A Q&A with Karel Bergmann, Our Technical Adviser to Etixx-Quick-Step on his thoughts on the Vuelta

Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

You just got back from the Vuelta. What are your immediate thoughts after the race?

The Vuelta was a great race.  I think it was probably the most difficult grand tour of the season from a sporting perspective.  The Giro had a couple of epic stages through Val Gardena and Colle dell’Agnello, but the Vuelta just kept on delivering with epic finales.  From a GC perspective it was definitely the most riveting – it really came down to a battle in the final days.

From our perspective it went very well.  PRECISION performed very well for the riders, and Etixx – Quick-Step was definitely on their A-game.

It was a very successful Grand Tour for Etixx-Quick-Step – four stage wins and seventh overall for David de la Cruz. How was the team spirit after the race?

Team spirit was very high throughout the race, things started off on the right foot with stage wins from Gianni.  A day in red with David de la Cruz and then a great win for Gian Luca in Formigal kept spirits high.  The nature of the race made itself apparent towards the end.  You could tell that riders on all teams were getting really tired towards the end, and the stage ending in Formigal really highlighted the point.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen the groupetto come home nearly an hour after the lead group.

During the race David de la Cruz shared his data up the final climb of stage 10. You also shared your data up the same climb. There was a bit of a difference. Do you have a newfound respect from riders seeing this comparison?

I’ve been working with these guys for a while know, so I have tonnes of respect for what they’re capable of, but I wouldn’t exactly call it new-found.  I also had a sneaky suspicion that I might come in on the losing end of this race.

I think the truly impressive part of what we saw on the Aubisque was that I tailored my ride to give me a nice warm-up on the way to the base of the climb so that I could have a shot at an optimal performance.  For David it was the 4th climb of the day, 14 stages into a grand tour – now that’s impressive!

How do the riders use their power numbers during races? Do they have an idea before the stage what kind of numbers they want to put out?

For riders, the power meter is most important on long climbs and time trials where they need to be able to pace their efforts.  On the flats, the peloton dictates the pace.  As important as power meters have become in bike racing, you still need to hold the wheel in front yours, or it can be game over.

What would be your lasting memory from the Vuelta?

For me, it’s two things, the first was the great camaraderie within the Vuelta squad, and being able to experience it with guys that have become more than co-workers over the past season.  The personal attachments I’ve made over the season really took the experience to a new level.

The second was riding in Spain.  The terrain was amazing, but I think the Spanish drivers are the best I’ve experienced around cyclists.  They are courteous and friendly, and they share the road like nowhere else.

A Q&A with Karel Bergmann, Our Technical Adviser to Etixx-Quick-Step

Karel at 2016 Tour de France

Karel Bergmann, is 4iiii’s technical adviser to Ettix-Quick-Step and will be heading over to Spain this month to work with the team during the Vuelta Espana. We asked him a few questions before he left.

How long have you been working with EQS?

I started working with EQS last November.  That’s when the team was having their major training camps in southern Spain.  The training camps are the best time to get some face time with the riders and mechanics, which is really important when introducing a new product.

What is it like working with professional riders?

It’s a real privilege to be able to work with some of the best riders in the world.  While power data is really important to all of them, they all handle the training and racing a little differently so building relationships and getting to know all of them is important to being able to support them as well as possible.

What’s it like travelling in Europe for races?

Traveling in Europe is really interesting because you get so see so many different places, but it can be stressful too.  During my work with EQS there has been a fair amount of unrest in Europe and this can make things a bit more challenging than usual.

It’s been very interesting to experience each of the major cycling nations and their different flavours.  One of the biggest surprises was my visit to Andorra during the Tour de France – it went from a place that I barely knew about to one of my favorite spots in Europe.  In my food/coffee/riding/scenery/people matrix it scores very highly in all regards.

What is your favourite race to work with the riders on?

Each race is a little different from a support perspective.  My favorites are the Belgian Classics and Grand Tours.  At most of the big classics, the route crosses over itself many times, so it gives me the opportunity to see the race in person throughout the day, and to see how things are progressing.

This isn’t the case at Grand Tours, where I might see the race at the start, and sometimes at the finish, but rarely in between.  On the flip side, during a Grand Tour I get to experience the surroundings a little bit more, and since it’s the same 9 riders throughout the race, I get to know the guys a little better.

What are you looking forward to at the Vuelta?

As a cycling fan, I’ve always loved the Vuelta’s steep summit finishes and being there will give me a chance to see the pros race up these climbs, and hopefully experience some of them for myself.  I’ve always enjoyed the food in Spain, so I’m looking forward to that too, though I’m sure my W/Kg will suffer as a result.

Why would a cyclist ride with a power meter?

Power meters are really the only method we have at our disposal to objectively measure a rider’s output.  That’s not say that it’s the only tool, but it is the best tool there is for monitoring one’s progression as a rider.  They also work very well for pacing during time trials and long climbs.  I think that any performance-driven cyclist can benefit from having a power meter on their bike.

PRECISION Firmware Upgrade 1.5.0 Now Available


Why upgrade?

Keeping PRECISION’s firmware current ensures that its data is as precise as possible. For example… a few users have reported power spikes at the bottom of a descent. This update will reduce the likelihood of this occurrence.

How to upgrade?

Same as previous upgrades:  With the latest 4iiii app, follow instructions in the PRECISION Configuration screen.

Follow our step-by-step guide under Firmware Upgrades at http://4iiii.com/support/software-and-documentation/

Need some help? Contact us at support@4iiii.com

PRECISION Hero: Troy Delfs coaches by example


Name: Troy Delfs
Hometown:  Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada
Profession: Cycling Coach – Momentum Cycling
PRECISION user since: 2016 

To what cycling tribe do you belong?
I cross the tribal lines from Mountain to Road to Fat Biking to Track (in a previous life). My favourite cycling discipline is usually dependant on the bike that I am on at any given moment.


When and how did you get into serious biking?
In Edmonton, Alberta in 1993. I bought my first mountain bike and have never looked back since.


Why do you bike?
Cycling is one of those things that defines me. It is thrilling, punishing, fun and challenging all at the same time. It is the best way I know to connect me to nature, friends and even to myself.


What’s your current bike set up and technology?
Multiple bikes and setups but my Scott Spark and Scott Foil are equipped with 4iiiis PRECISION power meters and a Garmin Edge 520.


When and why did you start thinking about adding a power meter to your set of tools?
I have wanted to have a power meter on my bike for the past 15+ years however it has always been too difficult to justify the cost. With 4iiii, I was able to outfit two of my bikes with PRECISION at a fraction of the cost I would have spent on other meters on the market.


How do you use power data?
As an athlete and as a coach, power data is critical for me to prescribe training zones and to do post ride/race analysis to determine how well my athletes are performing. Power data highlights both a riders’ strengths and weaknesses on certain terrains and in various conditions. This data is also critical to monitor an athlete’s overall progression between training cycles and can be used to determine if an athlete is in risk of overtraining.


How has riding with a power meter changed how you ride and your fitness level?
It’s always motivating to post high peak and average power meters during a ride or even just segments of rides (It’s great for KOM hunting on Strava). Watching your watts provides instant and accurate feedback to your effort loads vs heart rate which is slow to respond and can be affected by so many other variables.


What’s your favourite drill/workout involving power?
Sprinting and short hard climbs on my road or MTN bike. I love to see how high I can peak my power and for how long I can hold big numbers.  Looking at high Watts makes the anaerobic pain more bearable.


What do you know now that you wish you had known in the past about effective cycling training?
Training is all about balancing hard effort and quality rest. Make each work-out count by putting in good solid efforts (crank out those watts!) and balancing that with sufficient and timely rest and recovery.


Do you have a favourite ride?
So many great rides all around the world (Maui, Tuscany, Oregon) but I must say that there is no place like home. Bragg Creek, Alberta has world-class road and mountain biking and it’s all right in my back yard.


What is your next big riding challenge?
To do a multiple of Western Canadian road and mountain bike races including TransRockies Single Track 6 and the Alberta Provincial Road Race championships. For the athletes that I coach, I hope to help them attain their personal goals by training smart and preparing well for their multitude of events.

PRECISION Hero: Dr. Hardy likes to work hard

image1Dr. Hardy on a recent ride in NZ on top of the Crown Range.

Name: Tim Hardy
Hometown: Tweed Heads, Australia
Profession: Family physician

To what cycling tribe do you belong?
I’m one of the great masses of “mature” endurance riders in their 50’s. I’ve been cycling for many years, mostly road bike commuting, triathlon and Sportive type events.


When and how did you get into serious biking?
Three years ago for several reasons, I started commuting the 45 km round trip from home to work five days per week. It’s a good example for my patients as well.


Why do you bike?
My work is very busy and demanding so cycling is my switch-off, recharge and solitude activity.


When did you start thinking about a power meter and why did you choose PRECISION?
As my mileage increased, I became fitter and started looking for a good climbing challenge so I signed up for the Haute Route Pyrenees 2015 back in October 2014. In preparation for the event, I wanted to monitor my training performance and after research, I realized the only objective method was to look at my power output. That was about the time 4iiii was bringing out the Precision Power Meter.


Why did you choose the 4iiii PRECISION power meter?
Price was definitely a factor as I could not justify spending over $1000 given the cycling I was doing. So far, I could not be happier.


What’s your current bike and technology?
I ride a Trek Domane 5.9 2015 compact and just had a 32 cassette upgrade from 28 for climbing bliss. Here is my first ride with the new cassette: https://www.strava.com/activities/503151298. I use a Garmin 510 computer headset on the bike displaying average 10 sec power (useful when climbing), average 3 sec power (flat riding) and average lap power.  Apart from these numbers and cadence I don’t need any other data.


How has riding with a power meter changed how you ride?
The main benefit for me with the PRECISION power meter has been pacing in climbing endurance rides particularly riding with others where it is easy to over-extend oneself on a climb and “pop”. Knowing my FTP and my power zones is incredibly useful for me on long endurance rides in training and especially on a multi-day stage event like the Haute Route where riding within oneself to make the end of the week yet performing well each day and getting stronger is the goal. This way I ride to my limits AND enjoy the journey!


What’s been your experience with PRECISION for indoor training?
I use a Wahoo Kickr for indoor sessions and have been very satisfied with the consistency across the two power data sources. I found the PRECISION power meter was about 15W reliably under-reading in the 120W-400W range which would be expected as I am right leg dominant.


Do you have a favourite ride?
My favourite ride is a loop through the local Tweed Valley with some challenging steep climbs and sections of gravel while riding through rainforest and cane fields.


What is your next big riding challenge?
In September, I will ride with a couple of mates from last year’s Haute Route Pyrenees in the HR Dolomites as “Team Quattro Formaggi” – who doesn’t like cheese right? And we like eating pizza!