Personal tools
You are here: Home Members carl Carl's Blog training software

training software


Video toys on the way

Mum got me a VIRB for my birthday!

I know .. I'll be 43(!) in March, mum asked, I told her, she said yes.  I have a Garmin VIRB Elite ANT+ video camera coming.

Why is this any funkier than my collection of GoPro Hero's?

It does power.  Last week Garmin updated the firmware in the VIRB to store power meter data.  No, this isn't a substitute for a power meter computer, I'm not replacing my Cyclops Joule 1.0's for VIRB's (at 4.5x the price!), but it does make overlaying performance data onto video a lot quicker and easier than it has been 'til now.  The old way, was to use Dashware to overlay power data onto video, but it was a messy, time consuming task.  With the new VIRB update, I can get video data much more quickly combined with power and speed, so it becomes practical to do, maybe even during a training session.  Handy?  Yes, for teaching and explaining what happens in, for example, a team sprint.  We take hand splits with stop watches, but if we have video, with power and speed, we can actually see what's really happening and make more intelligent gear choices and pacing decisions.

Same sort of thing with flying 200's and the like.  I'm excited at what I think we can do with this toy.



Golden Cheetah 3.0

It's out and it's funky!

Those of you using Golden Cheetah to look at your power data, 3.0 has been released. It's available here :



What a mess ...

I'm trying to sort out a workable, scalable calendaring solution for the millions of things, people etc that I have to keep track of.  Google Calendar seems to be pretty nice, it has the ability to show and hide things, share calendars, delegate permissions etc.  I'm trialing it with some of the guys in Norway and hopefully will find a way to integrate Plone events (this website, the site) with it somehow.  Adding things in multiple places is error prone and a PITA.  Watch this space ...



The countdown sample on FGF is crappy ...

Anyone who practices standing starts wants to 'sync their clock', which is to say, to get your timing spot-on.

At championship events, you get a beep at 10s to go, then 5,4,3,2 & 1 are beeps, then a different tone beep for 0.

There's a recorded sample of this over on Fixedgearfever, but it's full of background noise and is generally a bit ordinary.  So I sat down for 15 mins or so with Audacity and made a new one.  Here it is.  Feel free to use/abuse/distribute as you see fit.



I've been busy!

On Sunday at our regular DISC training session, we did K1's for the sprinters.  I had a little help from Rachael Matties who started putting data into sprintTracker for me.

Here's what the data entry form looks like :


 This is only a small part of this application, but it's the one that will get the most use - we will use it to add data into an SQL (sqlite3 at the moment) database for all our sprinters times.  Yes, it doesn't do power (yet).  For now my goal is to have it able to store all our training data from both aboc and NTID Sprint sessions and allow us to analyse rider performances quickly.  Just getting the data into the database is the first step.  Once it's in there we can query to our heart's content.

So I've been busy - the application is written in a programming language called Python, using a GUI toolkit called wxPython and a database/object orientation toolkit called SQLAlchemy.   I'll be using matplotlib to generate charts and graphs, but that's another toolkit I have to learn to use and it'll take some time to get something useful out of it.  I'm very very rusty as a programmer, the last time I did any even vaguely serious programming was way back in 1996 and that was a horrid mismash of code at Westpac to maintain a DNS database written in Perl.  Ugly ... I'm not proud of it!  Anyway, sprintTracker will hopefully scratch an itch I've had for some time re keeping records of sprint performances that a conventional spreadsheet isn't powerful enough (or I don't know enough about!) to do.

Along the way I've had a shoulder injury that's kept me out of the gym, the doctors diagnosed it as a supraspinatus bursitis, which is an inflamation of the bursa (sort of like a bearing) around a tendon in my shoulder. It's sometimes known as a subacromial bursitis.  They (the doctors I saw) insisted I have a cortisone injection in the shoulder.  Cortisone is on the banned list both in and out of competition, and so I need to get a TUE for it, which is a pain in the arse but must be done if I'm to keep my racing licence.  Round 1 isn't that far away ....


Houston, we have a (small) problem

Our track powertaps are not quite right

I'll cut to the chase (I'm pretty busy working on sprintTracker, my little python program to track sprinters times etc), I'm responsible for some 10 track modified Powertap hubs, two are mine, the rest belong to the VIS, the NTID and Hilton Clarke.

There's a small problem with them involving the chainline.  We never noticed it on mine because it's only about 3.5mm out and I'm no great torque machine and both my and Emily's bikes have reasonably long chainstays so the chainline problem doesn't really show up. However, under some of the NTID and VIS boys who have real motors we hear noises at high power outputs, so we investigated the chainline of the hubs.

Best illustrated with a couple of (poor quality!) photos :

pt track hub chainline  That's what they look like

campy track hub chainline  That's what it should look like

 As you can see, even with my crappy mobile phone photography and quickly cobbled up bit of cardboard measuring device, the PT hub puts the sprocket about 3.5mm (the width of the lockring) too far towards the middle of the bike.  I think the guys at Wheelbuilder made a mistake reading the width of the hub and assumed that the sprocket was where the lockring is,  which it isn't. Most people would never notice, the 3.5mm deviation is small and under enduro riders would not show up at all, but put them under a big sprinter putting out a lot of torque and it makes noises and runs rough.

The fix is pretty easy, the hubs have a steel axle end cap that you can see in the top picture (with the flat side to allow you to do it up), that needs to be 3.5mm shorter and the other side needs to be 3.5mm longer.  Then, all the wheels need to be re-dished.  Bugger, most of them were put together by Daryl Perkins and he tied and soldered them, which is a PITA to re-do.

