PRECISION and Accuracy

Written by: Andrew Buckrell, Innovations Director, 4iiii Innovations Inc.

We often hear discussions about precision and accuracy, with the words being used interchangeably. Although I’ll admit, many things about how people perceive engineers drives me batty, this one possibly tops the list. Precision and accuracy are not interchangeable, and although they are both goals in measurement, they are far from the same thing.

My favourite visual description is related to targets: if you have several attempts to get a bullseye, there are many different results that could be achieved.

If you are accurate but not precise, your measured average would still match your real world average, but you wouldn’t necessarily have confidence in a given sample or measurement being the right measurement. This is like putting 200W to the pedals, but one measurement showing 210W and the next showing 190W. Even though it is highly accurate, the measurements lack precision. Your average measurement will still read as the same, but how you get there could be slightly different.

Let’s consider the other possibility: what if you have something that is very precise, but not accurate at all. Taking the same ride of 200W input at the pedals, what if your measurements came back as reading 140W? Knowing that it felt like a lot more power, what if you exactly repeated the ride and it came back at the same 140W? This is a perfect example of a highly precise powermeter, but also inaccurate. I don’t think anyone would take consolation in the fact that their measurement was precise, but still 60W lower than what they actually achieved — I know that I certainly wouldn’t be happy about it!

Possible reaction from high precision, but low accuracy, Huffy Toss

The best of both worlds is to have precision and accuracy. This means, if you measure 190W at the powermeter, it actually means you’ve ridden 190W, and you can be confident in that being the actual power. Many people will argue that precision is more important than accuracy (since it will help you gauge your actual physiological input during a ride), but why not strive to have both?

Simple answer, you can! We have gone to great lengths to show that 4iiii Powermeters provide unprecedented accuracy, reliability and durability. When even the Canadian Olympic mountain bike team trusts us, you know it’s good enough for you! Check out our online shop to make sure that you get your raceday best.

“Why does this matter? I’m only a regular athlete”, you might ask. Let’s take a page out of my own not-very-illustrious racing career as an example. In November 2019, in the long-long ago days before COVID-19 changed the racing landscape, I was competing in IRONMAN Cozumel. Despite having a phenomenal swim (for me), I could tell it was hot that day. Much hotter than my training days leading up to the race. I could tell that something was a bit off. In maintaining my target race power, my heart rate was not going down to where it should have been. The accurate data I know and trust from my 4iiii Viiiiva Heart Rate Monitor and 4iiii PRECISION Powermeter were telling me that my body wasn’t reacting well to the heat. Knowing, and more importantly, trusting this information told me that I really needed to be cautious and dial it back a bit. In my infinite wisdom, and with a solid case of “race-brain” (trademark pending on that one), I decided not to listen to the data, or my body, and kept pushing on at my target power. Although I maintained my target power for the first lap, my HR kept climbing from my target of 145 to about 165!! At the 130km mark, I pulled out with a borderline case of heat stroke, and spent the next 30 minutes sitting in the shade without being able to dip my HR below 120bpm. Lesson learned — listen to the signs, and trust in accurate data. Have a solid plan, a solid backup, and trust your numbers.

A rare photo of me actually racing at Cozumel 2019 — note the “retro-cool” STAC tri suit

Although my next race(s) have all been cancelled so far, I’m very much looking forward to getting back out racing (fingers crossed for IM Arizona, if not 2021 Victoria 70.3 then 2021 IM Canada), and this time I’ll be “wise” enough to not make poor race day decisions, and trust my accurate and precise data from my 4iiii PRECISION Powermeter and Viiiiva Heart Rate Monitor.

A Summer Without Racing – Creating the Ultimate Fondo

Written by: Mac Potter, Sales Key Account Manager, 4iiii Innovations Inc.

It was 4:50 am and I woke up to what sounded like a car alarm going off outside of my house. In a tired daze I came to realize that it’s just my phone alarm. I wiped the sleep from my eyes and I got out of bed, it was time to ride. Before setting off I slammed a cold brew coffee (that had been in my fridge since last summer’s Sea Otter Canada) and three stale pancakes made the day before which I drenched in maple syrup, magically bringing them back to life. After a quick breakfast,  kit on, and power meter calibrated, I headed out the door for what was to be an epic day on the road.


