Monday, June 27, 2016

Hetro Hammers Coeur d'Alene!

Just wanna take a minute to brag up our teammate Nick Hetro (Washington). Two weeks after Cassie Whittington (Ohio) punched her ticket to Ironman 70.3 Worlds at Eagleman, Nick won the M2529 age group at Ironman 70.3 Coeur d'Alene in a blistering 4:25!

He was faced with a dilemma... race in Australia or go for Kona at the full Ironman CDA in August?

Race report with his decision coming soon.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

From Skin Hat to Speed Monster: A Brief Helmet History

Today helmets are seen everywhere – ubiquitous with the peloton and highly scrutinized by triathletes looking to gain even the slightest advantage. But it hasn’t always been that way. Just as other headgear (think American football) and the bike itself have evolved, so to has the bike helmet. How did the industry and the dome protector evolve from simple strips of leather to the expertly engineered wonders of science we have today? Here’s a high-level look at the timeline of the helmet: where it’s been, where it is, and where it’s going, focusing in the modern era on the contributions Rudy Project specifically has made in helping us cheat the wind while keeping us safe on the roads.

1800’s - While there’s some debate surrounding whether the chicken or the egg came first, as you might expect, the bicycle was invented before the bike helmet. Almost immediately, however, the market for helmets was born, as 19th century cyclists discovered that it hurt really bad when you crashed… especially when landing on one’s head.

1900 – 1960’s - Around the turn of the century serious cyclists began using "helmets" made of strips of leather-covered padding. These evolved over time, but by and large the best available were made from good old cow hide. As you might imagine, leather helmets weren’t extremely protective and had a tendency to rot away over time.

Although triathlon wasn’t invented until the 1970’s, time trials have been a part of the Tour de France since 1934. The prevailing thought for many years regarding TT’s was that the regular bikes and equipment being used would forever be suitable for TT’s as well. 

1970’s - Cycling, once considered child’s play, booms as a means of exercise and entertainment.

Leather strips still reigned supreme (often referred to as "hairnets" due to their shape) and the nicest ones were made in Italy. Approaching 50 years later, the country that brought us pizza and lasagna continues to be a major player in the helmet industry, with Rudy Project’s global headquarters in the northern Italian city of Treviso.

1975 - The Bell Biker helmet pioneers the use of hard, crushable foam with a hard plastic shell. Other manufacturers played the role of copycat, and this was the dominant model for a decade.

According to Triple Threat Triathlon national team member Stewart Nixon (Colorado), “in the mid to late 70’s people started to give more thought to their equipment. For example, some would actually drill holes in their steel bikes to make them lighter. On the helmet side, most cyclists were wearing the leather hairnets or none at all.” 

1978 - Something called “Ironman” is born on the islands of Hawaii, the combination of three established local events: the Waikiki Roughwater Swim (2.4 mi), the Around-Oahu Bike Race (115 mi reduced to 112), and the Honolulu Marathon.

1980 (circa) - While he wasn’t exactly Thomas Edison, some historians trace the “aero helmet” to British cyclist Dave Lloyd’s “skin hat” invention. According to Nixon, “It was kinda like one of those FloJo track suits with the hood. It looked ridiculous, and only the 3,000% dedicated wore it… it never really caught on."

1984 - The famous title of a futuristic book written around 1950 is a pretty funny era to look back on. The US Olympic cycling team was no different, busting out some attention-grabbing gear on their way to 4 gold, 3 silver, and 2 bronze medals. So they transfused blood, big deal! Well, it is a big deal, but actually wasn’t against rules at the time. Similar to baseball writers attributing home runs in the steroid era to the ball being “juiced,” the media clung on to the US team’s high-tech equipment, including their funky “tear drop” helmets. 

In addition, Francesco Moser, nicknamed “The Sheriff” in his native Italian, breaks the one hour time trial record held by Eddy Merckx since 1972. He rode 50.8 km, or 31.5 mph, aided by far superior aerodynamic thought and equipment compared to Merckx. This sparked another round of interest in aero testing and technology.

