Friday File, August 7, 2015

Those of you who have been following this blog over the past many months know that its purpose is threefold:

  1. give you updates on 4iiii products,
  2. answer as many of your questions as we can, and
  3. bring you great information from experts, coaches and other athletes.

Most non-update posts have been spurred on by your specific questions as well as your general requests for industry information.  Today, we are particularly inspired by a local cyclist who killed it at a local criterium, attacking 15 laps out and finishing 15 seconds off the front of the Cat 2 field. Meet 23 year old Rob Crane as he shares a great story of how a typical rider put some key training steps in place and became the coveted athlete in the Cat 2 peloton.


Rob Crane

Age: 23

Racing Stallion: Guru Evolo-R

Profession: BSc in Mechanical Engineering; Masters Student, Cycling Aerodynamics, University of Calgary

Cycling History: Bike racing for 3 full seasons (trained seriously for two of those years)

Why cycling?

During high school I got into running, but I ran so much that I was always injured. After being down for a month due to one particular injury, I decided to switch to cycling because I knew it wouldn’t be as hard on my body. I didn’t immediately love cycling as much as running, but it grew on me and allowed me to be able to go out riding huge numbers of hours without ever getting injured. Admittedly, as a kid, watching the film Breaking Away inspired the competitor in me.

How did you pull off that crit win last weekend at Tour de Bowness?

That was an interesting one! I started the race and didn’t feel so hot – I was having a tough time positioning myself and had some leg fatigue from the previous two days. At one point, I covered some moves for my teammate, Connor Toppings, our GC leader. But at about 30 minutes into the race, there was a strange lull in the pace. I relaxed and recovered for a couple laps, waiting for someone to do something, but no one did. So I decided to attack and see what would happen. I went as hard as I could cause I was in a group of seriously strong riders. I didn’t seriously think it would stay away. Then, with 5 laps to go, I knew I had the win if I didn’t crash.

What’s next?

For me it’s all about pursuing personal improvement. Racing changes my definition of what “hard” feels like and allows me to absorb harder training. I experienced this at the Robert Cameron stage race in Victoria, BC and the Cascade Classic in Bend Oregon. During the races I often think “why I am doing this,” especially in Robert Cameron where my power file showed I rode just below threshold for 3 hours. But like any race, you don’t remember the negatives and you’re pumped to go back and do it again. Next year, I hope to continue pushing the limits and seeing what I can do against higher levels of competition.

Favorite sayings:

“Carb the *#$* up” – Durian Rider

“Bicycle racing is a sport of patience. Racing is licking your opponent’s plate clean before starting on your own.” – Joshua Krabbe

“Running to him was real; the way he did it the realest thing he knew. It was all joy and woe, hard as a diamond; it made him weary beyond comprehension. But it also made him free.”  – John L. Parker Jr.

Training regime:

I ride between 10 and 20 hours per week depending on the season. During winter, I lift weights to work on strength and explosiveness. After a solid few months of strength training interspersed with a bit of intensity I start to add really hard HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) bike workouts to my training load – building to 4 HIIT sessions a week. As the weather improves, longer base miles become a bigger focus, alongside blocks of volume and the harder interval work. Once race season begins we try to identify goal events and structure training around those to maximize performance. Some early season races are treated as “training races” hitting them with quite a bit of fatigue and using them more as training stimulus rather than goal events. If there is a no-race weekend we try to do a really hard training set such as the famous Kitchen Sink workout or hill repeats.

Why train with power?
Training and racing with a power meter has been a game changer for me. Training with power has allowed me to identify my training zones, and adopt a structured approach targeting these zones depending on what type of event I am preparing for. Over the last two seasons I have been working with Jack VanDyk, a cycling and triathlon coach based out of the Talisman Centre in Calgary. Training with power has been an essential piece of equipment, as it allows Jack to prescribe training protocols not possible with any other training metric. It also allows for more “big picture” planning by pairing the power data together with software to determine my current training state. This has been a key factor in planning training around goal events such as the Tour De Bowness, or the Cascade Classic. It also makes training more motivating, because I can actually observe fitness increases in power based testing.

