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Mack Raymond: BrakeAce software engineer

Mack Raymond is a physics guru and our very own software engineer. He started out with us back in 2019 as part of his degree, but has grown in capacity through the years. When he first started, he was just getting his feet wet with computer programming. Now he owns the BrakeAce app. We love having Mack on the team not only because he's awesome to work with, but also because we know that he can solve any problem. As a matter of fact, this is when he's in his element!

Here are a few questions with Mack to learn more about him and what he does as part of the team.

– How did you first learn about BrakeAce?

In order to graduate in 2019, I needed to participate in some applied physics research, and while there was plenty of ground breaking physics research happening at my school, I had no interest in being stuck in a basement lab for the summer. A google scholar search for “mountain biking” + “physics” in 2019 led me to Matt’s research on braking algorithms. I was on the phone with him a few hours later, and we discussed how I could get involved with the normalized brake work algorithm. Matt mentored me over the next few months with several applied physics mtb projects and this was enough to satisfy my physics requirements. I actually learned way more in those few months than any class in school. I learned how to work with bike telemetry data and all about the dynamics that describe motion and force on the bike. Actually, this all happened about a year pre-BrakeAce!

– What is your role at BrakeAce?

I work closely with Matt and Rohan on a variety of tasks. But, I am mainly focused on the software side (data analytics and web development). When a user finishes recording a ride with their sensors, their data is uploaded to our app where it is processed by the BrakeAce algorithms and visualized in neat graphs and tables. The problems I work on day-to-day involve ensuring that the app is robust in handling data from a variety of data loggers, building out UI components and menus, account management, and also experimenting with new features. I am in a unique position where I can prototype a new feature, go for a ride, upload it to the app and see how it works.

– How has BrakeAce helped you in your career development?

BrakeAce motivated me to learn hard, in-demand engineering and programming skills. These skills would probably feel like a drag to learn on them on their own, but because they were combined with mountain biking, it felt just like an extension of getting better at riding. I use Python almost every day now. It’s like a super power in office environments. I’ve also learned quite a bit about working in a team and staying organized across different time zones.

– What does a typical day look like for you?

In addition to working on BrakeAce, I also have a “day job” with a small engineering firm. I save half of my week for BrakeAce tasks which I normally get to in the evenings/weekends. I am fully remote this year and am working on embracing the digital nomad lifestyle.

– What do you find the most challenging at BrakeAce?

Because BrakeAce is such a small team, we have to wear many hats and continuously learn new things. It’s challenging, but rewarding when looking back at all the progress we have made. 6 months ago, if you were to ask me to spin up a docker container and expose it to port 8080, I would have had no clue what that meant. (Jargon for running the app)

– What are 3 words to describe BrakeAce?

Professional bike nerds

– What is on your wish list for the next 10 years with BrakeAce?

  • Seamless integration with Strava / Garmin.

  • Brake power meters becoming as commonplace as pedal power meters.

  • Compare and overlay braking strategy of different riders on the same trail.

  • Build a heatmap of braking on popular trails and on show in Trailforks map overlays.

  • Optimum braking strategy determination for any trail.

  • Superior inertial GPS tracking.

  • BrakeAce analysis for motorcycles and cars.

– What is the favorite part about working for BrakeAce?

I get to work on my passion and combine multiple interests. Mountain biking has been a huge part of my life and as an engineer, it’s so fun to be able to nerd out with it.

– Any random facts you could share with us?

I’m actually half Kiwi and spent some time growing up in Christchurch! I think it’s such a cool coincidence that BrakeAce is based out of NZ.

– What do you like to do in your spare time?

I’ve picked up the motorcycle bug recently. It’s a whole new world from bicycles, but learning how to muscle a 350lb motorcycle around is great practice for mtb. If I’m not riding, I’m probably reading on the beach.


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