Saturday, November 25, 2006

A new age where Knowledge & Technique are King

All sports advance. Whether you're sixteen or sixty, male or female, beginner or expert-when you ride your bike you should know the best techniques. You don't have to be a super athlete, just bring whatever ability you have, and let us teach you to exploit what you are capable of doing. The only thing you need is a commitment to learn.

This is not the seventies and many technological breakthroughs have taken place. We have the tools to teach, to make you better. Bike designs w/ geometry & construction materials have also changed. Why then has bike fitting taken so long to change? Why should you be forced to use old outdated bike fitting info and methods? Why don't retail stores care? Who has the tools to unveil the "TRUTH" of what you need?

Think about it, you don't have to be in the know to own a retail store. And if you did own a store why would you care about how someone rides. That is not your concern! You only want your money from pushing whatever brand you have on the floor.
Great for the dealer, bad for the person who wants to learn.

Even if you have some sort of sizing cycle, tool, or a basic plum-line, it is not just about the fit. People want to learn the "TRUTH" and there are very few places that teach you how your muscles are firing w/in the pedal stroke. Yes, teaching the better techniques/movements of the world's best athletes to other cyclist at all ability levels we can be a primary influence in the sport. Yes, education is the way to help you understand the dynamics of cycling. Myo-facts sEMG/Dartfish is the key for that learning.

We are witnessing another technological breakthrough in cycling "TEACHING". But where does one go to get the biofeedback. Power meters only tell you the sum of the movements, it will not let you see what muscle is firing and when. So who is to say you need to have a certain bike setup w/o having the tools that provide the biofeedback data? Very soon, you will not have to take the word of someone who thinks you need something because they are the person who works on bikes every day, are your Coach,MD,PT,PA or they are the fastest fish in their pond! Very soon, dealers will hold the biofeedback tools that show you what you really need.

Thank goodness, for the power meter. The power meter has busted a lot of ideas on training how too! They are a great tool, but now we can even break it down to the single pedal stroke using Myo-facts sEMG/Dartfish. The game will never be the same!!!

Here is how change occurs! It was not long ago, that old classic cross country skiing (plum-line) vs. skating (Myo-facts sEMG/Dartfish), now that is the norm. After people learned the new skating, they describe it as " energy maximization..." But it took time for the results to change things. There where many professionals teaching the old school game. Nothing wrong w/ the old school, but it is not what won races. The same is being said after people use our Myo-facts sEMG/Dartfish. Old school meet new school, things are changing! In the mean time, many are going to have to learn from the old school of someone telling you what they think you need to do! Better? Perhaps? But if someone uses our Myo-facts sEMG/Dartfish, they see it, get and get better faster!

So what is a person to do? Here is how most retail stores work. Take skiing,you go buy your skis(bike), boots, etc..., at your local retail ski store, then you hit the slopes to learn on you own or you head to a ski school, or a join ski team to learn how to use them. Super, So where do you go to learn how to pedal? Who has the tools to teach you? Do you get a coach over the internet and instruct you? They don't have the biofeedback to show you what you need to do? Or you are very much on your own, after all there is not that much to riding a bike and I can keep up w/ my club. What's to learn anyway? The experts in my pond know! RIGHT!

It is ski season and as I look outside it is starting to snow. There are few hardcores jumping on their bikes for 2 1/2 hour ride. Perhaps everyone should get off the bike, get on the snow and learn how to bend a ski. It might do more for their pedal stroke and learning how to move than they know. Hope they have the focus and do the right moves or they are just learning bad motor skills for their base.

There is a lesson here, we learn from others and maybe we learn from the people we ride with? We know mass marketing impacts what we can learn. Ford is pushing their car & parts and Chevy are pushing their products. Then you have Porsche & BMW designs that perhaps care a bit more? Now think of the USA market and the 1,000 Chevy dealers and 1,000 Ford dealers? This is true, to become a dealer, you have to follow what they tell you. Sell,sell,sell!!! You don't make them money by teaching or caring how to drive the car. How about translating pedal power to the chain?

It's not the parts, it's how you put everything together. After that you still have to learn how to fire the muscles and learn the pedal stroke. Where can you go?

Why has cycling taken so long to unveil its secrets of movement? When Lance Armstrong was racing, do you think he was going to share w/ you what you need to do to take him out! Let's see, Tiger Woods is going to share w/ you what he knows to play on the PGA Tour? Come on! That is how they make their money.

So the next best thing is listen to the guy on TV who thinks they know what Lance or Tiger's muscle tone is when they make their moves. Do they know? Answer: NO! That is why they are now using software to break the movements down. The eye can't do that!

