Track season has officially come to a close. The off season is in full swing. For many, an off season entails a far more relaxed form of activity. Most will simply ride for pleasure with complete disregard for power output or heart rate zones. The more performance focused rider will use this time to begin building an endurance base for the coming race season. Experimenting with new training methodologies or some form of cross training often arises. Cyclists can explore some variety without having to stray to far. With so many cycling related disciplines, it is not difficult to find some other form of the sport to break up the monotony. Cycling, as an activity, primarily relies upon endurance. However, a level of strength is also required. Weight training is often the first place one may consider finding an edge on gaining strength to put more power into the pedals. The following will be an examination of the relevance of weight training in the pursuit of higher cycling performance.
Let us take a look at the two opposite ends of the power spectrum, climbers and sprinters. Alberto Contador is rumored to only produce 900 watts in his all out efforts. Those are not particularly significant numbers. However, his 20min max effort is questioned to be around 490 watts, plenty remarkable. Shane Perkins, on the other hand, can max out at 2500 watts. His legs certainly do not classify him as a sprinter. Seeing as how the average cyclist may peak 1000 watt on an mountain biking ride without even noticing, suggest that no weight training is necessary to match Alberto’s max power. However, it is clear we are all not riding grand tours every summer. His threshold is something to note. But, weight training is not the answer. It would not be much of a stretch to assume any individual that has ridden a bike can put out the same power as him, certainly not for the same duration. Perkins on the other hand, might have some trouble holding his own on a lengthier race. However, he did not develop his strength training like Contador; he ate squats for breakfast.
We will now examine the middle ground. Power profile released by American domestic rider Daniel Holloway show that the winning wattage from a field sprint top out around 1500 watts. His efficiency and positing certainly aids his respectable power. For those racing amateur categories, wattage may be similar if not slightly lower than that of Holloway. Mark Cavendish was interviewed in 2008 showing he exerts 1600 watts in a final sprint. Of course, both Holloway and Cavendish raced a number of miles before delivering their final sprints. Fatigue should always be considered in observing these figures. Still, the average racer has seen these numbers at one point or another through some measurement device. But they are not all professionals. It stands that we are easily as strong as several high level riders. The endurance is our limiting factor. Therefore, endurance and power endurance on the bike ought to be the chief focus for a rider looking to improve.
Nevertheless, weight training does have a place in training for cycling. Cycling is an intrinsically low impact activity. However, it is possible for injuries to arise. When done properly, resistance training supplements supporting muscles and reduces the chance of injury. A rider primarily uses only leg muscles groups. Back, core, and arm muscles are incorporated as a means of stability. Even then, those auxiliary muscles activate when turning or pedaling out of the saddle. Otherwise, they are marginally active. As a result, an imbalance will occur from exclusively riding. Additionally, cycling is not the only task we must perform throughout the day. Lifting heavy objects would be quite a struggle if only leg muscle groups were trained. Crashes are also common place for recreational and competitive riders. Weight training is commonly know for increasing bone density. While weight training is not solely the key to higher performance, it does well to improve one’s general fitness and injury resistance.
In terms of specificity, weight training programs vary widely. A sprinter does not training the amount of reps or exercises as a climber. A climber maybe content with simple body-weight mobility exercise akin to yoga. While a sprinter would focus on max weight or max reps in a given exercise. For the purposes of off-season training for a non-specialized rider, a program that includes a variety of movements and repetition ranges will suffice. One key point ought to be considered when chosen an exercise specifically for cycling. The Australian national team strength coach Paul Rodgers notes, “How many feet do you push each pedal with at one time? If you train bilaterally you get stronger bilaterally and unilateral strength lags behind. If you train unilaterally, you get stronger unilaterally. It’s a neural thing. ”
Weight training for a cyclist offers a means to stimulate muscles that are otherwise neglected. Resistance training also increases bone density helping to prevent more severe injuries from crashes. While weight training does improve one’s general capabilities, it is not strictly required when looking to increase power output. Nothing will improve one’s riding abilities like riding. However, if riding quickly is the goal, riding quickly needs to be included in training.
Last week one morning, I stepped out my door to ride to work and then I went back inside. The autumn chill had arrived. I finally needed another layer. It was a balmy 61 degrees and after a summer of 100 degree afternoons, I’d been spoiled by the heat. Since then, I’ve been obsessed with trying to find a long sleeve jersey to fill the gap between my full-on jacket (Castelli Gabba) and short sleeve jerseys. Yeah, I have arm warmers. And yeah, I don’t need ’em when I ride home from work in the afternoon, but dammit, I want a new piece of kit.
I am fundamentally opposed to spending more than $50 on any jersey. Although nowadays, even at-cost, a team jersey is like $65. I still buy it, begrudgingly. But I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than that on a piece of torso-wear.
