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    Aerobar Position

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    Dan B
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    Aerobar Position

    Post by Dan B on Fri Jan 29, 2010 1:23 am

    Got my new aerobars (T2+) and installed them for a test drive. My last aeros were very short and I didn't spend any effort adjusting them. However these ones can be adjusted in so many ways.

    My first question is what should rest on the pads. Elbows or Forearms?

    Secondly does anyone know a good whitepaper or website on aerobar positions?

    thanks guys
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    Dave Tyno

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    Re: Aerobar Position

    Post by Dave Tyno on Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:11 am

    This seems to be OK IMO.
    http://www.bikesplit.com/bsa6.htm
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    Alex R
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    Re: Aerobar Position

    Post by Alex R on Sat Jan 30, 2010 9:27 am

    Elbows. As close to 90 degrees as you can. Have your skeleton hold the body up

    Also, as far as the rest of the set up goes, hang your hands down by your sies, make two fists then bend your elbows to 90 degrees the wist your wrists inwards 90 degrees. That hand position takes no muscle activity to hold (this I know from another sport). If you can emulate that as close as possible with your aerobars, you will be miles ahead comfort wise. I find S bends are the best for this with the extensios twisted in towards each other. My TT bike is on a ship at the moment otherwis I woul take a pic for you.

    This is how I set mine up and I ride my road bike 95% of the time and can get on the TT bike and ride it straight away for 5+ hours no probs. I don't get the concept of people having to ride their TT bike to get 'used' to it or adapt. Both set ups feel the same to me.
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    Glenn C

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    Re: Aerobar Position

    Post by Glenn C on Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:10 am

    Elbows no further forward than the front of the deltoid is a good mark.

    Not too narrow either. In many cases its less aero than alittle wider. The width of the thighs is best as it then shadows the thighs. Less surface area presented to the front means less drag. A good sign anatomically that the bars are too narrow is a soreness/aching in the outer deltoids over long periods in the aero position. This can also lead to tight QLs and has for me in the past.
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    Mick B

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    Re: Aerobar Position

    Post by Mick B on Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:06 am

    Glenn C wrote:Elbows no further forward than the front of the deltoid is a good mark.

    Not too narrow either. In many cases its less aero than alittle wider. The width of the thighs is best as it then shadows the thighs. Less surface area presented to the front means less drag. A good sign anatomically that the bars are too narrow is a soreness/aching in the outer deltoids over long periods in the aero position. This can also lead to tight QLs and has for me in the past.

    Glenn, that is interesting. I have been stuck on the wind trainer the last two days as it has rained constantly (I did my long ride in the rain Sat though) and I have been watching old TDF TT stages while I tinker with my position on the new bike. I was finding it a bit of a struggle to stay low due to that shoulder tension. At the time Levi was doing his TT with his bar ends tilted up and I gave it a go. Elbows still in the same spot, but instant relief of tension in the upper body. Not to mention it sure seems to present a small "point" between fists and helmet to break the wind. The low hands look cool, but it sure seems to open up the chest to receive the wind. All unscientific I know, but Flandis and Levi had success with higher hands. The release of shoulder tension seems to allow me to then turtle my neck a little lower and create that closeness of hands and head without much effort. I will hit the open road in the next few weeks and see how it goes. NB - I have not gone as severe as Levi and FL.
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    Glenn C

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    Re: Aerobar Position

    Post by Glenn C on Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:41 am

    Hey Mick, I meant narrow at the elbows, not the hands. Narrow elbows doesn't follow Alexander's Laughing theory on supporting the body. Try it out: do a plank on the floor elbows together and then one roughly level with the shoulders. See which ones feels best over 5 mins. In addition to comfort, less experienced riders will find it harder to control the bike with their elbows close together. Don't forget those guys (pro cyclists) generally are happy to endure some discomfort as many of their TTs are only around the 1hr mark. Thats my shortest time in a TT position Shocked . Some of these issues don't surface for days or months in the position. My QL problem started becoming noticeable after 8 mths and I continued with it until 18mths. My old coach came to visit and moved them out and I have never had the problem again Very Happy .

