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Cycling

The cycling community is surprisingly small. I’d been recommended by Dr Barney Wainwright from the Boardman Performance Centre to join the team’s support staff after he returned from his initial fitting sessions with their Long-Track Olympic Cycling squad. He had noticed the potential amongst the squad to enhance their positions by stabilising their feet and I was asked to join them at the Olympic Velodrome in sleepy Izu, about 130km southwest of Tokyo.

Izu is what I can only describe as deep Japan. It’s peaceful, clean, and quiet. A leafy residential town with a surprisingly huge cycling presence as it’s the home of Keirin racing. Hidden amongst its rolling hills under the eye of Mt Fuji sits the Japanese Cycling Centre. A sprawling park consisting of a cycling-themed adventure park, 4 outdoor velodromes, and the incredibly designed indoor velodrome that’s to house the Olympics in 2021. There was no signage anywhere in English, which surprised me given the Olympics were around the corner, but rather a nice indication that it was predominantly visited by homegrown tourists. Armed with Google Translator’s camera function it was more than enjoyable to find my way throughout the town and its local ramen restaurants.

My experience there was brief as I was only on the ground in Izu for two intensive days and a total of 50 hours. However, I was met by the team with enthusiasm for achieving a much more powerful setup in a cycling discipline that’s all about explosiveness and response. The plan was for all the assessments and castings to be done in Japan, then to re-connect with the team alongside Dr Barney Wainwright to fit and test all the Mík.Fit cycling orthotics at the team’s training camp in Brisbane the following month.

 

I arrived in Brisbane in the typical Australian sticky summertime conditions where the squad would hit the road at first light each morning to avoid the hottest temperatures in the day. The Anna Mears Velodrome, the venue of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, was the testing venue and each rider would be allotted their slot for individual testing. Barney and I would fit and test each athlete in sequence. I would fit each rider first, test, then retest if required to gain the best fit before the intensive aero testing began. Any time when you see an athlete push themselves so hard physically, especially from the position of the support staff, is impressive and you can see how much they want it.

The team is young but they’re hungry and coming from the home of Keirin racing, they are carrying a heavy weight of expectation. Whilst we’re not at liberty to divulge the ins and outs of each of the rider’s findings, I was given permission however to document my journey with my camera and it went along the lines of this…

 

Does Size… I mean “Does the last matter?”

Does Size… I mean “Does the last matter?”

Yes. If you’re uncertain of what a last is, you’ve probably seen one before in a shoe shop window or at an antique fair but it’s the wooden insert that a shoe is traditionally built around. With the current tech of 3D printing, lasts are most often made…

Fitting the Foot First

Fitting the Foot First

When I was at university, I can’t ever recall discussing cycling or any other “fixed foot” sports when it came to foot function. As you can then imagine, I felt totally in the dark when I first started working as a Ski Podiatrist for one of the UK’s…

Are Insoles, Footbeds and Foot Orthotics All the Same?

Are Insoles, Footbeds and Foot Orthotics All the Same?

Cycling and skiing are expensive, technical sports. There’s new and “more advanced” kit each year and whilst you don’t generally need to upgrade your kit at the same rate, it’s hard to look past some of it sitting in your “Wish List”. What if I told…

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