BMX Cycling Events, London 2012

BMX Cycling Events, London 2012. BMX is one event I really don’t understand, in particular how it fits into the “movement pattern” approach. On the stand start, the athlete translates forward, pivots the torso/pelvis on the shoulders and extends the downstroke limb. Similar to what I described for the BMX-stand start at the track, and named as such for its resemblance to that movement. The stand starts here are strong and crisp; they get up to speed quickly, and really get the crankarm moving from the very first effort. Identifying a movement pattern is so difficult in the guys, primarily because of the speed and camera perspective. The ladies are no bargain either, but there is an inkling for the hip hike motion, and first half of the course is when you may be able to see this. When the rpm is on the low end, the athlete can take more time to let the movement pattern unfold, in BMX the rate is so high that the movement needs to be very compact and quick. Slow motion video would resolve that issue on short order.

The wipe outs-face plants were remarkable, it seemed they caught the rear wheel at the top of those undulations and momentum drove the athlete over the handlebars. Tough kids out there.

This leads to the editorial portion of the blog (seem to be doing a lot of that lately, and getting myself in hot water at times). About 10 years ago, or so, BMX riders were being recruited for the track, in particular from the success of those athletes in other countries. One reason may be their ability to recruit a high rate of quality movement, though there they would need to adapt their movement pattern to the higher gears and overall different position with the fixed gear. It’s not a given there would be a good transition from this cycling event to the track, especially from BMX. The point is that the coach should be able to recognize whether the athlete would be able to make the transition a successful one, and then be able to guide that transition.

Ladies Match Sprint, London 2012

Ladies Match Sprint, London 2012. Anna Meares (Australia) vs. Victoria Pendleton (Great Britain). Meares with a great TPR off saddle acceleration and a roll motion seated as well. Good shoulder contact of Meares into Pendleton and both came out of it unscathed. Importantly, they continued with their respective movement patterns to the line. In fact, Meares (and I didn’t have a clear look) seemed to resort to a brutal R-hip flexion right at the line. That was all that was available to her skill, and she drove it. Totally remarkable. Managed to see the single sprint.

Did you see the Mini Coopers collecting the “implements” from the track and field events? Cool. Canoe sprint, not just the arms folks; the legs flex/extend, the pelvis pivots on the seat, plus trunk rotation to paddle the canoe.  There is a theme here.

Poetry at the Olympics. The Canadian contingent has a poet in residence on hand at the event. Priscila Uppal, York University has a poem titled “Obsessive Compulsive Cycling Disorder” on PBS.org (http://video.pbs.org/video/2265221222).

Men’s Triathlon, London 2012

Men’s Triathlon, London 2012. Surprised to see so many bikes with the traditional handlebars. I am not familiar with the rules of the bike segment, but I did not think that they could draft. A large group in the lead was not sufficiently safe for a time trial-forearms on the aero pads. So there is little to report in that area, except for an unsuccessful attempt by a Russian athlete to break away in that position, a nice and strong display of the SBHH (helicopter view), and there was cycling talent in that group though perhaps hidden. I did learn a few things from the bike to run transition, but will leave that to the experts. There was no organization in that group, limited drafting and no semblance of a paceline. A situation ripe for a “yard sale” ie. a pile up (learned that phrase from Priscila Uppal).

Omnium, Ladies 500 m, London 2012

Omnium, Ladies 500 m, London 2012. I missed a number of the pairings, including Laura Trott (Great Britain), Clara Sanchez (France) and Sarah Hammer (United States of America); however, the remainder of the performances were very good displays of skill.

The first pairing between Marlies Mejias Garcia (Cuba) and Maria Luisa Calle Williams (Colombia); both tended to be relatively static (at least from my vantage point) compared to the rest of the field, but Mejias did place 5th in the 500. Next up were Joanne Kiesanowski (New Zealand) and Malgorzata Wojtyra (Poland); into the stand start for Kiesanowski we have the SBHH, and a very smooth display of that same skill while seated. Wojtyra relied on the BMX stand start, however I think she may have overdone it and should have transitioned to the SBHH to complete the off saddle acceleration.

In the pairing between Evgeniya Romanyuta (Russian Federation) and Tatsiana Sharakova (Belarus), Sharakova displayed a very active and quality Sidebend Hip Hike sequence; Romanyuta’s start was of interest, there was in inkling that the hip flexors were in display while off the saddle, and you really need the slow motion with the Dartfish feature “clone rectangle” to nail it down. Not unusual, but when you see it you will know.  You can begin to dissect these events from the video in the dartfish.tv/precisvelo channel.

In the next pairing between Kirsten Wild (Netherlands) and Jolien D’Hoore (Belgium), D’Hoore had a very smooth and active SBHH while seated. Wild on the other hand took advantage of the BMX tech for the stand start (and most do), she did look very uncomfortable in the turn sliding the front wheel down track, may have overstayed her welcome with the BMX start. Once seated she still seemed uncomfortable, repositioning and actually arguing with the set up. This is one individual who might benefit from raising the aeropads and bringing the grips up closer to her. She may have been engaging the hip flexors quite well. Finally, we have the pairing of Annette Edmondson (Australia) and Tara Whitten (Canada). Edmondson, had perhaps the most active roll of the torso and hip hike sequence, nice overall rhythm of movement. On the stand start Whitten appeared to rely on the BMX technique, perhaps over relied of this, a quick camera switch showed Edmonson in a full and smooth SBHH off saddle mode.

