A Better Zwift Indoor Cycling Ride?

Assessing Wahoo’s Kickr Axis Action Feet

Unpacking the Wahoo Kickr Axis Action Feet
Unpacking the Wahoo Kickr Axis Action Feet

Quarantine and lockdowns are a lot more palatable as a cyclist with Zwift indoor riding. I am not alone, Cycling Tips reported on the record number of indoor mile grinders flocking to Zwift and other riding platforms as the pandemic hit last Spring.

For two years, my Zwift setup has been my trusty Specialized Diverge gravel bike attached to the 2018 Wahoo Kickr Indoor trainer. I have logged over 6,000 miles, most of my rides averaging 15-20 miles, and my longest stopping just short of 63 miles. Longer rides on indoor trainers are more difficult for me than riding outside due to being locked into one position causing more muscle cramping and saddle soreness.

I was therefore excited when Wahoo announced their 2020 Wahoo Kickr model last year with the addition of Axis Action Feet.

Wahoo states that the Axis Feet:

Enhance the ride feel of the KICKR Smart Trainer by mimicking the side-to-side movement experienced riding outdoors. These feet allow up to 5 degrees of movement and so the KICKR can respond more naturally to the rider tempo and body position changes.

and

By allowing you to move more naturally with the forces applied during long hard training sessions, KICKR AXIS reduces your fatigue, so you can go harder, longer.

Wahoo made the Axis Action Feet available as a separate upgrade for older Wahoo Kickr models at $79.99 — I was eager to purchase.

After several months, I finally could find the Axis Feet in-stock at the Wahoo store. Indoor trainers from all manufacturers have been in short supply for months due to high demand and supply constraints.

Each of the four Action Feet in comparison to the original Wahoo Kickr feet’s plastic bottoms have the addition of a high density foam material. Following the instructions it was a quick and simple process to upgrade the feet in under 10 minutes.

The Wahoo Axis Action outrigger foot upgrade with foam bottom in comparison to the original Kickr's plastic foot.
The Wahoo Axis Action outrigger foot upgrade with foam bottom in comparison to the original Kickr’s plastic foot.

The only decision to make was the size of the plastic cap to insert over the foam of the two outrigger feet, and this was based on weight. Since I am definitely over 181 lbs, I needed to use the largest diameter cap.

After several rides, I do like the Axis Action Feet upgrade. The addition of the foam on the bottom provides a nice and subtle lateral motion that is closer to riding outdoors. I still have more muscle cramping and saddle soreness than I typically have riding outdoors, however, this has been reduced and is a nice addition for indoor riding on older Wahoo Kickr trainers.

I think the Axis feet are a nice upgrade for indoor cyclists riding on hard surfaces — I ride on concrete in my garage on a thin mat. If you ride on carpet, then you may not notice the subtle motion of the Axis Action Feet and reap their benefits.

Forgiving Lance Armstrong?

Photo by Roman Pohorecki from Pexels

Lance Armstrong was fueled to seven Tour de France victories by doping. His admission to Oprah of cheating only came after his lifetime ban from the sport by the U.S. anti-doping agency. Several of his former teammates also testified to doping, but Lance was the very last to admit his guilt.

Lance could have rode off into the sunset by keeping his mouth shut and ending his career after his 7th Tour de France title in 2005, but he had to try his 2.0 comeback. His explanation for his comeback was to increase cancer awareness. I am sure this was a partial reason, but I think it was a banner of deception.

Why did Lance finally admit to doping? He wanted to compete, to race, and test himself. He won several triathlon events in 2012. He attempted to compete in a masters swimming event in his hometown of Austin, Texas, but had to withdraw due to the USADA reminding masters swimming to abide by its ruling.

Why couldn’t Lance just stop competing and walk from the public spot light?

Lance was a self-deceiver. People and athletes in particular that lie and lie to themselves are more successful.

For athletes the act of self-deception can reduce stress levels and increase pain tolerance, which helps in motivation and performance. Athletes that believe in themselves and have higher unrealistic performance expectations of themselves are more successful. This is not a surprising characteristic. We hear it all the time from athletes “psyching themselves up for an event”. Athletes before an event start to focus and tell themselves that they are the best and that they will win. There can be no doubt. This activity of getting ready for an event is self-deception. It ignores the reality for most athletes that they will lose. However, to actually be successful you have to think you will win and that you are the best.

Starek and Keating published a study in 1991 to determine the effectiveness of self-deception on athletic performance. Forty collegiate swimmers were given a self-deception test. An example of a question is “Have you ever questioned your sexual adequacy?”. People that answer no are self-deceiving themselves, and in contrast people that answer yes to this question are being more realistic. This is based on the idea that self-deceivers lie to themselves and other people to keep up their social appearance to conform to social norms. In this study of forty swimmers, those swimmers who scored higher on the self-deception test more likely qualified for the national swimming championships than non self-deceivers. Therefore, the act of self-deception is a quality for success.

Was self-deception an important factor in Lance’ victory over cancer. Remember, Lance was given less than a 40% chance to live. He had brain surgery and one of his testicles were removed.

“If children have the ability to ignore all odds and percentages, then maybe we can all learn from them. When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up, or Fight Like Hell.”

― Lance Armstrong

I think self-deception was a very important reason Lance survived cancer. He maintained hope, and probably thought to himself that since I am a great athlete I will be able to beat cancer. I am different than other people, I will be able to beat the odds. We will never no for sure, an intimate struggle to survive cancer likely required several different self-deceptions to survive that kind of hell.

Can we forgive Lance Armstrong? It is very hard to forgive a person who lied, cheated, and used cancer as a shield against incrimination. Millions of people looked up to Lance, which also included thousands of people inflicted with cancer who saw Lance as a ray of hope, a symbol of possibility — that yes I can battle cancer and survive.

Lance deceived us, but he also deceived himself. He deceived himself in that it would be okay to try a comeback 2.0, that he could continue to keep up a lie. However, his crazy self-deception made him a successful athlete and also allowed him to survive cancer.

I do believe most cyclists during Lance’s era were taking some kind of PED. Lance and his team just did it better, and for a competitor like Lance, all Lance had to do was self-deceive and incorporate PEDs into the training regime. Lance may have thought to himself that I am special, I deserve to win, I beat cancer, I am racing for a better cause than any of the other cyclists, therefore, it is ok that I do PEDs, after all everybody else is doing it. Lies upon lies became a tangled mess that Lance believed would be okay because the cause was just.

I forgive Lance Armstrong. He didn’t have to admit his guilt. He confessed to doping so that he could continue to compete. Deep down I believe all that Lance wanted to do was compete with himself and against other people and he risked and lost his whole integrity in the process. Self-deception is a tricky slope.