Cyclocross: Powering Through the Winter with 4iiii



Photos by Mathieu Charruau

The new cyclocross season has kicked off and we’re pleased to be supporting our teams of winter heroes – on both sides of the pond — for another year of exciting off-road racing.

The popularity of cyclocross racing has been growing for several years and the growth in adventure and gravel riding is only adding to the interest. For youngsters, cyclocross racing is the most accessible and safest form of cycle sport and the list of road cycling champions with a background in ‘cross is endless (Peter Sagan, Julian Alaphilippe, Marianne Vos, and many others).

We are pleased to support two teams this winter – with 4iiii PRECISION Powermeters and Viiiiva Heart rate monitors – as they represent at all levels of the sport from local and provincial level up to national and also world level. Among the 4iiii-supported cyclocross riders is a reigning UCI World Masters Champion. Cyclocross riders are cycling’s tough folks who compete right through the challenging conditions of winter and really put their equipment and determination to the test.

Our Teams Racing in Canada and the UK

Cannondale Echelon is a fifteen-strong masters racing team based in Montreal, four of whom will start another cyclocross season after racing through the summer and in the support races of the recent road World Tour races in Canada.

In the UK, we are supporting the CYCLOCROSSRIDER.com Race Team for the second successive season. The team have eleven riders and is built on the admirable principle of supporting five young riders who combine their racing with academic studies. The team, largely based in the northern counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire, has expanded this year and also signed a World Masters Champion. Nicola Davies became World age-group champion in Belgium last season and will race in the specially designed rainbow stripes of a world champion complete with 4iiii logos.

The Right Equipment

As well as remaining dedicated and determined through the hardest time of the year, the cyclocross racer needs to choose the right equipment which is reliable enough to survive the harshest conditions. There is no need to doubt that your 4iiii Powermeter will not take you right through your winter riding because with the help of our cyclocross teams we are able to ensure that all our products are winter-proof and accurate whatever the conditions.

Ted Sarmiento (co-manager of the CYCLOCROSSRIDER.com Race Team) put the 4iiii PRECISION Powermeter to a full test – right through a demanding British cyclocross season – and you can read his review here.

Cyclocross at the World Level

This season the UCI World Cup will be contested over nine rounds and once again started in the USA with two races in September. Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel and Belgian Sanne Cant are the defending World Cup title holders. Last season at least 19 nations were represented in world level cyclocross, confirming that the sport is continuing to expand beyond its traditional heartland of northern Europe.

In early November the Pan-American Championships will come to Midland, Ontario, Canada. The following weekend Peterborough, Ontario hosts the Canadian National Championships.

UCI World Cup 2018-19

23.09.2018 Waterloo, Wisconsin, USA.
29.09.2018 Iowa City, Iowa, USA.
21.10.2018 Bern, Switzerland.
17.11.2018 Tabor, Czech Republic.
25.11.2018 Koksijde, Belgium.
23.12.2018 Namur, Belgium.
26.12.2018 Heusden-Zolder.
20.01.2019 Pont-Chateau, France.
27.01.2018 Hoogerheide, The Netherlands.

Major Championships 2018-19

03-04.11.2018 UEC European Championships, Rosmalen, The Netherlands.
03-04.11.2018 Pan-American Championships, Midland, Ontario, Canada.
30.11-01.12.2018 UCI World Masters Championships, Mol, Belgium.
02-03.02.2019 UCI World Championship, Bogense, Denmark.

National Championship Races for Cannondale Echelon p/b 4iiii and CYCLOCROSSRIDER.com Race Team

10.11.2018 Canadian National Championships, Peterborough, Ontario.
12-13.01.2019 British National Championships, Gravesend, Kent.

Konrad Manning is the editor of Cyclocrossrider.com, an independent web-zine with a particular, but not exclusive, focus on European Pro Cyclocross.

Kenyan Riders-Safaricom — The Future of Pro Cycling

Photos by Nicholas Leong

The village of Iten, Kenya has a population of just over 42,000. In spite of its modest size, the tribes in the village have produced some of the top endurance running talent in the world; champion marathoners and Olympians. Now, a cycling program, the Kenyan Riders-Safaricom U23 Development Team, has been formed in the village, with the lofty goal of training the local athletes to win the Tour de France.

We caught up with Sports Director Simon Blake and Coach Ciarán Fitzpatrick, to explain more about the program, the team, and what it means to the local riders.

4iiii: Tell me about the team and the program. What’s it about? What are the goals?

Simon: The program is taking the abundant East African endurance talent and transferring this to future results on the bike in the worlds biggest bicycle races. The inspiration for the team, at the start, was to get an all-African team to the Tour de France. East Africa has not had world-class cyclists in the worlds biggest races when the distance running world is dominated by East African runners, Kenyans in particular. We’re learning how to operate in Africa: communication, equipment, politics, and the lack of bicycle racing culture.