Back to the industry giants and how they have had a "gun-to-the-head" of their dealers. Dealing w/ specific fit needs "NOT". They want the dealers to sell bikes that they determine are the mass marketing needs. It cost the giants money to care!

Some brands market their brand by saying that if the dealer doesn't have their $$$$ sizing tool, plus 18 bikes on the floor, you don't become a dealer. Again, sizing a bike is some what a myth. We can fit you on a bike that is too small or too big. It mostly depends on what is it you want to do?

Just like skiing, we can fit you to long DH boards or shorter SL, but you will have a harder time dealing w/ the longer skis in tight turns or the bumps. So the question becomes what are the best-handling sizes for your game. Most brands come in sm,med,lg,xl to cover sizing. But the sales guy/gal has been told to sell what they have on the floor or else?

Look at skiing. Talk about understanding what is the best aero position. How getting your hands just so to mask your forearms, shaping your ski poles around everyhing allowing for a better tuck, allowing the eyes to see w/ the best head position, counter rotation, leg lead-change, hip angle allowing for the best use of the legs, all working as a moving counter weight for the legs to work. Understand in skiing, you can't make speed, you go w/ what the hill,surface and wind allows you.

Tiny margins make a huge difference in the sport of ski racing where 1,000th of a sec. makes a difference. And every country has their methods of looking for an edge! Skiers got into wind tunnels 30+ years ago! We found that sometimes being more aero will get you kill if your muscles don't work w/ the best range of motion at 45 to 70+mph. Look at the wrecks you see w/ tt setups!

This is important, we have a long history of looking for tiny margins. We know that is what makes a difference. Working w/ Olympic Champions from around the world. I mean people who won, not just one gold, but gold's! Working w/ the biggest names in the history of the skiing. Too many to name, but one comes to mind. James Major, the brother of Paul Major who was first a coach at CU, then being asked to work w/ the US Ski Team. James was the only North American named the head coach of a major European ski team. James Major was the coach for many years of World Cup, World Championship and Olympic medalist Ole Christian Furuseth. He used pictures to teach!

James is the co-author w/ Olle Larsson of a book "World Cup Technique"on ski technique and another on training methods. The book broke down the moves of the best in the game. They did not have the software we have today. He holds a Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from the U of Utah. As I know, his wife Helde Aune from Norway is currently the assistant coach of the UC Davis Gymnastics team and the Program Director of the Davis Diamonds Gymnastics program. In addition to coaching ski racing, James has coached ski racers and gymnasts in gymnastics programs for almost 30 years.

Why is this important. Because we are new to coaching and we have been working w/ the physical demands of sports at the highest level true experts/coaches for years. From World Cup to Pro Tour to NCAA Champions! We have a rich history of success w/ many, long before all of the cycling success. We are not new to elite level sports.
I will say, what you learn in your pond might not be what is needed to make it in the ocean!

Take just using video and reflectors. You need to know that skin moves and you "Can Not" track the true joint angles, nor understand the extremity kinematics.

How can you determine the muscle activation (tone)that in truth determines the outcome?

Anyone who has spent any time at all skiing at the World Cup level knows that we can tune your skis for a given course (bevel edge angles), cant your ski under the binding or from the ski boot, or w/in the ski boot w/ a footbed. They all do different things. A footbed is use to reduce the lag time of any movement in any direction (inward/outward,forward,backward,etc...) And some would say, you don't need them. They can even hurt you if you don't know what correct!

Too much and the knees may wear out, or the hips, or your lower back. Too little and they don't do you any good, power can be lost. Your ankle angle is a very large part of being good in skiing, being able to feel the slope, as it is in cycling. To adjust the flex of a boot for correct angling is determined by the speed you can handle of any event (Sl,GS,SG,DH Bumps,Gen). In cycling is harder to learn, as you have to learn your angles in space. The heel is not providing feedback.

Further more, the person on skis needs to learn how to ski, timing, pole plants, one pole, two poles, etc..., when to pressure, when to get on/off edge, down-weight, up-weight, dive downhill, thrust the hips forward after the turn, where the hands need to be in space, counter rotation, and on & on. Then you have all the different events SL,GS,SG,DH plus getting more aero.

Sounds like a lot? It is! So the next time you jump on your bike, regardless of the setup and that might not be what you want, and it can even hurt you? Run all this through your mind.

Even w/ the perfect bike setup, using a Power Tap, SRM or Garmin, you still have to pedal, to learn to ride. And most important of all, how to fire your muscles!!!

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