Emily Petricola: Why you need an InfoCrank power meter

Emily Petricola: Why you need an InfoCrank power meter

Emily Petricola may be a five-time world champion cyclist, but she’s still relatively new to the sport.

She made her first major appearance on the world stage at the 2018 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Rio de Janeiro – eleven years after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Now, as she prepares for her first Paralympic Games in Tokyo later this year, Emily tells us about how she credits the InfoCrank as the biggest catalyst for improving her training and why she thinks you should invest in one if you’re truly serious about going further and faster on the bike. 

When I was diagnosed with MS, I went from being someone who was really fit, active and healthy to someone who was not capable of doing exercise to any level, let alone the way I had prior to my diagnosis. My life has completely changed post-diagnosis. I’ve changed careers, sports and even the place where I thought I was going to build my life a few times over. 

All of the expectations you have as a young person about what track you are on, and where you are going next get thrown out the window when you are diagnosed with a degenerative condition like MS, which has no set course and no way of knowing when something might go wrong or change. It was a true loss of identity as I was no longer capable of a lot of things I had done before.

Being involved in paracycling has completely changed my post-diagnosis life. It has enabled me to tap into the athletic version of myself from before and has really been the silver lining of being diagnosed. There are many things that I can’t do physically anymore, and cycling is literally the only sport that I can now do. Every time I get onto the bike it allows me to prove to myself that regardless of anything else that is going on with me, I am still capable of doing this one thing really well.

Emily Petricola - photo credit @ogaram

Image credit: Ogaram Media

InfoCrank has played a huge part in my training – having a completely accurate power meter was probably the biggest catalyst for improving my training and enabling me to make necessary improvements to ultimately make the national team. When you have a tool that allows you to track your training so comprehensively and measure your performance consistently without other factors influencing the data, it means you can start planning a clearer path forward with your training. Prior to having a power meter I was only using heart rate to track effort, which can be impacted so significantly by fatigue, heat, illness and other factors making it hard to gauge how hard you are actually working. Power is power and you are either pushing it or you aren’t!

I’m lucky that my coach at the time, Shane Kelly, asked me to get an InfoCrank power meter as they were known to be the most accurate and reliable power meter. What I love about it is that you don’t have to constantly calibrate it – it is almost plug and play! It is also great to have the power balance across both pedal strokes as this can be an important tool for me when one side is more compromised than the other.

I now have a far greater understanding of the imbalances of power across my body since using the InfoCrank. One side is more significantly impacted by the disease than the other, and so knowing what my normal ratio is for each side and tracking it during times when things are a bit tougher than they are during a more ’normal’ period is important and can help make decisions around backing off training until things start to head back to a more familiar place. Thinking of getting an InfoCrank? Do not hesitate! It will be the best thing you can do in terms of improving your performance.

Power Meter accuracy – What you really need to know

Power Meter accuracy – What you really need to know

Want to know why the InfoCrank is the most accurate power meter in the world?

This three-part video series covers the 2% myth (the accuracy claim made by numerous power meter devices currently on the market) as well as what validity is, what reliability is and why they are important if you want to be able to trust the data from your power meter.

The series is hosted by Brad Hall, Managing Director of both the Veris Racing team and the Exercise Institute, based in Perth, Australia.

Part one of Brad’s guide to what’s important when it comes to the accuracy of your cycling power meter highlights what you need to consider if you’re thinking of investing in one. This episode reveals the 2% myth – the accuracy claim made by numerous power meter devices currently on the market.

Part two of Brad’s guide to power meter accuracy demonstrates why the InfoCrank is the only power meter you can trust. In this episode, Brad talks about why validity is important and needs to be considered if you’re thinking of investing in a power meter. 

The final part of Brad Hall’s three-part series looks at reliability and what you should look for if you truly want to be able to trust the data from your power meter. Brad covers all in this last installment. 

Lucy Gadd: What I’ve learned during lockdown

Lucy Gadd: What I’ve learned during lockdown

Lucy Gadd rides for Storey Racing – the women’s road-cycling team led by Dame Sarah Storey, Britain’s most successful female Paralympian of all time. This is Lucy’s third year in Storey Racing colours after an impressive first season in 2019. Training and racing while studying for a Psychology degree, Lucy took some time out to share how lockdown has given her a new perspective on life.

I am an athlete who wants to achieve, and I am a student who wants the best grade. Here’s my perspective on how to do both of these, full-time, every day.

Let’s start with the basics – I am 19 years old; I’ve been riding a bike since the age of 10 and racing since 12. I am currently studying Psychology at University in my second year. My days involve waking up, training, then getting my head in a book or staring at my computer screen for the next 9 hours. And funnily enough, I actually really enjoy it!

Back track to my first year of uni (well, first half year because the second half was near enough cancelled due the Covid). I was trying to train for over 20 hours a week on the bike, whilst in my head going over all the stats equations I had to remember. It became very stressful – I was getting very little sleep and I was getting ill a lot.

Then exams came around and I was spending every day in the library 8am to 11pm, sometimes missing my training because I got myself so worked up that I wasn’t doing ‘enough’ work.