    I agree with the hands alittle higher. I have always set mine alittle higher than level for comfort reasons and possibly because I run a fairly slack seat angle. My seat tube is 76 and the front of my seat is 35mm behind the BB (not sure what anlge that makes?). I find steeper really flogs my quads and makes me run slow Crying or Very sad . Steeper guys may prefer them alittle flatter. Its important to note that my fitting decisions are ranked power/comfort then aero. So this greatly affects my end product. Also, aero is very individual and pretty much guess work without a tunnel.

    OP,
    The real point is everyones fit is alittle different and it takes time to develop so don't be afraid to try different things to find your spot. Don't worry if you make a mistake, sometimes its not about knowing what does work but ticking off the things that don't confused
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    Glenn C

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    Re: Aerobar Position

    Post by Glenn C on Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:47 am

    Sorry Dan, Once you have the elbows positioned right adjust the arm pads so the rear of the pad is just in front of the elbows on the forearm so that you are not resting on the points. Too far forward puts more pressure on the wrists and doesn't really support the body weight.
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    Paul F
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    Re: Aerobar Position

    Post by Paul F on Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:13 pm

    Great discussion going on here.

    For me personally I try to create a position that yields the least amount of power at a given speed. I'm actually prepared to give up upper body comfort to try and save power, plus energy, in order to maintain a speed.

    My position feels aero, so much so that when I am aero I can instantly feel myself riding 2-3kph faster. The downside is that I will need to put up with some neck soreness, but I don't think that neck soreness will impact on my ability to stay aero and also my ability to run. What it will give me is an energy saving and less fatigue (ie less power required to hold a given speed) which I think is more important for the run.

    Don't expect to feel comfortable for an entire bike leg in a triathlon, your prmary objective should focus o ncreating a setup that will get you from A to B in hte quickest possible time, IF your setup impacts on that then change it. However, aero is alot different to riding on a roadie and you shouldn't be focusing on the same level of comfort, if you do then, it will come at a cost.....more power.

    I bring this up because Bulldog for example, has one of the worst setups I have seen, but he rides a 4:44, but I don't think he is running to his potential, why? because, he is a small guy, he can get away with being less aero, but still, he will need to put out alot more power to compensate for a poor aero setup. This I feel has a negative impact on his run. He should be running a sub 3hr IM run based on his ability to train and do a 51min swim and 4:44 bike. The guy has the ability but is not running to his ability because of a poor setup on his bike. When you get someone that can swim and bike that well, they should also be able to run just as well.


    fluro
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    Alex R
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    Re: Aerobar Position

    Post by Alex R on Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:56 pm

    Aero trumps power every single time. The amount of force required to create certain watts is next to nothing. I look to a set up in order of

    1. Comfort
    2. Aero
    3. Power

    The next step is to modify that position to the extreme of comfort increasing aero. If you can ride a position for 8 hours no moving, that is rad but f you can move the position so that you can only hold it for 5 hours but modify the aero to be able to ride 4:50, you win. Any position that sees you NEEDING to sit up (not choosing) is a fail and straight back to the drawing board you go. This may (has for me) meant a few different frame choices.
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    Paul F
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    Re: Aerobar Position

    Post by Paul F on Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:11 pm

    Alex R wrote:Aero trumps power every single time. The amount of force required to create certain watts is next to nothing. I look to a set up in order of

    1. Comfort
    2. Aero
    3. Power

    The next step is to modify that position to the extreme of comfort increasing aero. If you can ride a position for 8 hours no moving, that is rad but f you can move the position so that you can only hold it for 5 hours but modify the aero to be able to ride 4:50, you win. Any position that sees you NEEDING to sit up (not choosing) is a fail and straight back to the drawing board you go. This may (has for me) meant a few different frame choices.

    Exactly. You need a position that you can hold, but it doesn't mean that it needs to be super comfy, like a roadie setup. That is what we give up to maximise our ability to get from poinr A to point B. Our primary objective is to get there as quickly as possible with th least impact on our run.

    The problem I see with triathletes is they build comfort first, but the cost is that it requires more power, more power requires more energy, which means you are more depleted by the time you get to the run.

    I have some pics from Twits which show Rappstars position. To me that is optimal and that is why this guys wins IM's. Every age group athlete should follow his principles. Like I said, bulldog, knows how to train to achieve his potential, but why doesn't he achieve that on the run, I feel it's because of the power he needs to compensate for a poor bike set up. Bulldog gets off the bike in 5hr 30-40min, he comes into T2 with a big lead on everyone, why is he not running sub 3's???? when he can do the equivalent in the swim and bike?