4iiii: What does this opportunity mean to the riders?

Simon: An opportunity to show their talent and build a life for themselves from the sport of cycling.

Salim Kipkemboi was no stranger to covering long miles on the bike but had no racing experience until a few years ago.

4iiii: Can you share an anecdote about a rider whose life has been changed by the program? In what ways has the program helped them to grow?

Simon: I have had cyclists tell me they thought they would always just be another Kenyan farmer, working long days without the opportunity to travel overseas see the world, the opportunity to make real money. Now because of the Kenyan Riders team, this opportunity is now there for cyclists that are willing to apply themselves to their sport. Learning the craft and putting in the hours on the bike and figuring out the way to win races.

Salim Kipkemboi won stage three of the Sharjah Tour in the United Arab Emirates. It was a very strong and also intelligent win from Salim, against experienced cyclists. It’s so good to see the other teams wondering who is this young man from Kenya riding for Bike Aid? No one knew who Salim was before that day!

Youth rider Peter Karanja

4iiii: How do you use powermeters in your training? How important is the equipment to the success of the program?

Ciarán: We use 4iiii power meters to accurately monitor the intensity of our training. Previously we were working off the cyclists’ own perception of their effort but now we can match those feelings with actual power measurements for a more complete picture.

This means we can get a much better idea of whether we are training at the correct intensities and also allows us to monitor more effectively if our training is giving us the desired results. We have a test we use to establish their level at a particular time. 4iiii power meters allow us to measure their values in this test where previously we had to use calculations. With their values established, we then design their training around different zones of intensity. 4iiii power meters are invaluable in helping the cyclists to know that they are in the correct zones and thus allow us to maximize our training.

4iiii: What’s next for the program?

Simon: More development programs in the schools around the North Rift province of Kenya. Getting our better cyclists to races overseas to get the much-needed race experience at higher levels. Looking for funding to keep the team alive, sponsors, philanthropists, investors.

4iiii: Thank you for your time, Simon and Ciarán! And keep up the good work. We are proud to sponsor the program, and can’t wait to see the team take the world by storm.

About the Kenyan Riders-Safaricom U23 Development Team

Matthieu Vermesch, Investor
Nicholas Leong, Founder
Ciarán Fitzpatrick, Coach
Simon Blake, Sports Director, East African Cycling Development
Suleiman Kangangi, team captain (contracted to Bike Aid Continental Cycling team)
Salim Kipkemboi, Kenya’s best cyclist (contracted to Bike Aid Continental Cycling team)
Nixon Sewe, mechanic
Patrick Miruri, logistics manager
Simon Kitoti, coach
Kenyan Riders on YouTube
Kenyan Riders on Instagram
Kenyan Riders on Facebook

Sponsors

Safaricom
Mabati Rolling Mills
USN Kenya, Ultimate Sports Nutrition
Fly540 airline Kenya
RevBox
4iiii
Squirt Lube South Africa

Cycling Legend Linda Jackson to be Inducted to the Canadian Cycling Hall of Fame

On Sunday, September 30th, at Glencairn Golf Club in Milton, Ontario, Linda Jackson will be inducted to the Canadian Cycling Hall of Fame.

Jackson was a three-time Canadian road race and time trial champion, competed for Canada at the Olympics and was third in World Championships in 1996, and in 1998 was second in the Giro d’Italia Femminile. She retired from professional racing in 2000, and four years later founded the 4iiii-sponsored team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank. It is the longest-running professional women’s cycling team in North America.

Linda Jackson cyclist

Left to right: Clara Hughes, Linda Jackson, and Sue Palmer at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics

We caught up with Jackson to ask her about her reflections on her cycling career, past and present.

4iiii: Tell us about your first ever bike race. How did it go?

Jackson: It was the Morgan Hill Road Race here in California in the early 90’s. Friends had been telling me that I should start racing and I really didn’t want to race. My life in investment banking was competitive enough as it was, the last thing I felt I needed to do was to compete on the weekends as well. But, I got a license and went off to my first race. It was a pretty tough race, lots of rollers. I think I pulled for the whole race, dropped a lot of the field, and then went charging toward the finish line. Of course, someone was smart enough to sit on my wheel and come around me for the win. I was second. But, when I crossed that finish line, my life was never the same. Cycling was in my blood and then and there I started to think about how I could train to get better.

4iiii: What is it about the sport of cycling that inspires the kind of passion that drove your racing career and continues to inspire your involvement?

