sabato 2 gennaio 2016

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka

I'm very happy and proud to announce that in 2016 I'll join the Team World Tour Dimension Data for Qhubeka (ex MTN Qhubeka) in the role of Performance Coach. Last year this team was a professional team but at the end of November it obtained the World tour License. Being part of the World Tour means the team will automatically ride all three Grand Tours, along with the other races on the World Tour calendar.


The 2016 squad comprises of 28 riders from 15 different nations with 13 of them coming from the African continent. Here is the official 2016 team list (http://africasteam.com/category/riders/ ):

Igor Anton (ESP)
Natnael Berhane (ERI)
Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR)
Theo Bos (NED)
Matthew Brammeier (IRL)
Mark Cavendish (GBR)
Stephen Cummings (GBR)
Mekseb Debesay (ERI)
Nicolas Dougall (RSA)
Bernhard Eisel (AUT)
Tyler Farrar (USA)
Omar Fraile (ESP)
Nathan Haas (AUS)
Jacques Janse van Rensburg (RSA)
Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA)
Songezo Jim (RSA)
Merhawi Kudus (ERI)
Cameron Meyer (AUS)
Adrien Niyonshuti (RWA)
Serge Pauwels (BEL)
Youcef Reguigui (ALG)
Mark Renshaw (AUS)
Kristian Sbaragli (ITA)
Kanstantsin Siutsou (BLR)
Daniel Teklehaimanot (ERI)
Jay Thomson (RSA)
Johann van Zyl (RSA)
Jaco Venter (RSA)

It's a very exciting opportunity to collaborate with so many strong riders. 

Team's website with more informations: http://africasteam.com 

About Qhubeka (From http://qhubeka.org/2013/ )

Qhubeka is an Nguni word that means “to carry on”, “to progress”, “to move forward”. 
Most of Africa’s rural population has no access to transport and people have to walk long distances to access opportunity, education, healthcare, shops and community services. Rural schoolchildren are particularly badly affected by lack of mobility. 
Qhubeka helps people move forward and progress by giving bicycles in return for work done to improve communities, the environment or academic results. Having a bicycle changes lives by increasing the distance people can travel, what they can carry, where they can go and how fast they can get there.

Dott. Mattia Michelusi
Email: mattia.michelusi@gmail.com
Web: www.coachmichelusi.blogspot.it  

giovedì 24 settembre 2015

Men Elite ITT Richmond WC: pacing analysis

The author of this article is Mattia Michelusi. Decisions concerning use of the work, such as distribution, access, updates, and any use restrictions belong to the author.

Articolo in italiano: Analisi cronometro Richmond 2015

Vasil Kiryienka won the world title in the individual time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, Virginia. He covered the 53,5km course in 1:02:29 ahead of Italy's Adriano Malori, who finished 9,08 seconds back to take the silver medal. France's Jerome Coppel finished 26,62 seconds back to take bronze medal.

Chart 1: pacing for the first ten riders

Here the first ten riders:

1 - KIRYIENKA Vasil BLR
2 - MALORI Adriano ITA
3 - COPPEL Jerome FRA
4 - CASTROVIEJO Jonathan ESP
5 - DUMOULIN Tom NED 
6 - DENNIS Rohan AUS
7 - MARTIN Tony GER 
8 - BODNAR Maciej POL
9 - BIALOBLOCKI Marcin POL
10 - MOSER Moreno ITA



On the chart you can see the race pacing during the 53,5 km course considering the average speed of the first 10 riders at the first, second, third checkpoint and at the finish line.

The average speed of Vasil Kiryienka was 51,37km/h, he was the fastest since the first checkpoint  but Adriano Malori was able to decrease the gap during the course.

Chart 2: average speed at every segment for the first ten riders

More interesting it's to analyze the average speed at every section for the first ten riders (chart on the left).

Vasil Kiryienka did the best time but he was the fastest just in the first section (from km 0 to km 16). Adriano Malori was the fastest in the second and third section (from km 16 to km 42,6).

In the last section (from km 46,2 to the finish) the polish Bialoblocki was the fastest but Adriano Malori kept decreasing his gap to Vasil Kiryienka.


The Italian rider Moreno Moser rode the last section at the same pace of the best rider, good second half race for him.