Inspiring riders:

Durian Rider (YouTube celebrity), Phil Gaimon (cycling on $10 a day), local pro Kris Dahl from Calgary, and Ryder Hesjdal to name a few.

Tips for the newbie:

Set some goals and take a structured approach to realizing them. The process of picking an event and doing the best you can to prepare over a 6-12 month time period is very rewarding and more motivating than “just riding”.

Tips for the competitor:

Invest in a power meter and step outside of your comfort zones in workouts and races. Don’t just sit in – try to animate the race or go for something you wouldn’t normally, like attacking from 100k out. Sure, you might crash and burn but you might win too. It’s also more fun than waiting for a bunch sprint …unless you’re a true sprinter, which very few of us are.

Riding quirks:

I try to stay fairly conventional but my coffee addiction is quite extreme. I nearly always drink a coffee before and after riding, and sometimes halfway through as well if it’s a long day. I love the flavour and the caffeine rush


Friday File, July 31, 2015

Many of you who are new to bike power have had previous experience with heart rate data and have asked us about using both. Clearly, there are merits to having the two data sets so here’s a quick overview.

Heart rate monitors are definitely a huge step up from just riding by feel and the data helps set your training zones. The monitors are easy to use, allow you to set pace and give you a good indicator for how hard you can push. If you have done a number of hard training days in a row, however, you’ll know that getting to a high heart rate is much harder towards the end of the training block than at the beginning.  That’s when a power meter can add valuable perspective.

With power, you get your exertion measurement, instantly. The meter is not subjective to fatigue or illness and gives you a real-time wattage measurement to which you can build your power based training zones. This information can be particularly useful for time trialists and triathletes, who specialize in sustained efforts. Over long intervals, as an example, cardiac drift causes one’s heart rate to increase even though the workload is kept constant.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, sprinters specialize in very short, but intense efforts. Most sprints and sprint-training intervals last only 30 seconds or less, giving a heart rate monitor – and the athlete – little time to react. That’s when knowing your power is helpful.

As Hunter Allen puts it in his blog:

“One of the greatest advantages of training with a power meter is, in my opinion, that a power meter gives you the ability to dial in your desired level of exertion immediately. This is especially true for shorter intervals. The reason is the key difference between power and heart rate: power meters measure the power your body produces, and it can be measured directly and instantaneously, whereas heart rate is an indirect measure and responds to the body’s effort and is thus a delayed measure of exertion.”

In the case of our very own in-house Calgary 70.3 finishers posing below, multiple data points played a key role in getting them through the swim, the ride and the run. After that, it was all true grit!



Friday File, July 24, 2015

It’s a great week to quickly talk about our app update, the peloton heading to Paris and some fav cycling routes.

To accompany last week’s firmware 0.2.0 release, the 4iiii mobile apps for both Android and iOS have also been upgraded. Most relevant to you is the fact that the menu now offers a link to both PRECISION’s current calibration values as well as the initial values calibrated in factory. All in all, the improved app will make future upgrades easier. The new Android version has already hit the Google Play store and is available to you now. iOS users will have access as soon as the app clears the Apple approval queue.

As we enter into another great summer weekend in the Northern Hemisphere, we hope you’re enjoying watching the last few stages of pro racing and the Tour de France. No doubt you’ve found your own mode of staying tuned in to the action with all of the excellent coverage out there. Apart from being continually impressed with how much power the pros push, we’re in awe of some of the climbs this week – particularly the Lacets de Montvernier leg in the French Alps. Have you seen the aerial view of the switchback route that Road Bike Action shared? Spectacular. It’s easy to understand why there were no spectators allowed on this route!

We’re sure that the Lacets de Montvernier climb has been added to many cycling bucket lists this week. We are fortunate to live adjacent to the Canadian Rockies so thought we’d start sharing some of the most memorable rides in this majestic mountain range. You can’t go wrong with the Icefields Parkway that takes you past fantastic glacier vistas, or the big, challenging climb of Highwood Pass (don’t let the snow in June scare you!).

What are your favourite rides?

S2 at Highwood Pass


Friday File, July 17, 2015

Some good momentum (you might call it a tail wind!) in the land of PRECISION this week.

