'm really pushing hard, 30 ounces per hour. Sometimes, when it's really hot and humid, I'll consume over 50 ounces per hour!Osmo Nutrition Hydration Strategy
  2. THINK about what you DRINK! - Most Sports Drinks trend towards a 6-8% sugar content. Everyone who knows me knows what a fan I am of Osmo Nutrition, and secondly, Skratch (both were developed by Pro Crush, Stacy Sims, who also had a hand in Clif Electrolyte formula). The hotter it gets, the more you want to consume something with fewer overall calories. You're NOT trying to get calories by drinking. You're trying to basically keep FRICTION DOWN at a CELLULAR LEVEL! Osmo is about 3.5% solution, and helps keep you cool. Furthermore, water in the bloodstream helps prevent the bonk better than just about anything else!
  3. DRINK BEFORE YOU HAVE TO! - Osmo and Skratch both have pre-ride solutions that will help act as anaerobic buffers, will help you basically retain water (your ring finger will get tight), and help you 'stay thirsty my friends' with their good salt setups. These aren't the most flavorful items (they tend to taste like seawater), but they REALLY work. *** Note - women - Try the women's formula at full-strength, BUT, if you feel bloated, then cut the solution down to 1/2 a dose of the powder, with a full dose of the water needed. It'll help you avoid an upset stomach. 
  4. It's not ALL on the inside! - One of the most important things we can do as cyclists, since we're exposed to the sun for hours at a time, is to protect our skin. Sunscreen makes a HUGE difference, and if you're a guy, they make 'mousse' that you can rub in your hair, which will help protect your scalp. Don't forget the small parts, like eartips, the upper neck, the hole in your gloves when you cinch up the velcro, and the chest, when your zipper is down.
  5. Fabrics Matter! - When you ride, your fabric can literally save your soul. Modern fabrics are designed to have SPF factors in the 30's and 40's, and the stuff that I've gone with, the Louis Garneau jerseys, are treated with a dip called ColdBlack, which literally repels about 40% of the IR rays per square cm that the Sun fires off every moment. Have you ever stuck your hand under a heat lamp at a cafeteria? That's IR energy! So think about that, the next time you're out there roasting. Think about how, for a few extra bucks, you could have something that is still breathable, still comfy, but also helps keep you skin that much cooler. And cooler skin, means less energy expended trying to keep you cool from the inside!                 
  6. You CAN be aero AND have great ventilation in a helmet! - Everyone knows that a helmet is a must these days. They're the 'last inch' of protection! But when you're NOT using the helmet as protection, you can expect a modern helmet to channel oncoming air in different ways over the scalp, so that any heat generated can be channeled out the back, and keep your head, literally, cooler. Again - check out the latest helmet from Louis Garneau - yeah, I'm a fanboy, but it really does work.                                                                                          
  7. What's in YOUR jersey pocket?! - Still too hot? Stuff your valuables like your wallet, keys, and smartphone in a waterproof pouch, and then FILL YOUR SIDE POCKETS TO THE BRIM WITH ICE!!! Yeah - that's right, ICE. Sure, it's messy. Sure, it's going to MELT ALL OVER YOUR LEGS AND LOWER TORSO. But you know what? IF WORKS!!!! Refill every hour that you're out, and watch your watts stay HIGH.                                                                                                                                                     (Photo Pending - you'll LOVE it!)                                                                                                          
  8. SONIC! WE LOVE SONIC SLUSHES!!! - Research shows that one of the most effective ways to keep your cool, is to consume beverages made from Ice Slurries. While we don't always have access to a blender while we're out on our rides, we CAN stop at the local Sonic, and have a Wet, HIGH SUGAR-BUZZWORTHY Slushie, in any color/flavor you like, and safely expect that it'll help drop your core temp quite well. Mmmmm!!!!                                      
So that's about it from me regarding this topic. I also have used unhosed Camelbacks filled with ice, and have let them drip down all over me. Furthermore, taking a gallon ziploc, filling it with ice, and then nipping the corners, allows you to stuff it under your jersey and against your back, where it'll melt and drip, much like the ice in your jersey pocket, and allow you to stay cool on an area that is filled with blood vessels that are close to the skin. 

