Sweat dripped and excitement buzzed in the eLab last month as 8 members of Voler Factory Racing (VFR) descended upon our facility in Mill Valley for a day of cutting-edge testing using the INSCYD protocol. Gearing up for a full season of racing the NCL crits and Latin/South American UCI stage races, eight riders arrived armed with data from power tests conducted on their home roads. The goal of the day was to validate and complete the testing INSCYD protocol with V02max testing and LT efforts in the lab.
VFR is a USA Cycling Domestic Elite team and one of the ten teams in the U.S. that make up the National Cycling League. The team’s 14 elite riders live up and down the west coast, but their team manager, Phil Mooney, lives right down the street from Tim in San Rafael. Phil and Jaffa were there in the lab all day to help out as Tim tested the 8 riders - Brad Wiggs, Ryan Gorman, Cole Williams, Colin Patterson, Max Rye, Chris Harland Dunaway, Finn Thompson, and Andrew Carr.
Preparation on Home Turf: Power Tests Set the Stage
Before arriving at Endurance PTC, the cyclists meticulously gathered data with three seated power tests on their familiar home roads. These were 20”, 6’, and 12’ efforts completed a few days before coming into the lab. These initial tests provided a baseline understanding of their power output and performance capabilities. Armed with this information, the team was ready to dive deeper into the intricacies of their physiology with the advanced testing offered by INSCYD.
The Day of Testing with the INSCYD Protocol
Once at Endurance PTC, the cyclists underwent a series of tests that delved into the nuances of their metabolic and performance profiles. The INSCYD protocol is a comprehensive system that combines metabolic testing, nutritional analysis, and performance profiling to provide a holistic view of an athlete's capabilities.
- Body Composition and Analysis
We started off with an InBody body composition measurement. This uses a bioelectrical impedance method to measure both weight and composition such as muscle mass, fat mass, and water content. It’s quick, non-invasive, repeatable and accurate, and only requires one to stand on a scale. Off season body fat percentages for the guys ranged from 7-14%.
- VO2max Testing with Gas Exchange
The riders then hopped on the Velotron bike in the lab for a short hard effort for V02max testing, the gold standard in measuring aerobic capacity. After a 20-minute warmup they got hooked up to the head gear and completed a 3-4 minute effort, riding until failure at a prescribed wattage determined by the field tests they had completed at home prior to coming into the lab. Max was pushing the most power on the day – a massive 3+ minute effort at 530 watts!
With precise gas exchange analysis, the team gained insights into the maximum amount of oxygen their bodies could utilize during intense exercise. This crucial metric is fundamental in understanding their aerobic potential and optimizing training zones. This metric is most often compared amongst athletes by taking the V02max per unit of body weight. Colin was our high scorer here with a V02max of 80 ml/kg/min. Someone tell him to save some oxygen for the rest of us.
Blood Pricks in the Ear for Precision
Small blood samples were taken by pricking the cyclists ear after the all-out effort to measure the peak lactate production and lactate tolerance. Variables gleaned from this result, when included with the previous week's efforts, include lactate production rate, anaerobic threshold, and peak fat metabolism. This process allowed the team to pinpoint the intensity at which lactate accumulation begins and peaks, offering a key marker for training intensity and endurance optimization. Cole saw the highest peak lactate production of all the guys - 18mmol!
Results and Fine-Tuning Training Zones: The Power of Personalization
With data from both power tests on home roads and the detailed insights from the eLAB to complete the INSCYD testing, the guys met the next week via Zoom with Tim to discuss their results and determine their personalized training zones and fueling needs. These zones, tailored to individual physiological responses, empower the cyclists and their coaches to fine-tune training programs for optimal performance gains.
The Road Ahead: Harnessing Data for Peak Performance
As the Voler Factory Racing Team departs from Endurance PTC, they carry with them a wealth of data, insights, and personalized training strategies. Armed with the knowledge gained through the INSCYD protocol, they’re ready to charge into the season like a herd of stampeding wildebeests.
- Written by Phil Mooney