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

21 Days of the Tour de France, 21 Tips for Cycling in July! Day 6: Energy and Power!

Energy and Power
When you ride a bike, in order to get anywhere, you have to pedal.

When you pedal, two things happen:

First, you burn energy in your body, which is measured in Calories, or if you have a power meter, it's measured in KiloJoules.
When you burn that energy, you generate Power. Power is measured in Watts.
Generating Power by burning Energy is what gets you down the road, whatever your reason or destination. When you burn more energy, you generate more power. And when you generate more power, you travel faster, further, and stronger. Most recreational cyclists can generate 100-200 watts, or 1 to 2 incandescent light bulbs, for an hour. At the Tour, they can generate 350-500 watts or more! Can you imagine?

It really is that simple. Burning energy, to generate power, is what gets you healthy and fit. When your body adapts, well, you get to burn MORE energy, generate MORE power, and get MORE FIT! I won't say it's a limitless cycle, but it's part of what makes bicycling so much fun, and it's my favorite part of being a coach - seeing people's bodies and spirits change through fitness, done by measuring energy, training to improve power, and sticking with it!

The cyclists at the Tour de France burn a LOT of Energy, but that's because they need to generate a LOT of POWER! People can spend a lot of money on fancy wheels, light and aero bikes, and cool shoes and helmets, but in the end, if you really want to be a better cyclist, you need to:

Burn more Energy
Generate more Power
Recover from these efforts, so you can adapt and do it again!
We'll discuss energy and power again later, but for now, just remember this fundamental: Burn energy, generate power, get more fit.

Repeat ad infinitum!
Cycling Center Dallas and Online Bike Coach have been pioneers in helping regular cyclists understand the benefits of training with power, and measuring energy in an accurate way. Download our app and register for a class today, so you can see it for yourself!

Coach Wharton

Looking at the PerfPro Dashboard, Part Two.

PerfPro Shows Watts, Goal and FTP

Okay - when we left off at the last posting, we were learning that for John Cyclist, 107% of 150 watts equaled 161 watts. So, if the CompuTrainer is giving you a LOAD or TARGET of 161 watts, well, you need to GENERATE WATTS at, or near, 161 watts. 

Now, if looking at numbers just isn't your thing, well, you're in luck, because Drew Hartman, the developer of PerfPro, has made it even easier to understand just what you need to focus on. Take a look...

A Full PerfPro Lap Dashboard
Here's a dashboard from a recent ride. Take a look. There is a LOT of STUFF going on!!!! But if you look on the LEFT side, you'll see "LOAD", which is the Power pushing AGAINST you, and you'll see "WATTS", which is the Power you're pushing back. LOAD or TARGET Wattage will never change color. BUT... "WATTS" can and will. Furthermore, if you look FURTHER DOWN, you'll see a HORIZONTAL BAR that is the SAME COLOR as the "WATTS" value. Do you see the Copper colors? 

PerfPro's Horizontal Bar is another way to display WATTS.
WATTS are displayed on the dashboard in both NUMERICAL and BAR CHART FORM. Depending on how far ABOVE or BELOW you are in terms of RANGE or PROXIMITY to the goal wattage, it will change colors. For kicks and giggles, here's an image of the range itself. 

PerfPro Cadence and Wattage Bar Colors and Ranges

So if it's GREEN, you're close enough to the goal. If it's COPPER, you're a little too hot, and if it's YELLOW, you need to pick up your effort a bit. BUT HERE'S A LITTLE SECRET...


PerfPro Horizontal WATTS bar in Copper or ORANGE.

Now - there's a little bit more to look at here, so bear with me. Do you see a small triangle on this image? That's the LOAD or GOAL wattage, identified by the pipper. 

PerfPro has a Pipper to symbolize LOAD or GOAL

As LOAD changes, the pipper will also move around. When the Horizontal bar is GREEN, it's right on top of the pipper. So as you go through your intervals, watch your power bar as it fluctuates near the pipper. As you become a better cyclist, your ability to hold wattage, and "STAY GREEN", will improve!

Average Watts per Interval is HERE.

Continuing down the list. THIS is something you should look at, because it displays the cumulative average power PER LAP or INTERVAL. In this example, the rider is generating 189 watts, but her LAP or INTERVAL average, is 175 watts. This HAPPENS to be 119% of FTP, which you can see in WHITE at the bottom. Furthermore, if you look to the right, you'll see...

PerfPro also shows average wattage per lap as at % of FTP.

SO... Going back to the countdown timer, if we look at the GOAL in terms of % of FTP.... 