Heat stroke is a real threat when the temps and humidity climb. I know - I've had one, and it left me with some damage to my right eye. But with proper strategy and precautions, you SHOULD be able to withstand the heat, and enjoy the ride!

Till next time! Leave With Nothing Left!!

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Coach Wharton
13:33

August Prep and Dry Run for the Texas Time Trials

At Cycling Ctr., Dallas, the mantra that we promote is all about improving stamina, speed, strength, and skill when cycling. Traditionally, this means spending time indoors, one or two days a week, and then using the results and improvements in fitness to enjoy longer rides with more challenges on the weekends. For most cyclists this is something in the realm of 2 to 4 hours, but the month of August allows us all to attempt and attend several rallies that are longer in duration. This begins at the end of July, with the 70 mile option for the bicycle rally held in Cleburne, and continues with the red river rally, a 75 mile option or a rally in Granbury, and of course it all culminates with the hotter in hell 100, held at the end of August up in Wichita Falls. However, all of these are bicycle rallies, and while they are as competitive as people choose to make them, there is nothing really official for the recreational cyclist.
 
The Texas time trials, held every year in Glen Rose, Texas, in the third weekend of September, allows cyclists to ride a safe, challenging, 26 mile loop with support, in a friendly yet competitive environment. The Texas time trials host a 500 mile option for the extremists, a 24 hour option, a 12 hour option, a six hour option, and finally a single lap sprint. Hosted by Dan Driscoll every year, this event continues to grow. I attended in 2012 and 2013, with my friend Michelle Beckley, and have grown to love this event as much as any other, because of its proximity, the support, and the incredible challenge that comes from managing energy and speed and power over the course of one hour, six hours, 12 hours, and even 24 hours.
 
I was lucky enough in 2012 to compete in the event in a very steady rain storm. The temperature never changed more than about 5°, and with proper support from Michelle and her boyfriend Martin, I was able to stay on top of my hydration and caloric consumption, and actually won the 12 hours. In 2013, because we were still in start-up mode with the cycling studios, I was about 5 pounds heavier, was far less fit, and ended up calling it a day after four laps. I realized that I was out of shape, overweight, and was to determined to try and ride 212 miles in the same way at higher temps and higher wind speeds than I had the previous year. So this year, this summer specifically, I pulled out my time trial bike, a 2007 aluminum P3 from Cervelo, and began to train on it and attempt to adapt my body position for the stress and duration of 12 hours in a near horizontal position.
 
I began training for the position in early August, when I tackled the Granbury rally in my aero bike, position, and kit. Then, I did the Red River Rally in the same way. Both times, I attempted to stay on top of my hydration by consuming over 3 L of water, sometimes up to five. This was mixed with Osmo, and it did keep me properly hydrated. However, heat is everyone's enemy, and you still have to burn a lot of energy in order to stay cool and fast. Two weekends ago I attempted to do a century out in Glen Rose on my own, and was unprepared for the heat and wind. So this weekend, instead of going to Hotter 'n Hell, I traveled back down to Glen Rose for some peaceful cycling and another dry run.
 
One of the things, besides heat, that matters the most when you are cycling, is the ability to overcome wind resistance. We are now at a place in time and technology where we can come up with some pretty close measurements that can help us better understand just how much drag we have to overcome at speed. The smaller the coefficient of aerodynamic drag, the more energy you can save when traveling. Things like helmets, shaved legs, skin suits, and aerodynamic wheels definitely can make a difference, and when you are burning about 800 kJ per lap, energy management and efficiency are critical. We cyclists spend a lot of time and money buying expensive gear, but how to put that gear properly to use, is a really important aspect that is often ignored.
 
Both last week, and this weekend, I performed my first lap right at the 6 AM time in order to get a very solid idea of how much normalized power was going to be necessary to average a one hour 20 minutes lap. I did this for at least two laps both weekends, and over the five full laps that I actually measured this, I came up with a normalized power of roughly 205 W. I also looked back at my previous laps from 2012 and 2013, and realized that the aerodynamic position of the P3 saved me roughly 30 W and 6 to 8 minutes, depending on the time of day. When you add that up over roughly 8 laps for a 12 hour event, which is my stated goal, it comes up to about an hour! Last year's winner averaged one hour 25 minutes over the course of eight laps, although his lap speeds varied by over 30 minutes, and so I decided to try and hold this average wattage over for an even six laps, just to see if this was feasible.
 
