A few posts in a couple of threads, I thought it might be worth it’s own thread?
If you don’t know it’s similar to the Sub2 marathon event Kipchoge astonished the world with…but it’s for Ironman triathlon (3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42.2km marathon run).
In an actual mens race world bests have gradually slipped from 08:01 in the 80s over the decades to 07:4x to recently 07:3x and with some course variations below that. Another half hour or so seems a lot…but like Kipchoge they are changing the rules to allow drafting on the bike and run. Each athlete has a team they can allocate to help drafting on either swim bike or run. I think they’re all banking on bike drafting with one swimmer to save five minutes or so there.
As as a western US resident If I wake up at 0600 I will miss the finish if they hit their goals.
Agree they Skippers bike and Blum’s run goals seem like a pie in the sky. But it will be interesting to see how it turns out and how the 3.5+ hr TTT goes (strategy on drafting - how close the teams ride together and making sure they don’t crash trying it o stay aero and close for so long).
The bike draft is huge. Studies on 4 man TTTs have shown 3rd and 4th riders get about a 35% drag reduction. If they use most of their 10 domestiques on the bike, those domestiques work well together and are strong enough to have at least 2 of them maintaining a pace of 30+mph at any one time then I think getting down to the ~3:30 targeted by Skipper is doable.
It’s also what makes the challenge not very interesting to me. Draft effect in cycling is much bigger than in running. And in marathon running drafting is at least allowed, even if it’s implausible that you’d ever have a bunch of multiple sub-2 capable runners working together in a real race. So at least Kipchoge broke 2 hours under conditions that weren’t that different to an actual marathon. There’s no bike drafting in Ironman, and the draft benefit in cycling is so huge that what these guys are doing is effectively a different sport.
Think the strategy for most is to expend significantly less effort in the draft and then hammer a fast run. So probably significantly faster than a “normal” IM marathon, though I’ve no idea what’s realistic in terms of actual numbers.
Apparently LCB and Ali are involved with the commentary as well, which I think will make for an interesting listen. Kicks off at 2pm over here which is unusually respectable for this time zone
Rules weren’t changed for Kipchoge, you can draft in running. Only difference was pacers ran in a relay, thus it is not a world record. Drafting in swimming and cycling is a much larger advantage.
I’m not a triathlete but a buddy of mine competed at the top Olympic distance / World Cup level. He said they never had an accurate 10k. It never mattered because everyone ran the same race. But how do they standardize something like this? Are transition zones a required standard distance? Is the bike waiting on the pool deck?
I appreciate the effort, that is crazy how fast they go… but hard to get behind a “Sub xx” promo. Personally I like how it’s about racing rather than trying to get a time.
I like these sciencey approaches to figuring out what is possible. I gotta say however, that this one doesn’t come close to Ineos 1:59 with Kipchoge in terms of interest for me.
Kipchoge is the world‘s greatest marathoner ever, he was in absolute peak condition, the course was the flattest and most cornerless you‘ll ever find in a marathon, and he had world class pace makers for the entire duration.
He undercut his own world record by 2 minutes or 1.7%.
Here they are aiming for more of like a 7% improvement, because drafting is just so much more advantageous in the other two sports.
And with all due respect, the best athletes of both genders do not participate (if Jan comes back in the form we know him in).
That really changes the dynamics of the sport.
It’s more in the realm of „fastest 100m TT“ to me, where they draft behind cars or ride only one way with a strong tailwind.
I am still interested in the event, and see what they can achieve, but Kipchoge‘s sub 2 was in a league of its own for me.