Microsoft wearables pack cyclists’ suitcase of courage

Microsoft has been working with a number of cyclists in the recent Amgen Tour of California — an eight-day cycling race that crosses the state — to provide detailed analytics on how a large amount of exercise affects the body.

Cyclists wore Microsoft’s own fitness wearable, the Band 2, to track heart-rate, peak speed, and sleep patterns. It documented results in its daily blog, where it also provided distance and UV exposure.

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Microsoft revealed that after intense exercise, in this case 92.3 racing miles, it can take the heart hours to come to a normal pace. Will Barta, a participant in Microsoft’s project, came second in stage two, and it took his heart six hours to reach normalized levels. During the six hours, the heart-rate rises and falls, indicating fatigue from the race.

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Microsoft also tracked sleep patterns

After stage two, Microsoft tracked the sleep patterns of Travis McCabe and David Lozano. Both cyclists showed a low amount of restful sleep and several times throughout the night where their body was awake. Microsoft also noticed a low heart-rate while sleeping, which it says is indicative of cyclists and other athletes.

“What I liked the most was the ability to monitor my sleep and my sleeping patterns,” said McCabe. “When you’re doing such a big race like [the Amgen Tour of California] with a heavy training and stress load, recovery is key.”

The data provided gives fans and would-be pros a better understanding of the physical and mental altercations that can happen to professionals during an event. Slapping wearables on professionals also provides Microsoft with better feedback, which could change the Band 3 or any other wearable the company is planning to launch in the near future.

Hopefully, we get to see the Band 2 in action during other sporting events. With rumors of the NBA, NFL, and MLB starting to tolerate wearables in practice games, we could even get a spread of sports and how activity differs depending on the game.

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