Training Gift Ideas, with Colby Pearce and Frank Overton

Training gadgets can be great gifts for cyclists, so this episode we talk about what training tools are worth it.

Fast Talk Podcast

It’s the holidays and if you’re like us, right about now, you’re scrambling for gift ideas. So we’re trying something new on Fast Talk and doing a gift episode. Of course, there are a ton of great gifts you can give that cyclist in your life, so we can’t cover them all. Instead, we’re going to focus on a few cool training gadgets. Some of which you’re very familiar with and some you may never have even heard of. We’ll talk about what they are, how they’re used and whether we think they’re worth putting under the tree or not. Of course, a few of these ideas may be a little too expensive for stocking stuffers, so it may be better to see this episode as our review of several cool, interesting and potentially valuable training tools.

Today we’ll talk about:

  • The Whoop recovery strap. What is it? Why would it be a valuable tool for tracking your recovery? We provide our personal experiences — good and bad — with the tool.
  • The Normatec recovery system. Does it work? We have some thoughts on how to use it. If you listened to our recent episode on recovery, you already know our opinion, but we certainly couldn’t leave them out of an episode on cool training gear.
  • Power meters. Alright, that’s nothing new or unique, but we’ll give our hot takes on which are good and what to be careful with.
  • The Leomo Type-R. A truly unique device offering on-the-road biomechanical analysis that wasn’t previously available. It’s a fascinating tool, but as we’ll discuss, it may be so new, we haven’t figured out how to use it yet.
  • And finally, we’ll finish up with foam rollers. They may not be as sexy as some of our other gift ideas, but they’re cheap and they work.

Our guests today are hour-record holder and coach extraordinaire Colby Pearce along with FasCat owner and likewise coach extraordinaire Frank Overton. At this point do either of them really need an introduction on Fast Talk? We always love having them on the show and hearing their insights.

In addition, we’ll talk with professional cyclist Rebecca Rusch and Apex Coaching owner Neal Henderson. Both have been at the top of the cycling world for years, so we’d definitely love to hear what gifts they’d like to get. Their answers were a little less tangible than you might expect.

So get out your wish list. Make sure you listen twice and let’s make you fast!

Primary Guests
Colby Pearce and Frank Overton: Elite coaches

Episode Transcript

Caley Fretz 00:00
Welcome to Fast Talk the Velonews podcast and everything you need to know to ride like a pro.

Trevor Connor 00:09
Hello, and welcome to Fast Talk. I’m your host, Trevor Connor. You’ll notice my co host, Chris Case is not doing this intro like normal. That’s because at this very moment, he’s in Louisville, Kentucky racing a Masters 40 to 44 national championships. Sure, he’s about to add a national champion jersey to the Colorado State Champion jersey, he went two weeks ago. Of course, I may be a little biased, but I hope you can join me in cheering him on.

It’s the holidays. If you’re like me, right now you’re scrambling for gift ideas. So we’re trying something new at Fast Talk and doing a gift episode. Of course, there’s a ton of great gifts, you can give that cyclist in your life so we can’t cover them all. Instead, we’re going to focus on a few cool training gadgets, some of which you’re very familiar with, and some you may never have even heard of. We’ll talk about what they are, how they’re used, whether we think they’re worth putting under the tree or not. Of course, a few of these ideas may be a little too expensive for stocking stuffers. So maybe better see this episode as our review of several cool, interesting and potentially valuable training tools.

Today we’ll talk about the loop recovery strap, what it is, why it may be a valuable tool for tracking your recovery and our personal experience both good and bad. With the tool, the Normatec recovery system do they work and some thoughts on how to use them? If you listen to our recent episode on recovery, you already know our opinion. But we certainly couldn’t leave them out of an episode on cool training gear. Power meters – All right. That’s not the new or unique, but we’ll give our hot takes and which are good. And what to be careful about. The Leomo Type-R a truly unique device offering on the road biomechanical analysis that wasn’t previously available. It’s a fascinating tool, but as we’ll discuss, it may be so new, we still haven’t figured out how to use it. And finally we’ll finish up with foam rollers. They may not be as sexy as some of our other gift ideas, but they’re cheap and they work.

Our guest today are hour record holder and coach extraordinaire Colby Pearce, along with Fast Cat owner and likewise coach extraordinary Frank Overton. At this point, do either of them really need an introduction on Fast Talk. We always love having them on the show and hearing their great insights.

In addition, we’ll talk with professional cyclists Rebecca Roche, and Apex coaching owner Neal Henderson. Both have been at the top of the cycling world for years. So we’d definitely love to hear what gifts they’d like to get – their answers were a little less tangible than you might expect.

As always, if you have a minute, please take the time to rate us on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud or wherever you get your podcasts and keep those emails coming. We have a dedicated Fast Talk address So get out of your wish list, make sure you listen twice, and let’s make it fast.

Trevor Connor 03:07
Working on your holiday wish list this year? Normatec is the ultimate athlete gift and for a limited time you can save $200 and get free shipping on the pulse recovery system. An extensive body of research shows that Normatec increases circulations and reduces muscle stiffness. The result is that you can train harder and race faster. Normatech is the official supplier of USA Cycling is also the same technology that riders like Tom Skujins, Taylor, Finney, and BMC race team all rely on.

Chris Case 03:48
Well, thanks, guys, thanks, Frank, thanks, Colby for joining us, you’ve joined us many times before we know that our listeners out there love what you have to say about training, about physiology, about coaching… So today, we want to talk a little bit about devices, technology, things that your athletes use, that you personally might use that also make good gifts for people perhaps, but really just the tech of training and our experiences with all the devices, what we like, what we don’t like. That’s sort of the overview of what we want to do today.

Trevor Connor 04:26
So the things I’m going to add here is all these are kind of neat training related tools that you might not have heard of and the other thing to bring up is we have differing levels of expert knowledge on these different tools from having really beaten them up and use them for years versus I read an article about that last night. Yeah, that’s about all we know. So just a bit various some of the stuff we’re talking about. We can’t claim that we know it inside out.

Chris Case 04:56
The one other thing that I’ll mention here is that this episode is brought to us by Normatec. And we’ll definitely talk about Normatech on the show, not because they’re an advertiser, but because we all have a lot of experience with their product, we believe in their product. And honestly, when we get to that section of discussion, we might just turn it over to Colby and Frank who have no association with the brand just because Trevor and I do and we want a completely transparent assessment of their product.

Colby Pearce 05:26
If I can jump in and just kick things off maybe a bit by saying, there are a lot of gizmos and gadgets that have come out in the last, well, 10 years really all kinds of toys people like to play with. That’s great. Everybody likes new toy. I like cool new things and gizmos. But I try to apply pretty hard line to the stuff that I recommend either that I try and I try to try myself or that I recommend my athletes use. So, the two the rules I have that I found useful to be as a dividing line are one does it teach me something about myself or my training or my load that I didn’t know previously and that I couldn’t figure out before? And my example for that is simply the power meter. I’ve been on SRM since 1994, I think Vaughters and I were the first guys to get us around the US after a while mine, how’s that for a name drop.

Colby Pearce 06:10
But that taught me a lot. I mean, when you get on your power meter for the first time you figure out like, oh, wow, I thought my effort was exactly the same for that five minute interval. And it really wasn’t, I destroyed myself for the first minute and then fell off a cliff. So on a basic level power teaches us things about our bodies and about our effort on a bike that we wouldn’t know without that data. So that qualifies it as a useful training device, for sure. But I try to apply that same basic concept to a lot of other devices that come out. The other one that I like is does it give me something actionable? The device may give you some information. But does that information actually changed the way I’m going to coach my clients? Does it give me some tool that I can use or some insight into their training are the workload or their recovery that I didn’t have before. And a lot of devices do give you information, but it’s maybe something I’ve already figured out. So, and there there is a threshold of information, time energy that we can all spend learning about these new devices, carrying around chargers, operating them downloading the data, figuring out how to get our clients to do all those things, right. And that comes at a price. So we have to be selective about the information that we ask our clients to give us and the things we the hoops we ask them to jump through. Because everybody’s got limited time and energy, right?

Mm hmm.

Colby Pearce 07:19
Does that make sense? Frank? Oh,

Frank Overton 07:21
ayeah. Yeah, this actually reminds me of the supplements question, what supplements do you take? And then for me, I’m always advocating a healthy, nutritious diet. And when people ask me, What tech should I get? I’m like, do you have a power meter? And they say yes. And say, okay, we’re good. Let’s go.

Whoop strap

Trevor Connor 07:40
So let’s start with a few products that we have all used, beaten up pretty well and know pretty well. So why don’t we start with the whoop strap, which Frank you actually introduced us to?

Frank Overton 07:52
And Colby introduced it to me, so Oh, really? Okay. Yeah.

Chris Case 07:57
Frank, why don’t you tell us what it is.

Frank Overton 07:59
So the whoop is like a power meter for your recovery. The in metric is a recovery score. That is like a stoplight red, yellow, or green, you want to be in the green. And if you’re in the red means you’re not recovered. And if you’re yellow, you’re kind of somewhere in between. And so for me as a coach and an athlete, prior to the whoop, I was always assuming, okay, there’s been a rest day on the training plan, there’s been a rest week, and then the athlete is recovered. And then what I discovered for myself as an athlete, when I saw coaching, a lot of athletes are using the whoop is just because you have a rest day doesn’t mean you’re going to be recovered. So then you start diving into, well, why not? And so that, like what Colby is mentioning, is a device that helps you learn something about the athlete is actionable. It’s like, Okay, why didn’t you recover last night? Well, because only slept six hours, and then we have the whole sleep conversation like you need, you need to actually get more sleep. And then then there’s HRV, which is a whole ball of wax, that’s, you know, we can open up a we can have multiple podcasts, right on HRV. But when you’re looking at the recovery score, how does whoop arouse at the recovery score, it’s based on sleep strain in your HRV.