Jackson: Well to start with, cycling is a beautiful sport The freedom I feel on a daily basis riding my bike grounds me and sets me up for the rest of my day. Being in nature, feeling the wind on your skin, who could not love it?

Image result for Linda Jackson cyclistBut on a deeper basis, I found the sport late in life. I quit my investment banking career in ’93 to see if I could make it to the Olympics. I was giving up a lot to pursue my goal, so I always wanted to give it my very best. I was 100% dedicated to being the best that I could be and I trained really, really hard. It was very fulfilling to work so hard for something and to see results. The sport gave me a lot of skills that are critical for success in the “real world”. It gave me confidence, I developed a really gritty “never give up” attitude (ok, maybe I had that one before but it was so important in the sport), it taught me the importance of teamwork, it helped with my leadership skills, it dramatically improved my public speaking, etc.

When I retired from the sport, I was never too far away from it. I really missed it. When I got involved in helping female cyclists in 2004 it was to give young women the same opportunity that I had to chase my Olympic dream. My experience taught me how much cycling could give young women that would be important for the rest of their lives. It isn’t just about winning or losing, it’s about what this sport gives these women that will last a lifetime.

4iiii: What advice do you have for young cyclists (who may wish to one day race for your team, for example)?

Jackson, at right, offering advice to Amber Rais

Jackson: Train hard. Train your weaknesses. It’s no fun to train your weaknesses. You want to go out there and do what you are good at. Get a good coach (with the appropriate degree and coaching background) who has in-depth knowledge of training with power meters. Follow your program. Listen to your body.

4iiii: Tell us about when you first started training with power, and about your relationship with your power meter now.

Jackson: I first started using power in the 90s. I bought an SRM back when they were over $3,000. I put it on my bike but didn’t have a coach that trained me with power. I saw a bunch of numbers but didn’t really do anything with them. It really was a waste to not have fully utilized that information back then to reach my goals.

Times have changed over the past two decades that’s for sure! Training with power is now widely recognized as being critical to reaching your potential as an athlete. All of our riders train with power now, and we definitely look at numbers when we are considering a rider for the team. Training with power, in combination with heart rate, gives you so much more information. For me personally, I have a 4iiii power meter on my bike now that has breathed new life into my training. It’s very motivating even though I am just a recreational rider, to see the watts I am putting out in certain workouts and strive to be better.

4iiii: Linda, thank you so much! From all of us here at 4iiii, we are very proud to see you get the recognition you deserve and to continue to support your very successful team.

3 Workouts to Turn Your Road Fitness into Cyclocross Sharpness

By Jem Arnold, a registered Physiotherapist, cycling coach, and Cat 2 bike racer. Images by Jeannine Avelino of VanCXPhotos.

Canadian cyclocross champion Michael van den Ham demonstrating a good cornering technique.

It’s that time of year. The road race season is coming to a close, and the #crossiscoming hashtag has become the go-to theme on Instagram for many a bike racer.

As the leaves start to change colour and the days grow shorter, there are a number of things you can do with your training regime to get ready for cyclocross season.

Capitalizing on Your Road Fitness

Assuming you’ve just spent the summer training, riding, and racing you’re probably in great shape right now. You’re smashing the weekly group rides, and your favourite Strava segments are rewarding you with new PRs, KOMs, and QOMs.

Now it’s just a matter of transferring that road fitness to cope with the sharper demands of a 45-60 minute high-intensity cyclocross race!

The nature of CX racing is, you spend much of the time at a baseline intensity already very near your threshold, then you have to repeatedly spike your effort to jam up a hill, jump an obstacle, power through a sand pit, or shoulder your bike up a flight of steps. You have to be able to handle those repeated efforts and recover quickly without dropping your power.

The type of training to do now should be focused and specific to these kinds of efforts, to sharpen your top-end for when #crossishere.

4iiii-sponsored athlete Mark McConnell of Hot Sauce Cycling takes a few seconds to recover on a downhill.

Practice the Technique

Without a doubt, cyclocross is a lot more technical than road riding. The first thing to do will be to throw your leg over your ‘cross bike and start practicing those tight turns, dismounts and remounts, and bike-handling in technical conditions.

These workouts aren’t focused on power, but they might be the most important for a successful CX season. Your power won’t matter if you can’t get around the features on the course and maintain some speed.

Your local racing scene might have a weekly cyclocross practice session, with friends, rivals, and coaches to help you polish your technique. If you’re on your own, find an open park and start practicing your skills. You can even challenge yourself by laying out a mock ‘cross course and trying some hot laps!

Masters ‘cross racer and 4iiii ambassador Jordan Behan powers up a (paved!) climb.

