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Opinion: How AI will make pro racing even faster

Opinion: How AI will make pro racing even faster

A classic scene sets up the storyline in many movies: a parent, or friend, reads the private diary of a teenager that’s been tucked away in a drawer, approaches them about what they’ve read or gossips to others about something salacious in it or, even worse, uses it against them. Like a personal diary, an athlete will write about their feelings, health issues, and emotions in their training diary, to document mental, physical, and personal fluctuations and how they affect performance. An honest diary can provide the deepest insights into human condition, which is why they are often protected with lock and key.

The evolution of training diaries

No longer tucked in a drawer or backpack, training diaries that live on the cloud have become the norm for most athletes over the last twenty years. And as data analysis has proliferated in everything from sleep quality to body weight, to heart rate to on-bike power, metrics are now drawn from algorithms to predict performance. Of course, many athletes also type in their daily emotions and health issues, from which trends are also seen, and interpreted.

Michael Barry on performance and the power meter

Through data accumulation and modeling, Ai tools will further our understanding of that data, improving performance and making races even faster. The coach will always have their place because personal contact is important in athlete development. But the tools will allow both the athlete and coach to discover aspects of performance that were not before obvious. Beyond the analysis of biometric data, through an accumulation of film, AI modeling will analyze bike position, cornering effectiveness, pedal stroke, and even race tactics. As is already happening in medical science, AI, will make correlations through the analysis of large data sets that humans have yet to discover: perhaps, training techniques used in football are beneficial to cycling etc.

Stats, stats, stats

Twenty years ago, Michael Lewis wrote Moneyball, the story of Billy Beane , the manager of Major League Baseball’s Oakland A’s, and his use of player statistics to win games. Statistics told a different story of how to win games than what most scouts, fans or coaches believed: getting on base was more important than any other aspect of the game.

A player who got on base consistently, had more value to the team than the superstar who hit dramatic home runs but also struck out. In a game where team budget often determines who wins, Beane…

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