Chris Case 09:20
HRV stands for, for those that don’t know, heart rate variability.

Trevor Connor 09:24
And just to for anybody who hasn’t heard of this, it is a risk based measurement device that takes all day heart rate variability. So there’s a lot of watches now that will measure your heart rate off your wrist. But this is the only one that does heart rate variability and heart rate. So that’s the what is the length the time between each beat and how much does that length of time vary from beat to beat to beat? And the idea being the more heart rate variability you have, the more recovered you are and it’s much harder to measure. So this is actually a pretty sophisticated device. It can give you heart rate variability throughout the day.

Frank Overton 09:59
Yeah. If you were 365 24, seven, and like I said, you know, so HRV sleep and strange strain, it’s, it’s recording your heart rate 24 seven when you sleep when you’re awake, and then when you’re exercising, so you have your sleep, sleep, heart rate strain, your daily strain just from sitting there, and then your exercise strain. And so that was kind of an eye opener for me, because I could turn in just gonna throw a number out there a 20 from doing a two hour ride. Whereas my power meter is saying, well, that load was a lot less, but my strain what’s going on in my body physiologically, was actually a lot more than what I thought it was. And so I wasn’t recovering enough and a lot, 20 years high,

Trevor Connor 10:44
So 21 is the highest, and it’s a logarithmic scale. So actually, the difference between 20 and 21 is much bigger than the difference between like five and 10.

Frank Overton 10:53
Yeah, like six to eight is like your day strain, if you just lay on the couch and 12-14 is light maybe a one hour ride. And then 14 to 18 is maybe a two hour ride and 18 + is getting up there.

Colby Pearce 11:07
That’s what’s interesting is I have some clients who have noticed that on particularly hard work days, they’ll actually have a higher total strain than they will on a lighter average training day. So that was an insight in of itself. Because we tend to think as coaches of the athletes like, like you said, Okay, you’ve done three days of, you know, medium, hard medium, and now you’ve taken a rest day, but that’s looking that’s really only considering the strain of the athlete on the bike. The truth is, we all have life stress, we all have stress, some you know, dealing with our job, or maybe maybe have a day where you have to do some moving heavy objects or whatever you got, or if you have a particularly physical job, and some days are more physical than others. So that impacts your strain a lot. And that was a pretty big insight for me. And this is one of the only tools we have to have a window or a way to look at that strain that our clients carry off the bike life stress, job stress, relationship stress.

Trevor Connor 11:57
And this can really show how almost anything affects you, you brought this up. And I actually experienced this a couple nights ago, you have a beer, and you can just see how much it affects your sleep. So I had I had a beer, it was a Wednesday night. Mm hmm. And then got a longer than normal sleep. But my recovery the next day was off when you looked at it was even though I was in bed for a long time, I didn’t get much deep sleep, I didn’t get much REM sleep, it was really low quality sleep.

Frank Overton 12:23
Yeah, your HRV tanks when you when you drink alcohol. And that’s the awareness that the whoop brings to you from from wearing it. Relationship stress, mental stress, if you get in a fight, if you have stress at work, if you’re about to get fired, or if you do get fired. For example, if you toss and turn at night, not only do you sleep poorly, but then you wake up and you have a poor HRV. And then you have a poor recovery score. And then you probably shouldn’t your intervals that day. And that’s how it works is so it’s really nice, just for bringing more awareness to the athletes.

Trevor Connor 12:54
So what do you guys think of this? Is it a good product? Is it worth the money?

Oh, yeah.

Colby Pearce 12:58
Okay. Um, so I’ve used the whoop, actually, this is the first week I haven’t had it on in two years. So okay, I wore for two years straight. And got, the first thing I’ll say is, I’ve got quite a bit of consistent data from it. And that in itself is a challenge. And I worked for Garmin for a year for the pro tour team back in 2013, and just getting the athletes to get our data consistently, and then get it uploaded. That’s one of the challenges. So whenever you have any kind of device, you want to collect data from your athletes on what do you need at you need a big pile of accurate data. So getting that data so the device, the whoop, device, I think in terms of its chargeability, its wearability, its day to day out, it’s pretty good. I think the sleep scores for most athletes and most users, I found to be pretty useful. A small percentage of people I know have struggled to get accurate sleep scores. Chris being one of those. And maybe you can talk a little bit about that with some of the limits there. For me, I found it to be pretty on the nose for me personally, in terms of when I woke up and felt smoke like Well, where’s that truck that just reversed over me the whoop would reflect that score. But I think one of the one of the limiting factors for the whoop a couple limits are one, it is risk based. And there’s some conflicting science about where the best place to take heart rate or HRV measurements are and there’s some people who challenged the risk location, they do make a bicep strap, which I have not played with. Some athletes have reported better results with that. But anything that involves a lot of wrist swinging, or heavy wrist or arm activity, if you went play golf, your strength score would probably be inflated. There’s not only optical sensors in there to get heart rate in HRV. There’s also accelerometers and some other temperature sensors and some other things. So it’s a very complicated device. So there are some limits there that it stands to follow that if you used it on a mountain bike or during cross especially like an off road non suspended bike, your your strain scores might be inflated, you’d probably do quite a bit of cross riding to really have it have an impact but I have noticed that the recovery detection feature is it waxes and wanes for me there times would be pretty accurate and other times where I’d be like this isn’t quite really right on but that said I still felt like it accurately reflected my cumulative training load and life stress for the most part where I found it particularly actionable was and this i thought was interesting this, this fits my first rule of does the technology teach you anything about yourself? You didn’t really necessarily know? Or does it expand your boundaries of awareness? There are morning mornings where I would get up and my feet hit the ground, we all do the same thing. As athletes, we all kind of take the first step out of bed and immediately make this micro calculation, how tired am I? How hosed or my legs from yesterday’s super training ride or whatever I did you know, were yesterday’s rest day, am I recovered? Or my legs light and fluffy? Am I ready to go? Don’t go to intervals? Or Oh, do I need another day. And what I found was on days where I was, I felt recovered immediately at the ground and felt good, the whoop almost always agreed with me. But there were some days where I got up and my legs felt heavy and sluggish. And there were days where the whoop would actually contradict that, say, your green today, your recovery score is 86 out of 100. And on those days where I initially I was convincing myself, I should probably take a rest day, I have a bunch of work to do. I’ve got this not going on, I probably don’t need to train today, on those days where the the recovery score, in fact was green. If I would go out on the bike, inevitably, I did feel very good. So it was it was good to trust the whoop. In that case, it was good to trust the whoop. And then there were other days where I would have trained for maybe a couple days hard in a row or medium in a day in a row. And I think to myself, I can handle one more day, I can go out and do that really hard ride ahead, scheduled today and wake up and be red. And on those days when I tried to push through anyway, which I did do a few times just to see. It never worked out well. I could tell that my nervous system was blown. And usually there were other additional cofactors of fatigue that went along with that. That said Cycling is a sport where you can ride hard with a pretty blown nervous system when you’re accustomed to it. And you’re should we say mentally sort of tough enough to handle it. I mean, there’s no question that two and a half weeks into grand tour and diligently effective. Sure, exactly.

Trevor Connor 16:53
So the experience I’ve had with it. I’m mixed in. So I’ve been wearing it for about six months, besides the fact that I have to recharge the battery every two days, which I hope they with future models improve that I find it gets very useful data where I’ve been having issues with their interpretation. And I do think they need to work on their individualization, they really kind of say everybody’s the same. Here’s what everybody needs. And so one of the issues I had that he kind of brought up is the strain score. So for example, when I was down in Tobago, I did the hardest race of my life on the Sunday, which was this six hours killing myself on the hardest hills ever been super hot, everything, couldn’t walk for the next two days. So I did get a strain score of like 20.5. But the previous day, I went out and did a fairly easy two and a half three hour ride. And it gave me a strain score of like 19 point something. These rides were not anywhere close to one another. And I do find with me, it just isn’t used to a cyclist who doesn’t seem to adapt to a cyclist does as much volume and training as I do. So even my recovery rides get a fairly high, to high a strain score, in my opinion.

Colby Pearce 18:02
Well, one of the vision for the device potentially is that it was made with team sports and some ball sports in mind to a degree.

Trevor Connor 18:09
So that’s what I mean by the individualization but the bigger one that I have an issue with is the sleep. It really they they make the assumption that everybody needs eight hours of sleep a night and I’m someone I have that genetic Leal, that makes me a short sleeper. So if I’m not training, I need four hours a night when I’m training. I’m so envious of that. So it’s

Chris Case 18:31
Trevor’s special.

