Australian cyclists take simulator for a ride
A team of Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) scientists are using a high-tech digital simulation of the women’s road cycling course for the London Games to help prepare Australia’s best cyclists for Olympic success.
Cyclists such as Chloe Hosking have taken the simulator for a ride in training for the London Games as part of special project Operation Deja Vu. The simulation involves riding a high-tech ergometer (exercise bike) in front of two digital readouts with video footage and profiles of the course, including the 14 kilometre Box Hill leg — a crucial part of the 140 kilometre race.
The simulator allows the cyclists to virtually experience the course they will compete on during the London Games. It features built-in performance analysis systems, enabling coaches and sports scientists to capture a range of valuable data and analysis about the cyclist’s performance including time, power, speed, distance and cadence on the simulated actual course for the London Games.
Hosking is vying for selection in the Australian road cycling team and returned to Canberra in May for testing and training. She was thrilled to be one of the first Australian cyclists to have a trial run on the simulator.
‘You can feel what it’s like to ride the hills, turns and dips on the course. It’s a perfect training aid if you can’t get to ride the London course in training.
‘It allows Australian cyclists to train indoors on the London road cycling course, particularly if it’s raining.’
Senior AIS Physiologist Dr David Martin has been working in partnership with Cycling Australia to develop the simulator technology. AIS sports scientists recorded video footage and captured in-depth data of the London road cycling course during a ‘fact -finding mission’ at the Olympic test event in August last year. Martin gave a preview of the detailed course profile during training.
‘You can see the course profile on the screen, which starts with a hard climb to the top and then falls flat with couple of dips and descends down to the bigger highways into the loop again. The men will complete nine loops of the course and women do two.
‘We can also use the simulator to help prepare the athletes on how to ride the course for any weather conditions so they are ready for anything.
‘We have been collecting information about the course profile to give athletes an inside look at the venue they will be competing on — learning about the hills, all the turns and where the finish line is and getting a feel for the Olympic course so there are no surprises,’ Martin said.
Hosking trained in Canberra prior racing in the Giro del Trentino in Italy on 16–17 June.