Not all watts are created equally.

By Roland Kemp ASCC


How you produce wattage is the first consideration to think about when developing a time trial strategy.  You can create 1,000 watts by pedalling in the 53:12 gear at a very high force but with low cadence, or you can produce 1000 watts by pedalling in the 39:21 gear at a low force but with very high cadence. The power output is the same in the end, but you utilise very different muscle fibres to produce it.

Most fast-twitch (Type II) muscle fibres are recruited in a high-force, low-cadence situation, whereas more slow-twitch (Type I) fibres are recruited in a low-force high-cadence, situation.

Why does this matter when it comes to getting the most out of your time trial efforts? It matters because of the energy expenditure in both situations. When fast twitch muscle fibres are recruited, more muscular glycogen is used in the contraction than when slow twitch muscle fibres are recruited.

Pedalling as smoothly and steadily as possible is key in time trials. By keeping the normalised power and average power as close to each other as you can, you save valuable energy. When normalised power is very high relative to average power, this means your power has fluctuated too much. By saving your efforts on hills and avoiding bursts of wattage, you can keep your index low and therefore really maximise your energy efficiency throughout the course. When considering power output and smooth pedalling, even an effort that isn’t full gas is a ‘match’ which is already ‘burned’.

This will cost you more than you want to spend. This is critical waste of muscular energy which could impact negatively later on in the race. In the same way as when you are driving a car, your fuel consumption will be much higher if you are constantly braking and accelerating hard at every opportunity, than if you just drove smoothly and consistently. Your muscles will react in the same way with energy expenditure when fluctuating between low and high power than retaining a constant, steady output.

KempFitness coaching looks at client data using Traning Peaks. One useful data field to look at is Variability Index:

Variability index (VI): algorithm showing how smooth or evenly paced an athletes power output was during a race or work out.

A properly paced time trial should have a VI value of 1.05 or less while a road race or criterium may have a VI as high as 1.1 or more.

Variability Index can be calculated by dividing Normalized Power by Average Power. 

It’s not necessarily about advocating high cadence, but we recommend that you adopt greater consideration about how you race. Use your gear range to keep your cadence consistent and practice trying to achieve a more steady, smooth power output during training sessions.

Reference adapted from: training and racing with power meter Second edition Hunter Alan and Andrew Coggan.

For more information regarding KempFitness & how coaching could help you please visit:



By Roland Kemp ASCC


With the UCI Track Cycling World Championships starting this week in London from 2-6 March.

KempFitness gives you a quick guide to Track Cycling events.

390 riders from 45 nations have entered the 2016 UCI Track Cycling World Championships.

Women’s sprint: Becky James, Katy Marchant, Jess Varnish,

 Men’s sprint: Matt Crampton, Phil Hindes, Jason Kenny, Callum Skinner

Women’s endurance: Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker, Ciara Horne, Emily Nelson, Joanna Rowsell Shand, Laura Trott

Men’s endurance: Steven Burke, Mark Cavendish, Ed Clancy, Jon Dibben, Owain Doull, 

Chris Latham, Andy Tennant, Sir Bradley Wiggins



Match Sprint (Men/Women)

Traditionally held over 1000m, this event captures the essence of track cycling, although it is the most mysterious. Although it is normally a one-on-one event, earlier rounds can feature three or more cyclists on the track at the same time. One rider is designated to lead for the first lap (usually by a coin toss), and can not relinquish it unless those behind take it from him/her. The competitors typically eye each other off for the first 6-700 metres, trying to maneuver each other into an unfavourable position, before launching an explosive sprint for the last 200 metres, which is the only part of the event that is timed. The first across the line wins the race.

Tactics are the key to this race, and many people wonder why it is so slow for the first two laps. The main reason is that unless you can surprise your opponent early, you will waste too much precious energy in starting your sprint from lap one. If the other guy is on your wheel, it’s all over.

An important rule is that of ‘possession’ underneath the sprinter’s line, a line marked 80 cm from the pole line near the base of the track. A rider who positions themselves below this line in the final 200 metres is not allowed to be forced out by another rider e.g. pushing in from the inside. This is one of the most often broken rules causing reversals in sprint results.

1,000 m Time Trial (Men)

Probably the most painful of track disciplines, the “kilo” as it is known commonly is raced as a time trial over 1000 metres. To do well in this event you have to have an explosive start, good top speed, and endurance to carry you through the last few hundred metres where the lactic acid buildup in your legs becomes almost intolerable.

The current record is 58.875 seconds, by Arnaud Tournant of France, recorded on October 10, 2001. Tournant was the first rider to break the one minute barrier, lowering his own previous record of 1.00.148.