A firmware upgrade improving battery life for PRECISION riders has just been released. This over-the-air revision (which can be applied using iOS and Android) is part of our continual upgrade path and is designed to significantly reduce battery drain. Exact results will depend on riding style and conditions. An email blast with complete upgrade instructions has gone out to all customers but if you have any questions, please refer to the online instructions or contact

We are also making great progress on addressing the accuracy concerns experienced by some of our customers. Stay tuned; we will keep you posted on those developments as they happen.

The digital PRECISION ship kits are helping to move things into our factory quickly which means that output is increasing rapidly.   The tracker on our site has been adjusted to reflect the left side production to date.

You’ll find other product updates, information and troubleshooting tips in the PRECISION Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section. These website posts are intended to give you quick, easy answers – let us know if they’re doing the trick.

That’s it for now.

Wishing you a tail wind – both ways! – on your weekend ride.

IMG_2806 (1)


Friday File, July 10, 2015

Today we bring you info on installation efficiencies as well as a tip of our hat to your exceptional efforts!

First off, to speed things up, PRECISION installation ship kits have now gone digital.  Once it’s your turn in the queue, we will send you the placement measurement and shipping instructions via email vs. post.  Eliminating this extra shipping leg from the process will shorten the time it takes to get your crank into the 4iiii factory and keep a more consistent manufacturing queue.  The new method will still give you all of the information you need to ensure the appropriate clearance for your PRECISION pod. Those of you with bike/crank combinations that are a bit trickier fitment-wise, such as those with a Trek Madone or any bike with a bottom bracket-mounted brake calliper, can still request a physical ship kit with a dummy pod. Placement of your power meter is key so we want you to have both options.   One more thing on installation processes, as per your requests, we’re transitioning to a new crank identification system -manufacturing-approved stickers labelled with all of your unique information.

We are also seriously impressed and inspired by all of our PRECISION customers who are committed to some major events this season.  Here are a few that you’ve told us about thus far: Ironman – Coeur D’Alene; Ironman -Deauville; Triathlon – Minneapolis; Lincoln Grand Prix – UK; Tour de Berlin – Germany; The Arctic Race – Norway; Ironman World Championships – Kona, Hawaii.

We respect that these races definitely push your personal limits, requiring extremely focused training, early mornings, hard intervals (that no one wants to ride with you!), three hour marathon trainer sessions before you work and/or sleep, adjusting training for your various seasons, etc., etc., etc.  To everything that you’ve already put into getting where you are, and to everywhere your ride is going to take you, we salute you!

Here’s a good ‘ol western tip of the hat from Greg, our Director of SW Engineering.  It’s one of our favourite times of year, Stampede in Calgary. Ten days of all things wild and western. Yahoooo!

Cowboy Greg_lo_yahoo



Friday File, July 3, 2015

No new product is without its hiccups and PRECISION is no different. Our customers have been providing us invaluable information (critiques as well as applause) that makes our product better…makes us better.   It is our intention to honour the excitement, respect the frustrations and take appropriate steps to address all of our customers’ concerns.

As you know, we’ve been addressing two issues since our product launch: battery longevity and accuracy. Neither of these affects all of our customers, but as they impact our overall standard and your expectations, we are intently working on an upgrade. This will transition directly into all product phases including right, carbon, self-install and other iterations.

Regrettably, we have just had to announce an additional delay with our right side PRECISION. All current right side customers have already received direct communications from us. We had been moving forward with confidence that we were going to meet our spec but latest testing revealed results below our requirements and forced a late re-evaluation. The reality of tech IP is that we can’t always provide thorough product development details but our intention has always been – and still is – to deliver a stellar right side solution. We have learned our lesson about issuing overly optimistic install schedules so will not give a new release date at this time. As soon as we do meet spec, however, our manufacturing efficiencies will make for quick factory installations.

Tis another warm week in Alberta. For those of you north of the 49th, Happy Canada Day! And to you south of the border, enjoy a great 4th of July!


Friday File June 26, 2015


On this super warm Alberta day (28’ C, 80’F), we bring you some power insight and our thanks.

We can’t say enough about our terrific customers. Not only do you show us great support and patience, but you also take the time to send us your comments.

“I’m very happy with my PRECISION and will recommend it to all my friends.”

“I appreciate very much what you guys are trying to do with PRECISION and your vision for it in the market sector. I’m sure you guys are doing the best you can and I wish you great market success.”

“We understand the pain during growth. Keep on coming to market with great, innovative products.”

Thank you! These notes keep our team excited to work for you.

We will continue to use the tracker to outline our progress and reach out to customers individually when we have information re specific order timing.

And now some insight on racing with power. This past weekend, two of our crew – Emma and Karel – raced the Kicking Horse Cup in Golden B.C. The race is a true climber’s delight with a flat prologue, followed by a 13km mass start hill climb, and wrapping up with a very hilly (okay, mountainous) road race and here’s Karel’s recap:

Racing a time trial with a power meter like PRECISION is perhaps the easiest race to analyze, so we’ll focus on that. The planning for such a race starts with estimating the time required to cover the course. In this case, the prologue was 6 km long, and flat, so I estimated that I should be able finish in approximately 8 minutes (approximately 45km/hr).

Those of you already training with power will recognize the following graph as a maximal power curve. The graph shows power on the vertical axis and time on the horizontal axis. Programs like TrainingPeaks and Golden Cheetah generate and maintain these graphs throughout your training by updating the graph every time you hit a new maximum average power for a time interval on the horizontal axis. According to my power curve, the best power output I’ve managed during this season over an 8 minute interval (our time estimate) is about 345 watts.

chart 1

To me this indicates that if I’m well rested, if I get a good warm up in, and if I have a good day (yes a lot of ifs), then I should be able to average 345 watts during the race, and that should be my target. In order to hit that target, I use a very simple screen setup for my bike computer. All it shows is distance, 3-second average power and average power.

The pink line on my maximal power curve shows the power profile from the race. As you can see, there’s a sharp point at approximately 7:45 (the actual length of time it took to complete the race). The point comes very close to touching my maximal power curve indicating that I came just short of hitting a new best average power for that time interval, so it was a good effort.

What differentiates a good effort from a great effort is pacing. Ideally, you’d want to have very steady power output for the duration of the race. This is hard to accomplish, especially in a short time trial due to adrenaline, and the fear of going out too easily, and not being able to get that time back later in the race. The graph below shows my power output during the race and you can see that I’ve made the very common error of going out too hard at the beginning and then fading towards the end. Had I had the self-control to start a little easier, I probably could have maintained that effort till the end, and been a few seconds faster.

In the end, the effort was good enough for 4th place. Our illustrious product manager, on the other hand, managed to win that race (and the others) in her category.


Friday File, June 19, 2015

As you can see from our tracker, we are making healthy progress with processing the cranks in our backlog. Having said this, we are still behind schedule with all remaining orders. Reminder: if you have not heard from us directly this means that manufacturing is not yet ready for your crank, and we will be touch.  Your patience, along with your support of this product, is continually appreciated.

For those of you now riding with PRECISION, just a reminder that the utility of riding with a power meter goes far beyond knowing how hard you are pushing at any given time. Assuming that you know your FTP (Functional Threshold Power), here are three main areas where a power meter can help you achieve your goals:

  • Optimizing your training by allowing you to be sure that you are performing your workouts and intervals correctly.
  • Periodization of training by making sure that you’re as fit as you can be, but also optimally rested when you go into that big event, be it a Fondo or a big race.
  • Pacing during racing by making sure you don’t go out too hard in a time trial, or by making sure you don’t burn all of your matches before the race is over.

For those of you who want to know more, Hunter Allen has some great tips for bike racers on how to make the most of their power meters on his blog:

What can you do to stack the odds in your favor to make this war a winnable one for you or someone on your team? Train harder, train smart, and race even smarter are some of the keys to succeeding in cycling. Let’s talk about four ways (two in training and two in racing) that you can use your power meter to help you win the fight.”

To read the complete blog post please go to:

Its a Battle Out There: Using a Power Meter to Win

Happy Riding this weekend!



Friday File, June 12, 2015

Things remain status quo in the 4iiii factory. This means that our efforts to get your orders back on schedule continue and we are making progress. As you’ll see in our tracker, our fulfillment has increased and ship kits have started to flow out to customers once again.