Trevor Connor 18:34
I got I got a lot of genes I wish I hadn’t gotten but this one kind of made up for it. So but yeah, when I’m training, I’m five, six hours of sleep a night and the whoop has been arguing with me constantly and started telling me, you went the exact opposite way, it would tell me you need 11 hours of sleep tonight, even though my resting heart rate would be low my heart rate variability up around 180, it would still give me these really low recovery scores because I was getting so little sleep and it just too far off the bell curve. It just never figured me out. They have since done an update where they look more at your circadian rhythms to see what you need. And also they’ve gone from recommending eight hours or 11 hours of sleep a night to more like seven or eight. So it is getting better. But I do think they need to work a little bit on that figuring each person out and individualizing it to the particular athlete. So as a result, I went months and months and months never got a green score once on my recovery. And it was always even on recovery weeks when I’ve finished a week feeling great. It would be like you’re overtraining, you need to stop.

Colby Pearce 19:36
Yeah. So clearly as an outlier. You challenged the Yeah, this the status of their system, which is good, great feedback for them.

Chris Case 19:42
I’m sure, in my opinion for people like us that are in tune with our bodies as athletes, I think maybe the benefit is smaller than somebody who isn’t so aware of things and it really gives you some feedback to chew on and to learn from. So those out there that are just either not as experienced athletes or don’t ride as much don’t aren’t aware of their sensations, like we are sitting around this table, I think the scores and the interface and all those things can lead someone to think a lot about habits, sleep habits, drinking codes, drinking habits, recovery habits. So I think that that there’s a great benefit to that side of it. Personally, it just didn’t seem to work very well for me in that every night. And I worked with whoop to figure out if it was the device itself that was defective or where it was on your wrist and how tight it was, and all of those things, because those are crucial to getting good data. But I would wake up every night and they would say, I woke up at at midnight, I’d go to I’d have gone to bed at 10. And I woken up at midnight. And I was that was just not true. And I’d have to manually tell the device every night that I had slept until seven in the morning or something like that. So it just wasn’t doing what it was intended to do. And same thing with riding, it just wouldn’t automatically detect that that was an event or a workout or something like that. So I’d have to manually enter that. And I don’t know exactly why that is. I have skinny wrists. I don’t know if anybody around this table doesn’t have skinny wrists, but just didn’t work as well as I had hoped. But that’s just me, I think, again, I think for a lot of people, this could really educate them about their body’s sensations help them understand themselves a lot more.

Trevor Connor 21:37
Chris had a very interesting response that when he was training, normally it was giving him varied recovery levels. But then we did a four day training block that was designed to fatigue Chris, and we definitely fatigued him, he was he was riding five, six hours a day, getting ready for Dirty Kansa. And during those four days, the loop told him he was getting more and more recovered. It was given like 90% recovery scores by the end of the can.

Colby Pearce 21:59
Which, depending on the training load, I think that’s actually possible. I mean, we’re talking about response to the nervous system, not necessarily muscle damage. It’s not necessarily oxidative load. It’s not necessarily glycogen depletion. Those are different types of fatigue. And so I would argue that if the device is working properly, it can actually help you differentiate as an athlete between which types of fatigue you have. I think I have a little bit of insight in this just from being a track rider. When you do a six day race, you race about, I raced in the European 16 circuit for about four years, you race about 100 k a night. The racing is really hard. But you’re also in a pretty small gear. So you’re pedaling extremely high cadences, and we’re talking 30 to 40 minutes at well over 130 RPM at maximal effort. Now, you’re, of course, you’re inducing all the normal stresses that you get during hard exercise, you’re getting some aerobic oxidative stress, you’re getting muscle damage, but really, you’re getting an overwhelming amount of central nervous system fatigue, just from not only pedaling that fast that hard, but also from doing a Madison on a team on a 200 meter track with 16 other teams, which is about amounts to a live video game. So that’s a lot of neural input that you have to negotiate and trying not to die. That’s very stressful on the nervous system. So maybe your nervous system was actually in a good rhythm. And you and I’m just hypothesizing here, obviously, but

Chris Case 23:16
you got it. You’re saying I have a strong brain? A strong brain man.

Colby Pearce 23:19
Strong nerves.

Chris Case 23:21
I, I have a according to my ophthalmologist, I have a gigantic optic nerve if that matters.

Frank Overton 23:29
don’t all athletes have that. Did you get that test where they look into your eye? Yeah, say all endurance athletes are well vascularized or capillary capillaries, your optic nerve hot.

Trevor Connor 23:39
Okay, so the whoop, yay, nay or Yay, with an addendum.

Frank Overton 23:44
I like it. athletes are going to learn something about themselves and bring more awareness to their lifestyle that will benefit their training, therefore I approve. And we’re early adopters, you know, I mean, this is a relatively new product it was comes out of ball and stick sports, which you alluded to that, you know, it could use some customization. So I hope the company continues to develop and innovate the the product and kind of look at it like you remember, were part power meters were 20 years ago, you know, maybe whoops at the forefront of that going on right now.

Chris Case 24:15
Maybe that’s also the next step is integration of all the things that we’re talking about here is sort of like multi-platform. Yeah, yeah. Could all talk to each other.Yeah.

Trevor Connor 24:26
So Colby yay, neah?,

Colby Pearce 24:27
I give it yay with with some caveats. I mean, both your experience, Trevor and Chris’s experience indicate that it may not work for all athletes. That said, I believe the company has great customer service. And if you invested in one, and it wasn’t working for you, I think they’d work with you on that. So if you are curious about and you want to try it, I wouldn’t let that hold you back. But I agree with Frank’s assessment like it’s a good learning tool. It does give you if it falls my first rule, it teaches you things about yourself that you previously maybe were misguided on or didn’t understand or it gives you another level of insight. So overall, I think it’s a good tool, and I agree early adopters, so

Trevor Connor 25:00
I’m the same. I’m a yay despite my issues, it collects great data. And I can certainly look at the data and interpret myself. And I think over time, it’s really just the the software and the interpretation, which I think they’re going to improve over time, and Chris you threw yours at me and said, You don’t ever want to see it again.


Chris Case 25:17
Well, you know, I’m not a device guy, honestly. But I, I am still a Yay. I think that a lot of people could benefit from it, despite my issues, like Kobe said, if you tried it, and it didn’t work, hopefully the company would work with you. But I think I’m an outlier. That’s what it is. All right, well, let’s next talk about Normatec, which many listeners out there have probably heard our episode on recovery and devices to help with recovery. And in that, we spoke about Normatech at length, and we had some guests on there from Normatech. These are their moon boots, as I think Frank calls them. They’re the devices that compress your legs in specific patterns to help move fluids and blood and and other things through the leg. This is a very simple description of what they do up from the extremities, they make, they make legs, they make arm devices, they make hip devices to help in the recovery process. There are other brands that make similar devices out there, their podium legs, there are other devices out there that do similar things, not exactly the same thing. So because Normatech is sponsoring this podcast, and they’ve sponsored us in the past, Trevor and I are going to refrain from this discussion a little bit, just so there’s like, transparency here, for for listeners out there, we want an unbiased opinion on this product. So Frank, at one point, I think you had a studio that people could come into and use Normatec. So why don’t we start with you let us know how you feel about this product? And what are the benefits of it? Do you think?

Frank Overton 27:00
Yeah, I like them, I think they are very, as close as a single user can get to massage. So it’s like getting a massage, but not not quite as good. We had them in our Performance Center in 2010, I paid full retail. So I think, I’m, you know, I can talk however I want about Normatech. They’re wonderful devices, you put them on it’s a peristaltic pulses squeezes it first your feet and your ankles and your shins and it just moves the the pressure up up towards your hips. And you know, it squeezes your your legs, and it helps the venous return of blood back to back to your heart, it also squeezes your lymphatic system. So it helps flush out your lymph system for all the byproducts of exercise. And using them, your legs are getting squeezed towards the end of the cycle, it’s fairly intense, it kind of feels like a blood pressure cuff at the very end of the reading. And you get out and you’re like, Okay, and your legs feel a little bit better. But the next day on the bike is kind of where I draw most of the conclusions, and your legs feel feel better. Kind of like if you’d gotten a massage the day before. And because it’s more convenient than a massage or you don’t have to, you know, schedule the appointment and go somewhere. And that might be like a two hour round trip. Whereas the normatecs, we could just slip them on and use them for 30 or 60 minutes. And you can use them any time of day you could like read a book, you can take a nap, you could watch TV. So as an athlete and a coach, we used to let athletes just come in and and use them and everyone loved them because it made them feel all pro because you know, they’d seen this is what the you know, the guys in the Tour de France are using as a cool gee whiz product and but then they they could feel it and sure enough, their legs felt a lot better. No one was really willing to like pay for it per se.

Chris Case 29:02
Well if you’re giving it away for free. Why would they?

Frank Overton 29:04
Exactly? Yeah, no one’s gonna like pay as much as they would for a massage to use the space legs as we used to call. Nevertheless, there was a lot of people that swore by them and I still do I use a testimony is mine have lasted eight years. Mm hmm. Yeah, I still have the same same boots everything. I like to get a new pair.

Chris Case 29:25
So have you ever have you ever put them on at night and just falling asleep and slept eight hours?

Frank Overton 29:33
I have not done that. I’ve taken a nap. And at the end of the cycle, the the pressure releases and it lets off at fairly. It’s like Oh, yes. And that usually wakes me up. Yeah, so never never slept in them.

Chris Case 29:48
I think he should try it.

Frank Overton 29:49
Okay. Do you know?

Chris Case 29:51
No, I have not done that either. But you know and originally the company was established as a medical devices company and there are certain people in the world that have been Where they will they will be in these Normatec type devices for overnight, you know, because of the edema that they might be having.