Power Based Training

Your key workouts for the week can be short, but need to be very hard to replicate CX efforts. You should focus on repeating short anaerobic efforts of 30s-2min, with reduced recovery time and slightly harder recovery intensity than you’d be used to from road training. Your heart rate should remain very close to threshold through the entire workout.

In general, the best recommendation is to stick with no more than 2x high-intensity workouts per week, with the rest of your riding remaining easy in order to prioritize the effort required in those two key workouts. Your easier rides can be where you practice skills work, but you should aim to keep your heart rate (HR) below 145 bpm and give yourself plenty of recovery opportunities.

Elite cyclocross racer Craig Richey zips up while powering through a speedy section of the course.

Try to have one or two easy/rest days between high-intensity workouts to make sure you’re fresh, and don’t worry too much about training load (TSS, CTL, etc.) since those numbers might appear ‘inflated’ from the summer road season. Just focus on hitting your workout targets and polishing your skills, and you will naturally be at the level you need to be for racing ‘cross.

One of the most underrated benefits to having a 4iiii left-side or dual-sided power meter is that as long as both your road and cyclocross bikes use the same drivetrain and bottom bracket, you can easily switch your left-side crank arm between bikes, meaning you’ll have consistent power numbers to train with across disciplines.

Masters racer Gail Harrison takes a fast line through a twisty corner.

The Workouts

A good place to start is with microbursts, which will help kick-start your high-intensity energy systems for the on-off nature of CX racing. This workout is based on some of the research presented here.

VO2max Microbursts
Warm-up (at least 20min)
10x reps of 30sec @ 130% FTP | 15sec @ 60% FTP
Repeat 3x sets, with 3-5min recoveries between sets
Cool-down (at least 10min)

Power targets are very approximate for this kind of workout, but aim to begin your sets at least at 130% FTP (read more about how to determine FTP here). HR should rapidly reach threshold and remain there through the entire set.

Lactate Stackers & Finishing Sprints
Warm-up
10x reps of 1min @ 130% FTP | 2min @ 70%
4x 8sec sprint | 1min @ 75%
Cool-down

These 1min efforts won’t be hitting any new power PRs, but the focus should be on repeating the high-level efforts and maintaining tempo during your 2min ‘recovery’ intervals. Finish the workout with some ‘positioning sprints’, where each sprint effort should be a near-maximum effort, with the final sprint at full gas, like you’re sprinting around the final few corners of the race.

Sweet Spot Accelerations
Warm-up
2x20min @ 90% FTP
Including 4x 15sec @ 175% FTP every 5-8 minutes
5min recovery between sets

This workout maintains the hard ‘baseline’ effort of a CX race for a full 40 minutes at 90% of threshold. Every 5-8 minutes on an unpredictable schedule, add a big gear acceleration where you shift up two or three cogs (or find a hill) and wind up the gear for 15sec. These can be seated or standing. Then settle back into that “sweet spot” effort. Get 4x accelerations during each 20-minute set.

Masters cyclocrosser Carmen Marin shoulders his bike on a run-up.

#CrossIsComing

So get out on those knobby tires, find some mud, grass, and hills, and start sharpening that summer road fitness into cyclocross power! And don’t be afraid to get your 4iiii Powermeter wet or dirty. With its small form factor and protected location inside your crank arms, and its waterproof, mud-proof and sand-proof seal, you’ll be ready to push your limits this ‘cross season!

4iiii Athlete Profile: Annemiek van Vleuten

In one year, she has won the time trial World Championships, the Giro Rosa, and La Course by Le Tour. Simply put: Annemiek van Vleuten can do it all.

At 4iiii, we are proud to sponsor the women’s Mitchelton Scott World Tour team, which includes Annemiek. After her dominant year on the road, we thought we would publish a short recap of her biggest wins since this time last year.

Rainbow Stripes as World Champion

On September 19 of 2017 in Bergen, Norway, Annemiek won the women’s time trial World Championship. She has worn the rainbow stripes all year in time trial competitions and will continue to wear it until she defends her title next month in Innsbruck.

Her abilities in the time trial would serve her well all year, but it wasn’t only in the race of truth that she was dominant in 2018.

Giro Rosa

In July, Annemiek and her Mitchelton Scott squad competed in the Giro Rosa. As a 10-day stage race, it is considered the most prestigious tour in women’s cycling.

Proving her abilities as an all-arounder, Annemiek was first in the points classification and won three stages, including the individual time trial on stage 7.

But she wasn’t done.

A Thrilling Finish

Two days after being crowned the Giro Rosa champion, the women toed the line for La Course by Le Tour. While fans of cycling beg and plead for the women to be granted a proper stage race, La Course remains a single day affair.

