On Saturday, 7th July, Chris Froome broke free of the leading group of riders as they passed over the top of the Col de Peyresourde. It was an attack that led to him to winning the Stage and taking the coveted Yellow Jersey. But was Chris Froome stretching the truth in his interview later when he said ‘I thought I’d give it a try?, We often have fun in training and try new things'
Let’s be really clear about this, Team Sky, for whom Chris rides, never just give things a try. Dave Brailsford, the General Manager later said that the team ‘will keep people guessing’, and that
‘We do a lot more than people think in terms of imaginative tactics’
Dave Brailsford is synonymous with the notion of cumulative marginal gains giving a competitive advantage. For those of who missed Chris’s victory, there are a number of elements that would have had to be worked on, including:
Physique: Riding downhill in that position requires different muscle groups. These would have to be developed in training.
Technology: Putting weight on the front wheel means complete confidence that the bike can take the additional stress on the wheel and frame going downhill at 80 km per hour.
Recovery: Higher levels of lactic acids in the muscle groups would mean that recovery programmes get the rider ready for a punishing ride the next morning
Never attack downhill
The received wisdom in cycling is that you never attack downhill. That’s why people take drinks, put clothes on, and freewheel at the top of the hill. Because they don’t believe that people can go faster downhill. Sky has rewritten the rules again.
But what’s this got to do with my ISO system?
The concept of marginal gains is built in to the ISO standard. ‘Plan, Do, Review’. Where people go wrong is that they see ISO as a heavily bureaucratic machine that slows them down rather than giving a framework for trialling new ideas, testing them, them implementing them.
Give it a try – what do you think you could do better? Think them through, test them, and if they work, you’ll be just like Chris Froome and ahead of the pack.
If you’re struggling with your ISO systems and want a chat about them, get in touch with us. We’re helping clients all the time improve their systems and their business.