USA Cycling, IBM, others deliver Project 2016 technology ecosystem using IoT platform

USA Cycling, Felt Bicycles and nine partners have come together to create Project 2016, a whole team pursuing bicycle and supporting technology ecosystem designed to make the 2016 World Champion women’s pursuit team the fastest at the Rio Olympics.

Longtime USA Cycling partner Felt Bicycles began designing the Project 2016 bike frame, formally known as Track Aero, Felt Racing Development (TA FRD), in 2013 with sights set on breaking the mold in track bike design. The asymmetrical frame and left-side drivetrain provide the foundation for this bike designed for the women’s team pursuit and the aerodynamics needed to combat the naturally occurring yaw found in an indoor velodrome.

In partnership with IBM jStart, the U.S. Women’s Team Pursuit team is now harnessing a mobile-enabled, cloud-based solution to simplify and accelerate the process of collecting and analyzing key training analytics. Data from multiple sources, including a power meter, heartrate monitor and muscle oxygen sensor is gathered in real time during training or competition on a mobile phone during the session.

The solution leverages IBM Watson Internet of Things platform on IBM Bluemix to transmit the data to the IBM Cloud, where it is stored and analyzed using IBM Analytics for Apache Spark, and the results are sent to the coaches’ iPads in real-time in the form of a summary iOS dashboard presenting metrics such as W-prime depletion and matches burned. The solution saves an estimated four hours per rider per day on training data analysis and enables coaches and riders to instantly understand how each training session is going, identify optimal race tactics and reinforce winning strategies.

“It was a no-brainer for us to create a new bike for Team USA,” said Jim Felt, founder of Felt Bicycles. “This is exactly the type of endeavor that we’re good at, and it was a project we really wanted to take on. And what we’ve created is truly revolutionary in its singular focus on the team pursuit discipline. Everything from the asymmetric airfoils to the left-hand drive to the component integration makes the TA FRD the perfect weapon for the athletes of Team USA in their pursuit for gold in Rio.”

Hed Cycling Products designed a custom wheel for the Project 2016 bike to fit in a narrower, aerodynamic fork and rear stays, while Vittoria developed a tire that surpassed all competition in rolling resistance and aerodynamics testing.

Vision designed a custom version of its Metron TT Crankset for Project 2016 and an aero chain ring cap, all of which are positioned on the left side of the bike rather than the right, creating more optimal airflow in an event with 64 left turns over four kilometers. Stages developed carbon-based, dual sensor meters that capture high-resolution data at 64hz with cadences of 10-220 rpm and power outputs from 1-2,999 watts.

Off the bike, IBM has developed a groundbreaking analytics solution that automatically links rider and environment data to the IBM Cloud through the IBM Watson Internet of Things Platform, allowing coaches and staff to track athlete power watts, lap timing, new muscle oxygenation and match burned results in real time. The data is then transferred instantly back through the cloud to Solos high-performance smart eyewear, which integrates innovative, heads-up lens display and audio technologies. MuscleSound supplements IBM’s data gathering with nearly instantaneous glycogen level monitoring post-effort or post-workout.


Specific to the athletes, USA Cycling and its partners are exploring additional advantages, as ASSOS of Switzerland is developing a proprietary speed suit for the U.S. Olympic Cycling Team, and the women’s pursuit team will ride in Rio wearing Giro helmets, which were the fastest tested for the demands of team pursuit’s environment.

In preparation for the Rio 2016 Olympics, ASSOS COO, Omar Visentin, and USAC VP of Athletics, Jim Miller launched a collaborative R&D team to create the ‘fastest speed suit on earth.’ To execute this project, the newly formed team is leveraging 40 years of ASSOS heritage that focuses on meticulous design, fabric creation, pattern making technology, testing and construction. The speedsuit features a new ASSOS proprietary 3D fabric with aerodynamic, weight and elasticity properties, which have been further optimized for speed and fit through a series of ongoing wind tunnel tests performed by USAC and ASSOS.

To aid the athletes of Team USA in their pursuit for gold at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Felt Bicycles set out to create the most advanced track racing bike the world has ever seen. Enter the TA FRD. The result of countless hours of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software utilization, finite element analysis (FEA), advanced prototyping and extensive wind tunnel testing, the TA FRD was designed specifically for the U.S. women’s team pursuit squad.

Featuring asymmetric tube shapes and airfoils honed specifically for the unique conditions of the velodrome, as well as a unique left-hand drivetrain integration that has been aerodynamically optimized for track airflow, the TA FRD can combat aerodynamic drag, conquer world records and claim gold.

Hed Cycling Products offers fast wheels to the Project 2016 Women’s Pursuit Team, and collaborated with all of the sponsors on this project, to give athletes the best technology possible.

MuscleSound’s goal is to maximize each individual athlete’s potential by gauging overall muscle health through advanced ultrasound technology. MuscleSound allows users to track glycogen (fuel) and muscle health so that athletes can perform at their optimum levels. The company has worked with the USA Cycling team over the course of two years, scanning and providing critical information regarding the effect of an intense training and travel schedule on fuel levels and recovery.

Andy Sparks, USA Cycling Director of Track Programs, recently said, “We are major believers that MuscleSound’s technology can contribute to our goal of winning Olympic medals for Team USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics.”

Solos smart eyewear for cyclists is an integral training tool for the USA women’s Olympic team in its quest to win gold at Rio 2016. The Solos team and USA Cycling team partnered in Project 2016 to fuse critical wearable technologies that include an innovative heads-up display and audio technologies.

The Solos Wearable’s team focused on three key areas of unique system design and performance: on track, Olympic athlete smart glasses testing— Solos is the first Smart Glass optimized to maximize competitive athlete’s user experience with unobtrusive and seamless real-time feedback; aerodynamic smart eyewear design— high-performance smart glasses design that focuses on optimized features for aerodynamic fit for road and track racing that accommodates new aero-helmet designs and minimizing weight; and heads-up display integration, including software integration for track and road performance training plans empowering athletes to receive seamless real-time critical information through the Heads-up microdisplay and integrated audio technologies.

The@SolosWearables team, in collaboration with MIT Sports Technology research experts, validated an optimal design of Solos, with sound data analytic models Heads Up Display Integration to enable the Olympic Team to drive performance.

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