1985 – The brand "Rudy Project" is officially launched in Treviso, Italy. Although Rudy Project was still a few years off from designing helmets, they immediately made a major impression on the cycling world with performance glasses designed specifically for the sport.

the notorious skid lid
This is also the year the “Snell B85” was introduced, the first widely adopted safety standard for bicycle helmets.

Leatherheads, the Bell Biker, something called the “Skid Lid,” and other older helmet styles get kicked to the curb as the Giro Prolight takes center stage. It offered a lighter and more comfortable option thanks to an outer cover of thin lycra cloth.

1986 - Giro follows this up with the release an aero helmet called the “Aerohead.”

1987 - Although lacking the sex appeal of their counterparts on the "elite aerobic" scene, triathlon continues to boom, led by Ironman celebrities Dave Scott, Mark Allen and the popular Bud Light Race Series in the US. Pioneering aero products begin emerging from triathlon, such as Scott clip-on aerobars.

1989 - Aero pandemonium! Going into the final stage of the Tour de France, a mere 24.5km (~15 mi) time trial into Paris, Greg LeMond trailed Laurent Fignon by a seemingly insurmountable 50 seconds. Whereas the man known as “le professeur” rode with no helmet and his ponytail flapping in the wind, LeMond showed up armed with both the Aerohead and Scott aerobars, something never seen before at the Tour. Fignon rode the 3rd fastest time for the stage, but couldn’t hold off LeMond, who out road and out-teched Fignon to win by 8 seconds.

LeMond was ahead of his time
According to Nixon, “LeMond blew the aero scene up with that ‘89 TT. Totally blew everything up. After that there was a lot of attention to aero design, research, and testing. It was the advent of a whole lot of aero things coming out.”

1990 – On the casual helmet front, the Prolight’s dominance was toppled by the return of thin plastic glued to the helmet, which had significant safety benefits over a cloth cover.

1991 - Cycling’s governing body tries to introduce a mandatory helmet requirement for professional racing. However, the riders’ protest proves effective and the rule is not put in place.

Early 1990’s – LeMond’s fully-functional foam helmet from ’89 is overtaken by thin plastic shells, which had aero advantages but provided essentially zero protection in a crash (as mentioned above, protective helmets were not yet required). Regarding the era, Nixon commented “we had Bell and the Aerohead, and that was pretty much it as far as something that ‘Joe Athlete’ could pick up. But you would see all these radical (for the time) designs popping up on the professional scene.”

1995 – Speaking of radical, according to Rudy Project USA CEO Paul Craig, “Rudy Project’s entrance into helmets all started when legend Miguel Indurain (Rudy-sponsored for sunglasses) asked us to make him a racing shell in the ‘94-95 timeframe. It was basically a piece of plastic and had bugeye lenses… it looked pretty badass.” The so called “Sweeto” was definitely sweet looking, but wasn’t available to the general public. Added Craig, “many rode without helmets, but there was interest among some of the top pros in the aerodynamic benefits of a shell.”

1998 - With such lightweight, thin shells to work with, TT helmets grow longer over time due in part to increased wind tunnel testing. Soon cyclists were sporting helmets that doubled as back scratchers, sticking a foot up in the air when putting their head down. Many correlate this with the “Armstrong” era.

2000 – Italian headquartered Rudy Project naturally launched helmets in Europe before the US. In the year 2000 Rudy entered the US market with the T-Rex road helmet. According to Craig it was a nice foray into helmets, but pales in comparison to today’s technology. “We can make fun of ourselves now and say that it was hot, heavy, ugly, and stood out like a sore thumb!”

2001 – The Giro Rev V and other prototypes were made primarily for Armstrong, born from Texas A&M wind tunnel data, and never available to the general public.

2002 - Rudy Project releases its first mass-produced TT/triathlon helmet, the Syton. It was immediately lauded by critics, winning the ‘Timeless Design’ award from Men’s Journal and enjoying a great run, even up to a full decade later on the head of top pro Andy Potts at the Ironman World Championships.

