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Pedal your heart out, Vail Valley

Melanie Wong
mwong@vaildaily.com
Edwards, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyThe Vail Valley 'Strongest Cyclist' competition starts Monday at Dogma Athletica in Edwards, Colorado
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VAIL VALLEY, Colorado ” Next week, Vail Valley, Colorado cyclists will get on their bikes and pedal hard ” going nowhere.

Riders will have a chance to test their power against other cyclists by hooking their bikes to a computer system that will register everything from heart rate to average watts produced during the ride.

As part of “Who is the toughest cyclist in the valley?” competition hosted by Dogma Athletica of Edwards, riders can take the test on the gym’s Computrainer system. The measuring stick is how many watts per kilogram a rider produces during a 30 minute all-out effort.

Eagle-Vail cyclist Paul Hields was completing a similar test last week at the gym’s cycling lab. As he crossed the “finish line,” he was worn out, sweat drenched and breathless.

“I went really, really hard,” he said. “I think I rode at 105 percent!”

But the ride was a success ” Hields improved his average watts per kilogram by eight watts.

“It’s hell, like any high intensity activity is when you’re doing it,” he said of the test. “But when you cross the finish line you know it was worth it.”

The competition will have several categories, including men’s and women’s open, 35-plus, 45-plus and 55-plus. Top winners will receive six-month memberships to the gym, and other categories will get prizes such as bike fits, and cycling products.

Dogma Athletica owner and coach Rod Connolly said he organized the competition as a way to get riders training smarter and better for their summer activities, whether that be mountain bike races or group rides on the road.

“This is a chance to find out (where your fitness is) before they get to the first mountain bike race in May when they blow up and feel awful,” he said.

The gym’s cycling lab offers riders a more intense focused workout, he said, something that helps athletes improve their power and performance.

“Most people go out and just ride at the same intensity, in third gear,” Connolly said. “That’s not a bad place to be, but with some structured training, harder intervals, and even some easier riding, it’s amazing how quick the body responds.”

Edwards resident Alan Christie plans to compete, and said he’s expecting some tough riders to come out.

After moving to the valley from the more temperate Front Range, Christie started taking the Computrainer classes to keep in shape to road race in the summer.

“You can get a great workout,” he said. “You don’t spend your time coasting downhill, drafting or stopping at stoplights.”

The computer system even allows riders to download simulated courses so they can “ride” the Tour de France’s Alp de Huez, or even their favorite local course.

“It’s great to see where your fitness is at. I know I’m not the toughest cyclist in the Vail Valley,” he said, laughing. “There are so many pros and ex-pros who live here who are going to crush me. But for anyone who wants to make themselves a stronger cyclist, this is a great way to push yourself with some competition.”

Staff writer Melanie Wong can be reached at mwong@vaildaily.com or at 970-748-2928


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