Athletes trained by Liverpool Hope academics take on World Human Power Speed ChallengeMonday 14 September 2015
Dr Simon Marwood, Senior Lecturer in Physiology, and Dr Peter Angell, Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science, have helped to select and train the riders of the ARION1 velocipede - an entirely pedal-powered aerodynamic bike which is set to take on the World Human Power Speed Challenge in Nevada this week.
The ARION1 has been built by the University of Liverpool Velocipede Team. They aim to smash the 83.13 mph record set in September 2013 by TU Delft and VU Amsterdam universities – but to do that they need the best possible riders.
Dr Marwood and Dr Angell worked with the University of Liverpool and John Moores University on the project. 30 people applied to take on ten months of intensive training to reach the physical peak needed to ride the ARION1 Velocipede. Applicants from across the country were tested for strength, stamina and endurance in special tests devised by Dr Marwood, Dr Angell and Patrick Harper, Lead Ergonomics Engineer with the ULV Team.
Dr Marwood also simulated the attempt using mathematical modelling, to determine the physical requirements to break the record. From this, he was able to predict what power – and where on the track – the rider needs to put in the maximum exertion. This has helped the team to formulate a strategy that sees the rider hit their peak at the point on the track where speed is measured for the record.
Dr Pete Angell said: "This really has been a team effort. The engineers have created a fantastic bike and combined with the support of the sports science team we have been able to prepare the riders for the demands of the record attempt and have put together a coherent strategy to help maximise the speed the riders can achieve with the belief that we can break the record."
Dr Marwood said: “The speed is measured over a 200-metre section of the entire track, so we were challenged with devising a pacing strategy that minimizes fatigue whilst maximizing speed at an exact point of measurement. This type of mathematical modelling has never been applied to a recumbent bicycle before, so we have had to run extensive tests to determine how position impacts on power and speed.”
The ULV team is now in Nevada, competing in the qualifying heats.