PerfPro clock and timer

Well, in this case, the rider's AVERAGE POWER per LAP or INTERVAL, is about 3% above their goal. As a result, the HORIZONTAL BAR is COPPER colored, which means that they're a LITTLE HOT, and the CompuTrainer will be doing stuff behind the scenes to help the rider keep their wattage closer to the target. 

OH yeah - remember RRC? Well, when you calibrated... it saved the information, and it's presented, HERE.

In PerfPro if RRC: is GREEN, then it is GOOD!

Finally, take a look at this workout profile. It shows the workout, and the intervals as they rise and fall. LOAD or GOAL wattage will rise and fall for you, based on percentage of FTP, and it will be based on YOUR FTP. 

PerfPro Workout Profile
As the red line moves from left to right, your LOAD will increase and decrease, and you'll need to generate an equal number of WATTS, in order to achieve the training effect. 

That's about it for now - all you really need to remember is that MOST of the time, you just need to pedal. The CompuTrainer and your Coaches will do the rest. You'll be challenged like you wouldn't believe, but you'll also be able to literally watch your fitness improve in real-time, and you'll get the feedback you need to continue your improvement. When we revisit PerfPro, we'll talk about some of the other dashboard screens, and how you can use them to check on your results, progress, and reasses your goals as you raise your ability to pedal faster, pedal harder, and pedal longer than ever before!

Watts per Kilogram! 

-Coach Wharton

Coach Richard Wharton

Functional Threshold Power (FTP), Anaerobic Work Capacity (Now Titled W'...), and How It Applies to Classes at Cycling Center Dallas.

It's Mid-February, and the Groundhog decided rather quickly to re-enter his den, after seeing his shadow. That means more opportunities for us at Cycling Center Dallas, to help you continue to improve your Stamina, Speed, and Strength through our Six-Week Series of Classes. Many of you begrudgingly participated in two days of testing, to determine your absolute highest-average-power outputs for three minutes, eight minutes, and later, twenty minutes. Read More


H.I.I.T. It, Don’t QUIT It: Break Through to the NEXT Level in Cycling and Fat Loss!

All About Iron and Cycling Center Dallas team up to bring you another seminar on making 2014 your LEANEST, STRONGEST and FASTEST ever on the bike! Read More


A Weekend With RaceDay Apollo Co-Developer David Tilbury-Davis

A couple of weekends ago, our White Rock Lake studio was honored to host one of the two partners for some very powerful cycling and triathlon training and analysis software, David Tilbury-Davis. Mr. Davis is a triathlon coach with the British Triathlon Union (BTU), and will be relocating from his base in Spain to a new location outside of Houston this year. He came to Dallas to explain to an elite crew of coaches, what RaceDay Apollo is, and what it can do for the coach and the athlete. Read More


Why Six Weeks?

Wow - what a question. It's one that we get a lot at Cycling Center Dallas, and it finally requires some words. So let's have a look and a discussion, and hopefully you'll see why we think Six-Week-Long Series' tend to work the best for our cyclists. Read More


Lancaster Rally and A Ride With Emily Penn - Mission Accomplished!

This past weekend was a busy one, with a number of Cycling Center Dallas patrons enjoying the perfect Spring weather, and riding their bikes - mostly out at the Lancaster Bike Rally, hosted by the Greater Dallas Bicyclists. Per a previous arrangement, I made plans to head South of Dallas, just off of I-20, to meet up with one of my favorite clients, and escort her on an adventure. Read More


Three Months in, and we're starting to see some real results!

I am posting this today from our Richardson Location, where we'll be hosting an Open House, from 2 to 5pm, complete with food, drinks, music, and live demonstrations of the studio and trainers, but the story behind the studio really has to be the results that we're starting to witness as a result of the programming and participation. Read More


New Year - New Locations - New Services - New Crew - New Everything!!!

