Are you a Froome Dog?

So if you’ve done any races with hills (aka outside the midwest) you’ve probably noticed a lot of people doing their best Chris Froome impression:


The reason why I hate people using this position is actually a great example of system analysis. There are a lot of physics going into why this type 0f riding is both great….and awful. I will get into both.

This history of super tuck is pretty short, I think widespread is first spoted in Kwiakowski at the 2014 world championship.

Since then it’s been used by Sagan to great effect and a lot of dudes going for that ‘Local Strava KOM Descent’. Needless to say it’s permeated to the point that dudes are super-tucking mid-pack during races…..which is INCREDIBLY STUPID. I don’t care who you are, or what race you’re doing, it’s foolish.

The problem is that the ‘super-tuck’ really does work….IMHO.

Recently, Bert Blocken posted an article on Froome’s position. Blocken used to have a course on coursera.com on Sports and Building Aerodynamics which was pretty good. In the paper his main postulation is that just simply riding in the drops is only 1% less aero than a TT position while the “super-tuck” is 1.6% less than the TT position. So there’s really no point to ‘super-tuck’ since it’s worse than just riding downhill in your drops.

CFD of body bike positions

Fluent SUCKS!!!!

I’m REALLY skeptical of these results even though the modeling practice he uses are “wind tunnel verified”

NUMEROUS sources indicate that the differences between positions is MUCH greater than 1% as indicated by their CdA (the non-dimensionalized correlation to compare the ‘slipperiness’ of various aero shapes). CdA is a much more important metric than simple Cd. For instance, the reason why a TT position is necessarily more aerodynamic than a standard road position is that the ‘A’ in you ‘Cd * A’ term is reduced by tucking your arms in in-front of your body. Cd by itself is simply the slipperiness of a given shape irregardless of size.

If you want to see some comparison’s see the tables listed below, but the bottom line from these other tests is that the difference between your vanilla in-the-drops-road-position vs Full Aero position is REALLY around 13%-15%. Which, anecdotally seems right.

It has seemed to be successful for at least TWO world championships and for Froome’s daredevil descent in the TdF.

MORE anecdotal evidence can be found pretty much anywhere. Go descend with anyone, once they get into a super tuck, you’re really pedaling to keep up. The article feels very much like it’s safety driven, and wrong(despite the fact that I agree with the sentiment). I mean, it WAS written on LinkedIn.

I’ll break this post up into two parts since it’s getting a little long. So far I’ve established that the ONE cfd  report done on the issue is definitely missing something, and that ANECDOTALLY the ‘super -tuck’ seems a whole Hell of a lot faster.

3 HPV performance aero and drag chart

Other sources (from CyclingPowerLab.com):

Source Test Format Scenario CdA
High Performance Cycling (Jeukendrup, 2002) Wind Tunnel Tops .4080
Hoods .3240
Drops .3070
Aerobars (Clip on) .2914
Aerobars (Optimised) .2680
Bikeradar Article “How Aero Is Aero” (2008) Wind Tunnel Road Bike, Road Helmet, Drops .3019
Road Bike, Road Helmet, Aerobars .2662
Road Bike, TT Helmet, Aerobars .2547
TT Bike, Road helmet, Aerobars .2427
TT Bike, TT Helmet, Aerobars .2323
Scientific approach to the 1-h cycling world record: a case study (Padilla et
al, 2000)
Complex Estimation Mercx 1972 (Road bike, Std. Helmet, Drops) .2618
Moser 1984 (TT bike ex. Aero bars) .2481
Obree 1994 (Obree position) .1720
Indurain 1994 (TT Bike, TT Helmet, Aero bars) .2441
Rominger 1994 (Superman position) .1932
Boardman 1996 (Superman position) .1838

 

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The “safe” neutral lap

This past week was the USACycling Winston Salem smorgasbord of races, where probably 100 races were hosted and my teammates and I were only eligible to do one: the Crit. I didn’t see any of the masters racing but apparently their crit, run on a different course, was a total mess. You can read the great write up here:

https://medium.com/@JeffreyKoontzx/racing-crashing-and-the-us-masters-national-championships-cfa16ac05871#.u6ymsk8rz

It’s simultaneously pretty infuriating and indicative of why races are losing riders in droves. The biggest event of the year for many non-pro riders which is also VERY expensive, is essentially ruined.

