Tuesday, May 28, 2013

How do I buy time, and how much does it cost?

This article is an oldie, but a goodie.  Thanks to my friends at Zone 3 Multisport who emailed out several months ago, I can share with you the triathlete's Holy Grail: How do I buy time, and how much does it cost?

Well, that sounds enticing, doesn't it?  If you even know what it means.

Let's start with triathletes, or shall I say triath-a-geeks (I'm allowed to make fun of myself).  At the heart of most triathletes, there is a geek.  We spend a lot of time and money looking into all the new gear, nutrition, widgets, fidgets, gadgets and thingamabobs that promise to help us train and race faster, and recover more quickly.  This also allows manufacturers to capitalize on this Special Group of Spenders (compression gear, anyone?  We'll talk about that later.)  In the end: we spend a $h!+ ton of money, so we can gain approximately 32 seconds in an Olympic distance race.  It's TOTALLY worth it, yo! (or you could just practice your transitions...that's also for a later conversation).  I digress.

Entrez...this article published by VeloNews in 2010.  Now, unfortunately, as a scientist, it pains me to say this: I cannot exactly validate these results.  I don't have access to the numbers, or the methods.  But for the sake of argument, let's at least take a look at the results of this study.

Your speed on the bike is determined by (1) overcoming wind resistance, and (2) the power you're able to exert.  This group of scientists looked at several pieces of equipment, garments and accessories and the time savings gained over a 40km TT (Time Trial for my non-geek friends) compared to a control.  The results will probably surprise you.

Dude.  Really?  A $150 skin suit buys me 1 minute, 3 seconds more than a fancy wheel set that starts at $2000+?  I also love that shoe covers gain more time than a rear disc wheel.  Sweetness.  Too bad it's impractical for triathletes (great news for cyclists though!)  
[Confession: I have considered how much time you'd save by putting on shoe covers in a long-course (Ironman) triathlon.  People would probably make fun of you, but if you can get your shoes + covers on and off in less than 134.4 seconds (2 min, 14.4 sec) in an Ironman race, your net time gain might be greater than never having them on in the first place!  Please - whoever tries this during their next IM - TELL ME HOW IT WENT!  How exciting.]

Of course, what you've undoubtedly also noticed is that simply being in the aero position on aerobars offers significant time savings, for just a couple hundred bucks.  And add in an aero helmet for kicks. 

Moral of this story: For not very much money, you can buy a significant amount of time, particularly in the 70.3 and 140.6 distances.  Now you're all set, with an extra few thousand bucks burning a hole in your pocket...

See article here.

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