The favorite Tony Martin stared well (second time in the first section) but then he was not able to keep the right pacing. In an interview for cyclingnews.it he said: 

"From the start and in the first eight kilometres I felt okay and that I had the power but when I entered the tailwind section I quickly lost my rhythm. It was too fast for me and I couldn’t handle the RPM and I didn’t expect this. Then on the uphill sections I couldn’t find my rhythm and I lost morale. I couldn’t get it back and it wasn’t my day. For the second half of the race it was more of a mental problem than a physical one."

His worlds confirmed what we saw on the chart above: after the first section his pacing was always lower than the first riders.

The author of this article is Mattia Michelusi. Decisions concerning use of the work, such as distribution, access, updates, and any use restrictions belong to the author.

Dott. Mattia Michelusi
Email: mattia.michelusi@gmail.com
Web: www.coachmichelusi.blogspot.it 

Date: 24/09/15

sabato 19 settembre 2015

TTT - Team Time Trial: some considerations

The author of this article is Mattia Michelusi. Decisions concerning use of the work, such as distribution, access, updates, and any use restrictions belong to the author.

A Team Time Trial (TTT) World Championship was introduced in 1962 and held until 1994. It was a race for national teams and there were 4 riders per team on a route around 100 kilometres.
After a long break a TTT World Championship was introduced in 2012. It's for club teams and there are 6 riders per team.

Team Cannondale during 2014 TTT WC
Last year I had the opportunity as a coach to take part in the TTT World Championship at Ponferrada - Spain with the Team Cannondale Pro Cycling

Individual drag area, aerodynamic TT bikes, aerodynamic helmets etc are very important.

The benefits of drafting in terms of aerodynamics and oxygen consumption are well known. It provides benefits for both the drafting cyclists and the lead cyclist. The reduction in drag is greatest when the drafting rider is as close to the wheel as possible, with a significant reduction in efficiency when the drafting rider is 20-30cm from the lead rider. No benefit from drafting when the drafting rider is 3m from the wheel in front. The aerodynamics of drafting is complex, due to the position and equipment of both the lead cyclist and the drafter, moreover outdoor factors like wind, weather conditions can change all.

Several factors can alterate the final time, but in my opinion this speciality demands first of all a good feeling between the six riders in order to keep the same pacing without decreasing the speed when the rider takes the leading position and the ability to maintain wheel spacing and alignment.

In the chart below you can see 2' - 2' 30" of the TTT WC 2014. I synchronized together speed and power of the six riders participating in it. 


Every color represents a rider. It's easy to understand every moment who was the leading rider (the rider with higher power than the others) and the changing moment (when leading rider's speed and power decrease ).

If you compare power and speed you can note that after changing all riders need to output a peak power to take again the wheel of the others riders.
Can this peak power to determinate the rider's changing ability?
Good question, I just need more data to understand it.

Below a video I recorded during the TTT stage of "Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali" with Italian National Team. The video was synchronized by Kinomap with GPS position, power, speed, cadence and heart rate:


The author of this article is Mattia Michelusi. Decisions concerning use of the work, such as distribution, access, updates, and any use restrictions belong to the author.

Dott. Mattia Michelusi
Email: mattia.michelusi@gmail.com
Web: www.coachmichelusi.blogspot.it 

Bibliography:

T Olds. The mathematics of breaking away and chasing in cycling. European journal of applied physiology
and occupational physiology, 77(6):492–497, 1998.

R. A. Lukes, S. B. Chin, and S. J. Haake. The understanding and development of cycling aerodynamics. Sports Engineering, 8(2):59–74, 2005.

martedì 8 settembre 2015

CdA - Aerodynamic drag area estimation on the field

The author of this article is Mattia Michelusi. Decisions concerning use of the work, such as distribution, access, updates, and any use restrictions belong to the author.