I’d say I learnt the hard way of how to manage uni and training. I put a lot of pressure on myself and didn’t cope with it in the ideal way.

During lockdown, I was able to take a step back. Like most other people, I had nowhere to be, no commitments and I spent my time purely focussing on my training. My days turned into waking up, thinking about my training and preparing for it. I would get it done to the best of my ability.

Once I was home, I then had chance to recover properly and relax before it was time to do it all over again the next day. I took this time to analyse my efforts alongside my coach Dame Sarah Storey.

We looked specifically at improving my power balance, with InfoCrank telling me the difference between my left and right side. For me, power is my preferred way of training – I find that my heart rate fluctuates day-to-day depending on my sleep, fatigue and how energetic I’m feeling. Therefore, having the most accurate and consistent power metre is key to comparing efforts and simulating a race. Having this structure for five months put me in the form of my life – if only I had some racing to do!

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I feel very fortunate that in England, we were able to resume time trials in July. I’ve never done them properly before, so I was very excited to learn a new discipline! I did my first one on 26 July. I got as many under my belt as I could of different lengths and parkours before it was time for the District 25 mile championships on 23 August (which I won) and the following week, the National 10 mile Time Trial.

I must say, I’ve never felt so good on a bike in the whole nine years I’ve been riding, and I managed to finish second place in my category! All the hard work had paid off!

Now, I am back studying at university. I’m pleased to say that I am coping so much better! My days consist of getting my training done then having the rest of the day to do my work. When I do it this way, I realise how many hours there are in the day and this is ample time to keep up and go beyond the required material.

So, if I’ve learnt anything from balancing a student athlete life, it’s to plan, plan, plan. I don’t want to be thinking about analysing my power file when I’m supposed to be reading a research paper about the brain! Make time for training – it’s very important for your mental wellbeing. When it’s time to study, this is your sole focus; when it’s time to train, fully dedicate that time to pushing the pedals.

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Kristin Falck: The eRacer on top of the world

Kristin Falck: The eRacer on top of the world

Kristin Falck is the current Norwegian Zwift National Champion and a renowned climber. She has a wealth of experience racing on Zwift and is currently riding for Canyon eSports – the world’s first professional eRacing team competing at the highest level in physical eSports. Kristin has also been selected to represent Norway at the upcoming UCI Turbo World Championships.

We put some questions to Kristin about her experience as one of the best eRacers in the world.

When did you first get into eRacing?

I started using Zwift a number of years ago, around 2015 or 2016. From my Zwiftpower account, I can see that my first registered race on the site is from November 2016 and I’ve done 441 races since then!

What’s your biggest achievement in eRacing to date?

In early winter 2018, I qualified for the e-crit finals in London – and I won. The prize was life-long Zwift membership, so Zwift won’t get rid of me any time soon! I credit this as one of my best achievements in eRacing. I also made the qualification for the CVR, Canada’s biggest virtual reality event, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to travel there for the finals.

How does it feel to be one of the best eRacers in the world?

How to answer this one… ! I must start by commenting on the fact that Zwift is growing very fast,  and the amount of competitors is of course increasing along with the growth of the platform. This makes it challenging and fun, and is a great motivation to keep up the training and stay strong.

It kind of sounds so big to talk about being amongst the best in the world, but I guess I must admit that it is true, I am. I have specialized in e-racing and am pretty good at it. So, to answer how does it feel – the answer for someone like myself at the age I am, is probably grateful. I have good health, I am strong, and competing at the top level is very motivating, so ‘grateful to be up there’ is the phrase that comes to mind to describe how it feels.

What’s it like to win a race in a room on your own in comparison to a live event with your competitors around you?

That’s the thing about Zwift. It might seem like you are alone in your room, but you are not. There is a real person behind every avatar. So if I race and even take a win on Zwift, it is not all that different from having my competitors around me. Of course, I can’t get that notion of how tired or near their limit they are, but other than that, not so different at all.

Kristin Falck: The eRacer on top of the world 2

Photo credit: René Zieger

How do you keep yourself motivated when you’re racing indoors?

It is social, it is easy ‘to get there’, it pays off on your overall training, you get to meet people from all over the world, you get to compete against a lot of other female riders, you can listen to music, podcast, radio, you don’t have to worry about the weather or crashes. Well, all of that. And the most important – it’s fun.

How do you use the InfoCrank power meter in your training and racing?

When I am racing I always like to dual record, to make sure that all equipment is legit and calibrated. The InfoCrank is very reliable and steady as a power source. I have compared it with both pedal power and trainer power and I’m confident that the InfoCrank is accurate at all times. It is such a reliable power source.

What difference has the InfoCrank power meter made to your training and racing? 

I can use the InfoCrank indoors and it’s also good for outdoor training and racing. So I can structure both my indoor and outdoor training in the same way with the same source and power numbers. It just makes everything so easy and I feel more supported and structured.

What do you think about the rise of eSports? And what challenges do you think the sport will face?

I think we are only seeing the very beginning. This will grow, it is a new cycling discipline, you have to specialize to be good at it, just like you must if you want to be good at a time trial or at hill climbs or at racing criteriums. The challenges for the sport obviously come with ensuring legitimacy – all competitors racing on equal premises as far as power output numbers are concerned and no cheating from riders on their weight and height etc. That is why it is so important to have equipment like the InfoCrank that you know you can rely on.