With all of the contenders on tired legs, including Annemiek herself, the final kilometers of La Course did not disappoint and even played host to one of the most thrilling finishes in all of bike racing for 2018.

Watch and enjoy:

Update, Sept 26, 2018: Annemiek just won the World Championship in the time trial for the second year in a row.

With her dedication to the sport and her ability to pull out victories in the most challenging circumstances, Annemiek van Vleuten is an inspiration to young cyclists the world over. We are proud to play a small part in her success as the provider of power meter technology to the Mitchelton Scott team.

iiii on the Podium: An Ironman 70.3 Calgary Race Recap

Last weekend saw my return to competitive triathlon at the annual IRONMAN 70.3 Calgary—the first time I’ve competed since joining the 4iiii team. Could I make the podium in what has become my home race?

Ironman 70.3 Calgary is held in Auburn Bay and is a relatively smaller race with about 900 competitors starting in a little community south of Calgary. Race morning started like every other, waking up bright and early and getting down to set up gear in the transition area and get ready for some racing. It was a perfect morning, not too hot or cool with little wind.

The Swim

The race was broken into several groups of starters (4 groups, 2min apart of about 200-300 athletes) and I started in the first one at 6:50 am. We swam in a small lake called Auburn Bay and had two laps of an approximately 1km loop (just under 2km total swim distance). The water was calm and not too cold so perfect racing conditions. I managed to slot in with a few other guys and held a good pace coming out of the water towards the front of the race after just over half an hour of swimming.

The 90km Bike Ride

Out of the water, there was a quick transition, removing the wetsuit and hopping onto the bike. The first segment of the bike was wildly fast. It was slightly downhill on open, exposed roads with a tailwind so the perfect conditions for a speedy ride. I was pushing a bit harder than I thought I would be able to hold but decided to go for it and see how it panned out. After the first 40km averaging about 50kph, we headed back to town and I was sitting in 3rd place overall. By about 70km into the ride, I started running out of steam and the last 20km was a struggle. Despite that, the three leaders stuck in these placings until we finished the 90km bike ride and got ready to start a half-marathon (21.1km) run.

The Final Leg

On the run, the day started heating up but it was a great out-and-back run along the Bow River. I pushed a bit harder than I should’ve on the bike so didn’t have the legs for a fast run but managed to hold a steady pace throughout, and survive a brutal hill out of the river valley about 18km into the run. At the end of the day, I finished in 4hr 8min which was good enough for 3rd overall and 1st in the 30-34 age category.

All-in-all, it was a beautiful day and a really fun race. It’s always great to toe the start line and push the body to see what you have on the day. That was my only triathlon for the season but will be excited to try and get in a few more in 2019!

Equipment

During the race, I used my Viiiiva heart rate monitor to track my effort throughout the day. On the bike and run, I was able to monitor my heart rate through my bike computer and GPS watch to keep my effort in check. While swimming, real-time data is hard to use but I was still able to access the stored file in the Viiiiva to view my effort from the swim leg of the race

On the bike, I used my PRECISION PRO powermeter to monitor my bike output. I went in with a goal wattage and was able to track this throughout the race. Especially in the later stages of the bike leg when I was really struggling, seeing my power numbers kept me motivated to keep the effort up and continue to push the pace right to the finish.

Scott Cooper: My Career as a Pro Triathlete Part 2: A Ph.D. in Engineering

Note: this weekend, Scott Cooper, the author of this series and our Product Manager here at 4iiii, finished 3rd overall at Ironman 70.3 Calgary. 

Part 2

Following from the last post describing my triathlon adventures, I’ll take you through the next part of my typical discussions when meeting people…

Friend: So do you get paid to do triathlon?
Me: Essentially, no.
Friend: I still have trouble understanding why you do this… So what else do you do?
Me: I’m working on my Ph.D. in Engineering.
Friend: WHAT?!?!

My Life Outside of Sport

When I was a kid, I was always fascinated by science and biology and had an aptitude for mathematics. My favourite days would be when we had a supply teacher in elementary school as that usually meant the TV and VCR were rolled out and we binge watched Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Although the show was quirky, it was a great introduction to the fascinating fields of science and engineering. As I advanced into high school, I had a biology and a physics teacher who both cultivated my love of science and pushed me to explore new areas and tackle more difficult problems. This lead to an interest in human physiology which was also supported by my love of sport.

On to University at McGill

I moved on to pursue an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. The program at McGill is broad and covers a variety of topics including your typical engineering subjects like fluid dynamics, material properties, higher level math and mechanics to less traditional courses in biochemistry and other biomedical topics. This set the
stage to become a jack-of-all-trades, focusing on problem-solving in various fields while still allowing me to continue touching on topics related to physiology.

