What's Cool In Road Cycling

Cool Shops: Philly’s Cadence Performance Center

At first glance you’d think that Cadence Performance Cycling has been around for years – it’s a full-on full service bike shop and training facility just around the corner from the Manayunk Wall in Philly, frequented by pros, enthusiasts, and aficionados who love cycling. We had to go inside…

In fact, they opened just in April 2004, without an established customer base, but with “a burning desire to do it right”, a promotion budget to tell all of Philly, and the staff to make it happen. After 4 months business is booming, and it seems other shops might learn a thing or two from these guys.

Cadence is easy to find in Philly – right on the USPro Champs route – just behind the yellow car…

Situated in a rebuilt heritage building on the Philly USPro Champs circuit, the shop is home to both a high end bike sop – Cadence Performance Cycling, and a training facility – a Carmichael Training Center franchise. As the name suggests, these guys are all about performance, from their high-end road offerings (they stock Time, BMC, Wilier, Argon 18 and Cyfac bikes), to the onsite CTS franchise run by ex-pro and Olympian Brian Walton.

The shop is the brainchild of Jay Snider and Matt Heitman, who used their extensive business, retail, and management experience to plan things out long before they opened the doors. Snider knows a thing or two about the big leagues – having been the president of Philly’s basketball 76ers.

Inside the shop was SRO during the USPro Champs in June.

Their above-projections growth is evidence they walk the walk when it comes to finding the right people for the right jobs and delivering their better customer service promise. The decision to approach Brian Walton to run the CTS performance center was a no brainer. Heitman told me that it was “obvious from the get go that Brian was the right guy” – with his impressive list of cycling palmares, and coaching record that led Team Snow Valley into the top 10 in the nation.

Training class at Cadence.

Send In The Dave!
On offer at Cadence is pretty much all you need to take your own performance to the next level. Equipment, coaching, and the same testing capabilities as the U.S. Olympic Training Center are all under one roof, so we sent Dave Berson to test his V02 levels and lactate thresholds in the midst of his summer training plan.

As a long time rider, but a newbie to this level of testing, Dave wanted to know just what the heck is his VO2 Max, and see how much genetics has helped or hindered him over the years. The VO2 Max test shows the point where the body can’t take in and process more oxygen as the workload increases. The higher the number the more possible it is to improve endurance performance. According to USA Cycling and the U.S. Olympic Training Center, 40-60% is genetic and the other 60-40% is trainable. Your Lactate Threshold (LTR) is the point that the body can’t process the Lactate in the blood – that point we all know when the body says “no more!”.

The VeloTron – not your average torture device. That’s a 55lb. flywheel in back, and about as close as you can get to the true feel of cycling – without actually moving anywhere.

Additional and more complete testing is also available, allowing rider to more completely establish current fitness levels and plan training to get stronger, faster, and better! Brian Walton told us that CTS coaches use physiological testing to determine training heart rate and power zones, that give the coach insight into what strengths and weaknesses lay within each rider.

Let the Testing Begin
Dave picks up the story:
The coaching staff took my height (5’5) and weight (155) and set up the Velotron (the fully adjustable big bro of theCompuTrainer) to match the measurements for my bike fit. Look how beefy this machine is. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a huge and stable machine for riding. Very intimidating.

Protocol had me warm up for 15 minutes during which I was smiling, chatting, and feeling like a pro (which is something they do pretty well at Cadence).

Next I was given a mask to regulate and measure the amount of oxygen I would take in. It took a few seconds for the “flow” to get going and I thought I wouldn’t be able to continue. Luckily, this feeling passed and I got on with the test. But the mask is better than a mouthpiece/ nose clamp combination since the mouth gets very dry from the latter.

Do not adjust your set: This looks how Dave felt near minute 13.

Starting at 200 watts for four minutes I warmed up maintaining 90 rpms. My finger was then pricked for the first Lactic Acid test at the end of the stage. Every three minutes after that the wattage would be increased by 25 and my finger was again pricked for another lactate reading. It was funny at first when I had a piece of paper held in front of me and asked to give a subjective assessment of how I felt. Once I hit 300 watts and couldn’t maintain the 90 rpms required to continue I didn’t find it so amusing.

I think this was the moment my lactate concentration was 4mmol/L and my body could no longer process the lactate.

OoUCH! What’d ya poke me for…!?

Just 13 minutes into my testing I was suffering but my coach Ryan Oelkers and wife Rita shouted words of encouragement like “keep going” and “don’t give up”! Shortly after hearing “you still got a lot left in you” and “come on Dave”,
I blew.

So how did I do?
Height: unchanged at 65 inches.
Weight; 155 lbs (I’m 153 all the time except for when it gets publicized—geez)
Age: 35

Measured Peak Oxygen Consumption was 62.0 ml O2/kg/min

Measured Max heart rate of 172 and Anaerobic Threshold of 160 at 300 watts. Raising my threshold of 160 will be important so that harder efforts can be maintained longer.

VO2 Max of 62 is on par with a decent cat 3 cyclist but nothing great exists in these genes.

And Now?
I have accurate numbers from which to base and plan my training. Heart rate and power zones will be created to produce the most efficient training program for me. I’ll follow my plan based on this information and report back with another round of tests to look for improvement.

In addition to the VO2 Max and Lactate Threshold Test offered at the Cadence Performance Center, a range of Health services such as Body Composition and Hypoxic Training are available. Bike fit analysis for Road or Time Trial Bikes , nutrition analysis, and “On The Bike” camps are also offered. Tons of cool bikes, clothing, and wheels are of course available to make you feel even more like a pro. And the best benefit – like having coach, is the personal interaction you get from “sharing your pain”.

Check them out at www.cadencecycling.com .

For more info on Lactate Acid Thresholds read Feel The Burn: Just what is Lactate Threshold?

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