Performance under the Tree
By Matt Freeman Gift Guide #4
There are a lot of cool gifts that you can give the cyclist in your life for Christmas, but when it comes to race results, here are three gifts that may provide the best performance return on your investment.
Retul Bike Fit
Just as bicycle and training technology has increased by leaps and bounds throughout the last decade, so has bicycle fitting technology. Sure, there’s still a place for the tried and true tape measure, plumb bob and Goniometer, but traditional bike fitting methods are static and it’s is a 3-dimensional world we live in. The latest infrared motion-capture technology from Retul creates a 3-dimensional picture of how you actually ride. There’s no guess work or eye-balling associated with a Retul bike fit. The fit is based on the data that you produce from actually riding your bike. Yeah, you can get close with other older fit methods, but the 3D capabilities of Retul tell different stories that aren’t told otherwise. There’s the story that Retul tells while you’re just spinning, and the story that Retul tells while you’re riding tempo, and the story that Retul tells while you’re riding at your threshold. They’re all different stories and your body positions itself and pedals differently on the bike in each of these zones. A Retul fit captures data from pedaling at multiple intensities and puts you in a position that maximizes efficiency and performance in each zone, while reducing the possibility discomfort or injury. Visit the Retul website to find a certified fit specialist near you.
Lactate Threshold Testing
Cycling is all about efficiency and the more efficient your training, the better your race results. The most significant physiological marker for establishing a structured training schedule is knowing your lactate threshold. By measuring the lactate levels in blood samples taken during a lactate threshold test, you can determine your maximum sustainable performance capacity. Blood lactate, heart rate, and power data taken during the test will help determine your lactate threshold, a mark that serves as the foundation needed to establish training zones and a proper training schedule. Of course, there are ways to determine your lactate threshold outside of the lab, but the most accurate way is conducted by an expert coach collecting data and utilizing a Computrainer, SRM Ergometer, or Velotron. USA Cycling’s “Find a Coach” webpage is the best place to start when looking for a certified coach in Lactate Threshold testing.
VO2 Max Testing
While a Lactate Threshold Test will help set training intensities, the results of a VO2 Max Test will tell an athlete his or her aerobic potential. A VO2 Max Test measures oxygen uptake by monitoring oxygen and carbon dioxide in expired air as an athlete reaches their maximum exercise workload. It is recommended to have Lactate Threshold and VO2 Max tested at the same time since the results from both tests provide an even sharper picture of current fitness. As a cyclist, your goal is to increase the amount of power you can produce at VO2 Max, and how long you can sustain that workload. Increasing an athlete’s Lactate Threshold can be done at a faster rate over time than increasing VO2Max, however knowing both marks before starting a structured training program helps to measure the success and efficiency of the program. VO2 Max Testing must be performed in a lab by an experienced technician. Most cycling coaches don’t have access to such a lab, but companies such as Carmichael Training Systems