2003 – Jan Ullrich out time-trials Lance with this bad boy on his head (left), a custom made Rudy Project design available only in Europe.

Also, as is unfortunately often the case, it took a tragedy to get a safety rule change pushed through… 

29-year old Kazakh rider Andrey Kivilev crashed and hit his head during the Paris-Nice race. He was not wearing a helmet, slipped into a coma, and subsequently died of his injuries. A full 12 years after initially attempting to require helmets, the rule was finally implemented and enforced. This sparked a flurry of retrofitting, as manufacturers attempted to revamp their existing TT shells to meet the safety standard.

Mid 2000’s – From its phenomenal early growth, triathlon stagnated a bit as a sport in the late 1990’s. It was primed to make an enormous comeback, but as late as 2004, Stewart Nixon recalls having a triathlon helmet shipped to him from France due to limited options. The US market would soon catch up.

Late 2000’s – Rudy Project begins investing heavily in helmet R&D with the assistance of legendary aerodynamics guru John Cobb.

2010 – Rudy Project and other companies begin to re-think wind tunnel results that led to the extreme elongated tails of the past, the underlying thought being that real life riding is different from pristine wind tunnel conditions. The result is that recent models demonstrate something of a compromise… no tail, or too short of a tail, and you end up with an inefficient aero shape that spikes drag. However if a tired rider regularly puts his/her head down with a long tail, they’ve essentially wiped out any aero benefit from the wind tunnel.

This is also the year that Rudy Project introduced their best-selling road helmet, the Sterling (above). Crafted with the aid of an old Italian hat designer, the Sterling has been called "the world’s most comfortable helmet."

2011 – With its combination of aerodynamics, massive exhaust vents to keep cool, and good looks, Rudy Project’s newly released Wingspan quickly dominates the prestigious “Kona Count” as the #1 helmet worn at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.

2013 – Rudy Project’s Wing57, the “ultimate speed monster,” as Craig puts it, is released to much fanfare. It is the first Rudy helmet available to the general public with an integrated shield, and like the Wingspan, was developed in collaboration with Cobb. As Andy Potts put it in our recent interview, “I feel like a fighter pilot when I wear it.”

2014 – Between the Wing57 and the Wingspan, Rudy Project dominates the Kona Count for the 4th consecutive year.


According to Craig, Rudy Project has another breakthrough product in the pipeline for the coming years that “will change the whole way people see helmets.” What will the next Rudy Project innovation be?? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

the Wing57 in action
About Triple Threat Triathlon is a rapidly growing triathlon site centered around a US national team. Age group triathletes are selected as representatives of their individual states and local ambassadors of the sport, while contributing to the team's collective, national goals.

About Rudy Project

Rudy Project designs and manufactures performance-oriented helmets, sunglasses, goggles and Rx/prescription eyewear solutions by applying advanced science, cutting-edge technology and innovative aesthetics. Designed and crafted in Italy since 1985, Rudy Project has grown quickly as a premier brand throughout North America. Rudy helmets were recognized as the #1 most worn aero / time-trial brand at the IRONMAN® World Championships Presented by GoPro™ in Kona, Hawaii for the last four consecutive years, and have been designated the Official Helmet of IRONMAN® for North America. Rudy Project offers unparalleled customer service backed by a Lifetime Replacement Lens Guarantee and an industry-leading three-year frame warranty. Learn more about Rudy Project at

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Eagleman 70.3 Race Report - Cassie Whittington

Cassie Whittington (Ohio) just crushed Eagleman 70.3. Here's her report!

This weekend I participated in my first Ironman branded 70.3 race, Eagleman in Cambridge, Maryland. Eagleman was such a great experience, not only because I had a good race, but because I got to finally meet some of my Triple Threat teammates. The day before the race we hung out and had many laughs, and I think due to this, I went into race morning very relaxed.

We headed to the race transition at 5 am and Rob’s car said it was 79 degrees. I made sure to ask him whether that was actually right...imagine my disappointment when he stated it was.