Versione in italiano: CdA - Stima del coefficiente aerodinamico su campo

If you are riding on a flat road over 90% of the effort needed to maintain the speed is used to overcome air resistance (Fair). So, Fair is not the only factor (there is also rolling resistance and gravity resistance) but for sure it’s the most important:

Fair = 1/2 * Cda * P * s^2

Every factor of this formula is very important:

P - air density

In a previous article I have already talked about the importance of air density (Link: Record dell'ora e condizioni atmosferiche): a lower air density enables the cyclist to pedal faster for the same amount of power output due to the fewer air particles per square meter (the total air resistance to overcome is lower).

s - speed

Higher speed, higher air resistance. So, increasing your speed, the effort needed to overcome air resistance increases.

CdA - Drag area

CdA is the product of the drag coefficient of the system cyclist+bike and the frontal area (the portion of a body which can be seen by an observer placed exactly in front of cyclist):

CdA = Cd * A

Air density depends on the weather conditions, we can't artificially change them (unless you are in an indoor velodrome). If you want to go faster you need to keep an higher speed increasing the air resistance to overcome. So,  If you want to save energies or if you want to ride faster at the same power output, you just need to decrease your Drag Area (CdA). How can you do it? You can change your frame, your helmets, your clothing or your position on the bike. For sure the last one is the easiest and the cheapest.

The are many ways to measure CdA - drag area. The gold standard is wind tunnel testing where the wind is artificially generated from a fan on the cyclist-bicycle system. This technique is very sensitive to wheel type, yaw angle and cyclist position but it's very expensive and it doesn't simulate exactly the real conditions on the filed.

In order to simulate actual conditions, I chose a filed method called "Method of linear regression analysis" and I tried to measure my CdA on the field. This method consists of measuring mechanical power output using powermeter BePro (website: http://www.bepro-favero.com/en/) at different velocity to determinate the total resistive forces. According to the equation of cyclist's motion, the total resistive forces vary in a linear way with the square of the velocity. 

Average power as a function of average speed (hoods and drops position)
I found a flat road segment where I performed with my road bike five several trials at different velocities in hoods and drops position. For every step I recorded the average speed and power, and I estimated the air density considering the pressure, temperature and the realative humidity.

On the chart It's easy to see how keeping a drops position the output power is lower at the same speed than hoods position. It means that aerodynamic coefficient is better .

Anyway the purpose of this examination was to estimate my CdA, so with an algorithm I calculated the linear regression between total resistive forces and the  square of the velocity, estimating my CdA changing the position:

CdA hoods position: 0,363 m^2
CdA drops position: 0,314 m^2

So, keeping a drop positions my CdA decreased of about 13,5%.

What does this mean? 

It means that the final time to ride a 40km TT at 300 Watt with the same conditions (flat and straight road, no wind, same air density and Crr - Rolling Resistance) would be:

Hoods position: 1h 02' 42"
Drops position: 0h 59' 52"

The final time would be 2' 50" faster just changing the position.

I know that cycling is not just a mathematical algorithm, many factors can alterate the performance, but with this simple test it's easy to understand the importance and the advantages of keeping a more aerodynamic position.

The author of this article is Mattia Michelusi. Decisions concerning use of the work, such as distribution, access, updates, and any use restrictions belong to the author.

Dott. Mattia Michelusi
Email: mattia.michelusi@gmail.com
Web: www.coachmichelusi.blogspot.it 

Bibliography:
Capelli, C., Rosa, G., Butti, F., Ferretti, G., & Veicsteinas, A. (1993). Energy cost and efficiency of riding
aerodynamics bicycles. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 67, 144–149.
Capelli, C., Schena, F., Zamparo, P., Dal Monte, A., Faina, M., & di Prampero, P. E. (1998). Energetics of best
performances in track cycling. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 30, 614–624.
Di Prampero PE, Cortili G, Mognoni P, Saibene F. Equation of motion of a cyclist. J Appl Physiol. 1979 Jul; 47 (1): 201-6
Di Prampero P. E. La locomozione su terra, aria e acqua. Fatti e teorie. Edi-ermes Milano 1985
Di Prampero. Cycling on Earth, in space, on the Moon. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2000 Aug;82(5-6): 345-60
Martin, J. C., Milliken, D. L., Cobb, J. E., McFadden, K. L., & Coggan, A. R. (1998). Validation of a mathematical model for road cycling power. Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 14, 245–259.
Olds T.S., K.I. Norton, and N.P. Craig. Mathematical model of cycling performance. J. Appl. Physiol. 75 (2): 730-737, 1993

venerdì 21 agosto 2015

How important is upper body strength for cycling?