I remember the first time I did an Elite Nationals Crit in Augusta Georgia. I registered day of, the woman running registration did not have a cash box and stuck my $120 in her bra, not sure what was more believable: that I didn’t get a dance out of it, or that a crit cost $120.

One thing that stuck out to me in Koontz’ article was the incident with the race stopping and the officials attempting to re-start with a neutral lap.

A similar thing happened at the USA Crits Spartainburg Criterium. There was a crash a few laps into the race due to poorly placed barriers on the inside of a corner. The crash was pretty nasty and the officials were forced to stop the race, which was a good call. However things went down from there.

The officials stopped the race right at the crash corner. Ideally everyone should stop behind the chief judge. But, since this is a very technical race where your relative position in the field matters quite a bit, riders are inclined to “sneak” past the moto ref. Obviously not every bike rider is a callous jerk, but it becomes a bit of a prisoners dilemma, if you’re the ONE guy following the rules you get stuck at the back and your race is significantly more difficult now. What resulted were riders slowly leap frogging each other until the crashed rider and EMT people were literally in the middle of the field.

The officials decided to re-set and bring the field back to the start finish line for a restart……a NEUTRAL restart.

Anyone who’s raced probably has the experience of a “neutral” start. They’re either REALLY hard because the lead car is doing 30mph and they think that’s normal. Or they are the sketchyist things you’ve ever done. You have 100 guys bumping elbows, bumping barriers, and in the worst case, bumping the lead car or moto (with potential of someone getting run over). Now I’m not sure where the idea of a neutral start being a good idea comes from, is it a USA Cycling officials thing? Do officials think we’ll all stay in line like a NASCAR re-start (heck no!).  After much yelling by pretty much every single rider in the field they settled for a 1/2 lap neutral start which was about as useless as it sounds, but at least not super super dangerous.

I don’t understand the need for neutral re-starts in crits. Typically for criterium racing the faster and more strung out the race is, the safer it is. Plus when the race actually starts, there’s no neutral start and everyone seems to do just fine with it.

My 2-cents, for what it’s worth, is that officials need to be more strict with some of these safety issues (which is a fine line I realize). The riders really don’t have a lot of fear of breaking some of these rules during races so you have situations like the one in Spartainburg.

Oh well.

In other news here’s the crit course for the upcoming Elite crit nationals:

Norton Commons Criterium Course

So……………………………..Meh

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No defense of the snake

I sadly will not be able to defend my title at Snake Alley this year and instead will be racing the Crit at Winston Salem.

It just could not work out with work. The 12 hour drive made it impossible to get there without taking a BUNCH of time off work. Flying was out due to the pretty remote nature of Burlington Iowa….surprise, there’s not a lot of flights going into Iowa.

Great shot attacking up #snakealley with @isaaclneff @pocsports @raleighbicycles @stansnotubes @guenergylabs

A photo posted by Chris Uberti (@cuberti) on

 

I’m SUPER bummed. It not only goes down as my favorite race on planet freaking EARTH, but probably the closest Snake Alley win in history:Chris Uberti winning 2015 Snake Alley Criterium

The #snakealley bike throw. Just a hair #cycling #sprinting #winning great racing with @Chris_winn

A video posted by Chris Uberti (@cuberti) on


So best of luck to everyone racing in Iowa this weekend.

My only real hope this weekend is that it ends up raining for the PCT race in Winston Salem.

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Thru Axles on Road Bikes

So now that everyone’s got disc brakes on road bikes for some reason, the next logical marketing step is to sell Thru Axles to the people who just bought a new bike, so that they can sell that bike and buy ANOTHER bike AND wheels. Whenever I see a thru axle on a bike, I literally only think of this:Gloria_wingnut

You know I think there was a guy who got fed up with these types of things…I think his name was Campagnolo or something like that:

Origin of quick release[edit]

While racing through the Italian Dolomites on November 11, 1927 with freezing weather and snow, he lost the race victory due to a wing nut he could not remove to change gear. The title that Campagnolo sacrificed through the Croce D’ Aune Pass encouraged him to develop the quick release wheel locking mechanism. This quick release skewer, which is in use and famous today, enables a bicycle wheel to be removed and re-attached quickly, and was the first of his many inventions from his father’s Vicenza workshop that he is well known for.

But what does that guy know? He wasn’t even good enough to have a team car to give him a brand new sparkling bike when he got a flat (what a loser!)

I really think we need to go a step further, bikes are not stiff enough! forget thru axles, the axles need to be built right INTO THE FRAME!