I was not setting out on this adventure alone, and admittedly this ride was not even my idea. Due to  Covid-19, races across North America were cancelled. My co-worker Bailey, who is 4iiii’s Sales Account Manager for America, thought of this crazy idea – what if we trained to do Highwood Pass door to door in one single ride? Highwood Pass (located in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada) is a cyclists paradise. Up until June 15th the road is completely closed to all traffic, allowing cyclists to have the mountain pass all to themselves. It’s a once a year opportunity to enjoy the beautiful vistas of the Rocky Mountains worry free. What makes this pass significant is that it’s also the highest paved road in Canada, topping out at 2206m. Once the snow melts in late May, you will find your Strava feed inundated with Highwood Pass rides. It has become an annual tradition with most cyclists in Southern Alberta, Canada to complete before that June 15th date. Most riders choose to do this ride as an out and back making the typical route 110km, but starting and ending in Calgary was going to turn it into a 347km mission.


By 6:00am the four of us, Bailey, Mike, Scott and myself, were together and  we officially started our ride. As we knew that we were in for a long day, we set one ground rule at the start of the ride. Pulls were to be kept at 250w and around the 5 minute mark. Mike commented that holding 250w was going to be hard…because it’s tough to go that easy. Mike, who is 4iiii’s Director of Engineering, has been using Trainer Road to train religiously in 2020. Since January, he’s raised his Threshold from 290w all the way up to 333w, or roughly 4.8 w/kg. Riding with Mike is like riding with a kid on a sugar high who just finished a package of Fun Dip, but the sugar high lasts the whole ride and seems to peak on any presence of an incline. Admittedly, the 250w pull rule was more for Mike then the rest of the team that day. Heading out of Calgary Mike took to the front, riding tall and relaxed on his hoods leading us up the first kicker. At 250w, I let Mike know that he passed his first test and we were off, getting us that much closer to the mountains. 


After about an hour and a half of riding a low flying owl swooped across the quiet road while we approached our first challenge of the day. “A good omen!” Mike commented as the owl flew off into the distance while hunting for a field mouse with the same determination as Bailey looking for an expired Clif Bar in his back jersey pocket. Bailey, who manages our North and South American sales channels, was adamant that we added a 7km gravel portion to our ride even though we were all rolling on 25c road bikes. My guess is that for 7km he wanted to relive his glory days as a pro cyclist and bring back the now distant memories of racing in the Tour of Alberta. Although Bailey has pro pedigree in his blood from 5 years of racing the North American continental circuit for Red Truck and H&R Block, he was the one that we were most worried about on this adventure. Bailey’s training for this event consisted of 1 hour mountain bike rides followed by beer and hot dogs in the parking lot, randomly selected 45 min Trainer Road workouts that looked “fun”, adjusted to what he felt his FTP was that day, and a few “repeats” on a 1km climb around the corner from his house. Although Bailey didn’t put in the training hours for this “mission” that he created, he will unapologetically remind you that he can still hold 1000w for 20 sec and close to 500w for 2 minutes…even if he can only do it once. Bailey is a soul rider now, but you can always pull the inner racer out of him with a few pokes.

Scott and Bailey fueling up before hitting the Unofficial Strade Bianchi Alberta 7km Group Ride Championship portion of our ride

As Bailey and I flew through the gravel section, Scott and Mike were closely behind but riding a bit more cautiously, clearly on less of a suicide mission then Bailey who was busy leading the charge through the loose and washboarded gravel road. We finished the sector with no flats, no crashes, and Bailey was crowned the unofficial Strade Bianchi Alberta 7km Group Ride Champion. We took a quick pit stop to chow down a few Snickers bars and turned onto the Trans Canada Highway. For those not familiar, the Trans Canada Highway connects Canada from Coast to Coast and is the main corridor for anyone travelling across the country. We decided to up the pulls to 300w to get through this 25km section quickly as even at 8 am, it was still quite busy with adventurers on their way to the mountains and semi drivers blasting their way to Vancouver, British Columbia. Having ridden from Vancouver to Calgary a few years prior I was unphased by the passing semis, but Bailey was eager to push the pace as apparently riding the Trans Canada was his worst nightmare come true.


