When it comes to aerodynamics, assumptions are often wrong. These lessons learned from aerodynamic testing challenge some common beliefs time trialists tend to have.
Coach Chad, Coach Jonathan, and our CEO Nate are on a search for speed. In preparation for their time trial, they went to the Velo Sports Center and did aerodynamics testing with ERO Sports. They walked away from the experience with three major takeaways.
1. Overlapping your hands almost always provides an “easy” reduction in drag.
Switching up your hand positioning is one of the simplest “aero gets.” Riders often assume that hands should firmly grasp around each bar extension, as to provide plenty of leverage over the bike, but this surprisingly results in decreased stability in most cases. In testing, overlapping the hands helped reduce drag and improved stability on the bike by forcing the rider to reduce hand tension and increase weight distribution through the hips.
2. The helmet that works for another rider, isn’t guaranteed to be best for you.
Perhaps not so surprising is how individual helmet choice really is. A helmet can perform vastly different from one rider to the next. This has a lot to do with the size of the person, their position on the bike, and how they ride. Contrary to common belief, for instance, snubbed helmets are not necessarily a safe choice if you move your head a lot or look down. For every time trialist, it’s worth the effort to not just research, but experiment with as many helmets you can get your hands on. Don’t make your helmet choice purely based on hearsay.
3. Sighting can get you a whole lot aerodynamic efficiency — just be safe.
The concept behind sighting is simple: try to keep your head as low as possible for as much time as possible. Easy, right? In theory, yes, but in practice, it can be difficult to maintain and dangerous. Regardless of aerodynamic gains, proper practice is necessary. While at the velodrome, there were lines on the track that made practice more streamlined. Going outdoors is a whole different ballgame. Before sighting, always weigh the pros and cons and make sure you’re familiar with the surface — otherwise, it’s not worth it.
Follow the Race Preparation
Each week on The Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast, Coach Chad, Coach Jonathan, and our CEO Nate share an update on what they’re doing to get faster leading up to their time trial. Thus far, they’ve custom-built their TT bikes, been professionally fitted by Dan Empfield, and done aerodynamic testing with ERO Sports. Keep up with everything they’re learning about what it takes to become a faster time trialist on the podcast.