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.

Cycling Movies: Because You Can’t Train All the Time

Every now and then you have to take a break from training, or maybe the weather has driven you inside to ride on a 4iiii Fliiiight. The next time you need to sit still for some serious recovery or indoor-training time, watch one of these gems from the vintage video files. When is someone going to make the next great cycling film? Way overdue!

American Flyers

Kevin Costner, the early years. A tale of two brothers and a three-day race in the mountains called the “Hell of the West.” Directed by Steve Tesich, who also directed Breaking Away (see below).

Synopsis: When Dr. Marcus Sommers (Kevin Costner) realizes that he and his troubled, estranged brother David (David Grant) may be prone a fatal brain disease that runs in their family, he decides to make peace with his sibling, and invites him on a trip to the Rockies. There, the brothers bond over their shared enthusiasm for cycling and decide to enter a grueling bike race through the mountains. However, Marcus’ health soon begins to fail, and David must compete without his brother at his side.

Breaking Away

Four friends chase a dream and win Steve Tesich an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. The video above is the full movie, not a trailer!

Synopsis: Dave (Dennis Christopher) and his working-class friends Cyril (Daniel Stern), Moocher (Jackie Earle Haley) and Mike (Dennis Quaid) spend their post-high school days in Bloomington, Indiana, sparring with snooty students from the local university, chasing girls and–in Dave’s case–dreaming of competitive bicycle racing. The four friends face opposition from all corners as they decide to make Dave’s dreams come true in the university’s annual bicycle endurance race. 

Half the Road

Women take to the road. No one said it would be easy. Modern society has long believed that women hold up half the sky in terms of equality and progression. So when it comes to the sport of professional cycling, why aren’t women receiving half the road?

Triplets of Belleville

One of the most delightful animated movies ever made is about cycling and Made in Canada.

Synopsis: This animated film follows elderly Frenchwoman Madame Souza as she becomes involved in international intrigue when her grandson, Champion, a professional cyclist, is kidnapped and taken abroad. Joined by her faithful dog, Bruno, Souza embarks on a journey to find Champion and stumbles across unlikely allies in the form of three sisters who are veterans of the vaudeville stage. Tracking down Champion’s criminal captors, the quartet of old women use their wits to try and win the day.

Rising from Ashes

An independent film about the development of a national cycling team in Rwanda, a country still affected by 1994 Rwandan Genocide where an estimated 500,000–1,000,000 Rwandans were killed. Possibly the greatest cycling documentary of all time.


The definitive BMX movie, filmed right here at home in Alberta. A BMXer (Bill Allen) tries to enter a corrupt promoter’s nationally televised cash-prize race.

Graham Obree, he of the hour record and bike design fame, once said you can only train as hard as you can recover. For an especially beneficial recovery, throw on one of these classics and stay put—your legs will thank you.

Living my Dream at the Tour of Flanders

What follows is a first-person account from Martin Dodd, our Channel Development Lead, International Markets, who participated in two of cycling’s most famous sportives. The first is his race report from the Tour of Flanders Cyclosportif. We’ll publish his report from the Paris-Roubaix Cycling Challenge also.

A Dream of Flanders and Roubaix

When people ask me what my favourite cycling races are, without hesitation I respond, ‘The Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.’ So when I was invited to go to Belgium to experience “Holy Week” and support our 4iiii Dealers I was beyond excited to be given this once in a lifetime opportunity.

In cycling, Holy Week consists of the Ronde Van Vlaanderen (The Tour of Flanders), Scheldeprijs and culminating with the ‘Queen of the Classics,’ Paris-Roubaix. Before I left for Belgium I was asked if I wanted to join some dealers and ride the Tour of Flanders Cyclosportif and the Paris-Roubaix Cycling Challenge. Both events are run the day prior on the same course as the men’s race the following day. Without hesitation, I said yes.

The morning of the Tour of Flanders started with anticipation of what was in store for us: Over 175km of riding up and down the famous cobbled climbs of Belgium. The ride started on paved roads. With the first climb looming, my heart skipped a beat. This was it, I was going to experience my first cobbled climb.

Floating Over the Cobbles

As soon as we hit the first short, steep climb the adrenaline took over and I felt like I was floating over the cobbles. I was passing riders as my bike was thrown from one cobble to the next. I was trying hard to make my rear wheel grip on the slick, damp cobbles that had been laid centuries ago.

As I crested that first cobbled climb, I had a grin from ear to ear. Today was going to be awesome. I reminded myself to try and soak everything in, to burn it into my memory. Soon we were well into the ride and approaching the famed Muur climb. As you crest the Muur, the famous church sits atop the hill, looking down on the cyclists, giving them right of passage on these holiest of roads.

Going Deep and Feeling the Pain

Upon reaching the 100km mark, things were starting to get interesting. Each climb was approaching quicker and feeling steeper and rougher than the last. My body was taking a pounding and we still had over 75 km left. The most famous climbs of the Koppenberg, the Kwaremont, and the Paterberg were still left to ride. As I approached the Koppenberg, I knew I would be walking up this one. Not due to the grade, or the cobbles; it was due to the hundreds of people struggling to get up it.