After covering 25km in only 40 minutes, we turned south and started heading into the Rocky Mountains. With the crisp mountain air and the sun radiating on our backs, we took our first pitstop at the Centex just across from the forever “reopening” Fortress ski resort junction, which has seen more movie sets than skiers in the past decade. We refilled our bottles with Gatorade and kept heading Southwest towards the base of the climb. We met my girlfriend Jaylene at the base of highwood pass who parked in the shoulder and turned her Tacoma into a fully stocked aid station. With a few mini cokes, fresh pizza buns, and a handful of potato chips we made our way to the gate. Sticking with our rule of 250w we paced the climb at a steady tempo. Starting at 1690m my heart rate was steady in the high 130’s. The effort felt manageable, but the altitude immediately took effect at the 2000m mark. Our mountain bike trails frequently touch the 1900m mark so for myself, edging above this point was an altitude that my body was far less accustomed to. It was obvious from looking at the data being broadcasted from my Viiiiva that the wheels were starting to fall off. The last 200m of climbing my heart rate climbed from 143 BPM to 160 BPM (max is around 176 BPM) all while steadily holding 250w. Mike even half jokingly asked Bailey, who formerly held the KOM on this climb, if we were at the top yet, unfortunately we were not.

Scott chose to still ride in the shoulder even on the closed road while Mike sets the tempo up Highwood Pass.

Cresting the top at 2,206m, we caught our breath and began the 37km 700m descent. We had a bit of a headwind on the way down so we stuck to our 250w pulls to keep the speed high on the way down. As it was the final weekend to ride Highwood car free, the descent was as busy as commuting along an urban bike path. We were consistently yo-yoing a group of cyclists who would push the little kickers while we stayed steady for the entire descent. Our groups joined, and by the end of the descent we had amassed a peloton of around 30 riders which was pushing the pace as if the south gate were the finish line in a Tour de France stage. Like playing tactics in a road race, we stayed at the back and enjoyed the free ride for the last few kilometers. 

Although the climb up Highwood Pass felt difficult due to the altitude, the toughest part of our ride was the South East stretch to Longview, which is a small town in Alberta best known for not only its Heartland style Alberta cattle ranches, but more importantly its famous beef jerky. Half way up Highwood Pass I started to feel a pain from my right hip that radiated down to the top of my foot. I knew something in my hip was tight but pushed through, hoping that whatever had a death grip on my IT band would loosen itself up. It wasn’t until we hit the cross winds to Longview that my right leg began to really bother me. It almost felt like I had a dead leg. I was running a 4iiii PRECISION Pro Powermeter for our ride and saw my balance go from my typical 52/48 earlier in the ride to 65/35 meaning that my right leg was only doing 35% of the work, about the same amount of work that Bailey does during booth tear down at whatever cycling festival we are working at that weekend. My right leg did the equivalent of  “I’ll go get the car. Left leg, can you pack up the 4iiii tent”?

A steady increase in heart rate once we hit the 2,000m mark.

As we battled the crosswinds towards Longview, Scott was keeping a steady tempo and was definitely the strongest rider on the day. Scott, who joined us for our ride has some serious long distance pedigree in his legs. Formerly a pro Ironman triathlete, the current course record holder for Sinister 7, and Black Spur Ultra, Scott has the ability to push power for hours on end. His “Just Keep Swimming” attitude of Dory from Finding Nemo also pairs with his forgetfulness of how badly we suffer every time it was his turn to lead in the rotation. At 5’8, Scott rides an aggressively set up Cervelo S5. Scott is the only person that I’ve ever ridden with who gives off what seems like a negative draft. Every time I saw my power spike to the 270’s I’d pipe up reminding him of the 250w limit. He’d politely reply with a simple “I haven’t gone above 240w!”. Since then, we draw straws as to who has to ride behind Scott on the group rides as you are guaranteed the equivalent of a double pull when riding behind him.


