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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cyclingcenterdallas
10:07

“How can I improve, Rich?”

Here in North Texas, rally season is in full swing, after what ended up becoming a weird, wet, and mostly colder spring that kept more riders inside than outside enjoying the rides. Now, I'm all for indoor training, but let's face it – we do what we do indoors two or three times a week, so that we can enjoy ourselves more fully outdoors when the weather is good. After what seems like a pretty mediocre first half of the cycling season for me, things in the past two weeks have been looking up, and my form is actually coming along pretty well. I'm proud of my strong rides in the last two rallies, and this is where the theme of today's title comes from. Here I am, almost 40, riding at the front of the pack, taking solid pulls, shedding weaker riders, and finishing strong, on what may be about SIX HOURS A WEEK of training. Maybe. Yet after the rides, when the top 10 or 20 of us are reliving the ride, recovering with drinks and food, and watching other cyclists come through the finish line, I am always approached by other cyclists with the perpetual question... “How can I get better at this?” It's a loaded question, and it can NOT be answered easily. But the simplest answer is the one that I'll borrow from Eddy Merckx, and will also augment. “Ride Lots” and “Train Smart”. The development of a cyclist mimics the growth curve of a human being... It resembles a lazy “S”. It's concave-curvilinear from birth through early adolescence, when it sort of flattens out, and then it becomes convex-curvilinear, where it starts to trend toward a flat horizon. The limitations of the curve are based on three things: age, the time limitations you place on yourself for training, and experience. Talent is also in there as well, though it's hard to measure when you need to focus on the previous three issues. Most of the people that come to me are older (above 35), have less experience, and really don't have that much time to train, given the mix of career and family obligations. “Ride Lots” becomes “Ride When You Can”, and that leaves us with the effort where I can help... “Train Smart”. Training Smart means that cyclists who want to improve need to go through systematic, dedicated, perpetual adaptation to higher intensities of cycling. In my studio, we use Wattage to measure that intensity. We use CompuTrainers and ErgVideos to give cyclists a 12 week protocol of Progression, hitting specific energy systems that improve specific aspects of cycling's demands. Cyclists go through 4-to-6-week “Meso-Cycles” where they will be challenged on one specific energy system in which they'll be optimizing their performance. Then, we test to see if it has led to a specific result, and change to a different energy system, on a different Meso-Cycle. Progression in intensity continues until the end of the Period, which is where we back off slightly, re-test, and then once again shift modes. Cyclists who use this protocol, show up for every class, warm up properly, come with the right attitude, pre-workout and mid-workout fueling strategy, and GIVE IT ALL in the time allotted, will see results in the following four areas of cycling demands. Stamina – Stamina is perhaps the most critical of all the values by which a cyclist can gauge improvement. Stamina means that you have the ability to ride further, longer, and stronger. Hills don't leave you exhausted. You don't bonk on longer rides. Think of Stamina as being the model by which your speed and efficiency both increase. Gaining Stamina is all about holding a steady pace at a moderately hard effort. Your rides get longer, if not necessarily faster. Speed – Speed is all about improving Stamina while also learning how to react to terrain and other riders' actions more quickly. Speed is about finding the right gear, at the right time, and pedaling early enough to get over terrain, or to bridge to the natural separations that occur in a group ride, with enough subtlety that it is barely noticeable. Speed is about being fluid. Speed is a reactionary response to a perceived demand. Strength – It's hard to define the concept behind “He's a Strong Rider”. Strong Riders mix Speed and Stamina to 'crack the whip' and tax their legs, lungs, and heart so that THEY dictate the terms to the terrain, the wind, and the pack, if they're riding in one. “Strong” riders are efficient, but they're also able to recover more quickly from hard efforts, or repeated hard efforts. They also derive strength from mental development, which is equally crucial. At the Cycling Center of Dallas, riders develop both physical and mental strength from workouts via the shorter, sharper intevals that we go through in certain meso-cycles, and the different (and decreasing) recoveries that they get in between those intervals. Skill – Skill is something that is mostly developed through experience, both indoors and out, but indoors, experience is gained from knowing just how hard an effort is, what cadence is best for that effort, and what it will do for the rest of the ride. I always tell my clients - “It's not the fact that you can do one, single effort at a certain wattage output. It's the fact that you can string together multiple efforts at a lower wattage that will help you define your improvement as a cyclist.” We'll talk more about meso-cycles and the “Four S's” in later posts, but for now, think about this – If you're a professional in a career outside of cycling, and you enjoy the sport for recreational purposes, but you feel you have room to improve, “Train Smart” is your best option. At the Cycling Center of Dallas, you'll be challenged every session, on a proven plan, and will continue to see improvements in your capabilities as a cyclist, through fitness, and fun!

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cyclingcenterdallas
13:50

MS150/164 Images from my own "Feisty Devils!"


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cyclingcenterdallas
08:06

Full classes and Open Classes

[caption id="attachment_68" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Group Sweat at the Cycling Center of Dallas"]Group Sweat at the Cycling Center of Dallas[/caption] Quick update for those who missed out on the first week of classes.
  • The Tuesday/Thursday 6:30pm classes are full. No positions will be added at this time.
  • Tuesday/Thursday at 7:30am is full.
  • Two slots are available at 6am on Tuesday and Thursday.
  • Two slots are available at 6:30pm on Monday/Wednesday.
Please contact Coach Wharton immediately if you are interested in joining class. The program has begun, but I can make exceptions for Threshold Testing over the weekend.

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cyclingcenterdallas
14:40

Welcome North Texas Cyclists!

I want to welcome you to the Cycling Center of Dallas' web log. We'll be using this area to post workouts, protocols, chart quarterly progressions for athletes, and get feedback from clients and prospects. You're welcome to post comments or ask questions, and we'll do what we can to help everyone optimize their performance on two wheels. Roadies, MTB'ers, Triathletes, and Trackies will all benefit from the progression and periodization that the Cycling Performance Program offers, while general SPIN enthusiasts will get a lot from their bodies as they roll their way through classes. Finally - Dallas has needed a Bicycle Education Program for a long time, and we are now in the serious development stages. I want to hear from you, so don't hesitate to pipe up and fire away with questions, comments, or relate experiences. This is about you, so shed the guilt and fire up the keyboard, okay?!

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