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)

4iiii Appoints new CFO from Energy Sector

4iiii Innovations Inc. a global leader in Sports Electronics is pleased to announce the appointment of Jim Glasspoole CPA.CA  as its Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”).

Mr. Glasspoole brings strong leadership and expertise to the company as it diversifies its strong Sports Sensor portfolio to the Energy Sector and scales to volume production in both sectors.  He previously held key positions with Pratt & Whitney Canada, KPMG, and Pason Systems, the industry’s only oilfield specialist offering a fully integrated drilling data solution. He brings 10 years of CFO experience in Calgary’s Oil and Gas sector, 10 years in high tech manufacturing at Pratt & Whitney, and 12 years of senior finance and capital market experience working in both private and public markets.

“I can’t imagine a more thrilling time to be joining 4iiii” Glasspoole said.  “ The company has an established and proven track record in Sport and is now disrupting the Energy Sector which I believe is going to be a game changer not only for the industry, but for the local community which is quickly becoming a high tech innovation center adjacent to the Calgary core.”

“I would like to extend a hearty welcome to Jim on behalf of the Board  and the rest of the 4iiii team.” says Kip Fyfe, 4iiii President. “We are taking our revolutionary torque sensing technology and manufacturing innovation that is disrupting the cycling space and applying it to the Energy sector.  Jim’s experience in high tech manufacturing, operations and finance will be key to transforming and growing our markets and ensuring that our strength as nimble innovators and manufacturers is fueled to continue to flourish.

About 4iiii

Cochrane, Alberta based 4iiii Innovations Inc. has established a Global reputation for technology leadership in sports sensors most recently recognized for its PRECISION line of powermeters being used over the last 3 years by the most winning teams at the Tour de France.  4iiii technology is chosen by Specialized to be their technology of choice for their standard powermeter offering on the 2019 Tarmac and is currently at Tour de France under the Specialized brand on teams Quick-Step Floors and BORA – hansgrohe.(https://4iiii.com/specialized-partners-4iiii-include-world-championship-winning-technology-s-works-power-cranks/)  

Visit 4iiii.com for the latest in sports performance data products, and Hawkiiii.com for Industrial Internet of Things (“IIoT”)sensor tech first being introduced to the energy sector.

For further information and to answer any questions you might have,
please contact our PR manager,
Kim Schribar.

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.

Team 4iiii had the #PowertoWiiiin at Golden 24

Team 4iiii at the top of the podium in the corporate team division

As engineer/athletes, we like to get out and test our products almost as much as we like creating them. This weekend, we had a chance to do some real-world product testing at the TransRockies Golden 24 race. Not only did we compete in the 24-hour competition, but we won the corporate division.

Earlier this Spring, we announced that we had “solved the carbon challenge” of making our power meters compatible with the industry-leading carbon cranks. Over the weekend, some of our best athletes put them to the test on the 14km Golden 24 course.

Before the race began, former pro roadie Bailey McKnight pre-rode the course with a camera on board, to give you an idea of the terrain. The course included a QOM/KOM segment that we sponsored for a power challenge. As of this writing, you still have almost two weeks to attempt the segment yourself—the top times for women and men will be awarded a non-drive side factory install power meter for your compatible cranks. Check out the segment on Strava, and give it your best shot.

4iiii engineer Mike Mercer attacks the KOM segment of the Golden 24 course

The corporate team division of Golden 24 allows for a team of between six and ten riders. We had six, each of whom would do a lap of the 14km course before handing off and settling for a break, a meal or even a nap.

That meant that each rider had to do four laps over the 24 hour period. It also meant that there was plenty of time to socialize and spend time with family, friends, other teams, and peers from the bike industry.

The team, and by all accounts the rest of the field, had a blast over the weekend. When we asked our athletes and some of our competition to describe the event in one word, we got answers like “epic” (more than once), “awesome,” and “perseverance.”

We want to thank TransRockies for organizing such a fun event. Maybe you’ll see us again next year to defend our title!