Frank Overton 30:08
Wow. Well, I’ve got something to do. Colby got me to the point where I was sitting, I would put the normatech’s on and then put my feet up the wall for extra flush. Yes. And it takes you have to do some serious acrobatics to get your butt while space legs on it’s…

Frank Overton 30:26
and your roommate walks in at that exact moment and you have got a little explaining to do.

Frank Overton 30:29
Yeah, totally. Yeah, no, I like them a lot.

Chris Case 30:33
Cool. And Colby, what? What’s your experience with them? And what do you how do you feel about them?

Colby Pearce 30:38
I agree with Frank, I think they’re great product. What I like about him is I’ve had a lot of different massages over the years from different therapists, because I was on the national team for 10 years traveling and you just end up with your legs on a lot of different tables in that scenario. And I got different results from different massage therapists, some good massages, and some great massages, and then some massages where afterwards I was going mom a little flat, or that was a little too deep or something about the technique. I mean, there’s a lot of variability in how human flushes your lymphatic system and muscles when they’re working on you a lot of different pressure and pace and all those types of little things. And what I like about the Normatec is it’s a known quantity. For me, my legs just feel lighter after I use them, I find it to be a really useful tool for me. In fact, thus far, I would argue that I can almost do no wrong with them. And as a testimonial to that I use them the day before the day of my record before I rode I used them so and my experience with massage is that especially during the World Cup season, I would get a massage the night before, for example, the points race and in the morning always have qualifying and more often than not, I would ride the qualifier and have this burning sensation in my legs very, like things need to be blown out. And then I would come good for the final and usually feel quite good. But going through that process of having a qualifier where my legs were sort of almost burning and not feeling great was very nerve racking. It took me a long time to figure out. And then eventually I was smart enough to calculate that it was massage it was doing that. Um, it’s been said, I’m a bit of a princess in the P. So maybe I’m the only riderer ever experienced that. But I stopped getting massage the night before World Cup finals. But the Normatechs do not have that effect for me. So I don’t know what’s different about them. But they always make my legs feel better. I’ll say that. So I think they’re a pretty powerful tool. I only acquired a pair pretty late in my career, meaning like about a month and a half ago. That’s career in air quotes. But if I could rewind the clock and go back, I would that’s a tool that I would have acquired much earlier.

Chris Case 32:30
Seems like it seems like it would have been an awesome thing to have for six days.

Colby Pearce 32:33
It would have Yeah, almost 60 kilometer Madison’s good time to earn hundred k Madison’s Yeah.

Chris Case 32:41
Well, I know we weren’t going to talk about this product Trevor. But I know you love it. So did you bring your normatecs with you when you traveled down to Colorado this time?

Trevor Connor 32:50
I did. So I brought a second bag just so I could bring them.

Chris Case 32:54
So let’s go around the table with just Frank and Colby this time. Yay, or nay on NormaTecs.

Frank Overton 33:00
I’m gonna say Yay. With a caveat. They are a little pricey. But if you’re getting massages, let’s say you pay $75 an hour and you get that once a week these are going to pay for themselves. Absolutely. So if you’re serious about your recovery, and you want to be able to train more train harder. I’m a big fan. Yay.

Power Meters

Colby Pearce 33:22
I’m a big yay on these. I think they’re super useful tool. I mean, some people obviously can’t afford them. But if you can you have the means I recommend that athletes have them in their toolbox for sure it’s a useful tool in your arsenal, in my opinion. All right, let’s turn our attention to power meters,

Chris Case 33:36
there’s been so much development in power meters, we’ve got it’s all relative, but we’ve got cheap power meters, we’ve got high end power meters, we’ve got things that are based around cranks, things that are based around wheels, etc. So let’s let’s talk there and the benefits of power meters generally, maybe we’ll start with Colby, because I know he has some opinions sort of generally about power meters.

Colby Pearce 34:01
Obviously, there’s a benefit to power, it’s revolutionized our sport cycling went in the 70s from being one of the least quantifiable most old school sports worldwide to now other sports look to cycling to see what we’re doing with data. Because there’s no swimming power meter, right. And there’s a couple little running power meters going on. But it’s very hard to quantify the athletes output during other sports. So we’ve got it because of our mesh with machine our riding bikes, we’ve got a way to use technology as a window into our performance. That’s pretty neat. That said, if your data is not accurate, what are you doing on it’s going to point you in the wrong direction or worst case make you go slower. And I think that’s worth examining really carefully accurate collection of data and and data that you get on the big picture. So you can look at the global changes of an athlete or the annual changes of an athlete, that’s what’s gonna get you somewhere as a coach or if you’re self coach, it’s what’s gonna make you see real and definite progress in your training.

Chris Case 34:57
well said, what I’m hearing you say is that you have to be cautious when you’re purchasing these things because you just have to understand these capabilities.

Colby Pearce 35:07
No question. And so I’ll mention that. Okay, what is power made of it’s, it’s a calculation based on cadence and torque, right. So it’s how hard you push on the pedals. Now quickly, you push the pedals. And so if you want to prove power, you can repel faster, repel harder do some of both. What I’ll mention is that some power devices, power measuring devices, calculate cadence using an accelerometer and accelerometers are not perfect. So if you’re not getting ideal data, then in part of your power calculation, then automatically, you know, there’s an error rate introduced into your calculations. So that’s one challenge of some manufacturers. The other one I’ll mention is that there is a proliferation of one sided power measuring devices out in the market, some of them are on cranks, some of our on pedals. And that’s on a scientific device. Ostensibly, it is, but it’s not, if you think about it, if I put a caliper on a seat post, and that seat post measures 27.2 millimeters, I shouldn’t be able to look at the caliper and say, I really want it to be a 30.9, because that’s what size my frame is. But on a power measuring device, the only measure is one side, what they’re doing is they’re measuring one legs output and doubling it. That means the user can consciously or unconsciously change the output that you see on the screen. So what do we all do when we’re all riding hard, we stare at the power number and we wish for it to be bigger and we push harder and we push harder, or we pedal faster, we fail faster, we want to be bigger. I’ll just throw this out there as a hypothetical, like, I don’t know that anyone does this. But it’s possible. If you started to subconsciously associate heart higher pressure on the left side with a power meter, or a power measuring device that was only taking measurements from the left side, it’s quite feasible that you couldn’t without even knowing it start to push harder on that side and get inflate your numbers. And it’s very easy to do this. So it’s not when I say it’s not a scientific measuring device, what I mean is, the outcome is influenceable by the user, you can’t do that with a caliber. Also, if I had you stand on a scale, and you weighed 150 pounds, and then I told you to put one foot on the scale one foot on the ground. And let’s just see what that number is a double it, you’d say you’re an idiot. Okay, so I’m really not trying to bash anyone here, there are a lot of good products on the market. And an entry level we’ll call it power meter that measures one side and doubles, it can definitely give someone a window into the world of what power is what training stress is, it gives someone an idea, they can still learn a lot from that device. But I think as a coach or a rider, you have to be very careful about long term progress at that athlete using only those devices. And also, the unfortunate part is anytime you have like a record 20 minute or five minute, and it’s using one of those devices, you have to question it, you really have to look at in context and say, Well, did the athlete also win the race and beat athletes that they were normally not beating or have a breakthrough performance? Or we looked at the real time on that climb? And they also set a Strava record? Okay, then maybe that power numbers correct. But if they didn’t, you just don’t know what to trust, you can’t always trust the data. So it gets real tricky.

Trevor Connor 38:01
We’ve talked about this before. And I think one of the most important things to remember is there, there’s question of validity, and there’s question of reliability. And you see power meter companies talk about one 2% difference between power meters, I don’t personally buy that I’ve coached enough athletes and seeing them switch power meters, midseason, to see quite dramatic changes in power, we’re talking 10%, sometimes more. So I’m not a believer that when you get on one of these power meters, you’re seeing your true numbers, you’re seeing something around there. But you’re not really seeing the true numbers. So to me, what’s more important is reliability that you can get on that same power meter every day. And whatever was 300 watts yesterday is still 300 watts today, and will still be 300 watts tomorrow. And I have seen with some of these cheaper, newer power meters, sometimes that reliability isn’t there. And I think once you have that issue, then you have a tool you shouldn’t be using. If it’s not quite accurate, but you’re getting reliable data, at least you can constantly compare yourself to yourself and see improvement.

Colby Pearce 39:07
Agreed. And and, Frank, you’ve mentioned in the past that you’ve had riders who have had multiple different power meters on different bikes, my gosh,

Trevor Connor 39:13
that’s a nightmare.

Frank Overton 39:15
It’s a head scratcher, you’re you’re looking at why, why their FTP is probably around 275 one day and then you know, only 210 that the next and it physiologically it doesn’t swing that much. And so then you’re pointing back to the power meter as an explanation of why. And then you’re like, Okay, well, which power meter is it? You don’t know, you can’t find out

Chris Case 39:38
and calibrate it each time they road you know, there’s,

Frank Overton 39:42
that’s, that’s worthless. And until you know which power meter is the good one and which one is the bad one, then it becomes a matter of data integrity. Do you trust the data and and if you can’t trust the data, but then you got to throw it out?

Trevor Connor 39:56
Yeah, Frank, I couldn’t agree more with you that issue with multiple power meters is such a big one to me that I actually travel with my power meter, I don’t bring my bike down here. But I bring my power meter down here. And I will move it around between my bikes because having, knowing that I’m getting the same numbers, on whatever bike I’m on, is really, really important to me. So I’d rather do that than have three, four power meters.

