Ironmaz - Training Log

Saturday, August 09, 2008
The price of speed

There is a delicate balance between aerodymanics, comfort, power, and speed. The more aero you are, they faster you can go; provided you are comfortable enough to produce the power needed to go fast. Sometimes being comfortable means losing some aerodymanics and thus losing a little speed. But if your power output increases by being comfortable, you can make up the changes in aerodynamics. It's complicated enough without using math to find the right balance.

Early this spring, I opted to change my aerobars to the T2+ Cobra bars by Profile Design. They had the new s-bend shape, which meant less frontal drag. They were lower, which made the rider more aero. And they looked cool. I knew their width was less than my ever reliable Carbon Stryke bars, but I figured I could get used to them. This is what the bike looked like with the new bars.

Now I'm not going to lie. The bars looked cool and when you dropped down into them you went fast. Very fast. The bike sliced through the wind as if it wasn't there. The problem was that I couldn't stay in the bar for more than 15 minutes at a time. My arms would hurt, my neck would hurt, and no matter what I did, my heart rate always went up.

Of the 56 miles in Vineman, I spent about 15 of those in the aerobars.

Thinking ahead to Ironman Arizona, I decided that comfort was more important than being aero. I need to find a way to stay in the aerobars for as much of the 112 miles as possible. And so I opted to put the Carbon Stryke bars back on the bike. No they are not as aero and they weigh 5 ounces more than the other bars. But open putting them on, I hopped on the bike and immediately felt at home on them. My back was flat, my arms well supported, and my neck relaxed. I even felt more aero for some reason.

In the coming weeks, I will take the P2 out and see how the bars perform. But they seem better already. And the bike still looks cool.

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