    Fitness doesn't hold him back.

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    Paul F
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    Re: Aerobar Position

    Post by Paul F on Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:38 pm

    G'day Alex,

    I would build a bike setup according to

    1. aero first
    2. Power, does being aero impact on power and speed, if so how?
    3. Comfort, last because what makes us uncomfortable doesn't have much impact on our running, ie sore shoulders, neck etc.

    Number 1 will have the biggest impact on 2 and 3.

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    Alex R
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    Re: Aerobar Position

    Post by Alex R on Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:57 pm

    Paul F wrote:G'day Alex,
    does being aero impact on power and speed, if so how?

    Being aero may or may not impact power in every case but the impact that it can have is so negligable in terms of actual bike speed. WHat I mean is that if you get on a traditional bike ad get in the most powerful position and the least powerful position and ride at the exact same RPE, the sped will not be greatly different. If you get on the same bike and get in the least aero and the most aero positions possible and ride at the same RPE the speed differential will be far greater. There is heaps of talk about this from Cobb and Coggan and co on the net.

    The part you bolded of mine needs to be read with the bit "move the position so that you can only hold it for 5 hours but modify the aero to be able to ride 4:50, you win". We are saying the same thing which I am taking you mean that sure, be comfortable but you only need to be comfortable enough to be able to get to the end of 180km and run well. It is no good if you can ride for 8 hours and cover 180km when you could drop the position down and cover 180km in a faster time, and faster, and faster still. Finding the point where they overlap is the key.
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    Glenn C

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    Re: Aerobar Position

    Post by Glenn C on Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:28 pm

    Paul F wrote:Great discussion going on here.
    ...I bring this up because Bulldog for example, has one of the worst setups I have seen, but he rides a 4:44, but I don't think he is running to his potential, why? because, he is a small guy, he can get away with being less aero, but still, he will need to put out alot more power to compensate for a poor aero setup. This I feel has a negative impact on his run. He should be running a sub 3hr IM run based on his ability to train and do a 51min swim and 4:44 bike. The guy has the ability but is not running to his ability because of a poor setup on his bike. When you get someone that can swim and bike that well, they should also be able to run just as well.

    fluro

    How does that explain me?
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    Paul F
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    Re: Aerobar Position

    Post by Paul F on Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:16 am

    There are always exceptions to the rule Freak LOL


    Maybe your bike setup doesn't allow you to generate power and it also costs s you speed by not being aero.

    But, in saying that you with your proven run performances there should be no reason why you aren't yeilding similar results on the bike. Your power/weight ratio is better than anyone's that I know, and with an exceptional bike set up you would require to least amount of power to go under way under 5hrs. That's the advantage you have being light. Bulldog, is very small but not light, so in terms of being aero, even though he is not, there is still little benefit sitting behind him when drafting. He cuts a small hole through the air.

    Just brainstorming here, do you consider yourself a be a stronger cyclist on a flat course or hilly course?

    The reason why I ask is because people who have sub optimal TT setups, tend to develop specifically better climbing positions. They lose power in the aero position but not when they are sitting up (road bike or TT bike).

    I went that way for a while when I owned my Giant road bike and I tried to covert it to a TT setup. I never quite got the angles right and as a result as a trained and became stronger, my ability to climb improved faster then my ability to TT


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    Glenn C

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    Re: Aerobar Position

    Post by Glenn C on Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:26 am

    Hi Paul, I don't put much weight in IM bike times as its generally a case of holding back. Which is what I do. Oly would be a better example of biking ability and as you know my PB is 56:xx without transition. So I don't figure my position is costing me much at all.

    As for Flat V Hilly. I think I perform better and feel stronger on flat courses personally. But make up more places on hilly courses due to the drafters not being able to hang on through the hills like they do on flat courses.

