Earlier in the summer we were contacted by Cycling Weekly to take part in an upcoming feature, #Project49, in which their journalist Oliver Bridgewood, a non-elite cyclist, would try to break the coveted 50-minute barrier for a 40km TT.
Oliver’s position was already very good and had already been aero optimized, but he was finding it difficult to produce sustained high level power compared to his road bike, especially for a TT bike.
After an extensive interview, neurological checks and a physical assessment using 3D motion capture cameras as well as on the massage bench and some more visual checks, we established that there were a number of issues that needed to be addressed on and off the bike. A few of the main points were horrific leg burn under load on the TT bike, a leg length discrepancy, his shoe/cleat position needed drastic changing including some varus wedging and shims. We also identified that his gluteus medius muscles were weak, a common weakness in most cyclists….We will explore this in another blog.
Mark and I decided to start off using the Retul equipment, for those of you that haven’t heard of Retul, it is a 3D motion capture camera and software that provides extensive data of a riders position, this data, along with the physical assessment and interview is then used to change the bike and position the rider, then further analysis is carried out and more changes are made until a great, sustainable and efficient position is accomplished. Using our experience and the data provided, we determined that Oliver’s position was too far forward, slightly too low and the cleat position needed changing. Oliver was able to provide us with great feedback, which is very useful, after the changes were made. He also used a power meter and could tell that his sustained power was up….mission accomplished! However…we like to leave no stone unturned!
Based on his interview and physical assessment we then decided to explore further….Using electromyography equipment, which enables us to “look into the riders/runners muscles” measure the milliamps produced, the muscle recruitment: left/right quads, left right hamstrings, left right split and a few other metrics. The new data backed up Oliver’s feelings on the bike, with his quads doing the most of the work, the hamstrings were not doing much at all and there was a difference between left quad and right quad. With a few more changes we finally got the hamstrings to fire up and start working, this was backed up by Oliver’s feedback and seeing a power increase.
All in all the session, which lasted about 4.5hrs, was extremely useful and he went on to ride a 49min06 seconds for a 25mile TT later in the year.