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Items filtered by date: December 2011
Tuesday, 27 December 2011 00:00

Website overhaul

The last few weeks have finally seen some much needed TLC for the PBscience website. One of the aspects that we have looked at is the role that the site has in supporting the PBscience community with their training and other preparations. Hidden behind the member login has been steadily building a big resource library, with close to 50 factsheets and a comprehensive session descriptions section to help with the execution and subsequent analysis of individual workouts. It’s long been my suspicion that these resources haven’t actually been that well used and sure enough, a quick look at the ‘stats’ reveals that none of the factsheets for example, have seen more than 20 hits in the last few years.

So, we’ve decided to open up our online library as a free to access resource.

Website_overhaulA morning in front of the computer screens was enough to get the majority of the structural changes in place. Some people have recently worried that Helen has dropped off the face of the planet but this picture shows she is still alive and well (I've just been working her hard!). Firstly, rather than just making the pdf documents freely available, we’ve taken the choice to move the content over to html based webpages. This means that every fact sheet will undergo a review (rather than just a cut and paste job) and it opens up the possibility of embedding videos and other types of media to help make the information a little clearer.

Initially I was concerned that in effect this was taking something away from our existing members. However, I’m fairly confident that they will also benefit from this move. I’ve become more and more aware, that the athletes who work with PBscience choose to do so to work with the PBscience team, NOT because of the material on the website. Also, our members weren’t able to make use of the material in its existing form. For many time is an issue – it’s hard enough fitting training around a busy schedule let alone finding time to sit and read about it as well. Moreover the navigation on the site is not the best at the moment, so by removing some of the ‘layers’ pertaining to the member login it’s hoped we can streamline this and make the information more accessible to members and non-members alike.

I’m a big fan of the growing online support for freedom of information, so much of what I have learnt has come from studying other peoples websites, blogs and articles and I do feel slightly hypocritical having paid for none of this freely available information and then hiding our own work behind a veil of secrecy...

From our perspective, a greater readership of our material should offer more frequent questioning of our ideas and beliefs. I certainly hope that this will help refine and update some of our practices – placing ourselves under the spotlight in this way can only help our ‘quality control’!

From a business perspective, the accumulation of this material represents more accurately than anything the philosophy and best practises that we believe in at PBscience. Making this freely available should help perspective clients make a more informed decision on whether PBscience is likely to offer a coaching service that meets their requirements

Anyhow, because of the time taken in transferring the factsheet material into webpages this process isn’t going to happen overnight, but in the interests of goal setting I’m publically declaring my intention to have the material freely available online by January 28th, 2012. As a starter for 10, 'Training in Zone 2', ‘The importance of base building’ and ‘Top 10 errors for athletes’ are now available under the new factsheet menu item (see pic). Look out for more titles as they become available.

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Published in Blog
Saturday, 17 December 2011 00:00

www.cycleprecison.co.uk

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In my last blog post on mobility training I mentioned a recent bike fitting session I underwent so time for a bit more information. Bjorn and Nathan have both been PBscience coached athletes for a while now and so I was well aware of the bikefit training and experience they had both been gathering over a long period of time. It's been at the back of my mind that I've given ZERO thought to my road bike position since it's purchase over 6 years ago and I had an inkling that things haven't been quite optimal, so I jumped at the chance to put the guys at the newly formed Cyleprecision through their paces.

Despite having paid no attention to my bike fit, I'm very well read and experienced enough to know which elements I think are important when it comes to set up. I was going in to my fit in 'cynical scientist mode' - if I didn't agree with what was being said and done I wasn't about to keep hush because of my existing relationships with Bjorn and Nathan.

First up was an interview to discuss my riding preferences and aspirations. The optimal road bike fit for spending all day in the saddle in a mountainous sportive compared with a fast aggressive crit are quite different, so I was pleased to hear this accounted for. First box ticked. Incidentally, I asked for a decidedly non-specialised position, for I intend to ride events along the full spectrum just described!

Dan_cycle_fit_-_preNext my existing position was measured, and after a short warm up an assessment of my flexibility made. It's not good enough to just 'eyeball' a good riding position. On of my requirements was that my fit addressed my own biomechanics and range of motion (ROM) so second box ticked. The photo (left) is of my starting position - it's obvious to me now that I needed to make changes to allow me to bend my arms!

With my old position set up as a start point on the testing rig, Nathan and Bjorn set about making changes... cleats forward a few millimeters, narrower bars, shorter reach, higher saddle with greater setback. Some of the changes were fairly subtle but all were geared to ensuring that the position did not exceed my functional capacity, as indicated by the ROM identified in my flexibility tests.

In summary I was very pleased with the service and left happy not only with the fit, but most importantly for me with confidence in the rationale behind all of the changes made. Here is a summary of what I found to be good with the service:

Scientific method - the computrainer built into the fitting rig gives a great tool for a test-retest of any changes made during the test. My initial warm up identified a clear right leg dominance in my pedal stroke and some clear holes in my power application. This was markedly improved with the new position and I expect further improvements as I adapt to the changes

Flexibility - fit accounted for my own limitations, not just some generic benchmarks

The rig - the rig used for the fit is a fantastic piece of kit: by not using my own bike for the fit, the extent of the possible permutations was essentially infinite rather than being limited by the geometry of my frame. Fitting this position to my frame then becomes the problem...

Opportunity to experiment - during the fit, I was able to try out a number of bar widths and a number of different saddles. As a result of the testing I have swapped my 42cm bars for super-narrow 38cm Eastons and am now confident that my Toupe is the right saddle for me - everything else I tried was much less stable and much less comfortable. I was hesitant to spend on new bars without trying them first.

Areas for progress - an obvious area that I need to work on is flexibility to allow myself to adopt a more aggressive aerodynamic position for racing. Four weeks later I am pleased to report that thanks to the kick up the backside from Bjorn and Nathan and the use of mobilitywod I have made big progress and have noticeable less lower back, shoulder and neck discomfort on longer sessions.

All in all I was very impressed by the service offered by Cycleprecision and the guys did a great job of dispelling my initial cycnicism. I'll certainly be going back (as a paying customer I might add...) before purchasing any new kit and once I've established a level of mobility that will allow me to adopt a more 'racey' position. Get in contact with Bjorn if you have any questions about what's involved.

** Incidentally Bjorn is offering a great deal for PBscience athletes, I have emailed everyone with details.

Published in Blog