    Edit: Its not that I haven't tried steep. I have. Yes, I felt slippery and fast. NO, it didn't result in better bike splits for me (or run splits for that matter)(spent over 1000km total in the position to give a chance for adaption). My observations have led me to think its more the larger guys who like steep perhaps because they have the quads to push it and aero improvements yield significantly more time savings than they do for a smaller guy like me going more aero. Likewise as my quads are so tiny I can't sustain my power output when steep as I can when alittle less aero but sharing out the workload more. Sharing out the workload also feels like it saves my quads more for the run leg.
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    Paul F
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    Re: Aerobar Position

    Post by Paul F on Fri Feb 05, 2010 3:40 am

    G'day Glenn,

    Maybe do a bit more analysis, have a look at your run split in your last few races and align similar runs splits up with other competitors. Then look at your bike split in comparison to those athletes.

    That could indicate some more, in terms of

    1. Are you losing time on the bike?
    2. If so by appoximately how much?
    3. If not, then move another step back and do thge same analysis for the swim?

    The point being, you might be a case where, your bike setup is setting you up for a great run performance but it could be costing you too much time on the bike.

    When you start running as fast as you do, my guess would be there wouldn't be too many athletes running a similar time (1:15 over 20km), but if there is, how does your bike split stack up to their bike splits?

    Does anyone ever run past you in a race?
    Does anyone ever ride past you in a race?

    Which of these two questions is more important in terms of taking your overall performance to the next level? and then how would you go about addressing that in training?

    Sorry to take this off topic Dan.


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    Dan B
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    Re: Aerobar Position

    Post by Dan B on Fri Feb 05, 2010 4:18 am

    We are still talking about aerobars right?!! Wink
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    Glenn C

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    Re: Aerobar Position

    Post by Glenn C on Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:01 am

    Paul, I don't lose significant time on the bike.

    1.I'm generally in the top handful of bike times in Cat from Oly through to IM. The only time this different is when drafting is at play because I get out of the water too far back to enjoy the same benefits. My bike results are solo.

    2. Gundi last week, I rode the same time as many in the bunch up the road by myself. I was taking time from them until the turn around into the wind where 20 V 1 you always lose.

    I'm only past by very good category riders or riders who can't run (so are making the most of the bike leg) in the cat for distance over HIM. Oly I ride at or very close to threshold.

    "The point being, you might be a case where, your bike setup is setting you up for a great run performance but it could be costing you too much time on the bike. " Its not, I rode steep and it cost me on the bike and the run Sad

    "When you start running as fast as you do, my guess would be there wouldn't be too many athletes running a similar time (1:15 over 20km), but if there is, how does your bike split stack up to their bike splits? " No problems I ride as fast as most of the bunches and run faster. Like I said even holding back I'm in the top ten in cat on the bike. What annoys me as guys sitting in these bunches are running times above their ability because they have been bludging the bike leg on someones wheel.

    "Does anyone ever run past you in a race?" rarely (AG) since the start of 08/09 season. Luke Mackenzie took time from me last weekend (2 mins over 20k) does that count?

    "Does anyone ever ride past you in a race?" The strongest or most committed riders in the cat do, I can go with them but choose not to. The bike legs is hard to judge because many don't hold anything/enough back in HIM/IM and walk the run. I do my own race.

    Working on my bike and run legs has gone as far as it can go for now. I need to get out of the water with the lead AGers so I can conserve even more energy on the bike and run even faster. Thats it, FIX THE SWIM. This year for me is about the swim and subsequently my run times might drop a bit.
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    Paul F
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    Re: Aerobar Position

    Post by Paul F on Fri Feb 05, 2010 7:34 am

    Hi Glenn,

    Great personal reflections going on there. Seems like your bike/run combo is dialed in. Like you said at the bottom, focusing on your swim seems to be the next logical step.

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    Glenn C

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    Re: Aerobar Position

    Post by Glenn C on Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:14 pm

    Yeh mate, but its gonna take some work...and PAIN
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    Cameron G

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    Re: Aerobar Position

    Post by Cameron G on Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:32 pm

    Its great to see even the best out there go through the same as the MOP'ers when it comes to the balance between ride and run. Ive played with my aero setup a few times but have decided to keep it as is until race day as i dont want to be trying to get used to a new position. Ive also been trying to decide on what to aim for in the bike leg as i have a pretty poor marathon time 3:21 (stand alone) and want to get off the bike knowing ive got some time to lose without dropping back too far. Im thinking that getting off the bike feeling relatively good will be an advantage over feeling like crap due to poor setup and struggling on the run course. I might start another thread about goals for IMOZ 2010 in the next week or so.
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    Alex R
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    Re: Aerobar Position

    Post by Alex R on Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:10 pm

    Just out of interest for aero discussion, I did an 80km TT today in some fairly moderate wind but thankfully very constant. I did it on my road bike and aimed to hold between 250 and 300 watts which is what I would ride an Ironman at. I ended up with 281 average and a time of 2:09 which is pretty much spot on 5 hour IM pace. What I also know is that my road CdA is about 0.38 and my aero position is about 0.29 (using some ultra nerdy calculations from power V speed).