By the time I was in my second last year of my bachelors, I was getting more engaged in triathlon and endurance sports which piqued my interest in cardiovascular health. I had the opportunity to work as a summer student in one of my professors’ lab’s for the summer before my final year and jumped on it right away. His lab looked at the biomechanics of the heart and other aspects of cardiovascular disease. This lead me down a path of research and before I knew it, I was signed up for grad school getting a Masters in Engineering. My research focused on how plaques form in arteries due to the fluid dynamics of blood and the related stresses this imparts on blood vessel walls. I became a perpetual student and continued this research in a Ph.D. in Engineering.

Sharing the Knowledge

Pursuing my graduate degrees and becoming increasingly consumed by triathlon, I realized I had a unique skill set and background and wanted to share this knowledge and experience with others. This lead me to become a triathlon and cycling coach where I could combine these two passions. I found it rewarding to help athletes better understand why they were doing certain
workouts and how they could improve their performance. I started with coaching at the McGill Triathlon Club (where I began my training a couple years before) and progressed to becoming a cycling coach and also privately coaching triathletes.

In my next post, I’ll talk about how I managed to get all of this done with only 24 hours in a day.

A Strong Start to 2018 for Canyon Topeak Factory Racing

It’s been five months since the kick-start of the newly branded Canyon Topeak Factory Racing XC Marathon team. With new management and new partners, the team is delighted with the positive progression of racing results and team spirit so far in 2018.

The year could not have started better, with a great showing in the South African local and high-level racing scene. The team enjoyed success at the Breede Ultra XCM and Simonsberg Contour stage races during the pre-season training camp. Victory came early for Alban Lakata and Kristian Hynek at the Tankwa Trek stage race, known for being the final test before the Absa Cape Epic.

Cape Epic

The Absa Cape Epic is one of the biggest highlights on the MTB calendar. It was “oh so very close” for Alban and Kristian to claim overall victory. They crawled into the hearts of the fans and we were proud of their stage victory and second place overall.

It is always tough to jump into the European season after some tough early season months in the dusty, rocky, hard African racing conditions. The riders slowly found their legs again after a small rest, with top results at the European Champs, Riva festival, and the Capoliveri Cup.

Alban Lakata in his World Champion jersey was  Mr. Consistency this year, always at the front, but that big MTB victory has been just out of reach. He did show his climbing legs at the Super Giro Dolomiti with a lovely victory, even though he swapped his fat tires for some fast skinny road tires.

 

A Hat-Trick of Victories, and Mom Power

Kristian Hynek broke the ice on European soil with three victories in the Jecin 50, Malevil UCI XCM Series event and the Czech Republic National Champs. Kristian followed up with a great victory at the Engadin Bike Giro stage race in the Engadin Valley.

The team was pleased to welcome British star Sally Bigham back into the racing game after the birth of her baby boy. She had no trouble being competitive right away, with a 4th position at the BeMC Challenge and then with a victory at the UCI XCM Series event at Malevil.

With most of the team racing in Europe, the team’s “Captain America” is not to be forgotten. After a rather unfortunate crash in the final stage of the Cape Epic, Jeremiah Bishop needed a few weeks of recovery time, but he bounced back and head already enjoyed a few podiums, including a victory at the American NUE Series at the Mohican 100-miler and Challenger 100-miler.

Canyon Factory Racing 2018 Team Shoot | photo by Ewald Sadie

Team 2018 Results to date

BC Bike Race (CAN) July 7-13
5th — Jeremiah Bishop

Engadin Bike Giro UCI S2 (SUI) – 29 June-1 July
1st – Kristian Hynek

Austrian National Championships (AUT) – 23 June
2nd – Alban Lakata

Challenger NUE 100-miler (USA) – 23 June
1st – Jeremiah Bishop

Sella Ronda Hero UCI XCM SERIES (ITA) – 16 June
5th – Alban Lakata
7th – Sally Bigham

Super Giro Dolomiti [Road] (AUT) – 10 June
1st – Alban Lakata

Malevil UCI XCM SERIES (CZE) – 9 June
1st – Kristian Hynek
1st – Sally Bigham

Mohican 100-miler NUE Series (USA) – 3 June
1st – Jeremiah Bishop

Czech National Championships (CZE) – 2 June
1st – Kristian Hynek

Jecin 50 (CZE) – 26 May
1st – Kristian Hynek

Capoliveri Cup Elba UCI XCM SERIES (ITA) – 12 May
7th – Alban Lakata

Belgium Mountain Bike Challenge (BEL) – 11-13 May
4th – Sally Bigham

USA National Championships (USA) – 6 May
7th – Jeremiah Bishop

Riva Festival XCM (ITA) – 29 April
4th Kristian Hynek

European XCM Championships (ITA) – 22 Apr
6th – Alban Lakata

Absa Cape Epic UCI HC (RSA) – 18-25 March
2nd – Alban Lakata / Kristian Hynek
21st – Jeremiah Bishop / Erik kleinhans