After all of us were worn down and tired of being thrown around in the cross wind, we arrived in Longview exhausted, in need of a coke and a piece of salty beef jerky. I chased down two Tylenol’s with the remainder of my lukewarm Gatorade to help with the pain in my right leg. At 230km in, we turned North and made our way along the foothills back into Calgary. When checking the weather earlier that morning I had seen a tornado watch was listed for South West Calgary and to be on alert in the afternoon. Looking West towards the Rocky Mountains in the distance, a dark cloud could be seen approaching in the distance which was accentuated by the bright green pastures and cattle grazing off in the distance. Asking Mike what kind of omen a Tornado represents, he responded “I’m pretty sure it just cancels out the owl”. With the wind now on our backs we made a quick stop in a small town Millerville to do another restock of food and Gatorade. At this point we were 260km in and we were all starting to fade. I reached into the back pocket of my salt stained jersey and pulled out a Maurten gel (which I purchased through my local bike shop’s customer financing program the evening before). With the consistency of a Jello shot and the flavor of icing sugar I sucked back the gel and felt the energy come back into my body.

Shooting back my emergency Maurten gel in Millerville while Scott is ready to Rock n’ Roll and get back onto the road. I’m pretty sure Mike is pondering whether to dip into the Redbull this stop or to hold off for our final stop in Bragg Creek.

At 270km into our ride, Scott’s tire slowly began to leak. It was bound to happen to one of us, but we finally had our first (but notably the only) flat of the ride. Rolling into Bragg Creek we reached our final stop before home. With a Snickers bar and Sprite in hand, I sat with Mike and Bailey on the steps outside of the Shell station at the Bragg Creek intersection where we watched the Canadian flag blow in the wrong direction. Shattered, we knew that only 50km remained in what was already an unforgettable day on the road. Clipping back in the flag changed directions and it seemed like that good omen earlier in the day came true. Sailing back into Calgary we averaged 41km/hr until we hit our final climb. Cresting to the top of Springbank the skyline of downtown Calgary glistened in the distance and at that point I knew that we had made it. We rolled back into Calgary and parted ways with Bailey (who proved that it’s possible to ride over 300kms on only 6 hours a week of training), while Mike, Scott and I took the bike path back to our homes where we started our journey at 5:30am that same morning.

Complete map and elevation profile of our ride. That last little hill at 330km was harder than it looks…

An hour later, after showering and refueling with a whole pizza, we met at the local Brewery to share a pint and poutine to celebrate the epic journey that we all took on that day. Although struggling to stay awake I opened my phone to Google maps in search of our next adventure and I think I found one at 428km long. I turn to the boys, “Calgary to Jasper anyone”?

Distance: 347 km
Elevation: 3,608m
Ride Time: 10h56m
Avg Power/NP: 170/195
Avg Heart rate: 124 BPM
Avg Speed: 31.7 km/hr
Calories: 6,777
TSS: 385
Tornados: 0

4iiii Innovations 2018 Pro Team Partnerships

4iiii Innovations 2018 Pro Team Partnerships include World and National Champions and Olympians in all cycling disciplines.

For the 2018 racing season, 4iiii will supply power measurement for Pro Cycling Teams from several continents. Included are three of the world’s top women’s professional road cycling teams, all of Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic cyclists, several National champions and two-reigning World Champions in Annemiek van Vleuten and Alban Lakata.

This is the third year for 4iiii as a World Tour team technology provider.

“Pro Team sponsorships play a key role in our product design,” says 4iiii CEO Kip Fyfe. “4iiii leadership is the result of putting our technology, reliability and durability to the test with the best riders, under the most demanding conditions in the world.”

An exclusive sponsor and supplier relationship with Cycling Canada will provide powermeters and heart rate monitors to athletes in all Olympic and Paralympic cycling categories through the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

The five professional cycling teams sponsored by 4iiii in 2018 are Mitchelton-Scott, Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank, Ale-Cipollini, Elevate KHS, and new to us this year is our first mountain bike team, the endurance mountain bike squad Canyon Topeak.

Mitchelton-Scott (formerly Orica Scott) of Australia has 10 women riders. The team includes World TT Champion Annemiek van Vleuten, who already has a victory in 2018 wearing her rainbow stripes, winning stage two of the Women’s Herald Sun Tour in Melbourne in 2018.

