Martin Toft Madsen used Notio to optimize equipment for the Danish Cycling Federation towards the World Championships in Yorkshire. Here, he participated in both the individual time trial and the team time trial. We met Martin Toft Madsen at the runways of a closed down airbase in Værløse (Copenhagen, Denmark) to discuss aerodynamics and how to test various equipment and positions on the bike.
Martin Toft Madsen is triple Danish time trial Champion and holds the Danish hour record. He is looking for even the smallest details in the hunt for the perfect performance.
Full-time Engineer and one of the World’s Fastest Time Trial Specialists
Martin Toft is one of the best time trial specialists in the world. He is triple Danish time trial Champion (2016, 2017 and 2018) and in August 2019 he broke the Danish hour record at Odense Cycling Track. The distance was an amazing 53.975 km – the third-longest distance set in the world. At the World Championships 2019 in Yorkshire, Martin Toft placed 29th in the individual time trial competition.
It’s a wonder how Martin Toft can compete with the world’s top time trial specialists as he is not a full-time pro athlete.
”I work full time as an engineer at FluiSense and race for the Danish continental team BHS – Almeborg Bornholm during the weekends,” Martin tells while preparing his bike for the ride at the airbase runways.
Every day, Martin commutes from his apartment in Copenhagen to his workplace in Allerød about 30 km north of Copenhagen.
”The trips to work and back are the primary part of my training – regardless of the weather. I do not have the time to ride with co-riders and competitors during the day. To get enough training I drive long detours instead. And I participate in all the races possible with my team.”
Testing Equipment With Notio for the Danish Cycling Federation
There is a deep respect for Martin’s dedication and detail orientation among the other riders in the peloton. He is positively referred to as a “nerd” who has an obsession with details. Everything is carefully tested and the results are saved in advanced Excel sheets.
As an example, Martin Toft knows exactly, how it affects his performance to change from one speed suit to another – and with knowledge like this Martin Toft has been able to assist the Danish Cycling Federation in the preparation for the World Championships in Yorkshire.
”I have used Notio to test three new prototypes of Parentini’s speed suits. The one, I tested to be the fastest, was the one the national team used during the World Championships in Yorkshire”, Martin Toft explains after the warmup.
Mikkel Bjerg was wearing the exact speed suit when he took home the gold medal in the U23 Time Trial in Yorkshire.
Notio – a Mobile and Inexpensive Wind Tunnel
But how does Martin test his equipment at the runways of a closed down airbase? Should a test not be done in a wind tunnel in a strictly controlled environment?
”I use Notio continuously to test new equipment or new positions on my time trial bike,” Martin Toft explains.
Notio is a small device, which you place on the handlebars. The same device is placed on the nose of airplanes. Notio collects a large amount of data from the surroundings such as air pressure, wind speed, temperature, and movement data. It also collects data from the various measurement tools of the bike: power, speed, heart rate, etc.
Notio correlates all the data, which allows Martin to read a so-called CdA number in real-time on his cycling computer. The CdA number indicates, how aerodynamic Martin is. It means that he can instantly see how e.g. a different speed suit affects his aerodynamics.
”I have used Notio for a year now and it is a pleasure to able to test my equipment myself when it suits me. The wind makes it hard to get exact measurements but Notio has a built-in anemometer, which to a certain amount remedy that. I find it interesting that my various equipment tests show differences in the aerodynamics depending on whether I’m riding outdoors or on the track,” Martin Toft enthusiastically explains while showing us his shins. Today he was testing whether to shave off all his hair on the shins or just some of the hair on the front to create the same turbulence as advanced cycling socks do.
”At home in front of the computer, I can split up and isolate the data. In this way, I was able to test and analyze which one of the three-speed suits was the fastest without having to book an appointment in an expensive wind tunnel. I can see exactly how many watts I’m saving and how it affects my speed,” Martin Toft elaborates.
”Almost all my equipment and my position are both based on aerodynamics. Right now I ride in a slightly different position than I normally do. As soon as I got the equipment for this new position I could test it against the previous. Notio makes it easier for me to make changes now because I can test how aerodynamic I am as often as I want to without being dependent on low winds, which are not a frequent phenomenon in Denmark.”
Hair or No Hair on the Shins?
To shave off seconds you don’t have to try out creative shavings. Martin’s test showed that a full leg shaving like riders has done for years is the most aerodynamic.
”The creative shaving appeared to be slower – about 5 watts in round numbers… Of course, the result of the measurements is subject to some uncertainty,” Martin answers when we subsequently ask him about the result of the slightly odd shaving test.
However, had the test shown the opposite result we might have seen some funny shavings in the future because a 5-watt saving is essential when you fight for seconds in a race.
About Martin Toft Madsen
- Member of the Danish continental team BHS Almeborg Bornholm
- Works as an engineer at FluiSense
- Danish Time Trial Champion in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
- Holds the Danish hour record – and set the third longest distance in the world (53.975 km).
Pictures and Text: Peter Ebro