Skip to main content

Pre-season testing and bike-fitting with Avanti Racing Team

Image 1 of 19

Past and present riders of the Avanti Racing Team undergo the torturous Step Test

Past and present riders of the Avanti Racing Team undergo the torturous Step Test (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 2 of 19

Luke Mudgway and Damian Mason talk saddles and saddle height

Luke Mudgway and Damian Mason talk saddles and saddle height (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 3 of 19

The next lot get ready for the Step Test. A few nerves here...

The next lot get ready for the Step Test. A few nerves here... (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 4 of 19

Head coach and owner Mark Fenner is an accomplished mountain biker himself

Head coach and owner Mark Fenner is an accomplished mountain biker himself (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 5 of 19

Riders relaxing after testing at The Watts Factory

Riders relaxing after testing at The Watts Factory (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 6 of 19

The Motion Capture sensors start at the ball of the foot and go up from there

The Motion Capture sensors start at the ball of the foot and go up from there (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 7 of 19

Another New Zealand signing, Fraser Gough, undergoing a bike fit on his new Avanti

Another New Zealand signing, Fraser Gough, undergoing a bike fit on his new Avanti (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 8 of 19

Bevin recovers from the Step Test

Bevin recovers from the Step Test (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 9 of 19

Patrick Bevin, seconds after his 520W effort in the AIS Step Test

Patrick Bevin, seconds after his 520W effort in the AIS Step Test (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 10 of 19

While the Avanti Racing Team is sponsored by Zero for saddles, The Watts Factory was still playing with a selection of test perches

While the Avanti Racing Team is sponsored by Zero for saddles, The Watts Factory was still playing with a selection of test perches (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 11 of 19

Another view of the Motion Capture sensors

Another view of the Motion Capture sensors (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 12 of 19

The Retül Motion Capture fitting system enables Mason to take measurements in quick time

The Retül Motion Capture fitting system enables Mason to take measurements in quick time (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 13 of 19

New Zealand triathlete Tom Davison has made the move to cycling for 2015. Will he follow in Richie Porte's illustrious footsteps?

New Zealand triathlete Tom Davison has made the move to cycling for 2015. Will he follow in Richie Porte's illustrious footsteps? (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 14 of 19

Joe Cooper, Neil van der Ploeg and Patrick Bevin (front to back) get ready to enter a world of pain as Mark Fenner monitors their progress

Joe Cooper, Neil van der Ploeg and Patrick Bevin (front to back) get ready to enter a world of pain as Mark Fenner monitors their progress (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 15 of 19

There's plenty of Retül fitting equipment at The Watts Factory

There's plenty of Retül fitting equipment at The Watts Factory (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 16 of 19

Damian Mason (coach and bike fitter) talks with recent New Zealand recruit Tom Davison about fit. Coming from a triathlon background, his setup involved making a few tweaks for longer races

Damian Mason (coach and bike fitter) talks with recent New Zealand recruit Tom Davison about fit. Coming from a triathlon background, his setup involved making a few tweaks for longer races (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 17 of 19

The team were mostly on the new 2015 Avanti Corsa DR (Drag Reduction)

The team were mostly on the new 2015 Avanti Corsa DR (Drag Reduction) (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 18 of 19

Kiwi Joe Cooper doing the AIS Step Test. Cooper came back from a mid-season broken pelvis to nab the 2014 Australian National Road Series overall title

Kiwi Joe Cooper doing the AIS Step Test. Cooper came back from a mid-season broken pelvis to nab the 2014 Australian National Road Series overall title (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 19 of 19

Patrick Bevin and Mark O'Brien refuel and relax

Patrick Bevin and Mark O'Brien refuel and relax (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)

This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

With the race season set to kick off in just a matter of weeks, cycling teams around the world are attending individual training camps to get acquainted with new equipment, do health checks and meet the new signings.