We got to the transition with plenty of time to spare, so no nerves there, just conversation with some others around me who were all being super supportive (except one girl who seemed SUPER business!) My swim start wasn’t until 7:48 so I had over an hour after transition closed to stand around and get nervous about the rising temperatures and wind speed. I was told it was already 85 degrees when we jumped in the water…such joy.

The swim was super crowded. I don’t understand why you want faster competitors starting later, as it means we have to pass everyone, and I could tell this on the swim. It was a little rough, with the wind and just the volume of people, so I swallowed more than one mouthful of salt water…my first experience racing in salt water not so pleasant. I kept calm as I was constantly getting kicked. I swam easy as I always try to do, using the swim as a warm-up to the race and never a race in itself.

I was a little dizzy taking my wetsuit off, so transition was a little slow but I got out on the bike and felt great. I tapered harder for this race than I usually do, and I could tell my legs felt rested. As soon as I got on the bike, I was faced with a horrible headwind. I’m not sure we ever got the tailwind, as the whole ride felt like a headwind to me. In the past I have had hamstring cramping, and the whole bike ride felt like they could cramp up at any second. I stood up a few times to stretch my legs out, since the course is dead flat with no change in body position, but my legs would cramp a little, so I just kept drinking water and keeping with my nutrition strategy. I drank more water on this ride than I ever have. The wind and the heat were wearing me out. I stuck to my nutrition plan of a bar every 30 minutes followed by a gel and Gatorade on each hour. I made sure to grab water to sip and then pour on myself every aid station. With the strong wind, I just tucked down and grinded. I tried to ease up on the last 10 miles of the ride since my legs were a little crampy, and I didn’t want to set myself up for pain on the run.

I had a pretty decent transition, but I was super careful putting on my running shoes, with fears of a hamstring cramp by bending down. Luckily, all was okay and my legs felt good as I went out on the run. I could tell that I was going to have to run slower than I wanted, because running faster would instantly cramp up my calves or hamstrings or arms (yes my arms, I apparently hold onto my aero bars for dear life, so they are exhausted when I get off the bike). So I went at a nice pace, looked at my watch at the 3 mile marker and was completely defeated when my mile split was 8:44, so much for that sub 8 pace. I didn’t freak out though, as I knew I needed to re-set my goals with the 90 plus degree weather. The run course is HOT with virtually no shade. The way out was hard, but the way back was brutal as the sun just beat down on your body. I grabbed water, coke, red bull, or chomps at each aid station…whatever I felt my body needed. I walked at every single aid station to dump ice down my suit, which promptly melted before I hit the next station. I began skipping the cups of ice they had laid out and going straight to the tubs where the ice was stored, and took huge chunks of ice instead of individual cubes. It was great, until one huge chunk slid down to my bottom and I probably looked like I was carrying a load in my pants…but I didn’t care, it felt so good.

After I got to mile 10 I knew I was in the clear so I picked up the pace, still not able to go full speed without the hamstring whispering to me to slow down, but a little faster. The volunteers dumped gallons of ice water over you as you finished, amazing!

I had goals of a faster time, but I’m happy with the 5:06 considering the conditions. I’m excited to see how much faster I can get on my new Argon bike coming in this week!!! The support from teammates and their families was so amazing, making the race experience so much better. After I finished, Lauren Kucharski let me know I got fourth, so I knew I had a chance to go to Worlds…which was the goal for me. After the awards were handed out, we all waited patiently for them to announce the slots to Worlds and I was VERY excited when I learned I earned one. I had no doubt I was going to accept it, who wouldn’t want to race in Australia?!? I was glad I had my teammate Mark’s credit card so that I could pay the entry fee (which you have to do immediately!)– who carries their credit card to a race?!? And another reason it was so great to have teammates around.

So now I am excited about World’s. I take great pride in just getting there…as I did every swim, bike, run and lifting session all by myself – coaching myself and motivating myself. I’ll first have Ohio 70.3 to race only two weeks prior to World’s, so that will be a challenge to figure out. But this week is about rest, pizza, drinking adult beverages, donuts, and no stress about racing!!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Heading Down Under!