Overall, contrast these performances with those at the amateur level and you should come up with the conclusion that amateur athletes would certainly benefit from video of their performances. There is certainly a clear discrepancy between perception and reality, there is room for improvement regardless of category, and plenty of talent which goes unrecognized and undeveloped.

On another note, many thanks for the nice commentary. One person indicated there seemed to be a lack of descriptive content from the blog. In fact, you will find multiple sources of information, including the video subscription which has step by step instruction of the program to help you advance at your own pace, a book was published and I offer mini-webinar sessions to help you along.

Men’s Sprint, London 2012

Men’s Sprint, London 2012. Gold medal sprints, Jason Kenny (Great Britain) over Gregory Bauge (France). Tough to see much detail at full speed, it was not until they showed a brief segment (very brief) in slow motion that you could identify a clear the Sidebend Hip Hike. No wonder all people actually see are the legs beating around and little or no attention is paid to the movement pattern, which is a major power house and contributes to movement efficiency. In another slow motion sequence in the TV set up to the race, I thought I saw Kenny in an off the saddle acceleration with the Trunk Pelvic Roll at a high rate of speed to match if not set the rpm.

Shane Perkins (Australia) takes the Bronze medal over Njisane Nicholas Phillip (Trinidad and Tobago) in another race which I could not identify details of movement, in part from the speed, lack of contrast of the uniforms and very brief useful perspective (if you blink you miss it, really need to train the eye on the torso and pelvis, and then only 20% of the detail is apparent).

Mens Pursuit, Omnium, London 2012

Mens’ Omnium, London 2012. Some observations on the pursuits. Ki Ho Choi (Hong Kong, China) seemed to have a Hip Hike, though isolated from the upper torso. In contrast his adversary Gijs Van Hoecke (Belgium) appeared to roll the trunk. Bobby Lea (United States of America) rolled the torso, becoming more active in that feature as the race approached the end, much like Hosung Cho’s (Republic of Korea) performance. Zach Bell (Canada) certainly sidebend the torso, though the hip hike was tough to identify (the good views are fleeting). Martyn Irvine (Ireland) not clear if there was a rocking motion, certainly frequent repositions were apparent. Lasse Norman Hansen (Denmark) had a very good result, and he was the most active of the field (roll hip hike motion) reminiscent of Kristen Armstrong’s time trial performance in the sense of driving the effort with the movement pattern; however, one could not have predicted he would win the Omnium event (though it gives him a good chance at doing so). In the final pairing I saw, Edward Clancy (Great Britain) began undulating the movement pattern to a higher degree especially in the final 750m vs. Glenn O’Shea (Australia) whose hip hike was also more active towards the end of the effort. Enhancing the movement pattern towards the end of the effort was apparent in a number of athletes, a means of accelerating or drawing the most out of the effort. In other words, the movement pattern is one major feature of the effort driving the pedaling motion.

Ladies Team Pursuit, London 2012

Ladies Team Pursuit, London 2012. In an earlier elimination race with the Australian contingent, the United States had an excellent comeback victory, certainly a well experienced group with Jenny Reed, Sarah Hammer and Dotsie Bausch. If I am not mistaken, Reed had a very active movement pattern which has served her well in her sprinting and keirin days. In the final with Great Britain (Dani King, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell) Sarah Hammer started faster than Lauren Tamayo was able to match with her Trunk Pelvic Roll (I missed Hammer’s skill set). I did like the roll motion which seemed quite well done technically. One of the team members of Team USA displayed a very good roll of the trunk and sharp hike motion. The feature that makes it easier to pick out the skills are the stars and color contrast in the USA uniforms, otherwise the skinsuits of the Australians, Team Great Britain and Team Canada lacked enough contrast, otherwise there would be more to say, highlighting their performances. 080712: had a better look a Hammer’s stand start, as she applied force to each downstroke her pelvis was pushed to the opposite side, it ought to be driven into the downstroke crankarm. Compared with Anna Meares on the team sprint where she was able to drive the pelvis into the crankarm, though I don’t know the gear differential or the times for the first 250m.

Track Racing, London 2012

Track Racing, London 2012.

Mary Carillo (announcer for the late night NBC programming) came through with the Team Pursuits and the Ladies’ Keirin final of the last 2 days. Overall, the images tended to be very small to clearly identify the movement patterns, though there were some features that were identifiable. Men’s Team Pursuit: the Great Britain stand start was a BMX effort initially, and at some point during the turn he transitioned, and I could not identify it exactly, but could have been the SBHH and certainly by mid turn. Either way, the point is that while the BMX effort is very effective for a few pedal strokes, its lifetime is short and one has to switch movement patterns. This is a feature that would benefit amateur athletes to improve their performances and limit instability. The Australians also began with the BMX stand start (which may be a recurring theme) and he did transition to a sidebend motion along with a hike, which requires weight shifting in the grips. Later on there was a nice frontal view which demonstrated clear side bending and no doubt alternate weight shifting on the aero pads. Great clarity for that movement. One member of Team Australia may have stand started with the SBHH?

