Prepping for the Paluxy Pedal! Hilly Terrain and How to Conquer "THE WALL!"

Paluxy Pedal 66 Mile Route 2014
This month at Cycling Center Dallas, we will be focusing exclusively on helping our cyclists prepare for the Hills and Dales of the potluck seat pedal, which will be held October 4, down in Glen Rose, Texas. The route has changed somewhat in the last few years, as the Somervell County Sheriff will no longer allow the route to cross US Highway 67. In order to accommodate the riders and continue to take advantage of the great terrain out there, they have given us a great course with lots of rollers in the first half, and then a magnificent, challenging false flat climb back towards the town. Both the 65 milers and the middle distance cyclists, will also get to experience the challenge known as quote the wall". While the wall is billed as the steepest quarter mile in North Texas, it is a great opportunity for us at Cycling Center Dallas to help all of you prepare through our specialized training protocols.
 
Looking at the profile in a more detailed method, we agreed that the majority of the climbs were in the two minute range of duration. Furthermore, with the long false flat in the middle of the route, we have incorporated several longer duration threshold intervals to help our riders better prepare for the constant load that will be placed on them as they climb out on US Highway 147. Here are some examples of the training profiles.
Intervals to Help Conquer the Paluxy Pedal Rally
In this example, you can see that we have focused on multiple two minute intervals with two minute recoveries, and each interval in a set of four increases in intensity. These intervals will mimic the energy demands that can be required in the first 25 to 30 miles of the 65 mile route. We will also be challenging our clients by switching from what I call fixed gear mode, to course mode. In course mode, through PerfPro studio, we can set a slope, and the wattage goal is then independent of the cyclists power output. In other words, the cyclist has a goal, but the cyclist is required to achieve that goal through finding the right combination of gear, cadence, speed, and intensity. Cadence is compromised and it takes a fine touch to achieve the wattage goal for the interval.
Here, after a good warm-up, the riders are subjected to multiple one minute intervals, with intensities that are descending, and climbing. When we look at wattage training files from real world rides, the rides are often very stochastic in nature, but they tend to look almost like a cutlery set. There are steak knives, butter knives, and knives with serrated edges or flat tops, almost like a butcher knife. Coach Noel has built this workout to help cyclists become more savvy in their application of power, and also their ability to recover.
In this example, our coaches looked at the final quarter of the rally, and came up with some intervals that are both threshold and anaerobic or supra-aerobic in nature. The recoveries are a little bit longer, and the intensities are deceiving, because the duration in which the riders are working right at above their threshold, will have them tapping into their final energy reserves. Attempting this workout in the course mode is the ultimate challenge, and we urge you to sign up today so that you can witness the gains and learn the concepts of knowledge and power for yourself.
Now - here is the secret to "The Wall"! 

  1. STAY WIDE - FIRST TO THE RIGHT, and THEN, IF YOU CAN, GO LEFT! The route is slightly longer, but it's also a bit less steep. This is a good rule of thumb for any steep climb with turns - stay wide... it's worth the extra 10 feet or so.
  2. SHIFT IN TO AN EASIER GEAR EARLY!!! If you don't, all sorts of things can happen, including dropped chains, the inability to shift at all, broken chains, rubbing, just stuff you don't want to deal with. So shift with your left hand early, and use EVERY GEAR in your rear cassette. 
  3. PEDAL TO THE TERRAIN. Sometimes pedaling requires that you grind. Sometimes you can spin, and some times it's in between. FEEL the hill, and SHIFT to meet the slope.
  4. Stand when you have to, but when you DO stand, COMMIT to the CLIMB. Standing is more powerful, but it's also more taxing on your body. If you get out of the saddle, keep your chest out, your chin up, and your cadence steady.
  5. When seated, try to keep the front wheel lighter through less pressure. Less pressure gives you the ability to put MORE pressure on the rear wheel. You don't want to 'wheelie' up the climb, but just try to keep the gravity on the back end of the bike. 
  6. As mentioned earlier - focus on good form. Keep your back flat, your chest out, your chin up and looking at the Event Horizon, and keep your shoulders relaxed. You will NOT climb this at an epic pace. It's a grind. Watch the video for more pointers. 
  7. SMILE! Seriously - it releases better hormones and energy, and lowers your anxiety. 
  8. IF you have to dismount, make SURE you CLIP OUT EARLY, and GET YOUR BUTT between the SADDLE and the STEM. Bend the knee that is still clipped in, and land on your free leg's heel. That SHOULD translate to a safe dismount, but remember, a bicycle is most stable when it's moving, and that critical moment when you're balancing off of one pedal only can be hazardous. That said, if you train at Cycling Center Dallas ----- you SHOULD be able to climb it ALL THE WAY!!!

 
The Paluxy pedal is one of the best rallies of the year. It occurs at a time when the heat of summer has finally passed, and fall is in the air. Glen Rose is a beautiful little town, with some great restaurants, and the hospitality down there just cannot be beat. Fossil rim wildlife preserve is famous for its preservation efforts, and there are plenty of hotels where you can stay, and make a weekend of this great event. So join us at Cycling Center Dallas as we train for the terrain in Somervell County. You can sign up for the rally through this link, and you can register with us by clicking here.



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