More to come on this, but just a quick post to congratulate Cassie Whittington (Ohio) on her incredible performance at Eagleman today. Cassie placed 4th in her AG in 5:06 to earn her way to the Ironman 70.3 World Champs in Australia Sep 4th. We're super proud of her!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Aero Assault: Interview with Reynolds Cycling

I had the opportunity to visit Reynolds' gleaming new headquarters building in the suburbs of Salt Lake City. Reynolds' Director of Sales & Marketing, Rob Aguero, was gracious enough to answer some questions for the blog, as well as giving me a tour of the facilities. In addition, I was able to spend some time with aerodynamics guru Paul Lew, Reynolds' Director of Technology and Innovation. If you've ever ridden a carbon fiber wheel (of any brand), you can thank Paul... he literally invented and patented the carbon clincher 17 years ago!

Tell me about Reynolds’ history… when was the company founded and how has it evolved over time?

Rob – The Reynolds brand has been around for over 100 years, but it has undergone major changes over time. In 1996, Paul’s company Lew Composites created the first carbon fiber clincher wheel. He literally holds the patent for the carbon clincher. At first people thought he was a little nuts, but really he was just ahead of his time. Eventually elite cycling teams caught the vision, and demand began to grow. The first carbon fiber rims ridden by Lance and the US Postal Service teams (under the Rolf Carbon brand name) were all made by Paul. Two other well-known early adopters of Paul’s carbon wheels were Marco Pantani and Jeannie Longo.

In 2002, parent company MacLean-Fogg saw the potential of carbon fiber, acquiring both Reynolds and Lew Composites. In the early days we made all kinds of carbon fiber products, such as the tubing for Trek bike frames, seatposts, handlebars and forks, as well as products for motorsports such as the HANDS device, windsurfing, and the hoods for Chevy Corvettes to name a few. Wheels were just another product. We were a manufacturing company, not a cycling company. Our engineers and employees didn’t necessarily ride… it was just business. During that era, from 2002-08, there wasn’t much innovation with Reynolds wheels. Around six years ago due to the commoditization of carbon fiber, we sold off product lines, deciding to focus solely on wheels. In 2008, Paul, who had been focusing on his unmanned aircraft business (he designs unmanned aircraft for the US Government) united with Reynolds board to push innovation, new technologies, and products. Today cycling isn’t just business… it’s personal. Our employees are passionate about cycling, triathlon, mountain biking, etc, and it makes a big difference.

Your industry seems to be quite fragmented, with well-known brands such as Reynolds, but many smaller players as well as new entrants. What differentiates Reynolds from your competitors?

Rob - Lots of competitors go to China and say ‘we need a wheel with these specifications, this weight’, etc. They take shortcuts and outsource their production process. We control our production process from start to finish, from the resins selected for our carbon fiber to our wholly owned and operated manufacturing facilities. We have the most experience working with carbon fiber and were the first carbon clincher brand. There are a lot of cheap knockoffs in the market… for example we know about newspaper and other fillers in some of them. Our wheels begin with innovative ideas that are brought to market after years of testing and development.

In addition to the quality of our wheels, our “Ride to Decide” program is one of the best promotions in the industry. You go to your Reynolds dealer and say you want to test some wheels. You then have 30 days to test them… train, race, whatever. Once you return them, you have 45 days to decide to purchase the wheels. If you do so within that window, we send you a kickback of $100 cash, in addition to providing RAP coverage (Reynolds Assurance Program, a $250 value) which protects your wheels against any damage for two years.

What is your role within the company and what does it entail?

Rob - I’m the Director of Sales and Marketing, and have been with the company just over two years. I’ve been in the bike industry since 1998. I steer the marketing boat, with a focus on Reynolds’ brand development. We’ve been re-building the brand here over the past two years, which has been an exciting process.

