The Science of Cycling

I saw a commercial advertising a show hosted by Neal De Grasse Tyson on science so I set my DVR to record each episode. Last night they talked about the science of cycling. It was very interesting!

For years they measured the amount of oxygen getting to the cells of a cyclist during training to maximize the performance of their muscles. Now, they measure wattage from the crank. I'm assuming they can only do this in a lab, right? They also discussed performance enhancing drugs. During the entire show, they cut to an interview with Lance Armstrong. He stated that today the riders are clean due to all the testing but they are riding just as fast as during the doping era. He attributed the speeds today to that wattage measuring.

If higher wattage is good for performance, could the development of a hybrid battery system to power an electric motor on a trike be in the works?

Comments

  • Doping continues. The science of doping stays ahead of the science of detection. The recent documentary " Icarus "goes into deep detail on this subject with bike racers doping and the Russian Olympic team doping mess.
  • edited October 2017
    The wattage data is complied by the use of a power meter and there are many types that are mounted on various components of a bike. You can indeed monitor power data live while racing and the data itself particularly FTP or functional Threshold Power are kept secret from the general public and other teams. It would be a simple matter if you knew Chris Froomes FTP to train to a level say 5% higher and in theory you should be able to consistently beat him. Some riders usually mid level share power data with fans and others like Peter Sagan share just a few data points but not enough to analyze FTP.

    The great thing about training with a power meter is it takes away allot of variables you can train for example to 200w regardless of wind, weather, and road conditions. Giving feedback that the rider can then internalize so you have a gauge as to how much effort you are producing and how much you have left.
  • Thanks! That was a great explanation and a lot of things I did not know. I a so glad the cycling community has gone to this and hope they give up on PEDs. I used to love to watch the Tour de France until all the drug use came out. Now I ignore it.
  • Thanks! That was a great explanation and a lot of things I did not know. I a so glad the cycling community has gone to this and hope they give up on PEDs. I used to love to watch the Tour de France until all the drug use came out. Now I ignore it.

    I found a gazillion videos on YouTube at GCN (Global Cycling Network) that deal with cycling issues, maintenance, news, reviews, etc. The four hosts, all Brits, are interesting guys all with a good sense of humor.
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