I can do expensive bibs, ’cause they’re important for crotch reasons. But the only difference between a $150 jersey and a $50 jersey is aesthetics, which I’m all about, but I’m always struggling with my personal contradiction of cool vs. cost. Therefore, I turn to ebay.
Search vintage jersey on ebay and be amused for hours. There’s so many terrible-but-somehow-awesome 90’s designs floating around for well under $50.
My teammates are familiar with my “flying LSD Doritos jersey”. I nabbed that for $9 a few years back. It’s confusing, ugly, and bizarre, but somehow so beautiful. It’s a peek into a bygone era, which is now being revitalized by millennial nostalgia along with Vaporwave, throwback thursday and zubaz pants.
Now I’m searching for a long sleeve vestment of similar character. The cool vs. cost factor is maximized by the current 80’s/90’s throwback trend and the fact that this is somehow still unnoticed by the general cycling public, so you can find great designs for cheap. It’s so much more rewarding to own a rare vintage piece at a good price than spending $100+ for something from a dime-a-dozen overpriced online boutiques. Here’s what I’ve got on my watch list:
This one is impeccable. Still so clean. Those brush graphics with the neon color are super fresh. On top of that, its a beer sponsor, which adds at least $10 in value (either for the love of sheer beer, the brand or the irony); the classic Coors Light logo hearkens back to the Coors Classic race. Much nostalgia. Very good. 10/10.
Another Pearl Izumi great. As of today, their design team is really stale, but they’re coming back in a big way on eBay. This one has a lot of Japanese influence with the original Pearl Izumi logo in that almost-hand-drawn 80’s anime-style font. Zip up, put the Sega on pause and turn on a little Macintosh Plus.
More subdued is this here Campagnolo brand long sleeve. I couldn’t date this one at all, but it seems to be a bit more recent. Post-2010 if I had to guess. I thought with this one I could get close to that subtle Rapha look, especially with the pedigree of Campagnolo logos, but ultimately decided against as it looks a bit too roomy. You gotta have that race fit if you’re wearing bib shorts or tights, otherwise you might as well be wearing a trash bag. That ain’t ballin’.
This guy “velomatic_bicycles” seems to be from Europe and as such, has some really unique vintage European brands. This one is a bit small. A Euro size 2 works out to about an extra-small in American sizing. The design on this one though caught my eye and for the price, I would have totally bought it if I had a chance of squeezing into it.
All of these striking designs need visual “room” to breathe, so to speak. That’s why I plan to only pair with a simple black bib. If you wear one of theses with team shorts, it might be considered pro, but unless you’re the type of guy/gal who can pull off those garish pairings, you’re gonna look weird if the colors don’t go well. A good set of black bibs give you the freedom to go out on an eBay vintage jersey shopping spree without having to buy a full kit for each one.
Last night, it was girls’ night out and I’ve been wanting to try Novo Cucina located in Dunwoody.
Since I wasn’t sure how busy this place would be, reservations were made through Open Table. We arrived around 6 and were seated promptly on a not so busy, Monday night. As we waited for a friend to arrive, the waiter came over to take our drink orders. I’m always thrilled when I see a nice beer and wine selection.
Once everyone was there, we placed our orders; Chef’s Insalatona Salad, Vegetarian Pizza and Grilled Salmon Entrée Salad. Our arrived quickly, fresh and delicious – better than what I can make. Then the 10 inch pizza followed. If you are like me, you might want to order one for yourself instead of sharing.
Lastly and always my favorite, we ordered gelato!!! Sea Salt Caramel and Chocolate Chocolate Chip are regular flavors on the menu but Peach and Pechello (Peach Gelato with Champaign) was the special of the day. All were excellent flavors.
After we finished our dinner, we received our tabs and paid our bills without any long wait.
All and all, I would give this restaurant an 8 on a scale from 1 to 10. If you are looking to carb up before a long bike ride, this would be an excellent restaurant to visit.
Though there is no bike parking in front of this restaurant, Dunwoody is fast becoming a bike friendly community. Over the last few years, people have worked hard to bring bike lanes and make it safe for cyclists of all ages.
I have made my fare share of mistakes since I started racing track two years ago. I recently made a few mistakes that made me go back to the USAC rule book to make sure I brushed up on the latest rules.
You my be surprised at how many things a rider has to remember when racing on the track. This is a result of all the different races we have and the rules that go with them. It is a riders responsibility to make sure they know the rules and abide by them. It is the official’s job to make sure the riders abide by the rules. If you don’t know the rules, you can not protest another rider or dispute a call made by the official. I could keep going her but I will stop. You probably get the idea.
If you read Kevin O’Donnell’s post last week titled “The Longest Race” you read that the Dick Lane Velodrome has between 177 and 213 individual races for the riders depending on their category. In addition there is a youth program. This is by far the best race program of any velodrome in the United States. It takes more than just the riders to make a velodrome successful. It takes a management team, officials and lets not forget volunteers.
If you have not done so this season, please take a moment to thank these people for all they do.
If you are reading this and race at another velodrome, thank your local management team, officials and volunteers there.
I currently have the honor of representing the Dick Lane Velodrome on the Georgia Bicycle Racing Association Board of Directors. I enjoy the role very much. My fellow board members are very passionate about bicycle racing and each brings a unique perspective on how we can improve racing here in Georgia. If you have ever found yourself complaining about any aspect of bicycle racing please take the time to vote for your representative. You can find more information here:
This year I have added another role by being elected to the Track Sport Committee of USA Cycling. I will be the Local Association Representative to the committee for two years. After our first conference call I feel these members are as passionate as I am about track cycling and how we can improve as a nation. This is an except from USA Cycling’s website about the role of the sport committees:
“The role of the sport committees is to serve in an advisory capacity and work with USA Cycling staff to develop competition rules and consider issues relevant to their respective discipline. Each sport committee will also nominate and elect representatives to the USA Cycling Board of Directors. Representation on sport committees is based on membership categories rather than by region, allowing all of the stakeholders in our sport to have a more relevant and consistent role in the development and growth of each specific discipline.”
A few of the topics I’m looking forward to discussing with my fellow committee members and USA Cycling:
I have been racing at the DLV for two seasons now. Nearly from the beginning I felt like part of the “DLV Track Family.” This is a partial list of what makes the DLV special to me. What is it about the DLV that makes it special to you? Post your comments on Facebook.
The Dick Lane Velodrome is a place of opportunity. A rough count of our weekly and Pro Race Series races tallied to 177 races for elites and 213 for master. If one felt like trying something new in a race, the DLV provides plenty of chances. In addition to multitudes of racing events, our results and points are tracked cumulatively throughout the year. All riders can track their performance and spark rivalries across our 28 week season. Thus making the DVL racing season one of the longest races. While our racing is challenging in its own right, showing up week after week takes a special effort. We all experience moments of exhaustion throughout the season, just like in any other race. So then we have to chose between being pulled or sitting in and hanging on for the finish. Unlike a road race, we can simply bow out and have another crack at it next week. With only three weeks remaining, some are feeling fresh enough for a sprint finish while others are rolling in knowing their effort was not a waste. Even as exhausted as I may be, I am already looking forward to another season. And the end of the season party.
After five months of intense track racing and the Dick Lane Velodrome Pro Race Series in the books, it’s hard to believe that the season has another month left. Yet I already know I’m going to love every minute of September. Cool autumn breezes are creeping through Atlanta, but the racing is as hot as ever. After thousands of laps with the rest of the riders at the DLV, you can sense the tactics shifting as riders learn from each others strengths and weaknesses. Like Google’s artificial intelligence, we’ve studied past strategies and results to learn what moves we should be making and anticipating. Perhaps it’s a side effect of the Olympics being this year. Either way, September racing is always my favorite learning opportunity on the track.
By this time of the year some riders have already quit, but track cycling every Tuesday and Wednesday is so familiar now it’s hard to imagine it not being a part of my week. I’m used to the Clark Kent-like process of changing out of business casual into a skin suit, or inhaling post ride pizza and beer. Moreover, track cycling has an aspect of community that other cycling disciplines lack. You might go to a road race and know 15 or 20 people, but go to the track and you feel like you’re back home with family.
A need for speed is in our nature. There are many reasons why cycling makes us happy. The state of flow to me is among the most rewarding. While I’ve had the privilege of riding some of the nicest “flow” trails on a mountain bike, nothing puts me into the flow mindset like track racing. It’s as simple as “go fast, turn left” and as complex as trying to add up the totals in a points race while you’re going 30 miles per hour in a crowd of other riders. Track cycling demands a singular focus that is hard to come by in the modern world. This weekly dose of flow will be hard to live without in the off-season, but I’ll have plenty of races to visualize and dream about as I sit at home spinning on my trainer.
In my view, the Dick Lane Velodrome is to cycling what the Bonneville Salt Flats are to motorsport; a place for the truly devoted to run wide open against the laws of physics. Our hallowed ground. Of course, a group of riders is faster than a lone rider. Without the dedication of the community and volunteers at the Dick Lane Velodrome, we wouldn’t be able to experience the joys of racing six months out of the year. One thing I know for certain is that I’ll miss track season once it’s gone, but I’ll especially miss the other people with one-track minds who make the magic happen.