Can you give me a high-level summary of the manufacturing process? How long does it take to produce a Reynolds wheel?

Paul - What you see on the market from Reynolds today was in development for 2-3 years prior. All of our extensive development and testing is done here in the US. Mass production takes place at our factory in China, which we own and control. Production time for each individual wheel varies from ~10 man hours all the way up to ~40 hours for our RZR series. Think about that, roughly an entire work week devoted to a single wheel set!

Rob - Production is entirely controlled by us, whereas others outsource much of their process. For example, we source our raw carbon fiber from Mitsubishi, and we also control the resin chemistry in the carbon prepreg (raw material). Not all carbon is equal… there’s a lot of junk out there on the market.

this oven ain't for bakin' brownies

Reynolds is an official sponsor of the Rev3 triathlon series, while also teaming with well-known athletes such as Kelly Williamson, Richie Cunningham, and Chris McDonald… what do you look for when selecting athletes and events to partner with?

Rob - Results are great, but results alone don’t “touch” the consumer. Taking results away, all of our sponsored athletes are great people. Being approachable is very important to us. For example, think what you want about Lance Armstrong, but most people would say he never was extremely approachable. We want athletes who have an interesting story to tell, someone that the consumer can connect to. Having a social media platform is also important, and self-promotion is huge. We want athletes who will support us as their sponsor and be brand advocates.

We’re thrilled to partner with the Rev3 series as well. The atmosphere at Rev3 races is very welcoming and family oriented… there are fun things for kids to do, your kid can cross the finish line with you, etc. They really connect with the consumer. Don’t get me wrong, we love Ironman too. They both just have their own unique vibe.

The Magnificent Kelly Williamson

What wheels would you recommend for a triathlete living in an area with more climbing vs. flat? On that note can you talk a bit about the tradeoff between weight and aerodynamics?

Rob - Deep wheels make a bike look hot, but may not be the best for the rider. With all the climbing here in the mountains, I prefer a shallower wheel. It’s a personal choice, and we try to provide something for everyone. We do a lot of business in Florida, selling a lot of deep wheels and discs well-suited for flatter terrain. If you live right on the coast, you may want a shallower wheel as well to deal with ocean breezes. For triathletes it can make a lot of sense to mix, such as 90mm on the rear and 72mm on the front. With all your weight over your front wheel, mixing provides a balance of more aero on the back with greater control on the front. We sell a lot of deep wheels, but our 46mm wheel is actually our best seller and our 29mm Attack wheel is a great seller as well.

Paul – If you typically ride roads with an incline of 5% or less, then aerodynamics is the most important component. When riding at greater than 5%, weight becomes more important. The thing is, most triathlons don’t have that kind of sustained climbing, so aerodynamics should be the focus. I would say go with as deep of a wheel as you can personally handle. The Reynolds RZR has no compromise… it’s a deep wheel, but also super light.

Paul Lew, the man who started it all, with the Reynolds RZR

Let’s cut to the chase – how much faster will Reynolds make me compared to my stock aluminum wheels?

Paul – There are a lot of factors, but what I can tell you is you’ll average ~2 mph faster on a flat course. At least 1 mph, guaranteed, but lots of people will be even faster. People come back to us all the time and say things like ‘I was 5, 8, 10+ min faster at my 70.3’.

Rob - Wheels are absolutely the best upgrade you can make for your bike... you start seeing the return on investment immediately. My girlfriend bought a really nice bike, a Pinarello, and I later got her some wheels for Christmas. She made comments such as “it feels like I can go up hills faster” and “I feel like the bike is pedaling itself.” I’m used to riding with guys who talk about watts and stuff, so as a marketing guy it was cool to hear her communicate her experience in simple terms like that.

What are the key differences in Reynolds new wheels vs. previous models? For example I noticed the shift to wider rims, which seems to be an industry trend. Is this driven by wind tunnel testing?

