Just a few weeks ago, Wahoo announced the opening of its brand new Sports Science Centre in Boulder, Colorado.
With it came numerous claims, vague in their respective detail, that the particular new facility would provide benefits to the Wahoo customer, such as the quote on the Wahoo website, which says the particular centre will “develop effective protocols for everyday athletes, delivered in the Wahoo Systm training app. ”
However , on face value, the facility appeared to be exclusive; reserved for Wahoo’s sponsored pro athletes or, at the stretch, those based within reach of Boulder. Wanting more detail, I caught up with Wahoo’s Head of Sports Technology, Neal Henderson, to get the lowdown of exactly what’s there, what it’s for, and most importantly, how it is able to benefit Wahoo’s paying customers from around the world.
The short answer to this question is “research” but the long solution unearthed Wahoo’s long-term play, which, if it comes in order to fruition, suggests an exciting future ahead with regard to data-driven cyclists.
“We are basically a research plus development service, ” explained Henderson. “Predominantly, the research and development will be for improving the products that we have, both from the software offerings within Systm plus RGT , as well as all Wahoo hardware, and the interactions and integrations within each. ”
But before we dive into what all those interactions and integrations are exactly, let’s take a look at exactly what fills the new Sports Science Centre.
The particular first thing Henderson mentions is a swim flume; the continuous pool that enables coaches to analyse the particular mechanics associated with an athlete’s movement. Henderson himself began his career as a swim coach, and his eyes light up in its mention.
There’s also a large area dedicated to laboratory-style testing: VO2Max testing, Lactate testing, core temperature sensor (using both the Core brand and otherwise) testing, and so on. Do you know how much fat plus carbohydrate a person burn at a given intensity? Neither do we, but Wahoo can find out.
There’s also a room dedicated to dialling bike fit; the strength room laden with free weights, ropes, bands and more; podcasting studios and conference rooms; as well as a studio filled with Kickr Bikes, suggesting Wahoo has its eye on the Peloton model of spin-style workouts.
As for how all that translates into an improved experience regarding Wahoo clients, a clue lies within Wahoo’s existing product portfolio: Indoor cycling hardware this kind of as turbo trainers plus smart bikes, power meter pedals, heart rate monitors, smart watches, GPS computers and software in order to capture everything data.
At the launch of Systm in 2021, Wahoo suggested it would eventually become the centre of the Wahoo universe, and Henderson’s claims have today shed some light on precisely what that might look like.
The ongoing future of coaching
Imagine a world in which algorithms possess replaced coaches and you might be somewhere on the right track. Of course, numbers and computers can never truly replicate the human connection and understanding that defines a good coach, yet with the ever-growing number of sensors available that allow us to track our health and turn it into data, there can be the lot associated with different ways to measure plus quantify exactly how we’re performing and feeling. Using that data correctly could unlock some serious optimisation when prescribing training sessions. However, such a richness of data can also provide a lot of noise, with little clarity if you don’t know just how to use it.
Henderson is wise enough not to name names, but calls out the current state associated with play, within which he says certain competitors are quick to label a workout as unproductive without a complete picture of an athlete’s physical and psychological load. TSS plus CTL don’t provide anywhere near the particular full picture.
As for how Wahoo intends to improve on this, there is no silver bullet, rather a collection associated with iterative improvements across its entire profile.
Hardware improvements to Wahoo’s Elemnt Rival smartwatch could permit it in order to track a lot more metrics, in addition to the heartrate it can currently monitor. Depending on exactly how far Wahoo takes this particular, the Rival could even become a direct competitor in order to Whoop , but as yet, actually Wahoo doesn’t know, as the research is usually ongoing.
On the software program side, Wahoo Systm’s main competitor is definitely arguably TrainerRoad, a brand which is currently forging a similar path toward autonomy. Its Adaptive Training feature uses machine learning and adjusts your training plan based on your recent progress and responses to post-ride surveys that ask how hard you felt each session.
Henderson suggests Systm is working toward the similar strategy, allowing the app to use data to drive a dynamic training plan.
For example , data captured by your Elemnt Competitor, Powrlink pedals , Elemnt computers plus Kickr turbocharged trainers will certainly provide your own physical output, pedalling dynamics and more. Meanwhile, your Elemnt Rival and Tickr heart rate keep track of could provide heartrate variability, skin temperature, core heat, breathing rate and much more.
Or Wahoo could work with third-party sensors such as Whoop intended for recovery information, Core to get core body temperature and heat acclimation data, and Supersapiens (a company whose board of directors features none other than Wahoo founder and CEO, Chip Hawkins), which would provide glucose data (and in long term, lactate information ).
All the while, Systm, RGT or your own Wahoo X app could capture a regular insight into your mental state.
“Training is not just an external output, ” Henderson explains. “When all of us go and do coaching, we’re not really training robots, so exterior mechanical result doesn’t tell the entire story. ”
Pointing in order to his head, Henderson continues “What’s going on here? What happens between the ears? Psychologically, just how difficult can be a given workout? How stressed were you whenever completing that will task? External output won’t tell a person anything about that. The heart rate alone won’t tell you that. The combination of those three things [external output, cardiovascular response and psychological response] give you a lot more insight. ”
And that takes us nicely back to the ‘interactions and integrations’ mentioned earlier. At the particular moment, Wahoo uses 4DP (four-dimensional power) to quantify a cyclist’s ‘rider profile’, based upon results from the test associated with 20-minute, five-minute, one-minute plus five-second power.
Henderson says that FTP by yourself doesn’t provide a clear enough picture of a rider’s capabilities, and that will an athlete’s neuromuscular limit (ie, their maximum sprint) can range from 200% FTP, where a rider with 300w FTP can top away at 600w in a sprint; to 800%, where that same FILE TRANSFER PROTOCOL would be accompanied by a 2400w sprint. Therefore , to ask individuals two sports athletes to follow the same teaching plan will be unproductive, or perhaps even impossible.
To summarise that will simply – more data equals a lot more insight, so why stop presently there? Wahoo’s intention is in order to utilise because much information as it possibly can, through a variety of sensors to inform the algorithms. Then, if for example your resting heart rate, primary temperature and recent mood all suggest illness or even fatigue, it can suggest an easier workout instead of the planned 3 x 20 at FTP you had been initially prescribed.
And to steer this article full circle, it’s the particular accuracy of those obtainable sensors, the quality of the data they provide, plus the best ways within which to integrate everything into Wahoo’s products that is being researched at the new Sports activities Science Center in Boulder, so it looks as though Wahoo’s users may indeed benefit.
Unfortunately, however, this isn’t heading to be a quick process. The first updates may be seen before the particular end associated with 2022, Henderson confirms, yet this is a series of iterative improvements that could – and in all likelihood will — span years.