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John Gets Our "Faster on Fewer Watts" Treatment

John on course at Boulder 70.3, where he set a bike PR by five minutes

John on course at Boulder 70.3, where he set a bike PR by five minutes

Over in the pool, we focus a lot on reducing drag instead of generating propulsion. Since water is 800 times more dense than air, the process makes sense. Out on the road, though, a huge industry has sprung up around generating more power and increasing a rider’s ability to work. At Output, we believe that comfort = power = speed, but that we should also optimize a rider’s aerodynamics as much as possible, without reducing comfort. If we balance both approaches, the rider performs to the best of his ability, usually on fewer watts than anticipated. We’ve talked about this before, but today bring you the story of John, who came to us looking to optimize his triathlon position ahead of Boulder 70.3.

John’s initial position

John’s initial position

When John came in he already had a low position, in a classic “grip it and rip it” triathlete’s riding style: flat bars that he had to pull up on to keep himself anchored in the saddle. It enabled him to put up very solid wattage numbers (he averaged 308 and normalized 323 watts while riding 24 mph at Wisconsin 70.3), but we thought he could make some gains through angling the hands up in front.

John’s final position

John’s final position

Still low (we actually removed 2cm of spacers from the front of his Shiv), but hands that were much more relaxed. The “high hands” position is win-win proposition, as it improves a rider’s aerodynamics WHILE improving comfort. And remember: comfort = power = speed. We used some 51 Speedshop 51-degree extensions reversed for the highest possible hand position, and installed some wedges under his arm pads to achieve the position. The result? After a few weeks of adaptation, John put up his fastest 70.3 bike split to date, riding 25.8 mph on 289 average and 296 normalized watts, respectively, PRing his overall race distance and hitting the podium for his age group.

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Even though it’s August, and the North American triathlon calendar is winding down, don’t put off making position changes until next year! Get your position adjusted now so you can ride it throughout the winter on your trainers, and remember that you want to make as many possible watts during training, and then as few as possible (while going as fast as physics allows) during racing. Come and see us today.

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