Founded in 2011, ALE-Cipollini is an Italian-based team and one of the top five women’s teams in the world. Australian star Chloe Hosking has already added two wins to her record in 2018. “4iiii is a synonym of top quality in sport technology, and a very competitive team needs the best,” says Team President Alessia Piccolo.

Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank, based in the United States, is the longest-running professional women’s cycling team in North America, on a mission to help aspiring female cyclists rise to the top.

US-based Men’s road team Elevate KHS is our longest-running sponsorship. They have two Canadian riders, James Piccoli and Jordan Cheyne.

Canyon Topeak Racing Team is an endurance mountain bike team of men and women that stars three national champions and three-time and current UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Champion Alban Lakata.

The teams will be riding a variety of 4iiii products including PRECISION PRO dual and PRECISION single-side powermeters. Coaching staff and riders will have the tools and metrics required to optimize their training and race performance. Dual ANT+ and Bluetooth options provide broad device compatibility.

4iiii is also releasing a new product this year with PRECISION Podiiiium. “We’re taking 3D powermeter technology to a another level and introducing it to other cycling disciplines including mountain biking,” says Mike Mercer, Director of Engineering. “Our new PRECISION-based Podiiiium is rechargeable and compatible with all of the most popular cranks.”

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Cycling Canada Partnership

4iiii Innovations announces official partnership with Cycling Canada

4iiii Innovations and Cycling Canada have formed an exclusive sponsor and supplier relationship that will provide 4iiii PRECISION Powermeters and Viiiiva Heart Rate Monitors to national team athletes in all Olympic and Paralympic cycling categories.

The partnership, which extends through the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, brings together two proudly Canadian organizations dedicated to helping home-grown cyclists top the podium at major events around the world.

“We welcome the opportunity to display our leadership in powermeter technology with the home team,” said 4iiii Innovations CEO Kip Fyfe. “Our involvement will include supplying PRECISION Powermeters and Viiiiva Heart Rate Monitors together with the same high-level technical support we provide to the World Tour and other professional teams we sponsor.”

The 4iiii partnership with Cycling Canada will benefit athletes at both the elite and grassroots levels by providing affordable, world-class technology to a wide variety of disciplines and training programs.

“Power and heart rate are the foundations of our training and racing,” said Cycling Canada Mountain Bike Head Coach Dan Proulx. “To deliver podium results, it is essential to gather and analyze this data to help optimize strengths and counter weaknesses.”

“My 4iiii PRECISION Powermeter provides accurate and consistent data, giving me confidence day in and day out,” said recently crowned individual pursuit national champion Kinley Gibson.

“We are thrilled to welcome another best-in-class Canadian brand into our growing family of performance and marketing partners,” said Matthew Jeffries, Director of Marketing for Cycling Canada. “Our world-leading athletes are Canadian-made and we are proud to say the same thing about the organizations, products and technologies that support them.”

4iiii will also collaborate with other Cycling Canada performance partners including Lexus, Argon 18, Louis Garneau and Barista to support and elevate major cycling events across the country.

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4iiii Innovations is a leading Canadian sports technology company based in Cochrane, Alberta. 4iiii is a sponsor and product supplier to WordTour teams Quick-Step Floors and Bora-hansgrohe, Canadian Women’s Team Cyclery-4iiii as well as yachting’s America’s Cup Team Oracle USA.

Cycling Canada is the governing body for competitive cycling in Canada. Founded in 1882, Cycling Canada aims to create and sustain an effective system that develops talented Canadian cyclists to achieve Olympic, Paralympic, and World Championship medal performances. With the vision of being a leading competitive cycling nation by 2020 celebrating enhanced international success, increased national participation and world class event hosting, Cycling Canada manages high performance programs, hosts national and international events and administers programs to promote and grow cycling across the country. Cycling Canada programs are made possible through the support of its valued corporate partners – Global Relay, Lexus Canada, Mattamy Homes, Louis Garneau and Bear Mountain Resort – along with the Government of Canada, Own The Podium, the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee.

