Why it is easier to model cycles rather than cyclists
In our modeling of the cycle, we learned about its design and what its designed to do. Because it’s a machine, these insights were based on its components and dimensions and were fixed once the dimensions were known. They were what they were given the numbers.
Though cyclists may be described mechanically, similar cyclists do not imply similar performance. The cyclist’s ability to generate Watts is dependent on many factors, none of which are easily quantifiable into equations. Cyclist modeling therefore becomes a mix of mechanics and physiology.
Why is cyclist modeling important?
Cyclists have two general objectives in understanding Physical Cycling. The first is grasping riding insights to incorporate in their technique. The second is to ask questions as to how they might perform against specific riding scenarios.
They want to know what is possible and what requires more training. That means representing the cyclist in a way we can relate their current training levels to specific riding scenarios.
What is key when modeling cyclists?
The key to this is the cyclist’s power generation ability. We will see it is straightforward to determine the total work in Joules needed to complete a specific riding scenario. But then, the cyclist will want to know how long it might take to complete it.
Knowing the time, we compute the required ride power output in Watts, and then compare it against the cyclist’s current training level as quantified in their power generation abilities. This tells us whether the ride is within their current wheelhouse, or whether they need more training.
What does our cyclist model look like?
With all of these variables, how can we create a representative cyclist model? The answer is extensive work has been performed in labs by physiologists looking to understand how athletes function under stress. One of the specific measurements they have made has been power generation capabilities.
By compiling numbers against large numbers of Elite athletes in many sports as to how they perform for brief sports or extended periods, these physiologists had been able to assemble a representative table of the power generating ability of athletes from recreational to world class.
This type of table, and specifically the one produce by Andrew Coggin’s team, is how we will model both male and female cyclists. Our specific objective will be to establish what cyclists at various training levels can reasonable expect in terms of performances. These tables provide us with representative answers.
Next Topic: Cyclist Power Generators