As you know, 4iiii is a company of athletes designing and developing products for fellow athletes. Apart from each person’s day job, the crew is engaged in varied personal activities and objectives that are also reliant on great monitoring data. Here’s a story from one of our staffers who recently learned that pushing crazy power doesn’t necessarily make you go fast! Meet Karel, a PhD in Computer Science and competitive Cat 3 road racer:Karel riding in the crit

During a team time trial on the local race scene here, I found myself floundering more than usual, sucking wheel the whole way, not being able to contribute to the effort and, in fact, hindering it. Definitely one of the most disappointing and infuriating races of my competitive career! After the finish line, I got off of my bike in disgust only to find that my front brake had been stuck on for the duration of the race. When I examined the power data afterwards, I found that I’d been pushing 80 watts more than my team mate, who’d been soft pedaling in order to let me keep up. After I calmed down, I re-evaluated all the physical forces, beyond a stuck brake, that can slow me down: the interplay of power, aerodynamic drag, gravity and friction. Here’s what I know:

Power is the force that helps us go faster and is, to some degree, under our control. The more power a cyclist is able to produce, the faster they will go, all else being equal. As a result, most of us cyclists obsess over our power numbers and rely heavily on our power meters. Ultimately, we want to train well to produce more power and also combat the forces that slow us down.

When riding on flat ground, aerodynamic drag is the strongest force opposing a bike rider. Exceptions to this would be during a steep hill climb, or in the case where there’s a stiff tailwind (yes, dream scenario). Cyclists spend huge sums of money to make their bikes more aerodynamic (especially in triathlon and time trialing). However, the largest source of aerodynamic drag in a bike-rider system is the rider so, arguably, a good bike fit might be the best way to help you achieve an aero, yet powerful riding position. Other smaller, inexpensive items such as a well-fitting skin suit and a pair of shoe covers can have larger-than-anticipated benefits when combating drag.

If the road angles up steeply, gravity quickly becomes the strongest hindrance to our forward progress. In these situations, aero wizardry is of little help and the only thing we can do to make ourselves go faster is to make the bike-rider system lighter. As with aerodynamics, some cyclists (so-called weight weenies) spend vast sums to make their bikes as light as possible, but it should be pointed out that the bicycle accounts for a small percentage of the weight of the bike-rider system. For most cyclists, the best way to go up a hill faster is to examine our own eating habits.

Friction is another factor that slows us down. There’s been a lot of discussion lately that wider tires cause less rolling resistance over imperfect surfaces. On rougher roads, it turns out that breaking out those beefy 25mm tires and letting a bit of air out of them makes you go faster, and makes the ride more comfortable. On roads of perfect pavement, a skinny tire with high pressure remains the fastest option.

Drivetrain friction also slows you down so keep your bike clean and well maintained. A surprising amount drivetrain friction is also caused by cross chaining, or running gear combinations that don’t have straight chain lines. A lot of us like to stay in the big ring as long as possible, but using that front derailleur a little more often can actually make you faster.

The worst drivetrain friction of all? You guessed it, a stuck front brake. I don’t recommend trying it in a race!


Friday File, June 5th 2015

We greet you this Friday with cranks, communications and cancer fund raising!


We’re happy to announce the addition of the Turn Zayante M30 road crank to our PRECISION compatibility list.  These cranks are built by Praxis Works, who are known for producing excellent quality products, such as chain rings and bottom brackets.  Manufacturers are equipping the Turn Zayante on bikes and they are a great after-market choice for cyclists and we are pleased to be able to install PRECISION on this model.


As promised, we are continually adding to our Factory to manage our backlog as quickly as possible and sending personal communications to all impacted.  Customers whose installation schedules have been affected by our factory delays are receiving updated information via direct emails from us.  Those of you still awaiting ship kits will also be contacted.  As always, please feel free to reach out to us at anytime at


To round out our week in sunny Alberta, our crew used the noon hour to host a BBQ in support of Joe’s team – the ride we told you about in an earlier post.  Everyone enjoyed good food and raised money for cancer research at the same time.  A definite win, win!


Have a super weekend!PRECISION Order Progress Graph