Interested in carbon cranks for your bike? Visit our web store and check out the list of compatible carbon cranks.

Living the Dream: The Story of My Career as a Professional Bike Racer

By Bailey McKnight, 4iiii North American Channel Development Leader

I was just 25 when I first contemplated giving up on pursuing my career in cycling. And that’s when I received the call that would change my life, and bring me to a point where I truly felt like I had “made it.”

But first, a bit of background.

People often ask me what drew me into cycling. I have a fond memory of watching Philippe Gilbert at the 2011 Liege-Bastogne Liege, watching him distance himself from the Schleck brothers in the closing kilometers on the steepest section of the course.

I remember seeing the crowd erupt as Philippe tossed his hands in the air on his home turf. He raised his bike above his head after the finish line, to the delight of his adoring fans. He had made an inhuman effort look effortless as he danced on the pedals and rocketed passed the two brothers.

I remember being mesmerized by the whole spectacle. The sheer volume of spectators lining the course over the last three kilometers. The commentators yelling at the top of their lungs in Flemish. The podium celebration with comically large hats and bottles of champagne. I turned off the TV with my mind made up; I wanted to become a cyclist. I wanted to take part in the incredible event I had just witnessed.

From Commuter to Elite Racer

My background in sports was vast. I never really excelled at one specific sport but loved doing them all. I was too small for hockey, not quick enough to land a running scholarship and lacked the coordination to excel in swimming.

I started riding a bike purely as a mode of transportation, but I started catching myself taking the long way home in order to get more time on the bike. I was introduced to the local racing scene and upgraded from Cat 5 to Cat 2 in a single season.

The hunger to find bigger an better races drew me outside of the province. My first “real” race experience left me in tears. I remember calling my parents after my first BC Superweek, sobbing. I had been dropped by the field for the fifth consecutive night. I hung in there and kept chipping away, splitting my time between my studies and training.

The author, second from right 

From Canada to Belgium, and Back Again

I turned 22 and realized that everyone racing at a higher level than me was committing 100% of their time to the sport. In the same month that I decided I would take a semester off to focus on training, I was invited by Cycling Canada to go to Belgium and experience European racing.

It’s hard to explain European racing culture to someone that hasn’t experienced it first hand. We would show up to a Tuesday night Kermesse and there would be 220 people on the start line. The field would be a mix of ex-pros, promising young amateurs and middle-aged men that I am convinced had ingested every illegal stimulant on the banned substance list. The gun would go off and it would be an all-out war for 2 hours. It was the equivalent of learning how to swim by being thrown into the deep end.

I came back to Canada with a fresh perspective on racing. I learned how to move up efficiently in large pelotons, how to fuel during a 180 km cobbled race, how to layer up to stay dry when it was pouring rain and three degrees.

I raced for an amazing amateur program based in Vancouver called Trek Red Truck Racing. The program allowed young racers to attend some of the best races in North America to demonstrate we were worthy of a pro contract. We would spend six months of the year on the road, battling it out against guys with way more experience and support. I kept my head down for three seasons and worked day-in and day-out to try to turn the heads of team directors at the Continental level.

A Career at a Turning Point

As I mentioned, I had just turned 25 and was contemplating giving up on pursuing a career in cycling. As I was pondering my next steps, I received a call from Mark Ernsting, the director of H&R Block Pro Cycling. He explained that he was putting together a Canadian team that would compete in some of North America’s biggest stage races. It didn’t take me long to sign the contract and pack my bags. For the next two years, I would get to experience some of the coolest races you can do in North America. We would travel from Vancouver to Philly to New York and Quebec.

My “pinch me” moment came at the 2015 Tour of Alberta where I slotted in beside Frank Schleck. All I could think about was the 2011 Liege-Bastogne-Liege. The TV helicopter hovered above and I felt as though I had finally made it to a level I could be proud of.

My eyes were always set on making it to the World Tour but I soon realized that it took a very special type of athlete to make it to the top.