Stokesville 60k (USA) – 4 March
1st – Jeremiah Bishop

Monster Cross (USA) – 18 February
2nd – Jeremiah Bishop

Tankwa Trek UCI S1 stage race (RSA) – 9-11 February
1st – Alban Lakata / Kristian Hynek
12th – Jeremiah Bishop / Erik Kleinhans

Simonsberg Contour (RSA) – 3-4 February
1st – Kristian Hynek
2nd – Jeremiah Bishop
3rd – Alban Lakata

Breede Ultra (RSA) – 27 January
1st – Alban Lakata
2nd – Kristian Hynek

Attakwas UCI XCM SERIES (RSA) – 20 January
7th – Erik Kleinhans

Canyon Factory Racing 2018 Team Shoot | photo by Ewald Sadie

Up Next for Canyon Topeak

Next up, Alban and Kristian will take on the fast growing and well respected La Leyenda stage race in Columbia. There is also some familiar races, but standing out is for sure the Leadville 100 and World Championships for some big end of season action!

22 July – USA XCO Champs (USA)
29 July – UK XCM Championships (UK)
29 July-4 August – La Leyenda (COL)
12 August – Leadville 100-miler (USA)
25 August – Birkebeiner (NOR)
1 September – Skaidi Extreme (NOR)
5 September – Shenandoah 100-miler (USA)
9 September – Red Bull Dolomiten Man (AUT)
15 September – World Championships (ITA)
30 September – Alpine Loop (USA)
12-14 October – Roc d’Azur (FRA)

Which Leg is Stronger? Using a Dual-Sided Power Meter to Investigate

This article about analyzing asymmetry between left and right legs with a dual-sided power meter is written by registered Physiotherapist, cycling coach and Cat 2 bike racer Jem Arnold

The author, on the right, chasing. Photo by Tammy Brimner

Using 4iiii Precision Pro to Investigate Left/Right Power Asymmetry

I’ve been using a 4iiii Precision Pro dual-sided power meter for the past two seasons. Having a dual-sided power meter has been critical for me, as I have a chronic injury which produces a significant Left/Right power asymmetry.

A single-sided power meter that just doubles left leg power (my weak side) would give me unreliable data, not to mention I might never have realized I had such a severe imbalance at all.

Having a true dual-sided power meter like the 4iiii Precision Pro has allowed me to investigate the asymmetry and take steps to correct the issue through treatment and rehabilitation exercises off the bike.

This article is a summary of a more detailed investigation I published on SpareCycles.blog. The original article was not sponsored or influenced in any way by 4iiii, but I thank them for allowing me to publish this summary for their site.

L/R Power Balance

L/R balance should be 50/50 on average, but a mild asymmetry of +/- 2% either direction is nothing to worry about. If you observe a consistent imbalance greater than 2% that might warrant further investigation.

For me, my left leg begins to drop power as intensity increases past threshold, leaving my right leg to cover the difference. Let’s take a look at a stress test I did the other day that was designed to demonstrate this power imbalance at its worst.

Note, the charts below come from WKO4 Training and Analysis Software, produced by TrainingPeaks.

The first chart is a simple display of power, heart rate, and cadence for the workout.

  • Power is shown in yellow. The dashed yellow line is my Functional Threshold Power (FTP) which gives context for medium vs high-intensity effort.
  • Heart Rate is shown in red. HR rises toward the dashed red line, which is my Lactate Threshold HR (LTHR).
  • Cadence is given in green.
  • The legend along the top shows power, HR, & cadence over the cursor at time 23:42.

This stress test included a ramped warm-up, some work at threshold with various cadences, and some high-intensity intervals. It appears that I hit my power targets and my HR reached threshold. All seems normal so far.

However I could feel my left leg begin to fatigue at some point during the stress test, so I know there must be something going on under the surface.

L/R Power Balance

Let’s look closer. By using the L/R balance reported by 4iiii Precision Pro power meter, we can split power into left and right legs independently.

  • Total power for the same point (23:42) is shown in the legend for reference.
  • Single-leg FTP (FTP / 2) is the yellow dashed line on the chart.
  • Left leg power is the red line.
  • Right leg power in the blue line. (These numbers are what each leg is doing independently)
  • L/R Balance is shown in white, smoothed to easily visualize and compared to 50/50.
  • Average, min, and max L/R Balance for the workout are also given.