But yeah, the indoor e-cycling fairytale has just begun, that’s what I think. We are at the very beginning of something totally new that will keep growing and keep bringing people together from all over the world – keeping us in shape, offering competition at all levels, offering a social training community and complete flexibility. Perhaps I can tell my grandchildren if I have some, someday, about how it all began, and that I was actually amongst the first Zwift riders and racers, and even pretty good at it … !

InfoCrank supports the MSWA Ocean Ride

InfoCrank supports the MSWA Ocean Ride

Verve Cycling, producers of the world’s most accurate cycling power meter the InfoCrank, are proud to announce their support of this year’s MSWA Ocean Ride – powered by RetraVision. The MSWA Ocean Ride, which will take place on Sunday 22 November, is set to be Western Australia’s largest community cycling event in 2020.

With six ride distances to choose from – ranging from the 10km Family Ride up to the 120km Challenge – there is a something to suit all ages, abilities and fitness levels.

Multiple Olympic Gold Medallist Graeme Brown OAM, part of the InfoCrank family, will provide helpful training tips for MSWA Ocean Ride participants in the lead up to the event. He’ll also be riding on event day, taking on the 120km Challenge.

Verve Cycling will also offer an exclusive InfoCrank discount to MSWA Ocean Ride participants, with part of the profit from all sales donated back to MSWA to support those living with a neurological condition in Western Australia.

Australian para-cyclist and InfoCrank ambassador, Emily Petricola, said:
“I’m delighted that InfoCrank have partnered with MSWA for this exciting and important event on the MSWA events calendar. The InfoCrank is an essential weapon in my arsenal as a cyclist. It allows me to track not only my training power but helps me keep an eye on power balance across my body which is invaluable when managing and limiting the way my MS impairments impact my performance.

“The MSWA Ocean Ride raises vital funds that make a real difference to a huge number of people living with neurological conditions and I wish this year’s participants the very best for a great ride.”

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Verve Cycling CEO, Bryan Taylor, said:
“I’m delighted Verve Cycling has the opportunity to be involved with MSWA in this way. I’m a firm believer that businesses have a part to play in supporting such worthy causes, and a commitment to CSR has always been in Verve Cycling’s history. I wish luck to all the MSWA Ocean Ride participants and hope they are successful in both their cycling on the day, as well as their fundraising efforts.”

Over the past decade, the MSWA Ocean Ride has raised over $2 million, with these funds used to support thousands of Western Australians living with a neurological condition.

MSWA CEO, Marcus Stafford AM, said:
“The MSWA Ocean Ride is a marquee event for MSWA, and a date in our calendar we have looked forward to over the past 11 years. We are so pleased to have the opportunity to work with Verve Cycling, another great Western Australian organisation, on this year’s event.”

Click here to find out more about the MSWA Ocean Ride.  
Click here to find out more about MSWA.

Join Matthew Keenan’s Tour Training Challenge

Join Matthew Keenan’s Tour Training Challenge

Matthew Keenan’s Tour Training Challenge is well underway – with coaching from Graeme Brown and data from his InfoCrank power meter, Matt is trying to improve his fitness during the three weeks he is commentating on the Tour De France.

Matt is now inviting fellow cyclists to join him for the challenge…

In response to a post about my Tour de France Training Challenge, I was asked why am I doing it, what event I’m preparing for.

Well, there is no event. And the challenge isn’t to beat anyone else.

I’m doing it to challenge myself. I simply want to push myself and see how much I can improve with some structure around my training on limited time.

And so far, almost one week in, I’m loving it.

It’s giving me something really positive to focus on in a year of disruption. I’m making the most of not being able to go to the Tour since I started commentating on the race in 2007.

So why don’t you join me.

Do the same pre-training tests that I did to measure your max power, 1min and 5min power, and your FTP.

At the end of it we’ll do the same tests again and see if we’ve improved.

Every day, on my Instagram account (@mwkeenan), I’m going to post an overview of the training that’s been mapped out for me by dual Olympic gold medallist, Graeme Brown, and you can use that as guide for the sort of sessions you can do.

You can start the challenge whenever it’s convenient. It’s not a competition with anyone. It’s about setting yourself the challenge.

The good and the bad news for me is there’s no dodging Graeme’s eye. He sent me a pair of InfoCranks so he can accurately measure my workouts. I got a text message during one interval session to keep going. He’s in Perth and I’m in Melbourne. Big Brownie is watching.

If you’re up for the challenge please let me know what you think of some of the training session. It’s always nice to share the suffering.

To get involved in the challenge, complete your pre-training tests and follow Matt’s training on Instagram. You can also join the Zwift rides by getting in touch with Graeme – graeme@gbcoaching.com.au. Share your progress on social media using #TourTrainingChallenge and tag InfoCrank.

We’ll be posting updates on Matt’s progress across InfoCrank social media, and you can also join the conversation on Matthew Keenan and Graeme Brown’s Instagram and Facebook pages. 

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