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
12:29

21 Days of the Tour de France, 21 Tips for Cycling in July! - ROUGH ROADS!!!

Cobbles
Can you believe it? We're only four days in to the Tour de France, and there's been enough drama and action for a month's worth of cycling!

It seems like the people that design the course every year, scheme of ways to challenge the cyclists and their teams, while providing incredible sights for tourists and the global audience. Today's section, with over 18 miles of roads built from cobblestones, will literally jar the handlebars out of a regular cyclist, and when the weather is poor, these roads are almost impassible.

Riding a bike out on the road is always a challenge. There's wind, weather, temperatures, traffic, and of course, construction zones. While we all wish for smooth asphalt, courteous drivers, and no debris, the fact is that this is rarely the case.

When you ride on rough roads, there are a few things you can do to make the ride a little easier.

First, take a little air out of your tires. Modern tires are so good that they can be ridden well below their maximum pressure, and a tire with some cushion can absorb a lot of impact and road buzz.

Second, ALWAYS wear gloves. Gloves help you ride with less strain, and most modern gloves absorb impact as well.

Third - keep your chin up, and look down the road. Usually, there are areas where motor vehicles have already rolled, and their weight has compressed the earth a little, under the areas of their tires. When you ride in the right or left wheel well, things definitely get smoother.

Fourth - this is one area where you MIGHT consider a lower cadence, if only to help you maintain some torque and balance.

Finally, if you encounter rough roads more often than not, consider riding a wider tire, or buying some wheels with wider rims. Modern racing wheels are actually getting wider, and modern tire recommendations are now down to below 100 psi for most cyclists, unless they're really big.

Thankfully, most modern roads don't use cobblestones or brick. Cities and States employ asphalt and concrete. But asphalt can be rough on the joints of a cyclist, and concrete can break up from weather. Ride aware, ride within your limits, and be prepared with good equipment and fitness.

Cycling on rough roads doesn't have to be a drag, or prevent you from exercising. They're just another skill you can award yourself when you've overcome their challenges, giving you more opportunity to ride when and where you want, for whatever reason!

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Coach Wharton
15:31

More Ways to Use the Moxy to Interpret A Workout at Cycling Center Dallas

Leonardo Spencer - 2015-01-29T09-56-33 - Snapshot

I keep finding out more and more about this Moxy Muscle Oxygen Sensor, and I can't wait to share it!

Here's an image of a longtime client and his workout from a few days back. He's always good about getting in early, getting a solid warmup, and he drinks his hydration like a saltwater fish. The squiggly red line is his Hemoglobin count, and the light blue line is his Muscle Oxygen. This workout consisted of six 5-minute intervals at 107% of Critical Power, with just 2.5 minutes of recovery. He. NAILED. IT!

How so? Well, first, I'm not showing his actual wattage line, but we did not need to, because it was so consistent. Every interval was 107%. The consistency of the wattage is also reviewed in the consistency of the Muscle Oxygen. See the green line hidden beneath the light blue? That's W', and after the first 15 minutes of warmup, you'll see that the value stayed rather static, and actually remained above 60% reserve after the first interval was completed. The ONLY trouble I see with this workout is that after interval #4, Leo's ThB values began falling. I'm interpreting this as a sign of fatigue, and maybe his dehydration was outpacing his rehydration. He is an incredibly heavy sweating individual, and I suspect that he loses maybe 2-3 Kg over the course of an hour. But here's my takeaway from this image...

If we looked at this, and it repeated itself in other workouts, it would be a sign that Leo had adapted to his CP value at 209w, and a retest might be worthwhile. How so? Well, look at his SmO2 in light blue... it was consistent. REALLY consistent. My analysis leaves me believing that he can successfully handle this load, and while his RI (Relative Intensity) was at 93%, which signifies a pretty hard 60 minutes, we need to 'Go Up'. Had SmO2 dropped significantly, well, that would have indicated that maybe he wasn't ready for six intervals at low Vo2 range. 

If you want to get a different look at the file, here's a link... http://ppst.co/18CzDsv

Here's another example, taken later that night. 

Jim Porter - 2015-01-29T19-16-48 - Snapshot_copy
Jim has been coming in consistently now for several weeks, and while we're still about four weeks out from an official Critical Power test, it might be time to RAISE THE NUMBER! Once again - look at his SmO2 values in light blue. They were rather consistent. Now, look at the white line, which indicated Critical Power. We raised his numbers about 5%, and the SmO2 values didn't change. In the middle of interval #4, we raised the CP again, and Muscle Oxygen still didn't decrease! You can't get as good a look at the ThB values because of scaling, but they did not change all that much. But again, the important thing is that, as he raised his intensity on the intervals, metabolically speaking, nothing much changed. He hit his wattage goals, and while he was highly fatigued, did NOT lose much else. Here's the link to his file: http://ppst.co/18CzHsq

I'm starting to believe that this little product is going to really help my athletes and myself as we continue to focus on ways to help THEM improve their performance through proper intensity. Moxy allows me to see what's going on intrinsically, while wattage reveals what's going on extrinsically. If we get consistent wattage results, but SmO2 begins to drop, well, I read that as strain that is adequate to affect a response from the body. But if it's static or within a range, well, then we need to test, because the subject has adapted to the load. The result? MORE POWER and more POWER-TO-WEIGHT. 

This device could be revolutionary. Let's see what else it can tell us over the next several months! If you're interested, Moxy monitors can be purchased through Cycling Center Dallas for $1000, and we'll help you with setup. 


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Coach Wharton
08:12

Information Overload? TMI? Are You Kidding?

Watts, Cadence, Heart Rate, Muscle Oxygen, Iron Count, Anaerobic Work Capacity, KiloJoules. ALL of it matters!

I've been accused of a lot of things, but when it comes to the collection, assessment, and conversion of data in to knowledge and coaching for cyclists, DON'T YOU DARE ACCUSE ME OF INFORMATION OVERLOAD!!! IT IS MY JOB, IT IS MY PASSION, IT IS MY EQUIPMENT, AND YOU GET THE BENEFIT OF USING AND LEARNING FROM IT IN YOUR EFFORTS TO BECOME A BETTER, STRONGER, MORE COMPETENT AND CONFIDENT CYCLIST. You don't have to be a PRO to get PROFESSIONAL TREATMENT and ATTENTION. I think a lot of the comments are masked envy, but everyone is welcome at my studios. You have to bring a beginner's mind (I certainly do, I'm not that smug), but for $25-30 per session, and 60-90 minutes per session, NO ONE can give you a better workout with more specific acute goals designed to help you accomplish a long-term goal. It boggles my mind that more people don't take advantage of it - YOU DO NOT NEED TO KNOW ANY OF THIS, OTHER THAN THE FACT THAT IT WILL HELP YOU BE A BETTER CYCLIST OR TRIATHLETE!!!!!!! AS THE ATHLETE, YOUR JOB IS TO PERCEIVE, THE COACH'S JOB IS TO ANALYZE AND PROVIDE POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT, AND ADJUST THE EFFORT TO PROVIDE A PROPER TRAINING DOSE. 

The result is looking back at where you have been, what you've accomplished, acutely and long-term, and realizing that anythings is possible. 

You doubt me? You hate me? You doubt yourself? I care. I give my life to caring about others. So comment, challenge, sound off, but unless you ENGAGE, you are NOT GROWING.

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Coach Wharton
12:00

Who Cares About Long, Steady Distance Training?! We Don't have TIME for it!



Let's face it, neither you, nor I, nor anyone that we may know, is going to quit their day job, hit the lottery, and ride their bikes for the rest of their lives. We are not professional cyclists. We are instead parents, siblings, students, accountants, small business owners, realtors, just anything but our Walter Mitty dreams of getting paid to ride our bikes over this small, yet still beautiful planet. Traditionally, volume in the sense of a season of easy, steady rides, has always been the precursor to a strong cycling season. But who has time to ride their bike at wattage levels that do not create that great a training response? Who has the 15 or more hours per week, plus the income, to go out and ride, feed that ride, recover from that ride, and then be ready for a strong set of intervals, or a fast group ride, between those already mentioned?
 
Cycling Center Dallas really focuses on training with intensity. I learned a long time ago that focusing on intervals in the threshold, maximal aerobic power, and anaerobic areas yielded the biggest bang for the buck, and tended to pull a rider's Functional Threshold Power (FTP) up, like a pair of suspenders on a skinny kid's pants. And now, science really DOES back it up. 

At Cycling Center Dallas, we'll be using Critical Power Testing to basically reduce our training zones from the now-fifteen-year-old 7 zones, to just about FOUR:

  • Aerobic/Recovery (<80% of Critical Power)
  • Threshold (80-100% of Critical Power)
  • Vo2Max (100-150% of Critical Power)
  • Anaerobia (150% of Critical Power and above). 

The goal will be to help improve your fitness through the development of more, better, mitochondria. Here's another GREAT article that explains it much better than I can. 

http://biketechreview.com/performance/supply/48-mitochondria-the-aerobic-engines

The bottom line is this. If you want to get the most bang-per-buck-per-minute, improve your Stamina, Speed, and Strength for better bicycling, then Cycling Center Dallas offers the perfect location, coaching, and programming, for you. How do we do it? Through Intensity Intervals. We're so lucky to have such a long season of cycling in North Texas. Get ready for it by training at either studio, and see what we can do for you. 


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Coach Wharton
09:47

Consistency, Consistency, Consistency! Do the Work, Reap the Rewards.

Dr. Alison Elmquist is one of our most CONSISTENT Clients at Cycling Center Dallas!

One of the most important themes in any training program is the commitment to consistency. As a coach, I see it every day. The cyclist that shows up, warms up, comes prepared to work, and perseveres through good days and bad, is the one who sees the benefits and improvements over time. 

Think about it - As much as I want people to show heart and display spirit when they come to the studios, it's the simple act of a routine that best determines outcomes. Too often we see people show up with great intentions, but over time, work, family, stress, fear of failure, and other mental blocks conspire to have them drop out over time. But those who are willing to sacrifice just 60-90 minutes at a time, and go through the routine, ideally at the same time and same location each week, begin to 'get it', mentally and physically. The body responds better when it begins a routine. Now, as you all know - plateaus DO happen. But it's honestly better to get to a plateau through a routine of work, than it is to plateau at lower level of performance, and WISH you were a stronger, faster, cyclist. 



The studios exist because they offer a venue that is Consistent in location, Consistent in the quality of coaching and expertise, and Consistent in the time schedule that can offer something to everyone. If you are a cyclist and you CANNOT make one of our scheduled time slots, then give us a call or send us a note. We're here to help you improve, be it your schedule or ours (as long as it's reasonable... Remember, we're up at 4am most mornings, so asking for a custom class at 10pm one night a week, while feasible, may not be reasonable, just sayin'.). Studies show that a cyclist training just six hours a week in a program of gently increasing intensity and duration of intervals, can lead to improvements in power output and Critical Power of 10% or more. 10% more power can mean up to 1mph for a recreational cyclist, or an extra hour of stamina out on the road. So think about consistency in your training plan, your venue for training, weather, time, atmosphere and the environment. Then think Cycling Center Dallas, and come visit.

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Coach Wharton
20:00

Listen to Your Heart, but WATCH Your WATTS!!!

Take a look at this chart. We've got a good workout from Paul Dybala, a client at the White Rock Lake location. What's interesting is that if you look at the red line, which displays heart rate, you'll see a minimal trend of rising intensity, but it sort of plateaus, both on range and max/min for each interval. However, if you look at the Watts, in light blue, well, it goes UP, and UP, and UP! But HR doesn't show you that. 

For decades, Heart Rate was viewed as the primary indicator of fitness. Zones were developed, based on good science, to indicate levels of intensity and fitness results. But with HR, intensity was just too vague to account for quantifiable values. Again - look at the chart. Heart rate range between intervals was pretty similar each time, and yet, wattage went up - significantly. Not even cadence changed all that much for the intervals themselves.... 