    What this then tells me is that for me to hold 277 watts over 180km on road bike and then TT bike (both CdAs were calculated with road helmet and road cycle clothing)

    Road bike 180km 281 watts CdA 0.38 Ave 37.2km/hr = 4:52
    TT bike 180km 281 watts CdA 0.29 Ave 39.1km/hr = 4:38

    Now, to have the same CdA as the TT bike and ride the same split as the road bike, I would need to average 239 watts. No matter how you look at it, position (within reason) is not going to cost you 15% of your power.

    Note, the above figures are not in anyway absolute (or masively accurate). The average came from a very windy day which throws the power figures pretty screwy but you get the gist. All I did was to get one known power output with two approximate CdAs to give you an idea.
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    Paul F
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    Re: Aerobar Position

    Post by Paul F on Fri Feb 05, 2010 2:08 pm

    I'll need to digest that post some more but could you expand on this comment

    Now, to have the same CdA as the TT bike and ride the same split as the road bike, I would need to average 239 watts. No matter how you look at it, position (within reason) is not going to cost you 15% of your power.

    I'm assuming your saying that a really good aero position does not impact on power??? We should be focusing on being as aero as possible, because, in that position we'll still be able to push the watts? That's how I'm reading it.

    If that is the case can you imagine the potential bike split Bulldog could have IF if was aero???

    Paul
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    Alex R
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    Re: Aerobar Position

    Post by Alex R on Fri Feb 05, 2010 2:30 pm

    Paul F wrote:

    I'm assuming your saying that a really good aero position does not impact on power??? We should be focusing on being as aero as possible, because, in that position we'll still be able to push the watts? That's how I'm reading it.


    Paul

    Nah, what I am sayin is that starting with a road position or 'most comfortable' then moving into the aero position, you could afford to lose up to 15% of your power and go exactly the same speed. Remember we are talking 5 hour power here not 5 or 30 second power outputs.

    The RPE difference between 240 and 280 watts is substantial.

    Aero trumps power and as can be seen by the drag difference, breaking your aero position because it is not comfortble enough to hold for the entire duration is also costing you massively.

    Good thing I found myself a local coach today to actualy DO some training and stop flapping my gums about it.
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    Paul F
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    Re: Aerobar Position

    Post by Paul F on Fri Feb 05, 2010 2:59 pm

    I agree with you, I think,

    My whole philosophy re: a TT setup is to be as aero as possible in order to reduce the watts you need to produce a good bike split. Save on watts and you'll save on energy that can be used to run.


    For example, because your body type is so much different to Glenn, no matter what happens, to do a 5hr bike split you will always need to generate more watts, purely because you weigh more and you are bigger. But, your goal, should be to use the least amount of watts to do a 5hr bike split. In training, keep focusing on getting fitter/stronger/whatever you want to call it, but in racing you need a superior aero setup so that you can still ride fast with the least amount of watts relevant to you. The faster and fitter you get the bigger this becomes a problem for you. Big guys require even BIGGER watts to push a bike along at +40kph, and the more you are above 40kph the watts needed become exponential (sp?).

    This is not so much the case for Bulldog because he is smaller and 20kg lighter, so the effects of sitting at +40kph are much less. Just like in swimming once you hit a certain speed, the energy required to swim faster becomes sooo much more, the importance of being aero and streamlined becomes that much more important.

    You could ride a 4;44 bike split too, but to do so would require a lot more watts then Bulldog, this would then have a huge impact on your run. To overcome that, being aero would be the only way to reduce the energy cost, even though that energy cost will still always be more then Bulldogs.

    So then is it possible to outride someone like Bulldog, yes, and that comes down to the training program.

    But after spending the last few months training with him, that would take some serious committments to the sport. He is called bulldog for a reason Laughing

    Fluro

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