In this event, two riders often start on opposite sides of the track although it is essentially an individual event.

500 m Time Trial (Women)

Held over half the distance of the men, the women’s 500m time trial requires explosiveness as well as good top speed. Typically, the fastest 200m rider is also the best over 500, although this is not always the case. It is different to the men’s race with respect to the endurance required.

Olympic Sprint (Men)

A three man time trial held over three laps of the velodrome, with teams starting on opposite sides of the track. After the end of each lap, the leading rider pulls off completely, leaving the next to fight the wind. Therefore, the first rider has to do one laps, the second, two laps, and the last rider three laps. Hence, rider number three typically has the best endurance: A good kilometre time trial rider e.g. Arnaud Tournant or Shane Kelly is chosen for this position.

2000 m Keirin (Men)

The keirin is a motorpaced event that is very popular in Japan where it originated. In that country, huge amounts of money are bet on races and professional keirin riders command impressive salaries.

It is similar to the match sprint, but features 6-8 riders on the track. A derny motorbike paces the riders from 25 km/h up to 45 km/h for the first few laps. During this time, riders jostle each other for the best position and this is often the roughest part of the event. With two and a half laps to go, the derny bike pulls off and the sprint is on. Team tactics are important here, as the leadout is often quite long. If one team can get two of their riders in the final, then they are at a distinct advantage.



Individual Pursuit (Men/women)

Held over 4000 metres for elite men and 3000 metres for elite women (shorter for masters riders), this is considered an “endurance” track event, although the speeds are still extremely high. Two riders start on opposite sides of the track and try to set the fastest time over the allotted distance. Normally, a qualifying time trial is ridden that determines who is eligible for the semi finals and finals. The fastest ride is often produced here, as in the finals, the only important criterion is to beat your opponent. If one rider catches the other, i.e. puts half a lap into them, then the race is over.

An explosive start is not critical (but it’s handy to have), however the ability to ride at a consistently high speed is far more important. Many riders who go out too hard can look to be well up on their opponent, only to fade in the last 1000 metres. This has typically the greatest “cross-over” to the road. i.e. good pursuiters make good road riders and vice versa. Stuart O’Grady, Vjatcheslav Ekimov, and Chris Boardman are a few examples of top pursuiters who have had successful road careers.

4000 m Team Pursuit (Men)

This event is raced by the men only, and held over 4000 m. Faster than the individual pursuit, although it is still an endurance event, the team pursuit is about clockwork precision as well as high speed. Two four man teams start on opposite sides of the track and try to set the fastest time over the distance as with the individual pursuit. The time taken is on the third rider to cross the line.

Riders must follow each other at a few cm difference to gain the maximum drafting effect from the rider in front. Following a wheel closely is a vital skill, but stuff-ups still happen, as the Ukrainian team showed at the 1997 Worlds in Perth. A wheel touch in the final brought down the whole team down and cost them the event.

Turns of pace are often half a lap, although the stronger riders can do full lap turns. The world record for this event was set by Germany in 2000 and is over 60 km/h!

60 km Madison (Men)

This race is named after Madison Square Garden in New York where the event was first held (also called “Americaine” in French. Two man teams contest the event, which is typically 50-60 kilometres. After a mass start where all riders are on the track, only one rider from each team is allowed in the race at a given time, meaning that teams must take it in turn each lap (or more) to have a rider in the race. Changeovers are quite dangerous, but impressive to watch when done well – one rider circles around waiting for his teammate, who joins hands and imparts his momentum to the slower rider.

To win the madison, the team must score points by sprinting every 20 laps for bonuses (5, 3, 2, 1 points). The last lap usually counts for double points, but the winner of this does not necessarily win the event. Also, if a team can gain a lap on the field, then they are in the leading position of the race no matter how many points they have.

Points Race (Men/women)

This is a solo event, scored similarly to the madison and raced by both men and women. Again, a rider scores points in intermediate bonus sprints every 10th lap (5, 3, 2, 1) with double points usually awarded on the last lap. If a rider can lap the field, then they get 20 points, which can be enough to secure the win – but not always. If a rider drops back a lap, they will have 20 points deducted from their total, so you sometimes see riders with negative scores.


from Wikipedia

An Omnium is a multiple race event in track cycling in which all contestants compete against each other in six different disciplines. The omnium determines the best all-round track cyclist, as the disciplines feature both sprint events and endurance events. Riders must have the ability to combine and be competitive in all disciplines to finish well in the event. Generally, the omnium suits endurance riders with higher top speed and a strong sprint. It is also carefully balanced between 3 time trials and 3 mass start events.