The author of this article is Mattia Michelusi. Decisions concerning use of the work, such as distribution, access, updates, and any use restrictions belong to the author.


How important is upper body strength for cycling?

Good question!

To reply it I always say: have you ever tried to do a maximal sprint without pulling with your arms?

A strong upper body is a fundamental part of bike riding. When you cycle you need to be able to create force from your legs, and transfer it to the pedals through your upper body. It means while the legs do the most work, you need lower back muscles for maintaining posture and stability, upper back muscles for fixing the arms, abdominal muscles for keeping the trunk stable and for diaphragmatic breathing, arms's muscles for transferring the force from the hands on the handlebar.

In order to demonstrate this thesis I tried to do on the field nine maximal standing starts:
  • 3 sprints sit on the saddle without pulling with my arms (SWP);
  • 3 sprints sit on the saddle pulling with my arms (SP) ;
  • 3 sprints out of the saddle pulling with my arms (OP).

I performed these sprints on the same false flat segment road, with always the same gear combination and recording all data with a mobile power meter BePro mounted on my bike (website: www.bepro-favero.com/en/).


In the chart above it's easy to see how I definitely pushed an higher power in the sprints out of the saddle pulling with my arms (OP), whereas the lowest power was during the sprints sit on the saddle without pulling with my arms (SWP).
  • Average maximal power for the sprints SWP: 717 Watt (lowest 664 W / highest 744 W)
  • Average maximal power for the sprints SP: 806 Watt (lowest 797 W / highest 811 W)
  • Average maximal power for the sprints OP: 1076 Watt (lowest 1029 W / highest 1114 W)

Moreover in the sprints out of the saddle pulling with my arms (OP) I was able to reach my maximal power faster than both the sprints sit on the saddle pulling with my arms (SP) and  the sprints sit on the saddle without pulling with my arms (SWP).

Anyway it doesn't mean you can increase your maximal power doing many reps of "Pull-ups" in the gym, and it's not enough to ride out of the saddle for reaching your maximal power, but you need to be able to coordinate three different movements:
  • Pushing with your legs;
  • Pulling with your arms;
  • Maintaining posture and stability with your trunk.

All together it's not so easy! So, for sure it's important core and strength training for your upper body in the gym, but just with practice on your bike you can get it more efficient.

For sure this examination has not a scientific value, because the sprints were just nine and the cyclist just me, but I thing it's a good way to demonstrate on the field that:

STRONGER UPPER BODY IS BETTER..WITH A GOOD COORDINATION!

The author of this article is Mattia Michelusi. Decisions concerning use of the work, such as distribution, access, updates, and any use restrictions belong to the author.

Strava's file training:
Dott. Mattia Michelusi
Email: mattia.michelusi@gmail.com
Web: www.coachmichelusi.blogspot.it  

venerdì 7 agosto 2015

Intermittente: 30"/30" VS 40"/20"

Si dichiara che l'autore esclusivo del presente articolo è Michelusi Mattia. A quest'ultimo sono riservati tutti i diritti sull'opera quali l'adattamento totale o parziale, la diffusione e la riproduzione in qualsiasi mezzo in quanto frutto di ricerca e di elaborazioni personali.

In un articolo precedente abbiamo visto la differenza tra la ripetute (5' e 20' massimali) e l'intermittente (30" 100% CP5' / 30" blando), due tra i metodi d'allenamento di tipo intervallato più conosciuti (Link: Ripetuta VS Intermittente).
Si e' visto come in un intermittente, grazie alla variazione tra fase intensa e fase banda, sia possibile effettuare un volume totale di lavoro più grande rispetto una ripetuta alla stessa intensità.

Il 30"/30" pero' non e' l'unica tipologia di allenamento intermittente, ma esistono tre fattori che possono variare la difficoltà e l'obiettivo di un lavoro di tipo intermittente:
  • Intensità della fase intensa
  • Durata della fase intensa
  • Durata della fase di recupero

Volutamente non ho inserito l'intensità della fase di recupero in quanto ritengo che il recupero durante un lavoro di tipo intermittente deve essere passivo o molto blando.
Inoltre importante tenere in considerazione che in un intermittente sia la fase intensa che quella di recupero non devono superare i 40-45" altrimenti si entra nella tipologia di lavoro denominata Interval Training, che ha obiettivi differenti rispetto l'intermittente.