Rob – Really everything… in many ways we started from scratch, while leveraging our history and experience. We have a new wheel to be introduced for 2014, as well as completely redesigned versions of the AttackAssault, and Strike (all of these available late Fall 2013). Models from a few years ago were 21 mm wide, with a basic aero shape. They were good wheels, but our new ones absolutely kick the tar out of them and have gotten unbelievable reviews. We have a proprietary shape with superior aerodynamics to all major brands. Our new for 2013 Aero lineup comes in 46, 58, 72, and 90mm, with new shapes, wider 26mm rims, and improved braking technology that dissipates heat more effectively thanks to our proprietary braking surface. The trend towards wider rims in the industry has something to do with aerodynamics, but also stability. Wider rims simply handle better, giving the rider greater safety and control. You can still ride a standard 23mm tire on a 26mm rim… what you don’t want is the other way around, creating a “vacuum” that traps air. That said, many tire companies are coming out 24, 25, and even 28mm tires.

Paul – Our new 90mm wheel is now faster than a disc. It has lower drag and, as an example, requires 20 less watts to push 30 mph. A disc wheel doesn’t have the lift that our 90mm provides, which cancels drag. Plus the disc is heavier. For a long time there wasn’t anything faster than a disc, but our technology has caught up.

How important is wind tunnel testing to Reynolds? It seems like many bike, wheel, and other companies make claims regarding wind tunnel tests… is there sometimes smoke as well as wind coming from the tunnel?

Paul - Wind tunnel testing is very important, but only after we’ve amassed tons of our own data in the development phase. We go to the A2 tunnel in North Carolina on an annual basis to validate our data.

There are really two aerodynamic theories: “low drag, low lift,” and “high drag, high lift.” For illustration purposes, for “low/low,” let’s assign a drag value of 1, as well as a lift value generated by the wheel of 1, therefore offsetting the drag. The power required to move the wheel in this example is therefore zero. For “high/high,” let’s assign a drag value of 2 and a lift value also of 2, netting to zero once again. Since the drag is offset in both scenarios, what’s the difference?

Well, the generation of lift on a wheel is caused by wind. However, in addition to this lift theoretically helping the rider, the rider feels a side force from the wind as well (think crosswind). A low drag, low lift system generates less lift, but therefore also less side force. The result is that the cyclist rides with much greater stability in crosswinds.

Reynolds triathlete Chris "Big Sexy" McDonald in the wind tunnel

Bikes such as Cervelo, Giant, Canyon, and Felt to name a few use low drag, low lift principles in their design, whereas Reynolds is the first and only low drag, low lift wheel on the market. Bikes such as Trek and Specialized implement high drag, high lift principles, as do other wheel manufacturers besides Reynolds.

Wind tunnel testing can at times be a bit misleading because, well, it’s always windy in the wind tunnel! On a day without much wind, a high drag, high lift system can’t generate as much lift as on a windy day.

The 'Kona count' (a simple count of brands represented at the IM World Championships each year) clearly isn’t everything, but it seems to be a decent proxy for the market. Does Reynolds look at that metric? 

Rob - The Kona count is a huge metric… it’s a big deal. We were 5th out of 30 wheel brands last year, but only a few bikes away from moving up further. We’re hoping to crack the top 3 this year.

In conclusion, I was blown away by Reynolds... I couldn't believe how light yet strong their wheels are. Toss in the fact that they have the guy who invented the carbon wheel pushing the limits of product development, and to me it becomes a no brainer.

I'm looking forward to testing out some wheels, and would encourage you to do the same!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Marathon Breakdown: Runner's High to Legs of Stone

Ran the Jordan River Marathon, my first non-Ironman 26.2 since 2002. Small race, fantastic course... wish I felt fantastic the whole way. Here's a quick synopsis.

mile 1:  let's do this!

mile 2:  perfect day!

mile 3:  I love these trails

mile 4:  this is better than almost anything in the world

mile 5:  

mile 6:  1/4 of the way done already... this is a walk in the park!

mile 7:  minor hiccup. let's seize the next opportunity to dash in the woods and take a leak

mile 8:  roger that, mission accomplished

mile 9:  so high right now!

