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
17:31

November and December STRESS BUSTER Intervals at Cycling Center Dallas and OBC.

Here's a short video I made covering the basics of the intervals we'll be doing from November 7th through December 29th. We want you CHILL at the office parties, end-of-year sales meetings, and dinners with relatives. These are as hard as you want to make them, so BUST THAT STRESS!

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cyclingcenterdallas
11:26

Tips for Adapting to the Summer Heat

Man, it was Hot Out There! I was going great, and then... Adapting to the heat of Texas Summers is an absolutely critical part of training for cyclists. When we move through the air, we end up deceived by the evaporation of sweat, which provides a small cooling effect, and heavier moisture content in our respiration. However, heat really is the enemy, as our bodies are forced to handle heat from our muscles and organs, and also from the environment. You'll sometimes see cyclists warming up for races in hot weather, with ice vests and chilled water splashed all over their heads and bodies, as they attempt to keep their systems in the torso cooled, even while their legs are prepping for the upcoming event. These options are clumsy and expensive, however, and North Texas cyclists rarely have the time or resources to dedicate to these solutions, so it's critical that we learn to adapt! Adapting to the heat is something that researchers say takes about 2 full weeks. You can experience, if you shock your system with a ride that is far outside your body's zone of comfort, cramping in the muscles and in the gut, and a general decline in immediate performance. This is measurable with either a sharply higher heart rate, a sharply lower heart rate, and decreased wattage output given a certain level of perceived effort. For indoor cyclists, there are actually some innovative ways to help your body adapt to the higher heat and humidity. 1.Start by turning off your fan. I don't like this at all, but I do it in my efforts that begin in late February or early March. Turning off a fan eliminates a source of cooling through evaporation, and it creates a micro-climate around your body that can raise skin temperature by one or two degrees. You sweat more, your performance decreases, and your thirst levels either go up as you try to stay cool, or, conversely, drop precipitously as you trick your brain in to thinking that it's not thirsty until it's far too late. This is the time when cramping for even experienced cyclists can arise, and it's not until you actually achieve adaptation that the cramps become mitigated. 2.In 1996, preparations were made by cyclists all over the world for the Atlanta Olympic Games. The Europeans, including Gold Medal winners Bart Brentjens and Paola Pezzo, showed up prepared for the humidity. Brentjens trained for weeks in a climate-controlled Sauna, which mimicked to the degree the heat of Atlanta in August, and the humidity. Pezzo trained on the coast of Italy, on a course that best-mimicked the terrain demands of the Atlanta race. The Americans, led by the belief that they need quality training in a low-stress environment, went up to Colorado, where they trained in cooler temperatures, lower air densities, and lower levels of humidity. When the results were tallied, the Euros beat the tar out of the Americans, and our only medal was earned by Susan DeMattei, who bucked the trend and trained in the Appalachians, closer to the race itself. She finished 3rd. The expected and respected Americans, especially the other female, Juli Furtado, finished a distant 10th or something like that. Those who trained at altitude, thinking it would give them a boost, weren't prepared at all. You too can prepare for the heat and humidity of summer cycling, and you can do it indoors and out. Take a few weeks and train in a warmer climate, with more surrounding humidity. Your performance will initially decrease, but over time, say, two to four weeks, your persistence will pay off with a return to more expected levels of power and heart rate, a return of your thirst, and a more economical engine. It still pays off to drink a carb and salt solution energy drink, if only to replenish electrolytes and the hydraulics that are our circulatory system, but it's better to prepare for the environment, than to have a poor performance, and wonder what happened and why. Quick note: If you are suffering from cramps on a regular basis, check out this great article in NY Velocity, about the topic, the mystery of cramping, and the answers that we do and don't have. I am NOT a big fan of the site - it seems to be rather vindictive in its' nature, but the contributions by authors like Scot Willingham make up for it with good content. Here's the link: http://nyvelocity.com/content/coachingfitness/2010/muscle-cramping-0

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