Ho cosi provato testare su me stesso con misuratore di potenza BePro ((sito internet: http://www.bepro-favero.com) due tipologie di intermittente variando due dei tre fattori visti in precedenza: la durata della fase intensa e della fase di recupero. Mentre la volta scorsa ho effettuato un intermittente 30" al 100% W CP 5' / 30" blandi fino a esaurimento delle mie energie, questa volta ho provato effettuare un intermittente 40" al 100% W CP 5' / 20" blandi fino a esaurimento delle mie energie.

Ecco qua i due grafici:


INTERMITTENTE 30" al 100% W CP 5' / 30" blandi

Per quasi un'ora ho alternato 30" intensi e 30" blandi con una wattaggio medio della fase intensa pari a 328 Watt. In altre parole grazie alla continua variazione tra fase intensa e blanda, sono riuscito erogare un volume totale di 27 minuti a 328 Watt.

INTERMITTENTE 40" al 100% W CP 5' / 20" blandi

In 15' ho esaurito le mie energie erogando una potenza media nella fase intensa pari a 341 Watt, effettuando un volume totale di 10' a 341Watt (potenza che non riuscirei mantenere nemmeno per 5' in una ripetuta a intensità costante).

Aumentando quindi la durata della fase intensa e diminuendo quella del recupero sono riuscito durare solo 15' rispetto i 55' dell'intermittente 30"/30". Questo e' dovuto da un aumento della produzione di acido lattico, infatti una diminuzione del tempo di recupero comporta una minor risistesi del Creatinfosfato, provocando una maggior intervento del meccanismo glicolitico per produrre energia.

Da considerare comunque che nell'esecuzione dell'intermittente 40"/20" ho commesso un paio di errori:
  • la salita, diversa da quella del 30"/30" (7% nel 40"/20" VS 5% nel 30"/30"), era un po troppo pendente per il mio livello e quindi la potenza nella fase di recupero è risultata piu intensa di quanto volessi.
  • la potenza della fase intensa maggiore di quella target  di circa 20 Watt (341W VS 320Watt).

Probabilmente senza questi due errori e con un livello di allenamento migliore sarei durato un po' di più.  Nonostante tutto, con questa prova si è visto come basta cambiare alcuni dei fattori visti in precedenza per variare la difficoltà e l'obiettivo di un lavoro intermittente.

Si dichiara che l'autore esclusivo del presente articolo è Michelusi Mattia. A quest'ultimo sono riservati tutti i diritti sull'opera quali l'adattamento totale o parziale, la diffusione e la riproduzione in qualsiasi mezzo in quanto frutto di ricerca e di elaborazioni personali.

Dott. Mattia Michelusi
Email: mattia.michelusi@gmail.com
Web: www.coachmichelusi.blogspot.it 

mercoledì 5 agosto 2015

Pale di San Martino's Tour by MTB

Beautiful ride by MTB on the dolomites: tour of Pale di San Martino from San Martino di Castrozza.

I and my friend Davide started from San Martino di Castrozza. After a fast visit of San Martino looking for a fresh fountain, we took the funicular railway in order to reach Rifugio Rosetta where we found an awesome sight.

From Rifugio Rosetta we started our tour around the Pale di San Martino passing through rock paths, grass paths, steep hill, perfumed flowers, wild animals, beautiful sights and also a big thunderstorm the last hour. We didn t miss anything ;)

66km in 6h 13' 5" (moving time) with an elevation of 2260meters (3260 considering the elevation with the funicular railway):

Funicular railway: 2,9km (4,4%)
Paved road: 24,2km (36,7%)
Off road: 38,9km (58,9%)

Below you can see the whole Strava's file (https://www.strava.com/activities/361592182 ), now some nice pictures:





I've never done before a so nice ride by MTB!

Here the whole ride - Strava's file:


Dott. Mattia Michelusi
Email: mattia.michelusi@gmail.com 
Web: www.coachmichelusi.blogspot.it