mile 10:  seriously, how has it been 14 years since my last road marathon?!?  I need to do these more often!

mile 11:  legs feel great

mile 12: (seeing my wife) "Linds, you gotta do this race next year, this course is awesome!"

mile 13:  right on my target pace, already halfway home!

mile 14:  hmmmmmmm................................................

mile 15:  ok.................... minor rough patch. let's regroup here

mile 16:  only 10 miles to go. wait a minute, seriously, a full 10 miles to go?!?

mile 17: this was supposed to be over easy!

mile 18:  come on let's hold the pace til mile 20... can you hold this pace for 2 measly miles?!?

mile 19:  legs.. slowly.. turning.. to.. stone

mile 20:      $&@$  #$(#^@&#(@     @$(^@#(&#$!($!#&$!

mile 21:  come on, dig!, this is mild compared to a few weeks ago

mile 22: "I shake hands with the pain. I shake hands with the pain. I shake hands with the pain."   (a favorite Chris McCormack quote)

mile 23:  (seeing my fam, smiling, but yelling out) "AGGGHHHHHHHHH"  "How you feeling?"  "Like I'm at mile 23 of a marathon."

mile 24:  

mile 25:  counting steps mode....

mile 26:  finish line, hallelujah! Just as planned, that was a piece of cake. I mean, I could eat an entire cake. Maybe we should get one.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Top 10 Triathlon Race Week Tips

Well, at least according to our team...

10) “Develop a checklist over time so you don't have to re-invent the wheel (no pun intended) every race. This will reduce your stress on what to pack, how to prepare, and a nutrition plan for that distance.”

9) “Take a deep breath. For Ironman, the IM Village can be intimidating. Repeat to yourself. I belong here. I belong here.” Gina (Virginia)

don't let race week stress make you forget your goggles
8) “Don't do anything new race week. Your work, preparation and body isn't going to make any gains during race week. Keep it in tune and start to mentally prepare for race weekend.” - Chad (now repping North Carolina)

7) “Three things: 1) For race week, you can't build fitness. Trust in the fitness you built in your training and trust in your taper. 2) Get your bike ready the weekend beforehand. This means putting on your race wheels and finishing any last tweeks. By readying bike the weekend beforehand, you'll eliminate that stress from your race week and allow time to fix any last minute snafus. 3) You can save a decent chunk of watts by racing on a new chain. Still, remove the slow factory lube, apply your own (I like wax), and give it a few rides to break in.” Nick (Washington)

let's hope you've got bike/run clothes on under that wetsuit
6) “Do not eat anything crazy that can mess up your stomach for lunch or supper the week of the race. Do not wait until the night before to pack.” Mark (South Carolina)

5) “Create a list for the night before and day of, including the absolute latest time you can leave. Include e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g - Body numbered? Body Glide on? Sunscreen on? etc.. Make sure you double check that shuttle schedule so you aren't trying to find a cab at 4AM to get to the race start.” Sean (now repping New Jersey)

heart rate monitor?  check!

4) “I start by making a timeline of the entire race day starting with waking up and then writing down the time of every activity that will be done pre race and post race. I also write out my race plan and highlight what my goal pace/power is. Once that’s laid out I spend the week visualizing that and then execute it on race day!” Rob (Massachusetts)

you've prepared for this, now let it rip!

3) “I usually watch my nutrition closely, but especially during race week when I have more free time and may feel tempted to eat more to feel the void. Also, I'm a perfectionist/focused person, but contrary to many triathletes, I am laid back during race week. I know I've done the work, so I take advantage to relax, enjoy time with my wife, and to prepare myself mentally for race day.” David (Florida)

2) “As much as it's possible I like to plan to drive the course the day before to get a sense of road conditions, climate, landmarks, etc., even if I've been on the course before. Having that extra bit of familiarity is extra comfort on race day that keeps me focused on executing and not worried about unknowns.” Dave (Connecticut)

1) “My tip is to rest!” Jeff (Oregon)