"Ich fahre mit dem Fixie kurze Kriterien.... und möchte im August Paris-Brest-Paris fahren.", so die einleitenden (und kurzzeitig auch irritierenden) Worte von Benny, als wir ihn im Frühjahr bei einem unserer Vorträge in Hamburg kennenlernten. Vor ein paar Tage besuchte uns Benny im Institut für seine erste Leistungsdiagnostik, über die er einen Erfahrungsbericht geschrieben hat. Lest selbst:

Erfahrungsbericht zum STAPS Granfondo BLACK von Hardbraker Benny

Being an overall curious cyclist and engineer who loves to optimize things and who loves to wrap his mind around numbers and diagrams, Ben signed up for a STAPS performance diagnostics.  He was the first fixed gear rider at the institute. Here is his review:

It was a mouth to mouth recommendation by a biking friend who successfully took part at various long distance events including Race Across Austria and Paris-Brest-Paris. My interest was also fueled by a presentation the STAPS team had given in Hamburg earlier this year. And since I always wanted to do a performance diagnostics I simply took the opportuBenny_Hardbrakersnity and got in contact with Björn of the STAPS team for further details. He helped me to decide on which test makes the most sense for the riding I do, which is a mix of track and long distance cycling, fixed gear of course. STAPS calls the chosen test “Granfondo Black Edition”. It includes the determination of body fat, training zones, VLa_max, VO2_max, acceleration and force measurements, the specific use of carbohydrates and fat as a fuel and many other things. A detailed list can be found here.

As STAPS is currently located in Cologne I combined my visit with the RAD RACE Crit that I wanted to compete in. At the end of the summer another facility will actually open in Hamburg, but I did not wanna wait that long. I am sure we will see each other again for another test.

One of the reasons why I did not want to wait is the upcoming Hardbrakers Grandtour from Warsaw via Riga, Tallinn, St.Petersburg to Helsinki with over 2,000km and one week later, my ultimate challenge, Paris-Brest-Paris, a long distance brevet of 1,230km and a personal time limit of 84 hours. I wanted to use the results of the test to ride smarter and adapt my training to those challenges.

So what did I learn about?

I learned about the different ways of fueling the body during exercise. STAPS determined the power output and how it is composed by using fat or carbohydrates as my body’s fuel sources. Some of the results are shown below. In total I received a detailed report of six pages with various figures and values including my training zones (bpm and watts).

What to do with this?

This test was just a momentarily set of measurements. It allows me to optimize my training time and shows me my weak spot. Btw, my weakest point is my bodies’ uBenny_Hardbrakers2se of carbohydrates. I am mainly depending on the very limited amount of energy stored within my muscles, liver and blood and take too little use of my body fat. But I can train my body to slowly change, e.g. by training in the morning before breakfast and only having a low carb dinner the night before. To actually re-evaluate my performance I have to take another test at a later point of time. Also the training zones will shift with time which also calls for a future test.

Does such a test make me any faster?

Hell no. It helps to evaluate my current performance. By correctly interpreting the results and adapting my training the performance diagnostics can only provide a fundamental basis to becoming faster.

Would I suggest the STAPS test?

Yes, I would. I know it is expensive but everybody who is either interested in facts and figures and/or interested in stepping up the game and training more efficient should go for it. Of course you can always train more to step up the game, but what stimulation does your body really need? And what if you cannot train more due to limited time but want to train more efficient?! The results of the diagnostics provide the basic background to answer those questions.

Thanks a lot to Marc of the STAPS team for answering a million questions and walking me through all the tests. It was a pleasure and I learned a whole lot!

Now have a look at the pictures, facts and figures below.

Also, here is a little youtube video for all the German speaking audience that was just recently published by someone else who took the test.

Bennys Bericht auf hardbrakers.com!