Posted by: Joe Nuss on May 27, 2009
By Mike Beaman
You spend a lot of time managing your career and family to allow for precious triathlon training time. So, why waste those efforts by wearing and using gear that needlessly slows you down? Every year companies spend millions of dollars researching and developing aerodynamic gear to make you faster. Take advantage of it! In order of importance, here's the gear you should buy to be as aerodynamic as possible:
Properly Positioned Aero Bars
Aero bars are a must for lowering frontal torso area to reduce huge amounts of drag forces created by the chest and head areas. Elbows should be as narrow from the shoulders as much as comfort and handling ability will allow. Forward saddle positioning is important when lowering the torso so not to close or tighten hip flexion resulting in minimal loss of power.
Deep rim wheels offer greater aero advantages. Remember that the deeper the rim, the more likelihood to catch crosswinds, so choose your wheel selection carefully considering your handling skills, weight, and race courses. Bladed spokes are preferred over round spokes. Lightweight wheels are preferred but aero is more important. Weight is most important when accelerating and going uphill, but aero gains are larger.
***BIGGEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK***
Aerodynamic Race Helmet
Ranging from about $100 up, aero helmets have been shown to save as much time as a set of aerodynamic wheels.
Aero Bike and Components
Aero tubes, handlebars, wheel cutouts, narrow brake calipers, hidden cabling, etc., add up to slippery time savings. Rear mounted hydration systems in combination with a frontal aero bottle between the aero bars make drinking easy while staying in an aero position.
Eliminate loose clothing that might flap in the wind. Keep zippered clothing zipped. Open jerseys will catch airflow thus creating drag.
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Mike Beaman is the Bike Sales Manger at Inside-Out Sports and a professional F.I.S.T certified bike fitter. He is also been a triathlete, cyclist, and runner with over 22 years experience with 18 Ironman finishes including two Hawaii World Championships, ultra marathons, and too many other races to remember. He owes all of his accomplishments to his wife Jane and daughter Katie.