Frank Overton 40:21
May I ask you what kind of power meter that is? Because now when you’re talking about pedal based power meters, when you move those things around, the calibration changes, and you bring in your torque wrench as well. I actually do. Okay, is it? Is it a pedal based power rating?

Trevor Connor 40:37
I have a cork?

Frank Overton 40:39
Yeah, yeah. When when the pedal based power meters came out, the consumer was like, sweet, I’m moving these to every bike, one power meter for me. And the numbers got gobbly gook real quick with the twerk. I mean, I come from biotech, we had million dollar, scientific instruments, and they, you’d spend six months calibrating them. And then it gave you one piece of bad data then guess what that study is not going to get published in the scientific literature, you have to throw that data out. And so each athlete has their own data set. And when you’re generating bad pieces of data, or if you’re editing data in software, because there’s erroneous, weird spikes, then do you trust that data, right? I don’t. And so then I’m like, well, we can’t draw any conclusions from this. And then this is where, you know, just common sense prevails. When you’re looking at data. It’s like, Well, did you do well, in your race? Yeah. Okay. Yes. And cuz, like, performance is the greatest indicator of performance, you know, and I think Andy Coggan said that he’s like, the best predictor of race performance is performance. Plus, you got it. Yeah. Now your power data. Yes. And so that that’s why I mean, common sense prevails. 20 years ago is SRM. And it worked great, great power meter data, it had been calibrated against a dynamometer. if I’m pronouncing that right, power tap comes along. They also scientifically validated their power data. You know, Dr. Ron Lim, you know, that was his research thesis. So those were two really good power meters, and the data was spot on, and then comes cork, and they were, they were good. And then comes this whole wave of other new way, cheaper power meters, and then all of a sudden, we’re having these problems. And what I tell my athletes, kind of like, what you were alluding to is, is reliability does this power meter tell you 300 watts day after day, and, and that’s pretty good. And so that gets the athlete into the ability to power based training, which is great. And you just have to kind of,

Chris Case 42:46
you know, be on alert for here your data if you’re using a cheaper power meter. So if somebody comes to you and say that budget isn’t, you know, a barrier, what do you recommend to them? And you don’t necessarily have to name a brand, but what do you tell them to look for in the power meter that they should purchase? Or you can name names, I mean, we

Frank Overton 43:06
SRM, through and through, it’s the gold standard. And, and I like SRM. Because I trust the data, the, over the years, when I have been analyzing files, that’s the power meter that is never given me any reason or cause to be like, what the, and you, you still have to you know, it’s just like a Ferrari, you have to take your Ferrari back to the mechanic, you have to put gasoline in it, you have to take care of it. And this is a real scientific instrument. When we were working with million dollar scientific instruments, we had to run calibrations, someone had to take care of it. There was a guy that was the technician for this instrument. And so now the athlete has to be that, you know, you have to take your SRM off and send it back. And when you do everything, like they tell you in the manual, it’s, it’s gonna read good and, and be a very,

Colby Pearce 43:59
thank you for saying that. I there’s a lot of blowback in the Premier world about oh, well, I can just change the battery myself. I have to send it in once a year. What am I gonna read them? Come on in. If you can’t give up your power meter for one or two weeks a year, you’re missing something? So

Trevor Connor 44:13
you just touched on one for me, because this is I’m sorry, I’m anti SRM. I own one. And my whole reason was I need to get the battery changed. It took 4 months cost me $900. Well, that’s a horror story. It was an absolute horror story of going back and forth of sending for battery change getting back a power meter that didn’t work, having them charge me to reset it to them and keep charging me so I have I don’t have an issue with their their power meter. I have an issue with their customer service, which I hope is better.

Colby Pearce 44:43
So we all have stories about the Mercedes that blew up or whatever, right? Like they’re all electronic devices, all electronic devices will eventually fail. All battery operated devices will eventually fail. The question is what’s the rate? What kind of data is it giving you? So from my perspective SRM gives the most reliable consistent data for sure. I’ve had lots of customers who’ve had stories like yours, unfortunately. But I’ve also heard them from all other manufacturers. So, this is a cycling world thing like we try, we get to be very tribalistic about our devices that we like or don’t like. And you have one bad experience and it ruins the device. I try to look at it much more objectively in that they’re lemons, and every company produces lemons that the question is, is the manufacturer of the device sound, then that’s a step forward for me. We asked so much of our electronics in this modern day and age. And then people complain about sending it back. Now you’re

Trevor Connor 45:31
so the only thing I’m going to continue with my story is after that, I actually started working with cork to help test their their products. And we had a lab with a scientific electron in it, which was the gold standard at the time. And we put several SRMs and several corks up against the Velotron and the cork performed better. Awesome. So I’ve always been there since then I’ve become a cork guy.

Colby Pearce 45:55
Well define better though?

Trevor Connor 45:57
it was the data that we got from the cork, match the Mellotron data better than the SRM. But by

Colby Pearce 46:03
I mean, what I’m asking you is what what was the difference? And was it consistently offer was it

Trevor Connor 46:09
it was a reliable lever, so the cork was about a little under a 1%? off and consistently a little under 1%? Were what the SRM we were seeing about three 4% off. It’s not my I

Frank Overton 46:21
love CT, and I my issue with cork is the calibration between the big ring and the little ring oftentimes was different. So athletes would set what you thought was really good power numbers climbing in the little ring, and then they would get back on the flat and their big ring. And underperform, you’re scratching your head like what, why can’t you what was going on? And then later on, I learned about the difference in ring calibrations. So that’s, that’s true of both.

Trevor Connor 46:50
So the cork is sense. I don’t know about SRM. But I know cork has since addressed that. But it used to be to get the most accurate power data with both the SRM and the cork. You had to have duress. chainrings. Mm hmm. Yeah, that’s what they were designed to. equipment. Yeah. For some.

Trevor Connor 47:09
So Chris, I’ve been staying at your place for close to two weeks now. Are you ready to kick me out?

Chris Case 47:13

Trevor Connor 47:15
Pretty sure your wife is still trying to figure out whether she’s going to kick me out or both of us. Because we have had multiple nights now where we’re sitting there on the floor talking about Fast Talk. Both of us in our Normatech’s she kind of gave us one look in not sure what she was thinking,

Chris Case 47:30
well, we’re not astronauts, but we play them at night. Do you want to look like a Spaceman to working on your holiday wish list. normatec is the ultimate athlete gift for a limited time, you can save $200 and get free shipping on the pulse recovery system. An extensive body of research shows that normatech increases circulation and reduces muscle stiffness. The result is that you can train harder and race faster. normatec is the official supplier of USA cycling and is also the same technology that riders like Tom Skujins, Taylor Finney and the BMC racing team all rely on.

What Do the Pros Want?

Trevor Connor 48:07
When we had Neil Henderson and Rebecca rush in the studio to talk about coaching, we also had a chance to quickly ask them what gifts they would want. They had some great ideas, including things that be a little harder to wrap. Is there any cool things on the horizon or new products that either of you would say that would make a really cool gift either for somebody in your family or yourself?

Neil Henderson 48:29
Time, The ability to do any of those things, use any of those tools without the normal day to day stressors? I think that’s the that’s the key.

Chris Case 48:39
So a spa visit is what you would like

Neil Henderson 48:41
Well, training day visit with no interruption you don’t have to carry a cell phone, you have a follow car with all the fuel and spare wheels and just like luxury training days, with whatever tools are available, you know, rental luxury training day. Yeah, I like that.

Trevor Connor 48:57
Kinda sounds like a camp

Neil Henderson 48:58
gonna have to put that together.

Rebecca Rusch 48:59
Yeah, I have a couple ideas here. One, I think experiences are the best gift. So a training camp for somebody, I’m hosting some training camps in Idaho or a race experience to a really cool place that you wanted to travel to. There’s nothing more motivating for your training than having something on the agenda that you’re really excited about in a cool location. So I think those make great gifts, especially if you go along with that person, and it becomes a family thing. An actual physical item that I’ve been using that I’m pretty excited about for anybody who goes off the beaten path a little bit more is the Garmin inreach which is a satellite communication device that you pair with your phone and you can basically let people know they can follow along on your route or you can let them know you’re okay or you can actually signal for help if something happens and where I ride. I live in Idaho there’s not a lot of cell phone coverage and I go out and do long things alone all the time. And so that’s a really cool gift for somebody who does a lot of out in the boonies sort of riding or training and they’ve gotten way smaller it’s pretty teeny weeny thing that it’s not a big deal to stuff in your pocket or I just have it in my Camelback all the time. So that’s a really cool item that one keeps you safe. And then it’s also fun for your friends to see to see where you went and you can share that as well.

Trevor Connor 50:16
Great answers. I love those cool if anybody wants to come and spend some time training with Chris and I in the mountains after a week of that you’ll go home look at your winter trainer and just go Oh, thank god which is the best gift we can give you

Rebecca Rusch 50:32
or a fat bike so they don’t have to go on the trainer so much inside they can ride outside.

Chris Case 50:38
very good. Yes. cyclocross bike does it pretty well, too. But fat bikes when when you’re up there, Far North. Even better.

Neil Henderson 50:46
Yeah, subscription to the self propelling? Yeah, but the mental training strength training outside of the bike to stocking stuffer.

Trevor Connor 50:57
All right, let’s get back to our conversation, a tool that you may never have even heard of.