It’s very easy to see where my L/R power balance begins to drift away from 50/50 as the intensity rises. This corresponds very closely to the increased left leg fatigue I felt during the workout.

For example, at the cursor (23:42) my power is 449 W. This is what I would see on my power meter at this moment. However my left leg was contributing only 207 W, while my right leg was overcompensating at 242 W. By the end of the stress test, my left leg power (red line) and right leg power (blue line) were mismatched by as much as 50 W!

So my right leg had to drag along my left leg as I worked above threshold.

The author, on the left. Photo by David Gillam

Further Investigating L/R Asymmetry

4iiii Precision Pro collects even more advanced pedaling metrics, allowing even greater insight into pedaling technique and L/R symmetry. Next time I’ll discuss how Torque Effectiveness and Pedal Smoothness can be used to investigate how each leg generates power through the pedal stroke. For a more in-depth version of the analysis in this article, head over to SpareCycles.blog.

Bonus video: Go onboard with Jem in the final lap of the Tour de Delta UCI road race in 2017, complete with power data for the final sprint: 

Scott Cooper: My Career as a Pro Triathlete, Part 1—Why?

Scott Cooper, an engineer, and former professional triathlete, recently joined the 4iiii team as a Product Manager. In this three-part series, he’ll tell the story of his triathlon career, and how he came to work here at 4iiii.

Most of My Friends Didn’t Understand

When you mention you are a triathlete, the conversation usually goes like this…

Friend: Have you ever done that one in Hawaii?
Me: Yes.
Friend: How far is that?
Me: 3.8km swim, 180km bike then finish it with a full marathon. It’s also usually above 40oC and up to 100km/hr winds.
Friend: WHY?!?!

That’s the big question when it comes to pursuing long distance triathlon, why do you do it?

As a kid, I was generally interested in sports but didn’t have much of a defined focus. I grew up in a small rural community where all the kids in the neighbourhood got together to play whatever sport sounded like fun. Once I got to high school, I kept up this mentality and played on most of the school teams from track to curling to rugby to golf.

During this time, I remember watching Simon Whitfield win the gold medal in triathlon at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in a wildly exciting sprint to the finish. This put in the back of my mind the idea to one day try and survive a triathlon.

My First Sprint Triathlon

The author, emerging from the water in his first ever triathlon in 2008

Fast forward a few years and as a university student, one of my Uncles got involved with a charity triathlon and convinced me to join him in doing it. Looking back at it, it was “only” a sprint triathlon, but at the time, a 750m swim, 20km bike, and 5km run were excruciatingly brutal.

I remember seeing a few athletes at the race with Ironman tattoos and found it completely unfathomable how someone could ever survive that (at this point, I was that guy was asking, “WHY?!?”). Despite a few mishaps and some sore legs for a few days, I did pretty well and enjoyed the suffering so immediately signed up for a couple more races later that summer.

A Peer Group of Fellow Triathletes

That fall, I joined the McGill University Triathlon Club and was greeted by an inclusive community that shared a twisted love of suffering and working hard. This is where I began to learn the importance of proper training, interval workouts, season periodization, nutrition strategies and how a foam roller can quickly become your best friend.

It also spurred on an interest of better understanding physiology and was the start of a years-long pursuit of pushing my body to its absolute limit to see what I was truly capable of. In that second summer of racing, I qualified for the ITU Age Group World Championships and with that, was totally hooked!

From Olympic to Ironman

As the years ticked by, each increase in race distance never seemed that bad so I went from sprint to Olympic to half-Ironman to full Ironman distance triathlons, progressing to a longer event each season. In my first race in 2009, I took 5 minutes just trying to get a shirt on in transition (important life lesson: tight-fitting athletic shirts are not easy to put on when wet) and managed to progress to racing as a professional Ironman athlete in 2017.

I started by occasionally going for a casual ride, run or swim to reaching a peak of over 40 hours of training per week in my biggest training blocks as a pro. Racing took me all over the world with races in China, multiple trips to the EU and all across Canada and the United States.

The Question of Why

Along the way, I hit incredible highs with top finishes in the Ironman World Championships. I also met with countless setbacks and lows, including shattering my shoulder in a bike accident which needed to be rebuilt with metal plates and screws.

Through this rollercoaster, pushing my body to its limit and trying to reach my potential was always my driving force. This was the motivation that got me out of bed for those early mornings and making the sacrifices it took to compete at the highest level.

That is my long answer to the simple question, “Why?”

More to Come

In the next post, I’ll talk about how during that time I also pursued a Ph.D. in Engineering, while sharing my knowledge with other athletes as a cycling and triathlon coach. In future posts, I’ll share triathlon training tips and workouts, for distances from sprint to Ironman.