Actual testing…

This is my test rig. I learned a long time ago that what your body is telling you isn’t what’s really happening, so I started actually testing. The test rig is an adjustable stationary bike with strain gauges at the bottom bracket. Instead of using a wheel and some sort of resistance unit I made it lift a stack of plates (at the back of the unit). This way I could look at muscles used and forces generated at any point in the pedal stroke.

In contrast there is this. This is a screen capture from a Pioneer power meter which shows force vectors every 30 degrees. If you understand what you are looking at and you know that Sin(delta) is the efficiency at that moment, you can see that the time spent pushing the pedal in the right direction is very small while much of the effort is wasted. This person thinks they are standing, not powering a bike…

This video always amused me, they have the data but no idea how to change what they are doing. They only variables they have are gearing/cadence and in the saddle vs. out of the saddle. In season they never back down the power to relearn the sequence of muscles firing, off season they don’t use the power meters…

I have a very simple concept in training: If I can pedal perfectly at low intensity I have a chance to pedal near perfect at higher intensity with enough practice. If I can’t come close to perfect at low intensity I have no chance at being efficient at higher intensity. I can make changes to my pedal stroke at low intensity, I can’t do that at higher intensity.