The thing they don’t tell you about professional sport is that in order to be successful, you have to live a very self-absorbed lifestyle. Each decision you make in a day revolves around success on the bike. Every meal, workout and recovery session centers around your needs and training schedule. For the first time in my life, I wasn’t sure I was ready to go down a road that required me to be so self-absorbed to do my job well.

In my next article, I’ll tell the story of the later parts of my pro cycling career how I transitioned away from the pro ranks. Then I’ll follow that up with more detail as to how I came to work in the industry that I love, here at 4iiii.

(To be continued)

Why a Powermeter? 5 Reasons Why Power Measurement is Useful to Cyclists

Powermeters have become a lot more popular in recent years. What was once the domain of pros only, power measurement is now prevalent in all forms of racing and has trickled down into recreational cyclists as well.

Ask your fellow club cyclists where their sudden boost in strength came from, and you’re likely to head them tell you about their powermeter. But we’ll be first to admit—the powermeter itself doesn’t make you any faster. It’s all in how you use it. So why buy a powermeter?

1. Track and Measure your Power So You Don’t Tire Too Quickly

Whether it’s a race, a fondo or even just your weekly club ride, it can be easy to ride too hard, and end of having to limp home after the dreaded “bonk.” With a powermeter, you can be a lot more careful about the energy you expend, and have a better idea of what you’re capable of. Heart rate measurements work for this too, but with heart rate, there is lag. If you put in several sprints, for example, your heart rate might not even ride until after the effort is over. Watts are watts though, and sprints take a lot out of your legs. Only a powermeter can give you an accurate measure of just how much energy your ride is costing you.

On any given ride, factors like headwinds, whether you’re drafting other cyclists, or the grade will affect your time and your heart rate. Only a powermeter will give you an accurate measure of the actual effort.

2. Follow Prescribed Workouts from Coaches or Training Programs

Ask a coach for training tips, or look at any training program for cyclist online, they will recommend some form of interval training. Intervals are efforts that are harder than your average pace, for a shorter durations of time, and are designed to build strength. How they often work is by taking a baseline measurement (FTP is a popular place to start) and then following a prescribed workout with intervals and recovery based on a percentage of your FTP. For example, you might do several 4 minute efforts at 120% of your FTP, with several minutes of recovery in between.

3. Make the Most of Your Training Time

With interval training, you can maximize your training time on the bike. Before the advent of powermeters, the prevailing wisdom was to log log miles in the saddle; a process that would take most of a weekend. If the ride was outdoors, this could mean many long hours in miserable, cold weather in preparation for a season of riding or racing.

With powermeters and interval training, racers and recreational riders alike can maximize their training time and build more strength with less time spent.

4. Recovery Properly, With True Recovery Rides

You can only train as hard as you can recover. If you’re not taking time for recovery, you can easily fall victim to overtraining, and do more hard than good to your level of fitness and strength. Training programs as prescribed by coaches often have a healthy dose of recovery rides scheduled into them. These are rides when you have to have the discipline to not put out too much power, so your legs can remain active without tiring you out further.

That kind of discipline can hard to maintain, especially when you’re being passed by other riders on your usual loop. With a powermeter though, you can watch your watts, and feel secure in the knowledge that you are staying within the prescribed power zone and getting a good recovery.

5. Sharing and Analyzing Your Data After Rides and Workouts

Cyclists come in all shapes, sizes, and disciplines, but that doesn’t stop us from comparing all of our power numbers. With your powermeter connected to a program like to 4iiii app, Strava, TrainingPeaks or the like, you can brag to your friends about your FTP, your maximum sprint power, or measure your performance against your numbers historically. Measuring your efforts will give you a better idea of any gains you experience.

You can do periodic FTP tests, or even measure your power output on your favourite segment out on the road. Having a historical record will give you a better idea of your progress, and before long you’ll be the one answering questions from your club mates about where all your newfound strength came from.