The omnium consists of the following disciplines, in order:

•               A flying lap time trial of 250m.

•               A points race of 30km for men and 20km for women.

•               An elimination race of 48 laps (assuming 24 competitors).

•               An individual pursuit of 4km for men and 3km for women with the riders seeded on how they finished in the scratch race.

•               A scratch race of 15km for men and 10km for women (or the closest number of laps to that distance).

•               A 1km time trial for men and a 500m time trial for women.

Points are rewarded in reverse order. The rider who finishes first in an event receives one point, the second rider will get two points and so on. The rider with the fewest points after all events is the winner. When two riders are tied on points, the combined time of the 3 time trials will break the tie amongst the riders. A rider must have completed every event in the omnium.

Omnium was introduced into the World Championships under the 5-race format for men in 2007 and for women in 2009. The omnium was changed in 2010 by the UCI to include aelimination race in 2010 and the distances of the events were lengthened to favor endurance cyclists.

The Omnium will replace the Individual Pursuit, the Points Race, and the Madison at the Olympics beginning with 2012.

The change was controversial.

Why not give the Track a go?

KempFitness Head Coach Roland works as a consultant at Face Partnership.

All you need to do is get 16-32 riders together for a track experiences, this will suit riders of all abilities, providing an introduction to the art of track riding for beginners, and a chance for experienced track riders to refine their skills. 




By Roland Kemp ASCC

KempFitness was invited to take part in a research study.

Study title: A physiological profile of recovery from resistance, endurance and mixed exercise types.

What is the purpose of the study? 

Research investigating the usefulness of a variety of recovery strategies applied in both short-term and long-term settings has shown mixed results. It has been suggested that the type of exercise is a key factor in determining whether a recovery strategy will be beneficial or detrimental for short-term recovery or long-term training adaptation. Therefore the aim of this study is to provide a physiological profile of recovery from different types of exercise. The information gained will help in the understanding of how recovery from different exercise types may differ. Based upon these findings, it may be possible to match certain recovery strategies to post-exercise recovery goals, enabling a more informed selection of recovery strategies to enhance both short-term recovery and long-term training adaptation. The study will be divided into a control and an exercise week, whereby you will be required to visit the state of the art GSK Human Performance Lab on five consecutive days twice to conduct a variety of assessments. 

 Visit 1 = Familiarisation session 1

 Visit 2 = Familiarisation session 2

Visit 3 = Baseline assessments + Control session + 2h & 6h post-control assessments

Visit 4 = 24h post-control assessments

 Visit 5 = 48h post-control assessments

 Visit 6 = 72h post-control assessments

 Visit 7 = 96h post-control assessments

 Visit 8 = Baseline assessments + Exercise session + 2h & 6h post-exercise assessments

 Visit 9 = 24h post-exercise assessments

 Visit 10 = 48h post-exercise assessments

 Visit 11 = 72h post-exercise assessments

 Visit 12 = 96h post-exercise assessments 

Who has reviewed the study? 

The study has received full ethical clearance from the Research ethics committee who reviewed the study. The committee is the Middlesex University, School of Science and Technology, London Sport Institute Ethics sub-committee. Additionally, the study has been internally reviewed by the GlaxoSmithKline Medical Governance Review Board.

What will happen to the results of the research study? 

The results of the research study will be used as part of a Postgraduate dissertation. The results may also be presented at conferences, in journal articles, or through GSK Human Performance Lab Expert communications ( However, the data will only be used by members of the research team and at no point will your personal information or data be revealed. Following publication of the results, on request, we will be able to provide a summary of the study results, although we will only be able to provide group data. 

All information you provide will be treated in accordance with the UK Data Protection Act. 


lactate profile into VO2max assessment. For this assessment I will be required to cycle at 150-200 W for 4 minutes, with power increased by 25 W every 4 minutes. A small blood sample will be taken from the end of your finger as well as you giving a rating of your perceived exertion at 3 minutes during each 4 minute stage. Respiratory and heart rate data will be collected throughout by collecting your expired air through a face mask and using a heart rate monitor. The test will be terminated when the investigator is satisfied that your blood lactate concentration has coincided with identification of the second lactate turn point 

I got up to 370 W with blood lactate turn point at 275 W

The VO2max assessment. The test will start at a power output of 200-250 W and will be subsequently increased by 4 W every 10 seconds (24 W per minute) until you cannot continue to cycle at the required power output.