Ladies’ Keirin; one athlete Clara Sanchez (France) I think, demonstrated a clear sidebend hip hike. Anna Meares (Australia) moved to the front with a great acceleration, led by her movement pattern which I have described as the Trunk Pelvic Roll elsewhere, though I did see a hike motion from this perspective (which is not at all surprising). Soon after, Victoria Pendelton (Great Britain) counters with her own undulating version, which no doubt features elements of the TPR and the SBHH which top elite athletes demonstrate to perfection. An effective and fluid movement pattern that earned her the Gold medal.

Ladies Team Pursuit. One team member (perhaps Jennie Reed) was clearly caught off guard as Sarah Hammer (USA) took off, she should have carried the team along to the finish with a more gradual acceleration. As far as I can tell, Reed struggled to match that acceleration, there appeared to be some repositioning, certainly discomfort. While aerodynamic, this is not the best set up for a hard acceleration, she could have been matched that with handlebars rather than aero bars.

Commentarios: de Eduarda and Aureliana (sin duda de Brasil?) y otros. Gracias.

Men’s Team Sprint. Neither of the stand starts were shown very well at all. The team from Great Britain took the gold medal, very fast, high rpm but very hard to identify the movement pattern. Had a glimpse of Chris Hoy, and he seemed to display a high frequency hip hike sequence; though for a better show you would really need to take advantage of the “clone rectangle” from Dartfish, slow the display to 0.5x and focus the camera on one athlete at a time. To leave the performance to the legs and aerodynamics is to miss the forest for the trees. Pity we did not have a good view of Philip Hindes and Jason Kenny (Great Britain) or Team France: Gregory Bauge, Michael D’Almeida and Kevin Sireau, a team with serious fire power. Having seen Hoy before, there is little doubt that he does perform not only the hike, but also the sidebend motions to set the hike up. Given the high rpm, I’d like to hear from them whether their perception is one of spinning, and if this is the case, do they feel/recognize they perform the movement pattern. 080612: discovered the replay feature from the cable provider, and after several replays had a better view of Hoy’s SBHH and Hindes did the same.

Ladies Team Sprint, London 2012

Ladies Team Sprint, London 2012.

Quite a show of the Ladies’ Team Sprint for the gold and bronze rides. Perhaps only 5 seconds worth of each race where we can get a glimpse for what the athletes are doing. Anna Meares (Australia), nice shot from the front, and you can see the initial 2 pedal strokes and a drive of the pelvis into the crankarm, very good rotational control, and the overall pattern resembles the BMX stand start. While her team mate Kaarle McCulloch (Australia) looked good with an effective Sidebend hip hike, arms bent. A slow motion view would have helped. I did not get a good view of the Ukranian team nor of Miriam Welte (Germany) or Gong Jinjie (China).

In the gold medal ride Kristina Vogel (Germany) began the festivities with a nice BMX stand start. Guo Shuang (China) brought the performance home with an outstanding Sidebend Hip Hike, very active and decisive, partially explaining the World record they set earlier. The drama did not end there as you are well aware. The main message is that an effective movement pattern gets you qualified for competition and in the run for the podium. Whether these countries realize it or not their movement pattern is what gets them in contention, if they do not train it deliberately then the argument has to be made in the direction of athletes imitation of other’s effective performances, or at the very least not getting in the way by reinforcing rigidity. I do think generating a good video library is the effective way of documenting performances and improvement.

Men’s Road Time Trial, London 2012

Men’s Time Trial, London 2012.

Taylor Phinney (United States of America) performed very well with a very fluid Sidebend Hip Hike; while Christopher Froome (Great Britain) needing to reposition frequently, did not appear very sharp early on. He was being popped off the saddle; however he appeared sharper and more active later on. Roll motion when off the saddle.

Very nice camera work, close up with Tony Martin (Germany), Trunk Pelvic Roll off the saddle and a roll of the torso tied to a hike of the hips. Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) performing similarly, and very confidently, propelled by the Union Jacks and the cheers of the crowd. I am surprised they had enough in the engine room, especially Froome. Certainly not a “doodle”.  Spectacular, and in particular when we can take a good look at the essence of their performances and of all the participants.

Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) is dethroned but not without a fight, very nice performance which had the appearance of a sidebend of the upper trunk, roll of the lower trunk and a hike of the hips. Presumably the trunk motion involves a combined sidebend plus roll motion that seemed more fluid into the race. Though he favored the left shoulder once the race was done. A brief view of Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spain) who got to sit on the “throne” for a fleeting moment, a very powerful Trunk Pelvic Roll off the saddle.