Interestingly, as the day warmed up, the time splits for the average power, which was around 170 watts, while PNorm was 205w, decreased. This is actually to be expected, because of the decrease in air density with the increase in temperature. Furthermore, I realized very early that with a very large Camelback on my back, I was not going to be able to ride in such an aggressive position while wearing my favorite aero helmet. I ended up reverting back to my more ventilated helmet, which is also been optimized for aerodynamics, but one has to assume that the TT helmet would probably make me anywhere from 45 to 90 seconds faster over the course of a lap. I need to restate that, we are not talking about speed, we are talking about conservation of energy. So at 205 normalized watts, I would probably be able to hold 1 hour 17 minutes, and not one hour 20 minutes.
 
The biggest issue that we must all deal with is that of consumption of energy. Even with more body fat on me than in previous years, I still am burning a majority of my energy through carbohydrates. Osmo is specifically designed not to provide that much energy through calories, and instead it uses the carbohydrates to help cyclists stay hydrated and cool. Therefore, according to Dr. Sims, who invented Osmo, food must be in the pocket, or in my case, the Bento box. I found that eating a real meal for breakfast, was extremely helpful, but that even after three laps, I am going to have to work on eating more. I believe I only consumed about 200 to 400 kcal every lap through solid food. This will have to go up, and I'm going to have to practice this for both taste and frequency.
 
Now, for an interesting exercise in air resistance, I am going to pull up the website www.cyclingpowerlab.com, and I will try and show you just how much extra work is required to complete a lap on my road bike versus my time trial bike. We also need to keep in mind that my time trial bike is not as advanced as it could be, were it a P5 or even a P4 or even a P3, like the new one. Mine is first-generation, and has basically been  'modded out', so to speak, as I tinkered with it over the years.
2014 P3 TT
I clipped out a segment of the power meter file from 2013 and from this ride in August, got the relevant data from Weather Underground, and plugged everything in. The results are above. 

Now - what does this all mean? 

Well, if you're rolling on flat terrain at 205 watts, it means roughly 2.5 miles per hour!!!! But perhaps more importantly, it means, for me, probably 60-100 Kcals per lap, saved. When you ride or race a 12-hour, every Kcal matters, and if you have less resistance, you can travel further for the same amount of effort. 

Anyway, I know it's a good bit of dorkdom, but it just goes to show you that studying this stuff makes a difference, in speed, efficiency, effort, and honestly, pleasure! 

More later!


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cyclingcenterdallas
16:49

Cycling for Fitness Clinic

Jan52012 (47 of 54)What: Cycling for Fitness Clinic. Where: Cycling Center Dallas 1373 West Campbell RD Richardson, TX 75080 (Right next to Richardson Bike Mart). When: April 20th,  9am. Who: Novice and intermediate cyclists who want to learn more about how to use their bicycles to increase fitness, lose weight or improve their health. What you need: A working bike, comfortable workout or cycling attire, water and towel. Part 1: Learn the basic rules of the road, get information on how to ride outdoors and on the roads safely, basic bike checks, learn how to shift and properly use your gears. Also, Learn how to set up the bike on a trainer and practice clipping in if you have cycling shoes(not required). Part 2: Walk through and participate in an indoor training performance class. We will explain and walk you through how the technology will help you progress in your goals for increased fitness and health, or increased strength and stamina. You will also get a workout so come prepared to sweat a little and bring a bottle of water and towel. All levels welcome but this class will be tailored toward beginner cyclists as well as a those who want to learn more about indoor training concepts using wattage. THIS IS AN INDOOR ONLY CLINIC SO IT WILL BE HELD RAIN OR SHINE. Sign up here: https://www.bikereg.com/Net/19063 Contact tracy@cyclingcenterdallas.com

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