Reach for the Podiiiium

4iiii Innovations is again shaking up the increasingly competitive powermeter market with the launch of PRECISION Podiiiium; a rechargeable, low profile crank-based powermeter designed to be compatible with a wide range of cranksets.PRECISION Podiiiium is a major step forward based on the same patent pending PRECISION 3-D strain gauge technology that powers pro cycling teams Quick-Step Floors and BORA-hansgrohe to dominance on the UCI World Tour.

PRECISION Podiiiium is designed to support a full suite of dual compatibility not presently available from any other manufacturer. The PRECISION dual configuration is unique in it’s ability to switch to a single-side powermeter on the fly, providing an inherent backup system.

Cyclists will be able to enjoy PRECISION Podiiiium Ride Ready dual options starting with Shimano FC-R9100 and FC-R8000. Extensive Factory Install crank compatibility offers the choice of single or dual-side for these models and FC-R6800. Additional models are scheduled to be released in the new year. PRECISION Podiiiium carries forward the well-known PRECISION quality for durable, lightweight and waterproof design that delivers extreme accuracy in all temperatures.

An attractive price point puts PRECISION Podiiiium well within reach of those with dual-side aspirations and a single-side budget.

• Factory Install options for Non-Drive Side start at $399, and Dual Factory Installs are priced starting at $749.
• Ride Ready Dual Options start at $999 including crankset.
• For a limited time, eligible FC-R6800 4iiii customers have the option to upgrade their current single-side PRECISION to PRECISION Podiiiium Dual for only $349.

PRECISION Podiiiium will be officially launched on September 20-22 at Interbike 2017 in Las Vegas with market availability to be announced Q1 2018.

Putting data in the saddle: How analytics drive innovation in pro cycling

SAS teams with sport performance power measurement provider 4iiii Innovations and high end bike manufacturer Argon 18 to raise the game for a UCI women’s cycling team.

By: Sylvie Tache, Marketing Manager SAS Canada

There are few spectacles in sport as riveting as a sprint finish in a road cycling race. Dozens or hundreds of kilometers come down to a 200-metre dash reaching speeds of up to 70 km/h, as many as eight or 10 riders pushing the boundaries of physical exertion. It’s not a matter of inches, but fractions of seconds—a perfectly timed half-crank of a pedal, a literal “throw” of the chassis—that make the difference between a stage win and a “same time.”

But road cycling is also a team sport, a sport of specialists playing their roles with split-second timing in support of an overall strategy for a stage, a tour, even a season. Climbers force the issue on hilly stages, exhausting competitors who try to keep touch; domestiques, junior riders, create a draft to minimize the effort of the star finishers (or you can use leader), dropping back to fetch water bottles and even giving up their bikes to senior riders with a flat or mechanical issue; all-rounders (“rouleurs”, in French, the language of cycling) chase down opponents’ breakaways, set up sprinters for the final mad dash, and serve as on-course captains when quick tactical decisions have to be made. Each specialty rewards different riding styles, different performance metrics, even different physiques. Collecting and analyzing this data can help a team fit together the pieces of the strategic puzzle in a way that optimizes the use of team resources for a competitive edge.

That’s exactly the approach taken by SAS-MAGOCEP-ACQUISIO (SMA), the only professional Canadian women’s team with a license to race internationally, on the UCI Women’s World Tour.  SMA is using state-of-the-art sensors and analytics software to fuel its rise though international (UCI) cycling ranks, with eyes fixed firmly on the coming 2020 Olympic Games.

Three years ago, the team embarked on a path to performance optimization built around three pillars:

  • Ultra-lightweight Gallium-Pro and E-118 Next bicycles from Montreal-based Argon 18, incorporating design innovations that deliver maximum aerodynamic performance, stiffness and precise handling;
  • PRECISION powermeters, a Bluetooth and ANT+ wireless sensor that transmits power data to a handlebar-mounted computer by Polar, which incorporates physiological data from wearable technology like heart-rate monitors and GPS geographical to paint a picture of athlete performance while adding only nine grams of weight to the bicycle—a critical consideration given the goal of barely exceeding the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) minimum weight of 6.8 kg;
  • Sports analytics software from SAS, which collects extensive data on rider performance, physiological and psychological data, and more, allowing coaches, trainers and the athletes themselves to discover patterns and connections to develop training plans and support strategic decisions.

