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STOKED! on cycling

Do you remember when cycling was exciting and new? When you got that little rush of excitement when you were gearing up and heading out to tackle a ride?  Getting stoked on cycling is as easy as trying something new, and these days there is no shortage of new stuff to get excited about.  The gear, the clothing, the electronics, the disc brakes, the fat bikes, the gravel.  There are hundreds of splinter-cell cool things going on in cycling right now besides the traditional Road, Mountain, Cyclocross and Track, so pick one and get after it!  You don’t have to race, you can just try out something new. 

You have to be stoked and a little “in love” with the whole thing or it won’t keep you working. That is what keeps me coming back and finding fresh excitement for something I have done non-stop since 1985.   I have been through 3 year obsessive phases in road racing, mountain bike racing and cyclocross racing, and that only got me to 1997.  If you are starting off this season and not feeling the “Stoke” then you need to mix it up.  Show up to a new ride, sign up for a new event, or try a different kind of cycling to keep it fresh and challenging.  The cool thing is that when you come back to what you first loved, in my case Road cycling, it is fresh once again years later like returning from a long around the world trip to your home.  Get out there and get stoked!!! –  Check out Meet Up to find new things, here is our page to get you started that lists all our rides and clinics for the summer:  Meet Up-Find cool groups or events to try near you

 

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Faster TT’s from Indoor Racing

Efficiency and Pacing for Time Trials

by Adrian Hegyvary

 

For the last two months, Cycle University has had semimonthly time trial tests on a 10km, electronically simulated course. Using Computrainers, each race pits up to seven people against one another over 6.2 miles of 3% grades calibrated by rider weight. This forum has supplied us with pages of data, given us a rare opportunity to witness how to best ride a time trial, and without a doubt, has reinforced the old tenant that consistent pacing is the key to a strong TT performance.

The Computrainer software allows us to display each rider’s instantaneous power output in watts, the most objective measurement of “how hard” you’re going. At the end of the test the computer records average and maximal power, along with average/maximum speed, average/maximum heart rate, and finishing time. From these data we can analyze each ride in multiple dimensions: how hard you felt like you were working (perceived exertion), how hard you really were working (heart rate), and what all that hard work produced (finishing time and power output).

By examining results in this manner, many riders have seen significant performance gains. Take one rider as a case study: Jeff (we’ll call him) rode three time trials, each with similar results, and was looking for a way to improve. We looked over his old results and found large discrepancies between his average and maximal power, showing that for at least a portion of the test he was going too hard, then had to back off for a while to recover. These accelerations were eating up his energy, just as stop-and-go driving burns more gas.

Last week we set a goal of maintaining 10 watts above the average power of his previous time trial, and trying not to go above or below it. He said that for the first half of the test he felt like he wasn’t working hard, but by the end he was maxed out. The end result was that his average power for the test increased by 10 watts as planned, his finishing time dropped by 20 seconds, but his heart rate remained the same and he felt like the time trial was easier. The key to this example is in the importance micro-pacing: without paying attention to his power output, Jeff would have thought he was going too easy for the first half, and his heart rate would have shown no different. But by targeting a level just higher than he knew sustainable, his performance painlessly increased by a significant margin.

If you’re interested in testing your own performance, there will be one more time trial this season the evening of April 12th. At the end of the series, the men and women with the most improvement in finishing time as a percentage will each receive CycleU prizes. Please e-mail: service@cycleu.com for Dates, times, and registration information or check our website http://www.cycleu.com. (Cost is free but we suggest a $5 donation to Cascade Bicycle Club for each race you do).

In addition, we will hold intermittent simulations of a number of northwest races throughout the season, including time trials from local stage races, key portions of other races, etc. We will also continue to offer the regular 10k race monthly if there is enough interest. We are also available on a consultation basis, and can create courses for regular practice if you are targeting specific events.

 

Learn fast. Ride Smart.

Cycle University

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My Favorite Zone

February 17, 2009

by Dan Harm

 

I really don’t know where the past four months of InCycle has disappeared to. Yesterday, as I was doodling in my calendar all the things I had to do this week, I realized that there is only a little over a month of InCycle left. Yes, I know; I shouldn’t get too upset since InCycle is going to be offered in the Spring and Summer and on and on into the years to come. But, regardless, I get nostalgic about eventual endings.

It’s not just for InCycle. Even in College I remember I would get a little sad towards the end of the quarter. My peers thought I was crazy because they were excited as all hell to be done with school. Yet, my feelings towards each of my classes ending was a mixture of excitement about moving onto the next step, and of a sentimental appreciation for the enjoyable learning journey I had ventured.

I felt the same way when I worked at an Art school for gifted high schoolers. At the end of the year I knew the seniors would slip away into the folds of the big world. I knew they were ready, I knew they had learned so much, and that I had been a part of what they had learned. But, even though I was so excited to see these former high schoolers find their place in the world, I was still filled with hints of sadness, for next year I would not see their faces roaming the hallways and book shelves.

The same holds true for InCycle. All the people in InCycle have become familiar faces to me. I know what hobbies they like, what they do for a living, how their kids and pets are doing, how their daily lives are going. They are all interesting and lively people who share two of my life passions: riding bikes and staying healthy.

Every class I see improvement in their skills, technique, and most of all fitness. Even though I have no trouble seeing the physical improvement of InCycle members, for some reason it is still hard for some of them to see it for themselves. Many still have doubts about how much they have improved.

Having doubts about one’s self can be very useful, for it prevents complacency and promotes an eternal search for advancing one’s self. But, there comes a point when an individual must applaud their achievements and be proud of the hard work done.

Throughout the course of four months InCycle members have gone from barely being able to hold zone 3 for a five minute intervals, to being able to hit Zone 5 for seven minutes. If this is not a clear indication of progression, then I don’t know what is. When we did our first Zone 5 interval in InCycle, all the members were shocked. Many of them said they had never hurt so badly and that they were disappointed with their average watts. To this I answered: “Look at it this way: Four months ago you could not have even attempted Zone 5 for seven minutes. Now, you just did it.”

Me being witness to over 120 people improving their lives by riding a bike and staying healthy is quite a reward. I know next year I will most likely see a lot of familiar faces at InCycle. There will also be a lot of new faces as well. Each class is different. Changes and endings are inevitable. Lives change, people move around, and, as we all know, every good time must come to an end.

Yes, it is hard to accept change. But, as InCycle draws to an end next month I at least know that deep down inside every-one’s favorite Zone is Zone 5. And this is what moves me onwards.