What does it all mean??? Well, for one thing... While you can get a good idea of your workout intensity from Heart Rate... you'll get a more acute sense of your work, with Wattage. Secondly - while Heart Rate Monitors can be purchased for around $50, Wattage meters, which WERE once in the stratosphere in terms of cost, continue to decline in price, while remaining both accurate and consistent. This image shows the successful merge between the Physics of Wattage, and the Physiology of Heart Rate. You can't have one without the other, but it's the Wattage that determines the success of your workout - with heart rate alone, you're just not getting the full picture. 

Stay tuned, though. Cycling Center Dallas is working with a MoxyMonitor, to measure Muscle Oxidation levels and Total Hemoglobin, which, when combined with wattage, will yield a TRULY complete picture of the cyclist, inside, and out, in real-time. 

Curious? Come by for a visit, or register at CyclingCenterDallas.com for your first class - it's free, and you'll leave smarter, and more driven, to achieve your fitness goals with us. I promise. 

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Coach Wharton
17:19

Knowledge is Power, and Power Gives You Knowledge

Cycling Center Dallas Gives YOU the Power.
More than once I've heard the criticism that cyclists don't need to know that much about power, because they can feel there way through a ride, and if they are fit enough and strong enough they can perceive their way over Hills and Dales. Beginning cyclists will tell me that they don't need to know about power", because" all they want to do is just ride their bike." Well, I'll respectfully disagree. Because knowing what you can do over different and varying periods of time, in terms of power generation, how you can recover from those intervals, how many of those intervals you can perform, and just how hard each of those intervals is and what it does for your body, is the key to improvement. I used to teach spin classes on a regular basis, and those spin bikes were intentionally built without much in the way of hardware that could give you knowledge. Spin bikes remain high on MPower meant, in terms of the feelings that they leave you with when you have completed a session, but they remain vague on just exactly what it is that you can and you do accomplish.
 
The studios at Cycling Ctr., Dallas, give you all of the perception of empowerment, but also give you the instant feedback, the updated analysis of your ride, and the on site help of coaches who know exactly how to help you get through that quantity of intervals, the quality of each interval, and the overall volume required to help you get an effective training dose. When you train with a power meter or an ergometer, the knowledge gained can tell you exactly how hard you need to work to accomplish a goal. Now, writing outdoors is a fairly stochastic event. But when you have trained for myriad and multiple intervals in the anaerobic, maximal aerobic, and threshold training zones, your capacity to do work grows, while your perception of that intensity declines.
 
At Cycling Ctr., Dallas, we are adept at studying wattage and power output not just on a per interval basis, we study it on a per stroke basis, per workout basis, as well as empirically, which means all of your past workouts and how they build upon each other. We are also looking at cadence, speed, cadence on slope, posture, hydration status, and even heart rate, which you will notice I did not mention first. Heart rate training is just to broad and to individual, and too dependent upon too many factors, to properly establish precise protocols. Furthermore, we are also studying fatigue, energy output, power to weight ratios, etc.
 
But the bottom line here is that as a cyclist in my studios, you do not need to obsess over this if you do not want to. If you are simply looking for a convenient, safe, effective workout, this is the place. You will be challenged, and the music will be kicking, and the coaches will be tickling your chin, and helping you get through the workout, which will leave you spent but on the road towards improving.
 
All of this training with power gives you the knowledge necessary to improve. The knowledge that you gain can give you the power to become a better cyclist.

Knowledge is Power, Power Gives you Knowledge

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cyclingcenterdallas
11:04

Personal Shopping Services Explained

One of the primary reasons that we chose to relocate so close to each of the Richardson Bike Marts (Sorry, Frisco - you're on the list for expansion, though!), is because of our incredibly strong relationship. I've said before that I could live anywhere in the US, but I choose to live in Dallas, because of the Richardson Bike Mart. Read More

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