“Most of the decisions by the team management, coaches and athletes were based on feelings and sensations… with all of the sophisticated sensors, technology, and knowledge, today’s analytics is way more sophisticated than it used to be. For a cycling team, this is gold.” Pascal Hervé, Mentor of the team, retired French professional rider.

Getting athletes and coaches to share that sensitive data for analysis by an outside firm like SAS can be difficult, says Martin Lesauteur, who collects, cleans and preps data for analytics for the team.

“If you look at the Tour de France, nobody’s sharing anything,” Lesauteur says. Data can be used as a weapon—collect enough of it and you can reverse-engineer the athlete, probing weaknesses to be exploited. SAS’s relationship with SMA—it’s the team’s biggest sponsor in terms of technology and cash investment—provides a level of comfort for everyone involved.

A self-described “obsessive-compulsive cyclist” — “I’m so scared that when I die, my wife is going to sell my bikes for what I told her I paid for them,” he grimaces—Lesauteur has been collecting and analyzing data about his own cycling performance for years. He brings a wealth of self-taught expertise to the sophisticated tools on offer from SAS and 4iiii (as well as roadside mechanical expertise at some races).

Correlating performance data, physiological data, and profiles of upcoming races can optimize a rider’s training plan. It can also help ward of the insidious threat of overtraining—athletes can drive themselves beyond the point where their muscles and aerobic systems can recover for upcoming races. One SMA rider’s overtraining pattern cost her a month on wheels, and several months until full recovery. The data was pointing to overtraining, but the athlete didn’t feel it physically until it was too late.

“That’s an example of measuring an athlete on an individual basis, but the impact on the team was huge because she was one of our best athletes, and we lost her for three weeks to a month,” says Lesauteur.

And the program is about the team as much as it’s about individual racers. Data can help the team make roster decisions for a given race to give the team the best chance to win. Power output, revolutions per minute, heart rate, GPS data, fatigue, pedaling cadence, watt-to-weight ratio—all this data and more is poured into training profiles and race-day decisions, says rider Emma Bedard.

“If you have a specific type of race, for instance if you know it’s a hilly race versus a flat race, or whether it’s an endurance event versus a shorter punchy race, it helps select the type of athletes that are perhaps better-suited than others for certain courses,” says Bedard, a former triathlete who switched to full-time cycling because of a nagging hip injury.

Data can match the right racer to the right terrain with the right fatigue curve, helping determine the role of each athlete within an overall race strategy, says SMA coach David Duluth. For example, the data can pick out a racer capable of endurance riding, but not at peak speed, and pair her as a “leadout” rider for a sprinter, pulling her teammate to that crucial juncture where she can take over the race. On the other hand, data can identify that top-speed rider to put at the end of the leadout train.

Data can also help guide recruitment efforts, says Lesauteur. It can identify riders to fill specific roles—a sprinter, a climber, a junior rider to be groomed for a starring role while serving as a domestique. The team can then focus on promising additions to add depth or complement other riders and the team as a whole.

It’s a far cry from 20 years ago, says Pascal Hervé, a retired French professional rider who serves as a mentor to the team. Hervé has an impressive European road racing resume, with multiple appearances in the Tour de France, Vuelta a España and Giro d’Italia, along with the 1992 Summer Olympics. In the 1990s and early 2000s, teams relied on hospital tests for maximum oxygen capacity (VO2 max) and lactate buildup. It could take days or weeks for test results to be returned, and they were analyzed by people who “did not have a clue” about cycling, Hervé says.

“Most of the decisions by the team management, coaches and athletes were based on feelings and sensations,” Hervé says. “With all of the sophisticated sensors, technology, and knowledge, today’s analytics is way more sophisticated than it used to be. For a cycling team, this is gold.”

Data touches virtually every element of a cycling team’s corporate strategy. On race day, though, it comes down to the riders. And while technology can provide feedback on a huge range of performance and physiological factors, one element still eludes measurement in real-time: the athlete’s psyche, how she reacts psychologically to fatigue, stress, race conditions, etc. Being able to quantify and monitor such information and overlay it on the data already collected could be a critical differentiator.

“One day, we’ll have a little device we can attach to the helmet,” says Lesauteur. “We’re not there yet.”

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