I managed 10 minutes and got up to 400 W. On 17.2.16 

Perform an all-out five minute cycling time-trial sounds  (easy right.... )

Warm-up 5 minute warm-up at 100W, with a 10 second sprint at 2 minutes 30 seconds. You will then complete a 5 minute all-out time trial, covering as much distance as possible in 5 minutes. You will be blinded to the time during the test as well as distance covered except being informed of the half-way stage by the investigator 

Blood sample. This will be taken by a trained phlebotomist using standardised procedures. Samples will then be processed and stored at -80 degrees at the GSK Human Performance Lab until further analysis. Subsequent analysis will take place at the GSK Human Performance Lab and samples will be analysed for markers of inflammation, muscle cell disruption, oxidative stress, muscle damage, collagen remodelling, and cell repair. Additionally, two samples will be sent to the University of Ulster to be analysed for markers of oxidative stress.  


Perceived recovery by completing a questionnaire; indicate your perceived muscle soreness on a visual scale. and jump as high as possible, using your own choice of depth and pace, whilst maintaining your hands on hips, on a force platform three times with one minutes rest between each effort to assess your rate of force development and countermovement jump performance.

Fully bend and straighten your leg three times to assess your range of motion.

Maximally kick your leg three times against a fixed lever arm with one minutes rest between each effort to assess the muscle strength of your leg muscles. 

You will be instructed to maintain your normal diet during the control week (other than abstaining from alcohol and caffeine) and will be provided with a diet diary to record this, before being asked to replicate this diet during the exercise week that follows.

Battery of baseline assessments, which in addition to the previous assessments that you were familiarised with will include having your upper leg measured for limb girth 



I was administered with an actigraphy wrist-watch which will be used to record various parameters of sleep and activity and will be worn continuously from visits 3-7 and 8-12.

Some of my test dater

Test Dater


For more information regarding KempFitness & how coaching could help you please visit:


Please look back to read my updates

How Coaching works

How Coaching works

By Roland Kemp ASCC

Why Choose a British Cycling Level 3 Coach?

The British Cycling Level 3 coaching qualification is the highest recognised coaching certification in cycling, allowing coaches, who have the practical skills, experience and knowledge of cycling, to plan, deliver and evaluate detailed periodised training programmes for individual riders within a specific discipline.


Your training plan will be designed for you

If you follow an off-the-shelf training plan, there is a possibility that you won't get fitter, and will not benefit from  a structured plan which takes into account harder weeks and recovery weeks (periodisation) therefore ending up on race day either under trained or worse over trained.

Time Efficient

Training with a coach will save you precious time. The time consuming work of planning will be taken care of for you. Your schedule will be emailed over to you via Training Peaks. Your free time can be spent training, resting and improving!

A coach is your mentor & motivator

It is difficult to make objective decisions about training and racing, not least because such decisions are often emotional as well as physical. A coach will help you focus on your priorities and give you honest feedback on your choices even when it may not be what you want to hear. Having a bespoke training programme will help motivate you and keep you focused on your goals knowing your coach will be giving you feedback after sessions.

A technical approach

A coach will include technical, tactical, and psychological training in to your programme, not simply workouts designed to improve your physiology. Athletes often enjoy working on their strengths; a coach will ask you to work on your weaknesses.


Getting started At the outset we’ll have a detailed discussion about your goals and sporting history building a profile of where you are now & where you need to be. Once the basics are understood I look at your target events and goals to determine which physical, psychological, technical and tactical requirements are needed, then use this information to start planning & building your bespoke program. 

Honesty here is the only way to ensure we are both on the same page from the beginning. Performance improvement is about working on the things you need to improve, not the things you’re already good at!  

Remember having a coach is not just about receiving a set of intervals to complete each week or training 100% all of the time. It’s about being part of a dynamic partnership, being realistic with goals, balancing training with recovery and understanding what needs to change, why and how.

What to expect from your coach

Once you’re up and running you’ll conduct some performance tests to allow me to set your training zones. I’ll create an Annual Training Plan “ATP” which will keep your training very focused on your target events and of course you will have short, medium and longer term goals to reach as training progresses to ensure your ready come race day. Unlike a static plan each weeks training is based upon your feedback, performance and general well being in the previous training block. 

 During the build up to your events I work closely with you to build a strategy for the event so come the day you know exactly what you’re doing. As your coach I will support you 100% but as the athlete you must take ownership and responsibility for your training to ensure you reach your goals. 

Programs are designed around clients having access to either a power meter, and or a heart rate monitor.

I offer bronze, silver & gold coaching packages to suit. For more details & fees and to discuss your goals, training aspirations in more detail please contact me so we can arrange a Skype/phone chat with no obligation.

Contact number +44 (0) 7800 802612