Image Well, when last I wrote on this blog, I was letting everyone know about our decision to leave the JCC basement and relocate to not one but TWO locations. That move is now complete, and while there is still a little work to do, we have both studios up and running, with more services, professional staff, and larger capacity so that we can help more people improve their cycling performance. Let's begin with a rundown of locations, then staff, then services, and I'll sprinkle some photos in there as well.  Image The Cycling Center Dallas began in the Fall of 2006, with just 6 CompuTrainers, using the original CompuTrainer MultiRider software. We quickly grew to 8, then 14, and finally 18 stations on two separate machines, and we were responsible for remodeling the basement area of the JCC Dallas, to separate the SPIN studio from the Performance Training studio. I'm eternally grateful for all the help that was given for those expansions. However, running a 'For-Profit' entity inside a non-profit organization, along with struggles about promotion, marketing, advertising, even signage, left us with no choice but to begin considering relocation in August of 2012. In December of 2012, we signed leases at TWO locations, both within 60' linear feet of our absolute favorite bike shops, the Richardson Bike Mart on Coit & Campbell, and the Richardson Bike Mart on S. Garland Rd. The moveout took a day, and moving in took about 10 days, but we were successful, and in early January, we began offering CompuTrainer ErgVideo classes for our new and returning clients. Image The North facility, at 1373 W. Campbell Rd, opened first. We now have 18 rider stations, our own resistance training area, and will be operating our Wattage-based coaching services for cyclists and triathletes out of this retail space. Image In mid-February, we opened the second facility, at 9028 S. Garland Rd., and began offering 12-rider programming, TRX and Core Stability training, and perhaps most unique, we were able to acquire the services of Craig Fulk, a Master Retul bike fitter. Image Craig has been the secret success for my clients and myself for several years now, and to have him in Dallas (his home studio is located in Roanoke, TX) is an incredible honor. Craig was also greatly responsible for painting both facilities, and coming up with awesome ideas for the physical structure, as well as software and scheduling programming. If you have not had a bike fit with Craig, I urge you to make a reservation. I compare it to a day on Savile Row - your bike will fit like an Italian-cloth suit when it's done!! We also need to mention that he is a Certified Cycling Coach. This huge wealth of knowledge gives his fits the absolute edge when it comes to helping a cyclist get the most out of their bike as well as their body, be it bio-mechanically or physiologically. With two locations up and running, a supplemental first rate staff was required to make sure we could juggle the responsibilities of time and understanding of all the vagaries of the software and hardware of our core service - Performance Cycling Training and Instruction. Assistants Dorothy Zarbo and Janna Doss agreed to return and continue helping riders with their setups, at each respective location (Dorothy up north, Janna down south). Both are earning their USA Cycling Coaching Certificates to better serve and communicate with our athletes how training with power can help them improve their Stamina, Speed, and Strength, through the services offered at Cycling Center Dallas. Image Justine Viera is also working with us full-time. She is a Level 2 USA Cycling Coach, with the wattage certification, and will be taking on clients through our OnlineBikeCoach web services in the very near future. Image Finally, Tracy Christenson and Chris Gescheidle will be our USA Triathlon coaches. Both are certified through USAC and USAT, and can accept clients for recreational and competitive coaching programs. Image Our resistance training expert at the Richardson location is Coach Kurt Chacon, who has been named one of the Top 100 Trainers in the USA! His business card literally reads 'Too many qualifications to list!' Other coaches coming on board include: Image Jennifer Stephens, a USA Cycling, USA Triathlon, and USA Running coach, and David Lopez, recently certified with USA Cycling. Other staff will be coming on board in the future, and we will post them here, as well as on our TWO Facebook pages, as their schedules and certs are completed. To summarize, here is a list of our services, and a list of our Coaches and Staff:
  • Wattage-Based Group Training in classes, held mornings and evenings, Monday through Thursday, and on weekends when inclement weather is present.Image
  • Wattage-Based individual coaching and consulting (power meter required and 3-month commitment required) for Cyclists and Triathletes.Image
  • Resistance Training for individuals and small groups, to enhance cycling ability through core strengthening and balance improvements.
  • Nutrition Consulting for cycling performance and weight loss
  • Retul-based bike fitting (South Location only) - appointments may be made via
  • Threshold Testing to establish wattage baselines.Image
  • Group bike handling skills clinics, women's bike handling and group riding clinics, and Cycling Savvy classes, available seasonally. Image
  • Personal Shopping Services and Assistance through Richardson Bike Mart.Image
Our goal is to be the Pinnacle of knowledge and information for cyclists and triathletes at any and all levels of experience, help them set achievable goals, and then accomplish those goals inside and outside of the studios, so that cycling, triathlon and fitness performance become a more regular part of their lives. Coach Wharton is celebrating his 20th year as a Certified Cycling Coach, and his experience, along with this fantastic crew and locations, give North Texans unparalleled access and opportunity to train themselves in to faster, stronger, longer-riding cyclists! If you haven't seen our sites just yet, please feel free to come on by for a morning or evening visit, or call us at the following numbers to set up an appointment. Those that haven't yet tried the programs are welcome to one free session, and registration for class series and individual classes are available through the website: Thanks again to everyone for all your support - we'll be posting a LOT more frequently, so check in and see what's what, and watch us grow!! Image


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: