With the increasing popularity of road bicycle racing and other alike competitions, technology has followed suit with marvelous innovations. And as athletes train up for their next event, many of them will be looking for an edge against their fellow cyclists.
The following are only a few of the methods and gear used to maximize a cyclist’s performance.
The Power Metric
Competitive cycling is a numbers game. Where at first athletes would measure their performance by heart rate, that alone is an insufficient measure. Given there are numerous factors that can affect heart rate such as dehydration, fatigue, starvation, and heat, it makes sense to move onto a more stable system.
Uli Schoberer developed a measuring system that is based solely on electric power, or wattage. Watts don’t factor in anything besides the raw muscle power needed to create the necessary numbers.
How many watts on average will be needed to go this distance, at this speed, and for how long does this level of physical activity need to be maintained? By being able to answer this question, athletes can better tailor their training to match their requirements. Combined with tools that measure blood lactate and exhaled gas captures, teams are able to quickly determine the physical standard a cyclist much reach to perform at their peak.
Affordable GPS is a technology that has completely changed how transportation works. Gone are the days where travel routes had to be carefully memorized, atlases had to be pulled out to mentally determine the most efficient paths, and when a traveler could only roughly determine their current location based on mental calculations.
A GPS can do all those tasks automatically at the touch of a screen. For serious cyclers who travel along roads or cross country, having a tool that tells them where they are, how far they have to go, and how long it will take, is a godsend.
The Kestrel 4000
In 1986, Brent Trimble took raw science by the hand, and put it on the seat of a carbon-fiber bicycle. The Kestrel 4000 is widely considered to be the first true carbon-fiber framed bicycle that was made purely to maximize performance. Its shape and form were crafted to be lightweight, minimize wind resistance, and position a rider for maximum power generation.