VIDEO: Bike Power and Position Basics - Part 1

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BT went to Colorado a few weeks ago to check out the new Ft. Collins wind-tunnel at the Colorado Premier Training facility. 

What an experience.  This wind tunnel is in a huge warehouse that is built about 7 feet above the ground (to conserve space).  It's a very large recirculating wind tunnel with 180ft sides for >360 linear feet in a large rectangle.

We had Aaron (JeepFleeb) with us to be the guy going through an actual fit and wind tunnel optimization on his bike.  Mike (marmadaddy) also came to support the video process and to ask the really important questions like 'How much faster can I get?'.  We learned a lot of stuff.

The video that we took is broken up into 6 distinct segments:

  1. Power and Position Basics
  2. Bike Fit Test with Power
  3. Power and Position Optimization
  4. Wind Tunnel Basics
  5. Position Optimization in Wind Tunnel
  6. Helmet Optimization in Wind Tunnel

These 6 segments roughly consist of what a typical person would go through in a fit and position plus wind tunnel optimization package at Colorado Premier Training.

This series will attempt to answer the main questions that keeps coming up on the forums:

"Should I buy these expensive aero wheelsets to get faster?" and "Will lighter components make me go faster?" and maybe even "Are red bikes faster?"

You will note that nobody really tells somebody to get wind tunnel tested.  Why is this?  Well, there are only a few of them in the United States - so you have the travel costs involved.  But in reality the prices are really comparable to putting up the big dollars for lighter and more aero wheelsets and all the other 'aero upgrades' that you will end up doing as you evolve as a triathlete.  With a wind tunnel test, you will end up learning a lot more about your position (or lack thereof) and how to really optimize it in the wind - which is the primary force you are trying to overcome in the first place! 

Wind tunnel testing is not just for the elite.  They are overcoming the same drag forces that you are.  The beginner and age-grouper have much more to gain in speed improvements with a proper bike fit and wind tunnel position test versus the pro's.  If you are an aspiring age-grouper that wants that podium finish, this is another tool that you can use to make you faster.

It actually kind of makes sense right?  Optimize your fit and wind profile first before buying all those high-priced upgrades.  Once you have dialed in your position, then it makes more sense to squeeze out even more time savings by component upgrades that are actually specific to your position.

We also found out that components are highly individualistic.  No one component will react the same on every person.  You may think that by purchasing the best, most aero helmet, that this will shave precious seconds or even minutes off of your time.  We will show by example that depending on a persons bike fit and geometry and profile in the wind tunnel, that it may not make ANY difference at all!

Even though I know you are all wanting to jump right to the wind tunnel part, we need to start at the first logical point.  Power and position basics.  This will lay the foundation to the later wind tunnel optimizations.

This video starts with the very basics of power and position and specifically talks about:

  • What is 'Power'
  • How is power defined?
  • Is power related to calories burned?
  • How proper position can improve the age-grouper
  • When an athlete should start training with power

Over the next several months we will be releasing parts 2-6 of the video series. 

Enjoy.

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date: December 3, 2007