Chris Case 51:02
This next device, Trevor and I have a little bit of experience with I’m not sure if Frank has any experience with Leomo or Colby, you have some experience. So yeah, let’s open it up. Maybe Trevor, why don’t you since you own personally own one, went out and purchased one after using it when we did some experiments on climbing with the Performance Center over at the university. Why don’t you give us your take on Leomo.

Trevor Connor 51:26
So again, for anybody who doesn’t know what this is, this is essentially a on the road biomechanical analysis device. So you put little accelerometers on your feet, on your thighs, and then one on your sacrum so your lower back. And now they also have the option to put one on your chest. And it measures a whole variety of information, including your foot angles as it goes through the pedal stroke, dead spots and your pedal stroke, your pelvic angle, pelvic rotation, pelvic rock, a whole variety of really good biomechanical information. And Colby going back to what you were saying about newer unique information that tells you something about yourself as an athlete. To me, this is just a whole area that until it seemed to leave home, It hadn’t really been touched down the road, they could do it in labs, in a good fitting studio, but they couldn’t do it out on the road. I certainly have my opinions about it. As I said, as Chris said I bought one and absolutely love it and use it with my athletes. So I’m a big believer, but before I share some of my thoughts, how do you feel about it?

Colby Pearce 52:33
So I want to leomo for about a month, I think it’s a device that has a lot of promise, I think that it’s well executed. I mean, considering how much data they’re trying to collect and and get it to a head unit. It works pretty amazingly well. I mean, in 2018, to me, the litmus test of any techie devices, can I just pick it up, find the on button and start figuring out how to use it because we’ve come far enough in user interface to where if you have to go online and read a manual or read a paper instruction manual, they did it wrong, in my opinion, and Leomo definitely passed that test for the most part. And they’ve got five sensors, that’s a lot of data, not sure what that does to your nervous system to have all those electrical waves flying around. But I think that, as you mentioned, Trevor, it’s got the five sensors two on the thighs to on the feet and the one on the sacrum and or on the chest. What I liked about it was it gave me data, when a question was, was that data really actionable? I don’t think the thigh average angle is that useful of a data point? To be honest, does it tell us things about the trends of how athletes are fatigued during five hour rides there, okay, there are lots of ways you can look at it. It tells you how the athlete is moving and whether it potentially flags some asymmetries. In my opinion, as a fitter, it doesn’t get to the bottom line of where the most useful asymmetry data would come from. And I gave them I’ve given them that feedback when I worked on it with it worked on them with the device. And I’ll get to what I think that is in a moment. But so it gives you data is the data useful. Some of it kind of is a lot of it, I think could use improvement, the foot range, the foot angle, I think can be useful. The thigh angle, I don’t think is that useful? the sacrum is frustrating for me, because really, what I want to see is the differences between left and right pelvic rock and rotation, not gross pelvic rocking rotation. And I think from so I can tell you from a fit standpoint, from my own perspective, the common denominator of what I see when most athletes walk through my door, the vast majority when they have problems on the bike, it’s that it’s pelvic stability, and there’s a gross difference in left and right either pelvic rotation or rock. We can’t quantify that with the Leomo. So if we could, that would be very useful. From a fitting standpoint, I think it would get to the bottom line of a lot of rider asymmetries. So I would love to see them change things a bit and move in that direction. But that said, I think the device has promised as a on the whole as a company, I think that they’re sort of torn between what they can do and what they feel the market needs. And I think they’re honestly dumbing down their articles quite a bit and their content on their site quite a bit because they don’t want to make too many They’re trying to do two things. One, they’re trying to educate their public and their audience about what the device can do. Okay, that’s fine. But I think they’re moving at what I would describe it as a glacial pace in that department. like people can handle a lot more in my opinion two is,

Trevor Connor 55:13
I do think in that sense, they are still trying to figure out exactly, as you said there collecting all this data, it is so new, they’re still figuring out what do we do with all this data? I agree, that’s one of the issues. Because it’s such an early, it’s a product,

Colby Pearce 55:29
it’s a big step forward, and a lot of people look at and go, that’s really neat. What does it mean?

Chris Case 55:32
I think it could be revolutionary, honestly, like if it if this information is tied in with power figures and pedal stroke, and power, balance, and all of those types of things, I think it could really be fascinating,

Colby Pearce 55:47
which, which it is when you look at the display, which the display is amazing, it’s made, I think it’s made by the same factor that makes the iPhone display. So it’s a touch display, it works really well, it’s very easy to read, considering the amount of data, but just so people know, you do sync it with your amplus power meter, you see power data on the display, you also see it in the file, okay, you do see So, and heart rate, and there’s really a lot of data there. So you do get, I mean, you can collect an amazing amount of data in a short period of time without thing and look at it go wow, what does this mean?

Chris Case 56:16
In Trevor’s case, I know, you are talking about what actionable things can this data tell you? I think in Trevor’s case, it has told him exactly what he can do to help.

Trevor Connor 56:26
So I can give you a give you a couple examples. And I will say I think eventually this is going to be a great tool for fitters. Because when you get somebody in a studio on a trainer, they’re going to sit on the bike differently than they are out in the road, and you can do the fit in the studio, then hook this up to them and say, Okay, now let’s see how it’s translating to the road, as you said, there’s some little more data that they need, like the difference between the left and the right, and the pelvic rock, things like that. But you can say how is this translating? I had two really interesting personal experiences. One was with the pelvic angle, which is actually I have one screen, that’s just this giant pelvic angle number.

Colby Pearce 57:03
So just so people know pelvic angle is the angle of the sacred relative to horizontals weight rendering, basically. So in an arrow bar position, you’d be really low, sitting at the tops, you’d be very high.

Trevor Connor 57:12
But what’s important about this is it’s not just looking at how aerodynamic you are, it’s looking at do you have a flat back, are you riding with a rounded back. And when you have a very rounded back, that’s going to be a big number. So I went out did my first ride with the Leomo, came back, read about the pelvic angle and what they said that meant, and one of the things they pointed out was, people with a high number can often have back problems, because you’re riding with a very rounded back. So I said, you don’t want to be over 50. So I looked at my ride 63 I went Whoa. And I’ve been having back problems for the last three, four years. So I spent the entire base season of 2018 with this Leomo, just staring at that number trying to flat my back. So stop riding around it just get the back flattened, get that number down. And by the spring, I had it down around 51 52 still not down in the low 40s that they recommend. But had it down in the low 50s. This is the first year I have riden without any back pain in years.

Colby Pearce 58:09
That’s so interesting. So do you have the right saddle on your bike because now you’re increasing perinatal pressure. going down like a bike fit rabbit hole.

Colby Pearce 58:16
And now I Oh, I do need to get completely refit. Because one of the the thing that I figured out on my own is because when you ride with a rounded back, you pull your shoulders back, so I had to have a very high handlebars and a very short stem. So I had to put a lower stem and much longer stem on my bike to adjust. But I know the rest of my position is off. And one of the really interesting things that I noticed is my back problem actually elevates my left hip when it’s bugging me, and that had become so chronic The last time I had a bike fit, they shimmed me. So now when I ride with Leomo. So before my it shows you the range of motion that your your thighs go through, when I was riding with a very rounded back, it was very equal. Now it’s completely unequal, because I think I’d have to take that shim out because I’ve gotten my hips back in alignment.

Frank Overton 59:11
When you were riding and looking at your angle, were you doing anything off the bike to improve this angle we’re talking about like we’re doing yoga foundations, stretching all that or just forcing yourself into or just thinking about it.

Trevor Connor 59:25
I have a whole back routine that I’m doing for years and have been frustrated that it hasn’t been accomplishing anything and I really think it’s been sitting on the bike and that really rounded out that position has been counteracting everything and now that I’ve gotten it flattened out.

Colby Pearce 59:41
So really this amounts to there’s a device I can’t recall what it’s what the name is, but it’s a device you wear in between your shoulder blades. And whenever you round your back it kind of gives you a little Yeah, a little zinger and it makes you sit up right I don’t recall the name of it but effectively this was this device for you and give you instructions on your pelvic angle. This helped you refine your riding posture.

Chris Case 1:00:01
this thing you’re talking about it shocks you? Yes. Well,

Trevor Connor 1:00:06
I prefer mine.

Colby Pearce 1:00:08
Maybe it just vibrates. But let’s just say it reminded it indicates that you’ve done something inappropriate. Yes. Okay, it’s a postural cue device. There you go.

Trevor Connor 1:00:16
I get it, I’m just gonna ride behind you with a cattle broad,

Colby Pearce 1:00:20
straighter spine stretch.

Trevor Connor 1:00:22
The other thing they’ll quickly bring up is they have your foot ankle range of motion, which was also really bad with me. I am an absolutely horrible sprinter. And I kind of experimented with this, and worked on reducing that range of motion that my ankle goes through. So really trying to keep my ankle more locked when I sprint. I’m not gonna I’m still not gonna win any race. But I am sprinting better than I’ve ever sprinted. actionable items, actual items. So I look at this as this is a wealth of data that we’re just still it’s going to be a year or two before they figure out what does all this mean, how do you you take action on it. But I think there is something there, that’s my opinion,

Colby Pearce 1:01:04
could be seen as a device that helps athletes on the bike, refine their postural awareness, and what the first step to that is education.

Chris Case 1:01:11
Yeah. And I think you are extremely sensitive and aware of posture because of the way you’re built because of the types of riding that you do. So in a sense, you’re not the user of choice, maybe for Leomo because you’re so aware of that stuff. And you’ve thought about all that positional stuff a lot and you’re a fitter, whereas I’m not saying Trevor doesn’t, but other people out there that have a lot narrower sense of all of these things could benefit a lot from from the leomo. Maybe more so than you.

