CORE supports a world record and a world champion
On Saturday, October 8, two remarkable athletes shattered world records on opposite sides of the globe. First, in Grenchen, Switzerland, Filippo Ganna pedaled further in one hour than anyone in history. Later that day, on the island of Kona Hawaii, Gustav Iden raced the fastest Ironman World Championship finish ever, including running the event’s fastest-ever marathon.
Driven by data, supported by CORE
What did these extraordinary performances have in common? Both athletes come from teams known for using science and data to push the bounds of human performance. In doing so, they rigorously use technology to measure and optimize every aspect of performance. So it’s no surprise that both team were early adopters of CORE, whose innovate Swiss technology provides the only accurate, real-time, non-invasive monitoring of core body temperature.
The heat of the velodrome
In cycling, Ganna benefited from the rigour and precision of his team, INEOS Grenadiers (formerly Team Sky). For example, the team’s Performance Engineer, Dan Bigham, measured, manipulated and mastered every variable that influences speed on the velodrome. Bigham even used himself as a test case for his innovations, eclipsing the 2019 hour record by over 400 meters during an August trial run of the team’s time-trial bike and training and racing protocols.
Riding fast on the velodrome requires aerodynamic perfection. Bikes are pared down to the essentials and the riders lock themselves into a tucked, aerodynamic position for the entire race. Any protuberances on the bike or deviations from the aero position would slow the pace. This means the rider drinks no water for the entire hour. Coupled with a long-sleeved skinsuit and the warm temperatures of the velodrome (for less air resistance), hour record attempts see core body temperatures reach 40° C/104° F.
INEOS coaches used heat training with CORE to prepare both Bigham and Ganna for these extreme core body temperatures. CORE sensors allowed them to monitor core temps while training in order to simulate and adapt to race conditions. CORE also allowed the athletes to train in precise heat zones to accumulate thermal load without overcooking themselves.
Last Saturday, all of this support and preparation was coupled with the extraordinary talents and dedication of Olympic champion, world champion and time trial specialist Filippo Ganna. It was the perfect combination, and Ganna shattered the UCI hour record by more than 1.2 km. He even eclipsed Chris Boardman’s 1996 record that was set on a bike no longer allowed by UCI rules.
The heat of Hawaii
Gustav Iden and Kristian Blummenfelt arrived on the island of Kona Hawaii having benefited from the scientific approach of the Norwegian triathlon team. The team’s innovative coach, Olav Aleksander Bu, had spent years measuring, monitoring and enhancing every aspect of their physiology. Iden and Blummenfelt were no strangers to victory , between them holding Olympic Gold, the world’s fastest Ironman, two Ironman 70.3 World Championships, and numerous other titles.
Critics remained skeptical about the pair’s ability to handle the legendary heat and humidity of Kona. These doubters had basis –Dave Scott in 1980 and Luc Van Lierde in 1996 had been the only male triathletes to ever win Kona on their first attempt. But others who were familiar with the team’s methodical, data-driven training thought differently. Supporters remembered how Blummenfelt performed in the brutal heat of the Tokyo Olympics. And experts in sports physiology knew that precise heat training, preparation and acclimation could be far more effective than simply having raced on the island before.
The Norwegian team’s preparation for the heat was extensive indeed. They used CORE sensors to analyse core body temp data during individual workouts and to detect long-term trends. Some of their most important decisions were informed by this data. Pacing strategies were influenced by how long the athletes could withstand critical core temp thresholds. Clothing choices were based on which designs kept the athletes the coolest in race conditions. And, of course, CORE allowed for precise heat training that acclimated Iden and Blummenfelt to the heat and humidity of Hawaii.
The data-driven preparation and the phenomenal athletic abilities of of Iden and Blummenfelt led to fireworks on Kona. They executed their pacing precisely, riding and running together until mile 17 of the marathon. There, Iden dropped the hammer to reel in the race leader. Iden scorched a 2:36:15 marathon (breaking the prior marathon record by 3:30 minutes), propelling him to a new course record by over 11 minutes. Blummenfelt’s marathon also eclipsed the prior record, and only a remarkable and courageous race by Sam Laidlow kept the Norwegians from going 1-2 on the podium.
Congratulations from CORE
CORE extends huge congratulations to these amazing athletes, their teams, and their coaches. Filippo Ganna, Gustav Iden, and Christian Blummenfelt have their names in the record books. Team INEOS Grenadiers and the Norwegian triathlon team enabled innovators like Dan Bigham and Olav Aleksander Bu to push boundaries and discover new ways to enhance human performance. CORE is proud to have supported them all in their quest for excellence.
We look forward to further collaborations with all of these athletes and teams as we continue to hone CORE technology and support those at the highest level of performance.