News: Working hard
Monday, July 26th, 2010, by Barry
Looking ok on the Col du Soulor…
…but almost crawling by the top of the Col du Tourmalet…
…and definitely no Robbie McEwan style wheelies!.
When we started development of our power meter, more than two and a half years ago, it seemed simple: measure some forces, angles and speeds, and use a bit of software to calculate power. But of course, the devil is in the detail. There’s a huge difference between a concept-proving prototype and a producible saleable power meter. The testing and tweaking required for a cutting edge product takes a long long time, particularly for a startup. In fact, the last “20%” of the development process always takes most of the time, and that’s where we are now – in that last “20%”.
Working hard on the testing and tweaking is one of the reasons for the long gap since we last gave you any news. There always seemed to be something just a little more urgent than a news update. Apologies for the delay, and thank you for your patience. The other reason for the long delay is that there hasn’t been a lot of new information to give you. We’re still working hard on the development of both the product and the company, but no breakthroughs, just steady incremental progress. We’ve been talking to a number of possible commercial partners, about cooperation at various possible levels. There’s a lot of interest in what we’re doing, but the wheels turn exceedingly slowly.
At the moment we have the next generation prototype in manufacture, and we will use that for tests over the next couple of months. It will be a fraction of the size of the last one, and will use significantly less power for the same performance. As well as using this to further test and refine our sensors and algorithm, we’ll be testing out the more general product usability features.
Many people have contacted us asking about a launch date. Unfortunately there are too many unknowns to be specific right now, other than to say it will not be in 2010. The launch date is what we get asked about most often, and I’m really sorry that we can’t give a definite answer right now. There are still too many alternative futures. I hope that over the next few months some of the unknowns will be resolved and we will be able to give an accurate date, along with other details of the power meter.
The original reason for starting this development was because we wanted a better power meter to help improve our own training, but developing it has had the opposite effect – I’ve got less free time and my training has gone to the dogs completely. I took some time out to do the Étape du Tour in the Pyrénées a week ago, but suffered badly on the Col du Tourmalet. I was going so slowly I think I know every roadside blade of grass personally. I just hadn’t put in the long climbing miles needed to do the Étape, and it showed. No matter how many times you go up the Wicklow Gap it ain’t the same as the Tourmalet!
The same stubborn determination that got me to the top of the Tourmalet even though it seemed impossible when I started from the bottom with almost zero energy left is what will get us to a successful power meter. We know we have a great concept, and we will have a great product that is worth waiting for!
3rd August 2010: I want to thank the unidentified person who found and handed in my wallet of credit cards etc which I dropped during the Étape du Tour on the descent from Col du Soulor. Also thanks to the folks in the ASO-Étape office who arranged to return it to me.
The easy way to climb the Tourmalet!
Near the top of the Tourmalet on the Étape du Tour 2010 some riders hitched a lift. A few of them fell into the ditch just after they passed me, when the truck went close to the side of the road.