This event is one of the most popular of the year, attracting 16,000 participants. When you approach these famous climbs they can be so crowded, there is no choice but to trudge up them, slipping and sliding while trying to gain any grip from your slick cycling shoes. After walking up that climb I was determined not to experience that again.

During the ride, I had no idea which direction I was in as the course, ducked and weaved through beautiful villages, farms, and towns seeking out every climb that is in the area. We would climb up one hill, just to immediately descend to climb straight back up another hill, sometimes even the same hill.

Oh, the Kwaremont!

After 150 km I had reached the Oude Kwaremont, famous because it is traditionally the point of attacks that win the Tour of Flanders. The climb was everything I expected and far more, with people screaming, encouraging you to keep going. My legs were burning, as I inched my way over every bump and crack. What I wasn’t aware of was the Kwaremont doesn’t seem to end, especially when you just want it to be over. Finally, after I crested over to the false flat of the cobbled road I was on smooth pavement, my legs yearning for this to be over.

Proof of cobbled glory, the finisher’s medallion

There was still one more climb to go, the heinously steep Paterberg. Luckily it was relatively short. The crowds were now deep, with beer flowing, warming up for the real deal tomorrow, encouraging their favourite rider onwards to victory. My victory was now to get over the top of the Paterberg and power on to the finish in Oudenaarde, 15 km away.

The Final Few KM

As I turned left I rode over a picture of Peter Sagan’s face, painted on the road, wondering what he would feel like tomorrow, riding over his own face, and vying for victory himself.

After 6 hours and 30 minutes I finally crossed the finish line, totally spent, yet feeling euphoric. My own holy week had begun. I had actually ridden over these historic climbs, where countless of my heroes had ridden before me and will ride after me. Emotion filled me. The Muur, Kwaremont, Koppenberg, and Paterberg didn’t disappoint.

How cycling continues to change my life

A 4iiii employee profile with Jerold Hoshowatiuk, Customer Experience Specialist

This is the story of how Jerold from our customer service team became a tester in our labs and rediscovered himself as an athlete. This year, Jerold has embraced training with power, has participated in a number of events, lost over 120 lbs, and has set goals for where he’d like to take his training. We’ll follow his progress in a series of updates this year.

My love of riding

I love how riding makes me feel. I know it sounds cliche but when I ride, I forget about everything. I don’t care about anything except feeling free. When I ride it’s just me, pushing me, wanting to be a better version of me.

My history of training with power

I started training with power when I was asked to be a test rider at 4iiii Innovations. Right away it turned into a competition: we kept a running tally of the maximum power that we would hit during our sprints. I peaked at over 1600W and was proud to see my name at the top of the list for a long time.

Testing was fun and hard. We spent a lot of hours in a room with some of the smartest people I have ever met. They would push us and the equipment to the edge of what we were capable of. One time, I was on the fourth or fifth interval, and I cracked—I was face deep in a garbage pail. One of the techs helped me get back on my feet. Another, who was in charge of data collection, gave me a snack bar and a bottle of water and asked me to go again… I wasn’t finished. Believe it or not, this is a fond memory and I’m sure a lot of other athletes can relate.

The author, before and after

The Tour of Sufferlandria, a true test of strength and resolve

This winter I took part on the Tour of Sufferlandria, a virtual tour consisting of trainer workouts, hosted by The Sufferfest. It was fun and not fun at the same time. Riding the stages were really tough but I worked through it. Each day, I had it planned to ride and I did. Some were harder than others, but that doesn’t mean that any of the stages were easy. There is a Facebook group for ToS and people from all around the world encouraging each other. We came up with the idea of making a video of myself and Martin, another 4iiii staffer, riding one of the stages outside, in -30C weather here in Cochrane. That was a lot of fun for us, but recovering was harder than I bargained for. I don’t recommend it.

A return to cycling, and training with focus

2018 is kind of a return to cycling of sorts for me. I have always been a guy that struggled with weight. I love to eat! There was a time in my life, before working at 4iiii, that things just went off the edge and I managed to pack on enough that I tipped the scales at over 410 lbs! I was 38 and I was on the couch watching TV with all my snacks when I saw a show called “too fat for 40.” That was my ‘aha’ moment.

One major catalyst for getting back on track was meeting my buddy Dan. He owns a boutique bike shop in Cochrane and when I met him I was huge. We worked together to build a bike that would hold up under my weight. I pushed myself, I cried, and I tried, but I kept going on. My wife was amazing through this ordeal.

Fast forward to December 2017. My friends from work introduced me to The Sufferfest. I rode a few times and I started watching my food. My first 4DP Fitness test was brutal. The thing that was amazing was that my legs just seemed to remember how to do this. It fired a spark. I’m down over 120 lbs from my peak weight, and my power on the bike is returning in a big way. I feel better, I look better, and most of all I acknowledge that there’s still work to do.

New life goals, events, and family fun

Some of my goals this year involve racing BMX again and being able to be on the track with my boys. Being on the track with them is amazing.

I am going to ride in my third MS Bike Tour this year as well. It’s a great cause and I look forward to riding with my team, The MS Spokes People. As the year progresses, I’ll add more events to my calendar and train to achieve goals.

The importance of training with power

Training with power is key. I have always been a strong sprinter, but I don’t always have the gas to hold the power that long. By having a power meter, I am able to measure my efforts, building them up to last longer. To train against that weakness. Using programs like Sufferfest and my PRECISION PRO powermeter enables me to train smarter—to get myself to where I am able to produce more power and hold it longer.

An enduring love for the bike

These days I feel really good being part of the bike industry. Working with so many great riders and teams, teaching my kids about how fun and awesome bike racing is—that’s what makes me want to be better.

At this stage of my life, I like being able to throw my leg over the top tube, clip in and smash the watts with the younger kids on lunch rides. I may not be as fast as I once was, but I can feel myself returning to that former glory and I’m not done yet. Not by a long shot.

We’ll continue to follow Jerold’s progress and provide updates on his training and events. Have a training story you want to share with us? Leave us a comment or email Jerold directly at jerold@4iiii.com to share your story.

A Beginner’s Guide to Zwift

For some cyclists, racing and training outdoors all year round isn’t always feasible. With the kind of weather we get here in Canada for example, that means a lot of indoor training, and for many, it means riding in the virtual world of Zwift.

Zwift — The Basics

What is Zwift? It’s a 3D virtual world, connected to the act of training on a bicycle (or a treadmill). It’s like a video game where you actually have to do the pedaling to advance.

Taking the components of “gamification” and adding them to the act of sweating on a bike trainer, Zwift has grown in popularity all over the world.

Athletes have several options. They can explore the various online “worlds” within the game: there’s a London course, the 2016 World Championship course from Richmond Virginia, and their own world called Watopia, with volcanoes, underwater tunnels and all manners of “scenery” to keep you in the spirit of riding.

As a rider, you can also choose whether to just ride, to follow one of Zwift’s training programs (like the 4-Week FTP builder), or you can make or upload your own custom workouts. Whatever option you choose, your mileage earns you points toward in-game upgrades like kit designs and fancy wheels and frames for your virtual bike. And whatever you choose, Zwift guides you through a ride, encouraging you to work harder as you ride among other virtual riders from all over the globe.

They also have group rides and racing, which is where things get interesting, and where an entire sub-culture of road cycling has emerged. The key metric in Zwift is “watts per kilogram,” so riders are expected to enter their weight honestly.

How to Get Started

To ride in Zwift, you need some means of connecting your bike to a device like a laptop, mobile phone, smart tv, or Apple TV. The app is available for download to a computer, or on a mobile device.

For the truly dedicated, this means buying a smart trainer, one that can respond to the game mechanics. For example, to ratchet up the resistance on a climb. But the minimum requirement is a means of reading the data from heart rate monitors, powermeters.  If you’re using a 4iiii powermeter and/or Viiiiva heart rate monitor, the device you’re playing Zwift on may read the bluetooth signal directly.  Most modern devices like smartphones, tablets, and Mac or Windows laptops support bluetooth directly.  Some devices (like windows desktop PCs) may not have either ANT+ or Bluetooth – in this case, you may need an ANT+ USB stick.

What Riders Think

Janna Gillick on the road

“Over the course of a week, I make use of all the different types of Zwift rides in order to meet my training goals for the week,” says Zwift Canadian Champion (yes, Zwift has National Championships) and Women’s BC Premier Series Champion Janna Glick. “If I have a long ride, I’ll either pick a Fondo event or choose a long route to ride in its entirety. For workouts with specific power targets, I’ll add my own workout into their system.”

Her advice to new Zwifters? Janna, who races with Glotman Simpson Cycling, says: “Run what you brung! I’m usually on rollers with my iPad mini on a fold-up music stand that I found by the side of the road at the end of a ride. I’ve got good, consistent data coming from my powermeter and heart rate monitor and that’s all you really need.”

Stuart Lynne is a race Commissaire, racer, and bike race organizer with Escape Velocity Cycling Club in Vancouver. When he’s not doing the timing at a Spring Series, crit or cyclocross race, he’s training or racing on Zwift.

“I find doing structured workouts on the trainer and IRL boring and hard to finish,” says Lynne. “Doing the equivalent with Zwift Racing works for me. Effectively every race is an unstructured workout with a mix of high intensity and VO2Max Intervals, and recovery at tempo/threshold. Zwift trainer workouts are also very time effective—I don’t have to drive or ride somewhere to do a workout or race. More quality time on the bike, less wasted with prep and overhead.”

If you haven’t already, try Zwift for yourself.

Need a powermeter and a heart rate monitor with a Bluetooth connection to use as a bridge to Zwift? Check out our shop to learn more about our PRECISION and Podiiiium models.