Colby Pearce 1:01:43
funny side story when I was I did my first national championships in 1989 in Colorado Springs, and I saw a photograph of myself racing and I looked at and it was a side shot. I had a very rounded spine. And I had no coach. No fitter, bike fitters didn’t exist in 1989. But I just looked at and went, That’s not right. And I did what you did only without any Angular feedback. For the next six months. I wrote around straightening my spine. I’m not sure why I had the intuition to do that. I mean, I was just very rounded and most of my career I’ve not had any back problems. It’s good to say you might have saved yourself a lot of pain possible. I don’t know. And that was probably blind luck, you know? So yeah. 17 year old kid, I could have just as easily said I need to be more rounded. Yes, sir.

Chris Case 1:02:25
A Gram Obree direction.

Colby Pearce 1:02:27
Yeah, exactly.

Trevor Connor 1:02:30
The other thing, so Chris and I did that that climbing article. And we hooked Sepp and myself up to the leomos to see our data for the climing. And the one thing that really stood out was Sepp had no dead spot scores. It was just absolutely beautiful. And then you look at me and I just tried really hard to say we don’t have the room and the magazine to print that because it looked horrible.

Colby Pearce 1:02:56
So that parallels my experience, which is interesting on my dead spot scores, dead spot scores, which for readers or listeners who don’t know, dead spot scores it’s a little bit controversial because some people disagree on it. But the idea is that it’s the simply how smoothly you’re delivering power to the pedals would be a way to phrase it, it’s how much foot motion you have during the stroke, particularly the bottom of the stroke is where it tends to show up from the most the data I’ve seen. And for me, my dead spot score is extremely low at high cadences even at very, very high power. But send me up super Flagstaff, which is a local climates gets up into the high teens in terms of gradient and my dead spot score gets atrocious.

Chris Case 1:03:33
So tri experience right do you think that has something to do with it?

Colby Pearce 1:03:37
I actually think that naturally, I just produce better powered higher cadences and I’m more challenged to produce power at higher torques and I’m kind of always seen that in my competitive results, put me on a steep climb even at the same cases, my peer group and I tend to get dropped even though ostensibly I’m a light guy and people go you probably climb really good. Oh, no, not really. I just make better power more consistently and higher cadences. So and I can see that clearly in the data. So that was, it was interesting, but I’ve talked to a few other people who say the dead spot scores and quite what it should be and I that’s one of their I think they could refine I think the sensor placement on the shoe could be a bit better. That said, getting a sensor in the same place on everyone’s shoe is challenging.

Trevor Connor 1:04:16
Any thoughts Frank?

Chris Case 1:04:18
never used it right.

Frank Overton 1:04:19
I’ve never used it. I’ve talked to a lot of people that have, when I first was became aware, I looked at how much it costs. I was like, that’s a lot and then I I personally didn’t invest in it. And I couldn’t like recommend it to the athletes that I coach, I couldn’t tell them what it would do for them. And so I didn’t go down the road. And I’ve kind of been waiting for everyone else to tell me what I can do with it. And I’m still waiting.

Trevor Connor 1:04:45
So let’s do our go around the room. Yay nay or yay with a dendum?

Chris Case 1:04:52
Yeah, I think it is an expensive device. It’s one of those things that I see a lot of potential in and maybe like Like I think it was Frank said, If this is the first generation and 20 years from now, like power meters, there’s been as much refinement and evolution in the product, even if it’s two years from now or five years from now, it could be a very, very interesting device with a lot of good information that will help riders perform better. So maybe it’s not quite there yet. We’re, again, sort of first generation users of this device, some of us in this room, and so I’m kind of a Yay, but maybe wait a little while before you go out and invest in it. Sorry Leomo.

Colby Pearce 1:05:39
Yeah, I would give it a a Yay, with, again, with caveats. I think that there’s some development to come. But, you know, even given Trevor story alone, you can see how it would be useful for people to Yeah, increase postural awareness on the bike. And for me, as a fitter, I’m looking at it from a fitter lens, but also coaching lens. And from a coaching lens, I think I could see some value in that in its in an instructive sense. But I also foresee that being a somewhat, hopefully a finite window, where I would loan it to a rider for a month, perhaps they would use it, they would learn how to sit better on the bike, we would then of course, adjust their fit according to those new postural parameters. And then they would ostensibly be sort of educated in that, and they would ride that wave moving forward, and hopefully not slip into old patterns. And then then the device would no longer be necessary. So I think it’s got, it’s got some, some merit in that respect. But again, I would like to see him refine some things. And there’s a lot of potential there. Yeah.

Foam Rollers

Trevor Connor 1:06:32
So I’m going to be a big yay on the Leomo for a couple of reasons. One is, first addressing what you just said, I think it’s very valuable for coaches for exactly that reason, you can lend it to athletes, you can check their data for a couple weeks, and really help them get that postural awareness. But I also remember, last spring, I showed this to a lot of the athletes that are that are in our club, and many of them have three power meters. And you sit there and go, well, instead of buying the fourth power meter, why don’t you get something that gives a little bit different data? And we do get obsessed with, you know, what’s the power, I’m putting out? What’s my normalized power, but that neuromuscular postural side of the pedal stroke is so undervalued? The difference that makes in cycling, I think this is just a whole new set of data that addresses a very important often undervalued side of cycling. And I do think, as they analyze this, as they develop this tool, they’re going to figure out more and more how do you use this data? What does it mean? I just think we’re in the very early days. Okay, so I think we got one more product here to talk about or range of products, and this is foam rollers. So we can talk a little bit about these rumble rollers that have the big torture, looking knots and things in them to really dig into your legs. But also, there’s this new product of vibrating rollers, which are starting to pick up. So let’s talk a little bit about both. I don’t know how much. I know all of us have had experience here with rollers. I don’t know if anybody here has had, besides myself has had any experience with vibrating rollers. So why don’t we start with just regular rollers, foam rumble rollers, how do you guys feel?

Frank Overton 1:08:13
I have one of those white styrofoam rollers. We got about 20, about 10 years ago to do a foam rolling clinic. So have got a very good supply of them. And that’s all I’ve ever used

Chris Case 1:08:27
like super hard density, the white styrofoam, like the pool noodle like that kids play with in the pool.

Frank Overton 1:08:34
That’s right. So they’re about six feet wide. And I saw them into three pieces. But they I don’t know, are there I guess my question would be is there a difference between those and then these new fancy… everyone’s nodding their head.

Trevor Connor 1:08:50
So in terms of research, there have been several studies showing that the firmer a roller is and especially when it has some of these, we want to call them knots bumps textures Thank you do seem to perform better. And some of the metrics they use are your pain tolerance or threshold and also flexibility. So they do show that when you do some foam rolling, at least in the short run, it improves your flexibility a little bit. So those been two of the common metrics and they do show that these firmer, textured rollers seem to do a little better than the softer foam rollers. What’s been your experience Colby?

Colby Pearce 1:09:27
I’m a huge fan of the textured rollers. A couple of them I have used with my clients I recommend for my clients are the rumble roller, which, as you suggested has like a big kind of finger looking protuberances, and they’re quite firm. Another one I’m a huge fan of is called the Gator. And then there’s one called the Gemini. These are all made by I can’t recall the website anyway, go forth and Google if you want to find them. But these tools all have engineer textures that are specifically designed to kind of apply shear force and pull the facia away from the muscle. And that’s really the goal is to allow the muscle to glide through the myofascial sheath smoothly when you have adhesions, and when you’ve got all those, really, it’s just protein chains are stuck to your muscles and everything’s glued together, then you can’t make force or make power with supple muscle, you want that muscle to glide in and out of there freely. And Cycling is repetitive aerobic endurance exercise if you just keep doing it, and then you sit in your office chair and drive your car to and from work and fly your airplane across the country, you will get locked up into a kebab crane old man question mark posture. And this is not a desirable way to live life or make good power on a bike. So these tools are pretty powerful and you know, I’m just as big of a bike dork as anybody, I love to go out and run my bike. And I’d rather do that than foam roll. But what I’ve learned is, the more proactive I am about my off, like exercises, including myofascial release, the more enjoyable my bike rides are, so I do a full body routine two or three times a week, I usually do it on my recovery days. And then I’ll hit specific areas every day, I tend to stay away from the more tender areas on days where I want to go harder. So for example, I won’t roll out really aggressively my IT bands or quads on days where I’m going to go do intervals, I found that that just doesn’t mesh well. And Trevor, maybe you can comment on where the science supports it, the order on that kind of thing. That’s what I found Personally, I also always move from the extremity or from the distal to the proximal. So towards the heart. Basically, thats my conclusion.

Trevor Connor 1:11:22
Always any sort of compression. So that’s massage that’s things like the Normatecs, things like foam rollers, which by the way, we did a recovery episode before. And what’s showing up in the research is that compression, any sort of compression recovery is the best, but always towards the heart. Because you have one way valves in your veins that help blood flow when you massage or do any sort of compression away from the heart, you damage those valves.

Frank Overton 1:11:47
So when you’re like rolling out your hamstrings, your IT band, don’t go back and forth, just go.

Trevor Connor 1:11:52
put the you put the pressure on when it’s rolling towards your heart, and then you unweight it to bring it back to the starting position.

Frank Overton 1:11:59
All right, you learn something every day.

