Monday, December 11, 2017


By PCG Elite Coach David Ertl

I have to admit that when I first received my LEOMO TYPE-R, I wasn’t sure what it would tell me about my pedaling motion and if there was a problem, I was skeptical that I would be able to do anything to improve it.  After all, I’ve been coaching for 16 years and racing for 45 years and my pedaling motion is pretty well ingrained.  I incorrectly assumed that my pedal stroke had probably evolved to a point where I was fairly efficient.  After one ride with TYPE-R, it was quite obvious that my pedaling motion was “messed up”.  My left leg looked great but my right leg was somewhat of a “train wreck”.  My Pedal Stroke Intelligence (PSI) graph shows a lot of movement of my feet, especially my right foot. Here’s an example of my PSI graph shortly after I began using the TYPE-R.

There are dead spots at both the top and bottom of the pedal stroke on my right foot and at the top of my left foot.

Below are my Power Cadence Dead Spot Score (PCD) maps for this same ride, again showing how poorly my right foot is working.

As I watched my feet as I pedaled, I noticed more motion in my right foot. It was subtle, which explains why I never noticed this before, but it was certainly there. I seemed to be “ankling” (bringing my heel down over the top of the pedal stroke and again at the bottom).  I conducted the toe down pedaling exercises recommended by Hunter Allen and it improved immediately, seeming to eliminate the Dead Spot Scores almost completely. After several rides showing similar results, I began focusing on pedaling with a more toe-down position and found this cramped by pedaling style, so I moved my saddle up a bit to allow my leg to move a little more. This seemed to result in improved comfort.  As I continued to ride, I found it easier to concentrate on keeping my heel up on the backstroke and over the top of the pedal stroke, than to think about pedaling toe-down. But when I did this, I still felt tightness in my right hip. This probably explains the “ankling” and foot movement. If my right hip is stiff, it would be difficult for the thigh to come up as far and then my ankle would have to flex more as the foot came up over the top of the pedal stroke. When I focused on keeping my toe down, or heel up, that helped force the knee up and flex the hip more.  My erratic foot motion actually seemed to be the result of a stiff hip. This illustrates that the solution is not in trying to improve my foot motion, but improve the mobility/range of motion in my right hip. Recently, I’ve been stretching my hip before rides in an effort to loosen it up.

For several weeks I rode without the TYPE-R and just thought about keeping my heel up on my right foot. At the beginning, I really had to concentrate on my foot position but as time went on I noticed I had to focus less on it and it was in fact becoming more automatic.  Forty-five years is a long time to develop a habit that had to be overcome. 

I then rode again with the TYPE-R to see how I was doing.  To my surprise, my DSS numbers had improved significantly.  Here is a Pedal Stroke Intelligence (PSI) graph of my first ride with TYPE-R after focusing on my pedaling style.

It’s pretty clear to see the improvement in my Dead Spot Score (DSS), most noticeably on my right foot, but even on my left which has never been all that bad.  Here is my (Power Cadence Dead Spot Score (PCD) map for this same ride.

My right foot was almost as good as my left foot.  Keep in mind that this was a fairly moderately paced ride.  I still notice that when I really work hard at high power and force, my Dead Spot Score (DSS) numbers rise and I tend to resort back to my old ways.  I’m pretty sure that over time this new pedaling style will become more second nature, even under these high power efforts.  Time will tell, but I’m encouraged that focusing on my pedaling motion over time can become my new “normal”.

The TYPE-R appears very effective at identifying pedaling motion inconsistencies.  However, I’ve learned that it may not diagnose the cause of the problem.  That may take some investigation and may not be initially obvious, but if an irregularity is found there must be something causing it.

The one question still remaining is whether improving my Dead Spot Score (DSS) will actually improve my power output. That may be difficult to test but it makes sense that if my dead spot scores improve, my pedaling efficiency will also improve which should result in more energy conservation.


Written by Peaks Coaching Group Elite Coach David Ertl. David lives in Waukee, IA he is a LEOMO motion analysis certified coach. Learn more about David.