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USA Cycling Women's Team Pursuit

“Cycling is a sport that is data rich. We've struggled to use that data in an insightful way.”

Enter IBM jStart.

Derek Bouchard-Hall, CEO, USA Cycling

Team Pursuit is a track cycling event held in velodromes and a popular sport of the Summer Olympics. The team consists of four cyclists who ride as a unit to cover 4 kilometers in the fastest time possible. Preparation for racing entails developing the riders’ physical ability to generate and sustain high power output and developing technical skills related to riding as a unit and switching lead position (the “pull”) in the group. Racing tactics address such questions as rider sequence and optimal pull switching with the goal of minimizing the overall time a team of cyclists requires to complete a 4-kilometer race. Optimal pull switching is particularly important, as riders use aerodynamics (“drafting”) to conserve power when they are not in the pull position.

The original process of collecting and analyzing training session data was time consuming and took several days or weeks after training sessions or competitions to fully analyze. Coaches needed a way to provide riders with the instant feedback, data and lessons that maximize the impact of a training session.

While today the bikes are fitted with power meters to gather power watts, cadence, and speed of the riders, the amount of time to upload the data and then link the data into insights hinders their ability to provide immediate feedback to the athletes.

USA Cycling Architecture

Team Pursuit Solution

Working with IBM® jStart®, the U.S. Women’s Team Pursuit team is now harnessing emerging technologies to solve its analytics challenge. Instead of manually extracting the data from the power meters and sensors after each training session, data is gathered on a mobile device in the rider’s pocket in real-time from multiple sources – the power meters, a heartrate monitor and a wearable BSX muscle oxygen sensor on the riders. The data is delivered to various analytics via the Watson IoT Platform. Within seconds, the results are sent back to the coaches’ iPads in the form of a summary iOS dashboard that presents metrics such as W-prime depletion and matches burned in an intuitive graphical format.

The power data is automatically linked with the lap timing and environment data like humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed or direction. Taking advantage of other leading edge sensors (BSX Insights muscle oxygenation – SmO2) can now be considered during a rider’s training session. New analysis capabilities provide an edge to the training program with visibility into rider fitness and progression, team sequencing and switching tactics.

IBM jStart worked closely with the coaches in a series of development sprints to first address the data collection problem by embracing mobile technology along with Watson IoT Platform to enable real-time access to the data for steaming analytics and data storage. Other services leveraged Cloudant, Spark, and Predictive Modeling along with timing system integration provided by M&S Consulting.

After the data collection problem was addressed, next was surfacing up the data in a fashion optimal for the coaches and riders. Through IBM jStart developed iOS dashboards, indicators provide new real-time visibility into rider energy expenditure and recovery. These indicators include the linked power watt, lap timing, new muscle oxygenation (SmO2 data was combined with derived Anaerobic Work Capacity), and Match Burned results.

Not only is feedback provided to the coaches in real-time through the dashboards, the infrastructure is in place to provide selected information (sub-optimal power needed to attain a specified target time, Matches Burned) to the riders during their training/simulation session.

The solution empowers the athletes with real-time feedback of these critical metrics through the use of Solos™, high-performance smart eyewear, which integrate innovative heads-up display and audio technologies.

Slight adjustments to pacing and switching based on rider performance all make or break a win or loss in some Women’s cycling track events. US Cycling Women's Team Pursuit is working with IBM jStart to put contextual data about riders, track and performance to work – leveraging cloud, mobile and analytics to derive instantaneous insights for coaches to understand rider power and make game changing pacing and switching decisions.

Simulation Training Real-Time Dashboard

USA Cycling Real Time Dashboard


Simulation Training Summary Dashboard

USA Cycling Summary Dashboard

Start Small, Grow Fast

Learn how the jStart Team can help your business get started using our "start small, grow fast" engagement process. Today's business challenges aren't just about huge amounts of information, rather it is leveraging the valuable insights and opportunities living within that data. jStart is a highly skilled team focused on providing fast, smart, and valuable business solutions leveraging the latest technologies. The team typically focuses on emerging technologies which have commercial potential within 12-18 months. This allows the team to keep ahead of the adoption curve, while being prepared for client engagements and partnerships. The team’s focus includes: predictive and prescriptive analytics, cognitive computing, cloud technologies, big data, social data and mobile platforms.

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