Trevor Connor 1:12:01
And if you ever go to a massage therapist, and they start massaging away from your heart, don’t see him again,

Frank Overton 1:12:05
right Run for your life. Yeah,

Colby Pearce 1:12:07
so I’m a big fan of these tools. Um, you know, some of them, they have different shapes, like the Gemini is kind of shaped like two pairs that are glued together, it’s sort of a more evolved version of what some people have made a homemade version of, which is to racket balls duct tape together to tennis balls. So you can imagine that will work really well on the muscles on either side of your spine, right lumbar musculature, for example, or dig into kind of some of the knots in your shoulders and things. And so there are all kinds of creative ways to do that. Another tool that I’ll mention, it’s a neat one that not a lot of people know about in my experience, it’s called the Psorite right? That’s Psorite I think it’s r i t e. And it looks like two giant hands that are kind of separated by maybe about eight inches, sort of a U shaped device. And if you’ve ever gone to a massage therapist, and he or she has dug their hand deeply just inside your hip bone to release the psoas which is usually pretty deep muscle to access and requires quite a bit of pressure and can be a bit painful, especially if it’s a bit wound up. The Psorite is designed to allow you to do that yourself. So you put it on the floor and you lay on top of it. Again, one of those awkward moments when someone walks in and I’m not quite sure what you’re doing. But all in the name is sports performance. yeah, but it’s a great tool and I have one of my office and whenever I do a bike fit and people come in I say hey, try this thing out for a minute and they go inevitably they say wow, they’re their impressions I didn’t know there were devices made that could help me do this myself. And let’s be realistic. Like we’ve all got limited time and resources and money. It’d be awesome to have a super, super dialed in massage therapist, you could access three times a week, endlessly, but most people don’t have the means so.

Trevor Connor 1:13:36
Right. So if we got any takeaway here is Colby first job as a coach, but he seems to have a small SNM studio on the side here.

Colby Pearce 1:13:46
Whatever it takes to get it done.

Trevor Connor 1:13:47
So vibrating foam rollers. This is a fairly new technology. There’s several companies out there that are now putting them out. And it’s so new the first research study on them was in July of 2017. So tons of research showing benefits of foam rollers tons of research showing benefits of vibration therapy, which helps blood flow. So somebody finally said let’s do a study where we look at the two together. So they looked at that pain tolerance. They looked at flexibility. They also looked at markers of inflammation. So creatine kinase things like that to check recovery 24 hours later, and what they found was regular foam roller is better than nothing. But the vibrating foam foam roller was better than both.

Frank Overton 1:14:30
Interesting, so is it battery powered?

Trevor Connor 1:14:32
Yes. So I actually briefly worked with a guy he’s developing one and he is and that was an issue his was plugin only and you would get wrapped up in the in the cable. So their first feedback to him was you got to get a battery. Yeah.

Frank Overton 1:14:47
How much are these like what you were talking about? Like

Colby Pearce 1:14:50
your the rumble roller i think is about 50 or 60 bucks. The battle. There’s a round one, I can’t recall it. It’s about a six inch diameter blue ball with texture on it. That That’s great for getting in your shoulders and stuff. I think that’s about 30 bucks, 40 bucks, so totally want to spend $150 on this stuff. But um, like you said, if you’re paying 75 or $100 for massage doesn’t take long for those tools to pay off and, and I think instead of looking at it as I have to do this for an hour, every three days, you leave them in the living room, don’t let your dog find it, because he’s gonna think this dog bond, chew it up. But you know, then when you have your post, dinner, half hour of cold air or whatever you’re watching, you can get something done instead of lay on the couch and make that kabab crane posture come back.

Trevor Connor 1:15:32
One other thing really worth mentioning about the foam rollers is they have shown you don’t want to stretch before exercise or before a race or an event like that, because it can hurt your performance. That’s actually not the case with the the foam rollers because they help your pain tolerance, there’s actually been some evidence of it helps performance even before an event. So if you want to do something as part of your warm up, doing 5-10 minutes of foam rolling can actually be beneficial.

Chris Case 1:15:57
never used.

Colby Pearce 1:15:59
You’ve never used a foam roller. That’s impressive.

Chris Case 1:16:02
I know. I was I was wondering if I should say that’s an embarrassing thing to say, or I’m better. I’m proud of it in a way because I like that. But you might look at me like what an idiot. We’ve just talked about the benefits of these things, and they’re so easy to use, and you’ve never used one but that’s just me. I generally think I’m lucky in that I don’t have injuries. We’ve talked about this before on on episodes, like just lucky. And maybe one day it’s going to catch up to me it probably will. But at this point,

Colby Pearce 1:16:30
I don’t think it’s luck your a mutant.

Trevor Connor 1:16:34
I started working with Chris he’s like, I’ve never used a heart rate strap I’ve ever used a power meter. I don’t foam roll. I don’t do any sort of recoveries, three hours a lie.

Chris Case 1:16:42
I get a lot of sleep. I get a lot of sleep. Okay. But yeah, like I shouldn’t be on the show. Because I’m not a device guy until recent times I can I can certainly speak to some of this stuff. But yeah,

Colby Pearce 1:16:52
I think that illustrates the point of biochemical individuality. Sure. Like, look, I mean, ultimately, we’re all seeking greater performance on the bike, even if it’s not competitive performance is just that no chain ride, perhaps. But some people may get a pair of Normatech boots and say, those are really neat, but I didn’t really feel anything. Whereas for me, yeah, there clearly every time I get in them, I feel better. Yeah. So you really have to kind of figure out what works for you and your rhythm and what’s going to be useful for you. It’s all about low hanging fruit.

Trevor Connor 1:17:20
So certainly, if we’re gonna have a quick one minute take home for all this stuff. Mine is if you have the opportunity, you’ve heard what we think of these products. Try one. Yeah, find a friend who has some Normatecs or a Leomoo, or one of these products and try it for a couple rides. Come over to my place.

Chris Case 1:17:38
gadget over sale gadgets for sale or lease. Yeah, Frank, do you have a one minute takeaway that captures all of this?

Frank Overton 1:17:46
Yeah, sure. So I’m reminded of a graphic that Dr. Askerjukin Drew about a number of years ago in his book Cycling Performance, and it was what to buy to get the most Aero gains, and I do believe disc wheel blew everything out of the water. So he has this graphic with these bars. And there’s a disk wheel, it saves you one minute, 10 seconds and like a 40, K, TD, and then everything else was like 30 seconds with a helmet and then skin suit was whatever it was, and then we’re all the way down to like, booties, and it’s like five seconds. So the reason why I’m reminded of it is all these devices that we’ve talked about, I’d put power meter up there with disk wheel, and then everything else is going to be maybe like, you know, marginal gains. But nevertheless, if we’re in the vein of Christmas, and you want to give a gift it’s you know, it’s fun to get a new toy and try something out.

Chris Case 1:18:41
And all of those marginal gains add up. That’s the point. Like if you had all if you got every one of the things we talked about today, three minutes, probably be a national champion,

Trevor Connor 1:18:51
My god just picture somebody walking around and Normatech boots with little sensors all over their feet and legs. Foam roller on their back. Terrifying people

Take the Normatech off before you do the hour wrecker. Come on.

Colby Pearce 1:19:06
No one told me that. It didn’t say that in the manual.

Chris Case 1:19:09
Colby, do you have a one minute summary?

Colby Pearce 1:19:11
Buy everything? Yeah. No, actually, don’t fall in lust with consumerism, and say the opposite. Yeah. But yeah, I agree with Frank, I think that’s good advice. Power Meter is is clearly one of the top of the list here. You know, given our discussion or somewhat heated discussion about which one to buy,

Chris Case 1:19:32
look for our episode on power meters in the future, because I think there’s so much to talk about there that we should we should definitely delve into that topic a bit more.

Trevor Connor 1:19:39
And we’re actually did one A while back, which is probably getting a little outdated, talking about just about power meters and which to buy. And it was just as heated.

Chris Case 1:19:47

Colby Pearce 1:19:48
Agreed polarizing conversation. I think. Ultimately, the cyclist has to look at embracing technology with a bit of a skeptical eye or the coach or anyone in the sport really from any perspective. Because there isn’t limited it just because it’s a neat Gizmo and gadget doesn’t mean you need to buy, it doesn’t mean it tells you anything useful. There are a lot of devices out there that cost quite a bit that have complicated user interfaces and do all sorts of whiz bang things. But you look at what it actually gives you as an athlete. Is it actionable? Or is it just more noise and more data? So right now we’re having an explosion of devices overall, doesn’t mean you need to go buy it, let it let things settle out, let it have the test of time, you know, and see what people are learning from it, then decide if it’s going to apply to you. Because if you are constantly sniffing out new things and buying new devices, and you’re going to get buried information, it’s not gonna be actionable necessarily. So I think there’s a balance there.

Trevor Connor 1:20:41
Perfect. Thanks, guys. That was another episode of fast talk. As always, we love your feedback. Email us at Subscribe to Fast Talk in iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud and Google Play. Be sure to leave us a rating and a comment. While you’re there. Check out our sister podcast The Velo News podcast which covers news about the week and cycling become a fan of Fast Talk and facebook at and on twitter at Fast Talk is a joint production between velonews and Conner coaching. The thoughts and opinions expressed on fast talker those are the individual for Chris Case, Colby Pearce Frank Overton, Rebecca Rusch, and of course, Neil Henderson. I’m Trevor Connor. Thanks for listening.