Anyway, these things happen and I'm sure the guys at Wheelbuilder will send us corrected end caps ASAP.  They're smart people and proud of the work they do, they'll want to take responsibility for this and fix it.  In the mean time we can machine down the existing drive-side end caps and put washers under the off-side ones.  It's fiddly and shouldn't have to happen but this is prototype and first generation stuff, we expect a few teething issues.  It's the price of being on the bleeding edge.


A rainy day

Is an opportunity!

I had to defer the DUCCs session this morning due to rain.  Given that it's freezing cold outside and windy it's a good day for being indoors.  I've just been to the butcher to get the 4.5kg of mince beef for tonight's spag boll for Spin and it's bloody cold out!  So today's jobs - work on sprintTracker to get it to the point where I can (still with a lot of manual hacking) enter some individual efforts into the database.  I'm also going to keep chipping away at the sprint drills page.

I did get a good chance to speak with Martin Barras last week, his sprint progression is this :

  1. strength
  2. power
  3. acceleration
  4. speed
  5. speed-endurance

He has his sprinters gym work set to lead the program by around two weeks.  For example :

In a strength block, they're concentrating on strength in the gym and on the bike (squats, deadlifts, legpress (if you must ...) in the gym, K1's on the bike).  They max out on strength in the gym about two weeks before they do on the bike, and start working on power (cleans, snatch, hang clean pulls, clean pulls, ballistic leg press etc) before they switch the emphasis over to power on the bike, and so on.  The rough gym to bike matchup is this :

Strength squats
big gear efforts
various cleans
ballistic legpress
smaller gear rolling start efforts (short duration)
 Acceleration plyos
various cleans & snatches
various acceleration drills
Speed plyos
various cleans & snatches etc
Motorpaced high speed work
speed-endurance ergo work
motorpaced high speed-longer efforts
Longer powerjumps
race-like efforts

I'm going to see if I can get more information about the gym work that Craig Colduck used during the speed and speed-endurance blocks.  Craig wrote a famous article that I have a copy of here.  I'd also like to compare this to how Gary West is programming these days and also John Beasley.  There's many ways to skin the cat!



Drills that work

Now we're going to be able to do a bit more smart coaching

Over the last few months I've collected quite a bit of data from the NTID and aboc sprint squad sessions with track power meters.  We haven't done anything with the data yet, but just collecting and having a quick look at it.

Now the data isn't perfect, but it's reasonably good and I'm going to use it to try and sort out which of the drills we use at track training are the best at producing overload.


In the gym, we manipulate three main variables - intensity (how heavy the weight is), volume (how many times we move it and how far) and recovery (how much time you get between reps and sets).

This is because we want to overload at least one of these variables every time, to disturb homeostatis and drive an improvement.

On the bike, we need to do the same thing.  We need to manipulate intensity, volume and recovery - but we don't have the same easy way of manipulating intensity that we do in the gym.  With, for example a squat or a power-clean, we just add more weight to the bar.  Simple .. We can micro-load with humiliator-plates if we need to (0.5kg plates, everyone loves the humiliators - they're tiny, but they make it so much harder!).  Up goes intensity.  The other two variables are trivially easy to manipulate as well.

On the bike, how do we do that?  Up the gears?  Ok, except that we never really get a 'fail' on the bike, the rider can turn any gear we put under them (on a velodrome anyway).  Up the speed, by chasing a motorcycle or another rider etc, and up the cadence by using small gears at high speeds.  These are all ways to do it, but I don't think we've ever really looked closely at how well they work.  The traditional sprint drills we use are all based on experience (which is not to be discounted!).  Now we're collecting a lot of data, we can start to see which drills get the best overload events out of our athletes - which ones produce the highest peak power, for example, or the highest power at a specific cadence range, the highest torque and so on.

Hopefully with some careful analysis of the data I've collected, with a bit of help from Dr Dan at the VIS, we'll be able to identify which of the drills we use are the best at overloading our athletes so we can train them smarter.  Watch this space!


Calling all excel experts ...

I need some help!

We time sprinters, we care about the times.  A lot.  As well as power data which we don't always have, having a long term record of speeds and distances is very important to us.

What I'd like to be able to do :

select a rider (or very quickly create a new one)
select a discipline : eg entry + 100, standing start 1/4 lap etc
select a gear in inches
enter a total distance, and split distances if easy enough/practical
enter a time, or a series of times (splits) and have some way to tell it what the splits represent - eg distances, with the ability to do special cases, eg we sometimes do a standing lap, where we want the first 65m, the second 65m then the last 125m

See a chart of this time and splits vs previous times for this rider for the discipline

For the purposes of rapid data entry we'd want to be able to select a rider, then have most of the stuff set as a (quickly alterable!) default and then bang the times in so we can get data into a spreadsheet or some other sort of database very quickly.  We're under a lot of time pressure when we do these.  Doing them after the fact is unlikely to happen as there's just too much data do double-handle.

Does anyone who reads this have any suggestions? Can it be done in a spreadsheet or will we need something fancier?


speed and gears

A handy calculator

I stumbled onto this today while showing Briana James and Mike Goldie how relevant (or otherwise) spinning 200+rpm is :

It's a calculator for speed vs gear inches.  The bottom line is that the fastest track sprinters, if they're pushing 100" in a flying 200, are doing ~160rpm. If they're pushing bigger than that, it's lower cadence. It depends on the rider, but the fastest flying 200's are around 72-73km/h, which is, on 100", around 155rpm.  I think they ride bigger gears than that (106"?) so that cadence is even lower. It's still a very high cadence, but it's not 200rpm, and top track sprinters would be unlikely to ever break 160rpm in a race situation on a race gear.


Powered by Plone CMS, the Open Source Content Management System

This site conforms to the following standards: