Thursday, April 20, 2017

Aero Data: Vittoria Corsa Speed, Contintental GP TT, Continental Supersonic on HED JET+ 6 Black Wheel

Trying to shed some light on tires in the A2 Wind Tunnel
Thank you for everyone that contributed to the GoFundMe campaign to help make this a success!!! Even though we were only at $700 at the time of testing it is clear that people still giving means they value this independent research. It seems like a true watershed moment and I hope others do more more testing in the future. For now, 7 years of good flat karma for those that donated!!!

I have started a Slowtwitch thread for technical discussion of this.

The following is the aero data from the A2 Wind Tunnel on 4/19/2017. I have release just the HED JET+ 6 Black data for simplicity. I also have the Enve 7 SES data that will be coming. This is just aero drag at 30mph and DOES NOT include rolling resistance.

We tested clicnher tires, the 23mm tires (New SS and Vittoria Corsa Speed) at 85psi, the 25mm tire at 81psi, and the 23mm OLD Supersonic, which measures small, at 88psi. Valve extenders was 72mm long. Tires mounted mounted in direction indicated by the manufacturer. Some tires had to be pumped higher initially to get bead to snap and then were deflated and reinflated to proper psi. The little plastic tips on the Conti tires were all plucked off prior to testing although some excess rubber as common with Conti tires is still on the center line. All tires were brand new, purchased by myself from retail stores. The exact same tube was used for all testing.

Click to enlarge

Analysis:

While the Specialized Turbo Cotton had been the top performer for rolling resistance for this style of tire. Recent research by three independent sources has shown that the new Vittoria Corsa Speed is the new top dog by a wide margin. While the Turbo Cotton 24mm has performed terribly from aerodynamic perspective, the Continental Supersonic tire had similar rolling properties but with much better aerodynamics.

The purpose of this test was to investigate the aeroness of this new Vittoria Corsa Speed. Testing showed that it was quite similar to the new 23mm Continental Supersonic. We tested a brand new OLD 23mm Supersonic (measures narrower) and it still performed better aerodynamically but the tire is no longer in production and cannot be easily obtained.

Kool Stop Bead Jack Tool vs Some Tire Levers
Much easier to mount the Vittoria Corsa Speed with this tool 
Regardless the Vittoria Corsa Speed tires present a unique opportunity because it can be run tubeless. Without a tube inside but with sealant. The extra weight of the sealant more than makes up for the weight of the tube but adds the possibilities of significant flat protection.

Unfortunately one draw back of this tire is it is not easy to mount and is significantly tighter than other tires and especially so on these tubeless rims like the HED JET+ and Enve 7. Likely that is by design to prevent high pressure from the tire escaping to the outside. As a result I highly recommend investing in the Kool-Stop bead jack which makes getting these tires on rims much easier. Use of metal tire lever is likely to damage to the carbon rim, don't do it. You also need to invest in a set of tubeless valves, Stan's rim tape, and Orange Seal Tire Sealant. Links below.

Amazon Links: 
Vittoria Corsa Speed Clincher 700x23mm Tubeless Ready Tire
- Continental GP TT 700x25mm Tire
- Kool Stop Bead Jack
- Orange Seal Latex Tire Sealant
- Stans 21mm Yellow Tubeless Rim Tape
- Stans 44mm Tubeless Valve Stem (good for disc wheels but too short for deep wheels)
- Silca Tubeless 80mm Valve Stem (good for deeper wheels)

Friday, April 14, 2017

Aero Testing Tires + Wheels - Vittoria Corsa Speed & Continental Supersonic, Specialized Roval CLX 64, Enve 7 SES, HED JET+ 6 Black

Back to the wind tunnel
This post is for the purpose of defining the testing protocol and explaining the choices behind the equipment being selected for an upcoming wind tunnel test at A2 in Moorsville, NC on Wednesday the 19th of April. This test is part of a GoFundMe campaign started Friday, April 14th. Please consider donating. If you can't donate then please 'like', 'share', 'retweet', to help the cause.

Tires and wheels are always a hot topic and I am looking forward to finding the fastest combination of tires and wheels for Ironman racing. The tires for the test are the Vittoria Corsa Speed and Continental Supersonic. All tires and wheels are rim-based clinchers. I have selected three wheels including: HED JET+ 6 Black, Specialized Roval CLX 64, and Enve 7 SES. This is wheel-only testing, but wheel-only testing has been shown to be a good representation of how the wheel performs in a bike.

The equipment was selected based on variety of factors, but careful thought has been put into testing the equipment that could yield the fastest practical result without compromising safety.

Tire #1  - Vittoria Corsa Speed 

Recently, Vittoria has released the Corsa Speed which has been 2x independently tested to be the fastest rolling tire. It is also a tubeless compatible tire and can be used without a tube and sealant instead. It's 23mm width is smaller than the 24mm Specialized Turbo Cotton yet rolls much better - likely due to the elimination of a puncture protection strip.

In addition, the lip of the tire tread to casing combination may be thinner. It is believed that part of the poor aerodynamic performance of the Specialized Turbo Cotton could be explained by the pronounced lip of the tread to casing. Reducing the size of the lip could improve airflow over the transition. The shape of the tire inflated and width could also play a significant role, but this test aims to see how the Corsa Speed performs aerodynamically.

The Corsa Speed doesn't have a puncture protection strip, and the Turbo Cotton, a similarly constructed tire with a puncture strip, has had spotty results thank to numerous high profile flats by Ironman World Champion Jan Frodeno. The ability to use sealant may reduce the possibility of a puncture in a race situation

Tire #2  - Continental Supersonic

The Continental Supersonic was selected for its superior rolling ability as determined by independent testing. In addition it has been shown to have better aerodynamics than traditional cotton-based open-tubulars like the Vittoria Corsa Speed and Specialized Turbo Cotton.

In the past, the tire was 23mm wide but measured narrow. Continental has recently introduced a NEW slightly wider version of the tire using a similar casing width and tread pattern to the Continental TT. The Continental TT tire also rolls incredible fast and it is presumed the only difference is the Supersonic lacks the puncture strip which slows tires down. Presumably the Supersonic rolls even better given a wider width but it hasn't been tested as far as I know. In conjunction with this test I will reach out to independent tire testers to see if they would be willing to test the tire.

One false belief regarding the Supersonic is that it is "fragile" due to the lack of a puncture protection strip. Riders using the tire have experienced very little issue with the tire. I myself have used the 23mm Supersonic in 25+ Ironman 70.3 and Ironmans with success. TJ Tollakson has used the 20mm Supersonic with success. In my opinion athletes suffer from an irrational fear of flats and often choose tires like Gatorskins when in reality they could ride a faster tire, have a flat, change it and still come out ahead of riding Gatorskins.

Wheel #1 - HED JET+ 6 Black 

The HED JET+ 6 Black wheel is a 60mm deep wheel that features a black textured aluminum brake track. It looks like a full carbon wheel, but the wheel is an aluminum wheel with a carbon fairing. It is 18 spokes, 719 grams and has an internal rim width of 21mm. For comparison, the internal rim width of the Zipp 404 and 808 Firecrest is 16.25mm. The textured brake track offers superior braking in both dry and wet. The braking is so powerful that there was an adjustment period for me in getting used to them. Previous muscle memory from the Roval CLX 64, Enve 7 SES, and various Zipps, had me almost throwing myself over the handlebars from sheer stopping force.

Although the JET+ Black tested fractionally slower aerodynamically against the Roval CLX 64 in the Specialized wind tunnel with an independent observer. The tire tested was a Specialized tire which the CLX 64 was designed around. While the HED Jet+ is a wide rim, the maximum width of the wheel is not that great compared to the ENVE 7 SES and Roval CLX 64.

Wheel #2 - Specialized Roval CLX 64

The Specialized Roval CLX 64 has shown based on independent testing to be a very fast rim. It is 64mm deep, 16 spokes, and weighs 695 grams. Given Specialized has the ability to design and test wheels in their own very wind tunnel you would think they had all the opportunity to produce a fast wheel. The wheel uses a wide-rim, both internally and externally (20.7mm). The rim is also fairly easy to mount tires to. Use of the Corsa Speed on a HED JET+ or Enve 7 make installation and removal of the tire extremely difficult. In a race situation with a flat you might struggle to change the tire.

Wheel #3 - Enve 7 SES

The Enve 7 SES is a 71mm, 20 spoke wheel with a 19mm internal diamater and 29 mm external width. It also has a textured brake track but is not nearly as effective being carbon as HED's. The average weight for two Enve 7 SES I have weighed is 754 grams. While Specialized and HED indicate that a 22mm tire is the fastest tire aerodynamically for their wheels, there are compromises to be made in comfort and rolling resistance with those tires. Enve claims the the 7 SES is designed around a wider tire so the wider 23mm tires of the Supersonic and Vittoria Corsa may close the gap and the wheel/tire combo may perform better.

GoFundMe Campaign

The Gofundme campaign, if fully funded, will feature at least 7 runs. Each tire and wheel combo will be tested. This is wheel only testing of front wheels so it will be a single sweep from 0, 5, 10, and 15 or 0, 2.5, 5, 7.5, and 10. Tires have to warm-up to deal with expanding nature of air/rubber and need to stabilize before collecting data. As a result it is estimated it could take 10-15 minutes per run. The tube may have different length valve extender so as to best represent the possibility of the rim. The same two tires will be used across wheels. Raw data will be published and a summary of data will be prepared for easy readability and reference. Discussion if allowed will take place at Slowtwitch.

Tires will be inflated to 85 PSI.  Tire pressures need to be reduced with both wider tires and then again for the new wider internal rims. After talking with industry experts, other riders, and using wider rims for over a year myself, 85 PSI is an appropriate front-tire pressure for someone weighing 160lbs and will offer low rolling resistance, high comfort, and great handling.

If the GoFundMe campaign is not fully funded then I personally will fund the remainder required to make this trip happen but in that case I may only test one wheel and the two different tires. Or one wheel and few more tires than two. I do have two HED JET+ 6 to utilize time better in this scenario.

If the campaign is overfunded we may add other tires including Continental GP4000s, Continental TT, Specialized Turbo Cotton etc and keep the number of wheels at three.

If you have any concerns with the protocol please feel free to comment below, private message, hit me up on Slowtwitch etc.

Lastly, given the 16 hours round trip of driving I plan to do some of my own testing and tack on a few more hours. It is $1100 for 2 hours now and I will publish the results just as I did last year. Changes I will be making include incorporating Speedplay aero pedals, Trip Sockz vs 2XU compression sleeves, Kiwami LD Spider trisuit, LG aero trisuit, and Kiwami Tokyo Amphibian rear zip suit and testing the change from LG P9 to Giro Aerohead helmets.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Ironman Taper Tips & Pro Taper Comparison of Ben Hoffman and Jesse Thomas

The Ironman taper, this might be the hardest thing for beginner triathletes to do properly. I don't know what it is about Type A personalities, but so many of us just can't relax.

Some simple tips for your taper:
  • Aim to reduce your volume by about 30-50% of your peak training volume starting 2-3 weeks out.
  • Keep the frequency of the sessions the same. Reduce the volume and intensity of the sessions. 
  • Relax, less is often more.

Below is a comparison of two tapers from two superstars before the 2016 Ironman World Championship. Ben Hoffman finished 2nd (2014) and 4th (2016) at the Ironman World Championships as well as being an Ironman and Ironman 70.3 Champion.  Jesse Thomas is a six-time Wildflower winner and Ironman and Ironman 70.3 Champion.

I have highlighted some key sessions to help with readability. This is reverse engineered from their Strava accounts. Ben doesn't include his pool swimming so I can't say what he did for that. What I want you to keep in mind while looking at this is that these guys can easily push 370-380 watts and run 5:10-5:15 pace for an hour. They are fit and they do this for a living. Ben Hoffman came in training consistently 30 hours a week with weeks up to 40. Jesse Thomas has been training in the low 20 hours a week. 


Day Ben Hoffman Jesse Thomas
Wed Day 10 Run:  Aerobic build, 13.5 miles, 1:30, building from 7:00 pace to 6:05 pace

Bike:
2:11 ride / 37 miles
Travel to Kona

Bike: Shakeout spin. 55 mins, 17 miles, 130 AP
Thu Day 9 Bike: Aerobic ride with 1 hour at race wattage (295). 58 miles, 3h10m, 201 AP / 250 NP

Run: 30 minute transition run at 7 min pace 
Bike: Easy ride, 2:00, 42 miles, 180 AP / 205 NP. 7 min effort building from Ironman watts to Ironman 70.3 watts. Additional build effort at 3:30

Run: Aerobic steady run. 5.3 miles, 39 mins, 7:15 min pace.

Swim: 47 min, 3200 yards, 1000 yards at race pace (1:15/100)
Fri Day 8 Run: Steady aerobic run just below race pace. 8.5 miles, 1h, 7:05 pace

Bike: Easy spin, 1hr 113 AP / 132 NP
Bike: Easy spin, 10 miles, 45 mins. 110 AP / 130 NP

Swim: Swam course, 4200 yards, 1:01:30
Sat Day 7 Bike: Shootout group ride, 72 miles, 3:22, 207 AP / 253 NP, with 40 mins at 337 watts for hard section of Shootout

Run: Transition run, 5 miles, 33 mins, steady at 6:30 pace

Travel to Kona
Bike: Aerobic steady effort, 64 miles in 2:40, 246 AP / 258 NP.

Run: Transition run, 3 miles, 19 mins, descend 1-3 from 6:15 pace
Sun Day 6 Run: Shake out run, 6.5 miles, 50 mins, 7:43 pace

Run: Aerobic, steady, 7 miles, 50 min / 7:08 pace

Swim: OWS 3200 yards / 48:22
Mon Day 5 Swim: OWS steady cruise with a couple of pick ups, 3k, 42 mins,

Bike: Aerobic, steady, 50 miles, 2:20, 218 AP / 232 NP 
Bike: Easy spin, 21 miles, 1:12, 120 AP

Swim: Easy swim, 2k, 40 mins
Tue Day 4 Run: Aerobic, steady, 8.5 miles, 1:00, 7:00 pace Run: Race simulation run in Energy Lab, 5.6 miles, 38 mins, 6:41 pace

Swim: steady aerobic swim, 3k, 42 mins
Wed Day 3 Bike: Easy ride with 2x10 mile aerobic efforts (230 watts), 40 miles, 1:52, 208 AP / 220 NP

Run: Transition run, build to race pace, 3.8 miles, 26:16, 6:49 pace
Bike: Race pace efforts, 1 hour with 2x10min build from Ironman pace to Ironman 70.3 pace with 5 minutes spin between. 1:03, 22 mi, 213 AP / 238 NP
Thu Day 2 Run: 5.2 miles, 37:34, 7:09 pace, run steady with some natural efforts from elevation

Bike: 45 mins with short natural race pace effort from climbing
Run: Run easy, Underpants. 2.8 miles, 37:24, 12:55 pace
Fri Day 1 Bike: 45 mins with 10 min effort climbing at about race pace (280 watts). 175 AP / 222 NP

Run: Transition run, 2.5 miles at race pace, 16 min, 6:37 pace
Swim: Easy swim with 150 yards hard in the middle, 739 yards, 12:23

Bike: Easy ride, 13.5 miles, 44 min, 157 AP / 189 NP

Run: Short run finishing at race pace, 1.5 miles, 12 min, 7:22 pace. Build to race pace. 
Sat Race Day Swim 2.4 miles, Bike 112 miles, Run 26.2... Brag for the rest of your life!!! Swim 2.4 miles, Bike 112 miles, Run 26.2... Brag for the rest of your life!!!


Analysis:  
At first glance this may seem like a lot of sessions, but that is a key component to the taper. Again, you first and foremost keep the frequency of the sessions about the same. What changes in the taper is the volume and intensity. Although it may not seem like it, the total volume has been reduced to about 50% of the peak for these two athletes.

Volume only tells one part of the equation, the other part is intensity. Many of Jesse's efforts may seem big, but for Jesse these efforts are at his race pace for Ironman. While they may be Zone 4 or Zone 5 for you, they are no more than high Zone 2 / low Zone 3 for him. In addition they are not long. His longest effort is about 10 mins at race pace.

Add caption
Ben Hoffman's last big workout is on the Saturday before the race at the historic Shootout group ride in Tucson Arizona. He has a 40 minute effort at 337 watts. The day totaled 4 hours with the transition run. However the Hoff is notorious for doing the Shootout then adding many hours to total over 8 hours. 4 hours is still a 50% reduction from his biggest days. And while 337 watts sounds like a lot of watts, again, if he can hold 370 for an hour, it is a solid effort but well within him.

Links and other Ironman articles you might be interested in:
- Ben Hoffman on Strava
- Jesse Thomas on Strava
- My own pathetic Strava account

- Book: Iron War - Dave Scott vs Mark Allen

- Blog Post: First Time Ironman Tips
- Blog Post: Recovering from your Ironman

Lastly if you are triathlete, endurance athlete, or marathoner, I have set up a FREE Q&A group on Facebook. It will always be FREE. As a long-time age-grouper I spent way too long determining what information I could trust and what I couldn't. As a TRUE student of the sport I have learned a lot, remain open-minded, and realize that so many people disseminate information blindly and then bad myths become lore. I am hoping to shed some light and simplify things for people. Feedback is always appreciated.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Ironman 70.3 Triathlon Recovery Tips - From Age-Grouper Turned Pro


Huge congrats on your Ironman 70.3 finish! Whether this is your 1st Ironman 70.3 or 10th you should be proud of your accomplishment! Now it's time to change your focus to recovery. Focusing on recovery can help you and your body recover faster, and if you have another event planned, to resume regular training sooner. Here are a few recovery tips from my own experience over 50+ Ironman 70.3s, 25+ Ironmans, and 40+ Marathons.

#1 - Drink a protein shake as soon as possible after the race. This will start the recovery process as soon as possible. You will get plenty of carbs at the food tent, but easily digestible protein options are often lacking. Have a family member bring you a protein shake at the finish

You can stop at the local drug store and get a Muscle Milk or a Quest protein bar. I prefer to put some plain whey protein isolate (20g) + 1 scoop of Base Amino (10g) in a Blender Bottle. Whey is very quick absorbing and easily digestible, but Base Amino is free-form amino acid that doesn't need to be broken down and is even faster to digest.

Take another shake at night before you go to bed and one more the next morning. Personally, I continue this pattern for 3 days post race but if you want some real protein too then go with it!!
A must post race for DIY protein drinks

#2 - Keep moving - Don't sit for extended periods of time. Take frequent short walks to keep the blood moving thru the legs so toxins can be expelled. If you have a long drive home try to walk a few steps while at the gas station and when you get home. If you have a long flight get up mid flight to walk around.

#3 - Avoid caffeine - caffeine is going to add further stress to the system. Avoid or reduce intake if you can

#4 - Sit in recovery boots. If you own a pair of recovery boots then sit in them for 30 minutes post race and again before going to bed. If you have don't have a pair then think about investing in a pair. They are simply awesome!!!

Here is a short comparison on two units I have and continue to use daily: Normatec ($1395) Vs Air Relax ($370).

Possibly the most relaxing
way to recover!!!



#5 - Drink lots of water - if your urine is dark you need to be drinking more fluids but you also need to drink water to help flush the toxins. If using the boots or getting a massage remember to drink a glass of water afterward.

#6 - Take a nap - The more naps the better. Don't think of naps as being lazy, think of them as aiding the recovery process.

Bromelain ie Pineapple Enzyme -
 Natural anti-inflammatory + Breaks down proteins
#7 - Avoid NSAIDs and other painkillers as they are going to be hard on your system. If you need something for pain look to natural anti-inflammatories like Bromelain, the enzyme in Pineapple that is a natural anti-inflammatory.

You can buy and eat Pineapple or just buy Bromelain itself which is extracted from Pineapple. It also aids in the breakdown of proteins which will further the rebuilding process. My recommendation is this Source Naturals 2-pack. 240 tablets in total.

#8 - Limit Exercise - walking is great, swimming is great, spinning is good, some very light and short runs are ok. The key is to listen to the body. If you are used to wearing gadgets maybe leave them at home, or at least don't not look at them during your session. Go by feel in the week post race.

#9 - Take an Epsom Salt Bath - Epsom salt can help relieve general soreness with delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). DOMS is what you are feeling when you feel that pain in your quads or calves and especially so walking down the stairs. Epsom salt can help relieve that pain naturally. Pour a generous amount of Epsom salt into a warm bath and soak for 15-20 minutes

Epsom salt baths can promote
bloodflow and helps with DOMS
.


#10 - Be cognizant of germs - The long race + travel can really wipe out your immune system. Before heading to the food tent grab some anti-septic if you can.

#11 - Use the foam roller. You might be too sore after the race or even the following day, but use a foam roller as soon as you can. Using the foam roller helps to break up adhesions, scar tissue, and to continue to promote blood flow back to the tissues. Drink a glass a water after a solid 15 minute rolling session.

If you don't have a foam roller, you might consider making the investment. My personal favorite one is the original Rumble Roller. It is a rough at first but once you use it consistently your tissues will become more supple and you will never use anything else. I have long version for home use (black, firm), and a short version for travel (blue, soft).
My personal collection of *knobby* foam roller

Lastly if you are triathlete, endurance athlete, or marathoner, I have set up a FREE Q&A group on Facebook. It will always be FREE. As a long-time age-grouper I spent way too long determining what information I could trust and what I couldn't. As a TRUE student of the sport I have learned a lot, remain open-minded, and realize that so many people disseminate information blindly and then bad myths become lore. I am hoping to shed some light and simplify things for people. Feedback is always appreciated.