Saturday, November 8, 2008

What's a wind tunnel fit worth?

Just done with another wonderful SoCal ride, and barely survived an attack at a light. As a couple cars cruised through a light in wonderment as a mad swarm headed along with them, I was yelling at them to light a fire under their asses. Because while they were safe in their cars, I was in the path of the swarm, and had nowhere to go. When the last car moved through the intersection, I busted through, but just barely. If anyone saw the allergic reaction my head underwent when I was stung on the head (bee in helmet vent) earlier this summer, you’ll know how much I didn’t want anything to do with these bees.

I know the cold is coming (I know, I heard the Midwest already received its first blizzard of the year, and I’m sure my wife and I will get a good dose as we head to see her family in Halifax for Thanksgiving in a few weeks). But I guess that this sweet weather is the reward for the financially meager life my wife and live in Encinitas, Calif.

I headed out with Donna and former pro star Todd Jacobs and Donna’s swim partner/buddy Doug Compere. On the way back I did efforts on a Suplicy test tri bike, and in between I screwed with my iPhone. I wondered, what happens when you take a picture of your wheel while it’s spinning, with the phone? Did it freeze action like my Canon pro cameras? The result?
Cool as hell… it’s like the freeze frame photo finish shots from the Tour. I guess that means if I stand at a race finish line, I can be the official timing company of the local crit.

Well, Donna’s still out riding, so while she’s out, I figured I’d update my blog.

While I missed covering and seeing 70.3 Worlds (I had planned on going but the trip was scuttled), I am really, really excited about my next trip, which starts tomorrow: a trip to North Carolina again!

I spent Tuesday and Wednesday at the San Diego Low Speed Wind Tunnel, thanks to an invite from Steve Hed. I got to watch Steve do some amazing prototype work, as well as Trek engineers who were doing some tire testing, each of which I’ll soon chronicle here.

Tomorrow, I’m boarding a plane for Charlotte. I made a recent trip to the A2 Wind Tunnel, and am going back again, this time at the invite of Blue Competiton Cycles. Blue has been doing tri bikes for a handful of years, but 2008 marked a major surge for the brand when they debuted the Triad, a tunnel-designed weapon against the wind.

Blue, however is adding a unique twist to the whole thing. You buy a bike from most folks, and you get a great bike, then have to figure out the whole fit thing on your own. Maybe you’re lucky and your local shop has a certified fit… which you’ll pay for to have done. Maybe you’ll pay to go to a wind tunnel camp. Maybe you bought the bike, and you’re done paying… and have to figure out the fit yourself, using Slowtwitch forum members to dissect your fit and the wallpaper and shag carpet in the background of your living room.
The folks from Blue have a different tack: you buy the bike, you get the fit for free. Not just a fit, but a wind tunnel fit. A fast bike is not fast when you have a bad fit. Blue knows this, and paired with A2 Wind Tunnel in Mooresville, N.C., to offer a wind tunnel fit, included with the bike. You have to get to Carolina on your own, but really, you have to make an effort to get to a wind tunnel anyway if you were paying, yes? And A2 is one of the newest tunnels out there coming out with great accurate data. Craig Alexander did his tunnel testing at A2 this year, trying to see value between wearing an aero helmet versus a vented road helmet. You saw his results in Kona... in a road helmet. It seemed in his case heat management trumped aerodynamics. But that was all secondary to to his bike fit.

What does “free wind tunnel fit” mean? I’m going to find out. I’m headed to the land of NASCAR (yeah, I know, I talk about it ad nauseum… there’s two race left in the season, so bear with me) to experience just what you get when you buy a Triad, and how much that can impact your experience with the bike. I haven’t had a wind tunnel fit in about six years and I’ve literally let my fit devolve to a fit based on feel, so this will be a genuine, from the ground fit to determine my baseline, an optimized mix of aerodynamics and power. You can do the power thing anywhere, but to get your true drag numbers, you can’t do it anywhere but in a tunnel. Blue and A2 are offering a killer deal. What’s it worth? Well, you can buy a Triad with an Ultegra SL group for $4,400. What’s a wind tunnel session worth on its own? I’ll find out.

Whatever it is, it’s a unique, and valuable freebie any way you slice it. This will be an interesting trip, one I've been looking forward to. Will update here shortly...


MarkyV said...

Dude... your spokes need some serious truing. :) ;)

Lee said...

great stuff jay and have fun NC. if you are down in florida ever give me a holler.
ps. ask tim c. how my driving skills are.

SAQ - Speed • Agility • Quickness said...

I am spreading the word of Milokit - two-strap suspension bodyweight training. Two anchors, unlike TRX, means more natural environment:


Efficient body mechanics. Two straps allow the body to move within its natural range of motion (R.O.M.).

Safety. Staggered pulls without risk of straps slipping. Single arm and single leg exercises with confidence. Bicycle hamstring drags without risk of supporting leg dropping to floor.

More stable. Advanced exercises put great stress on ankles, knees, shoulders and core stability. Perform with confidence without risk of equipment slipping. Two straps and two anchors mean bodyweight stress is shared.

Greater comfort. With straps anchored at a shoulder width or more apart the MILOKIT® will not cut into the arms in pressing and dips exercises.

Greater versatility. High quality carabiners give added ability to connect to a wide range of accessories.

Finanger said...

looks like your comment box gets penetrated by some SPAM (and i'm talking about MarkyV!). it's about time you started posting again.

just for the record, while Craig Alexander did go to the wind tunnel in NC, his bike fit was performed by Todd Carver and the CTS staff using Retul 3D bike fitting.

Jay Prasuhn said...

Yeah Mark, dude, get lost! If I want to ride wheels with curved spokes on half the wheel, that's my deal.

Thx for the heads up Lars on Retul doing the deets... the tunnel does a great job for the numbers, but Todd is the man when it comes to the nuiances.

Finanger said...

yo Jay, will you be in Tempe next weekend? you'll want to watch me throw down the smack on MarkyV!!!!

Jay Prasuhn said...

Hell yeah I'll be there, at least I'm planning on it at the moment. Looking forward to catching up.. or at least giving you splits on the bike!

PCurtis said...

Hey there, this is the US Customs guy that just cleared you and Donna, great site you have here!! Next time your at the airport come by and see me,

Curtis, US Customs and
Border Protection