The Avanti Racing Team, a previously Australia, and now New Zealand-based Continental team, gave BikeRadar an inside look on one of its recent training meetups.

Avanti, known for much of its history as Praties after its Tasmanian restaurant chain sponsor, is regarded as having been Australia's best Continental team (it moved to its New Zealand base for 2015) and as one of the best development teams in the world.

Its list of graduates includes WorldTour riders Richie Porte (Sky), Nathan Haas (Garmin-Cervelo), Nathan Earle (Sky), Jack Haig (Orica-GreenEdge) and Campbell Flakemore (BMC).

Getting together in small coastal town of Nowra, New South Wales, Australia, members of the recently expanded team were meeting their official coaching partner FTP Training, at their coaches' local business – The Watts Factory – to be fitted with new bikes, to establish baseline fitness and to get to know each other. This was particularly important given the large number of fresh New Zealand signings, including U23 New Zealand national TT champion Fraser Gough, 2014 Tour of Tasmania winner Patrick Bevin and U19 Madison World Champions Luke Mudgway and Regan Gough.

The Watts Factory is a training and bike fitting facility that's run by coach Mark Fenner and associate coach Damian Mason. With full bike fitting and power-testing facilities in the same building, BikeRadar found a crowded house there – especially with the likes of Earle and Garmin-Cervelo's Steele von Hoff also dropping by for some testing, adjustments and training rides.

Riders relax with head coach Mark Fenner between testing

At one end of the building, Fenner was busy doing group power output tests with three riders at a time on Wahoo Kickr trainers run through PerfPRO Studio software. Despite the high summer heat, the riders were being put through the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Step Test. This has riders start at 100W output and progressively increase output by 50W every five minutes until failure. The test finishes at 500W, with every minute that follows ramping up a further 10W – so for example, two minutes past the 500W zone will be 520W.

Patrick Bevin, seconds after achieving 520W in the Step Test

The guys at The Watts Factory don't use the step test to establish training baselines. Instead, the test is done to monitor year-on-year progress and form of riders, along with giving them indications of how they compare to those riding WorldTour (and what WorldTour is seeking). According to Mason, 450 is a rough minimum the AIS seeks for athletes; however, power to weight plays a larger role. A true standout from the test on the day was Patrick ‘Paddy' Belvin, reaching a mindblowing 520W, made all the more impressive by the fact he was on antibiotics for a nasty saddle sore.

Former triathlete Tom Davison getting fitted to his new ride using Retül Motion Capture

On the other end of the building, Mason was running through initial bike-fits using a Retül Motion Capture fitting system. Riders' initial setup is recorded before changes are made; most riders receive only minor tweaks, but some need substantial changes, including frame sizes.

Amazingly, many of these well-established riders hadn't received bike fits previously, or at least not in detail. One of those details is the loaded fit that Mason is able to perform with the Motion Capture system. "Most fits are traditionally static without stress on the body," Mason explained. "This technology allows us to see how the fit works for the rider under stress – it's not a replica of race conditions, but it's a good indication."

U19 Track Madison World Champion Luke Mudgway and Damian Mason discuss differences of track and road fit

According to Mason, the trickiest fits came from the new New Zealand track recruits. "Young Luke [Mudgway] was one challenge, as he'd never been fitted to a road bike before and he's so accustomed to an ultra-aggressive track position – but it just doesn't work out on the road when climbing is involved. I've set these guys up and given them an exact measurement range they can play within; we'll be keeping in touch with these guys over the coming weeks to see how the new positions are working for them."

Mason said that while fitting track riders onto road bikes is challenging, fitting well-established pros like Nathan Earle and Pat Shaw comes fairly easy. "These guys are so experienced they can tell you what's wrong with their position [and are] just not sure how many millimetres it may be out".

While benchmark testing and fitting was done over the two-day meetup, the Avanti riders establish training baselines for power and heart rate in their own time with personal coaches. Instead, the team used the rest of their time together to get through some specific training in the local hills.