This way, when you get a flat tire you can simply throw not just your tube or tire in the trash but your ENTIRE BIKE.

$10,000 Venge? In the Trash! You cant be riding on worn out components anyway!

You’re a serious racer who CANNOT sacrifice the smallest bit of performance on your next fondo!

Just ask yourself, what would a real professional do??Bike Throw 1


Luca Paolini Doing Cocane


tumblr_mll376Q07q1qfcvrto1_400


H


Hulk SMASH

Hulk SMASH

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Re-post: Uber Tips for Bike Commuting

Posted this a couple years ago when I first moved down to Greenville, now that I’m back in the Engineering game and starting to train again for 2016 it’s relevant again!

So it turns out working a full time job and putting in a respectable Pro-level training load is a wee bit of a time commitment, thus I’ve been neglecting the blog (plus it’s the off season). Initially moving down to Greenville I cut out my bike commuting because of my short 10-15 minute commute. However I quickly realized once training started up how difficult it was to motivate myself to ride after work and get the hours in. I forgot how easy it is to pile on the miles with bike commuting There are all sorts of benefits of commuting to work by bike, but for me it really boils down to just two: time management and stress.

Time management is a big factor for me when I’m trying to put in the training hours. Driving to work is a huge time killer and was particularly so for me when I lived up in Cincinnati. The commute could easily top 30 minutes each way. Riding my bike that same distance took only 45 minutes. Since I was going to train most days after work anyway, it really just freed up another hour of my day. Additionally, bike commuting was extremely consistent in terms of travel time. Without traffic (which on I-75 in Cincy was a total crap shoot) to worry about I could leave at exactly 8, get to the gym at exactly 8:45, shower and be at work by 9 every day. The ONLY time I was late commuting by bike was when I got a flat tire. This commute became so routine for me that I started to dread my forced off days where I’d have to rest the legs and drive in. The miles quickly add up as well. Even without additional training or detours that was 6 hours on the bike during the week, not too bad.

As far as stress relief goes I didn’t even realize how stressed out driving made me until I started riding. It may have been because I knew I was essentially wasting time in the car, or just the fact that driving during rush hour and sitting parked in traffic is always a pain, but I would become extremely stressed out driving to work. Whenever I rode to work I knew I already had some of my training already built into the day which helped me relax and focus on work. I’d also show up to work very alert and awake since I’d already been exercising.

I’ve become a total convert of bike commuting, but it definitely takes ALOT of planning to make it enjoyable and worthwhile, however once you have a routine going it’s a blast. Here’s some of the things I’ve learned, if anyone still reads this blog I hope it can help you start or improve your commute:

LOGISTICS
1. Find a shower
This is tough to go without, I found a gym near my place of work that I joined. The money I saved in gas quickly paid for the membership each month. If you’re training after work you’re going to shower twice a day anyway.

2. Get a locker
This makes your life a whole lot easier. Not only can you keep shampoo/soap/deodorant there, carrying wet cycling gear to the office isn’t an option sometimes (it smells). If you get to expert level of commuting you can leave cycling/work clothing there for a few days worth. Bringing this stuff in on off days allowed me to commute/train backpack free without having to stop off at home before heading out to good routes.

3. Bring an extra pair of underwear to leave in the locker
You will forget and it will be uncomfortable

ROUTES
1. Scout some routes
The route you use to commute is VERY important. Take an easy day on the bike to pre-ride your commute. This way you won’t get lost the first time you ride in (and end up being late), you also wont be time limited and can check out other roads that might seem better for commuting

2. Avoid busy roads
Obvious, but if you need to jump on a high traffic road always go for 4 lanes. You’ll be surprised how much space you’ll get from drivers, even in traffic, if they have another lane to pass you in.
– A sub-but very important-point to riding a 4 lane road is to ride in the MIDDLE of your lane. If you gutter yourself people will pass you without changing lanes and will get WAY to close for comfort

3. Avoid Suburban Areas
This may seem counter-intuitive but it’s been my very consistent experience that the more suburban (vs urban) the less tolerant people towards bike. Not sure what the reason exactly, but in the hundreds of commutes I did through Cincinnati I never experienced aggressive drivers in the more urban or poorer areas of the city. However without fail whenever I crossed into Glendale I had people giving me pieces of their mind out their window or with their horn.

4. Avoid large intersections
They kill your flow, add time to commute, and are usually highly trafficked by impatient people.

5. Explore new routes
After a few months I followed some random guy commuting and he took me behind an old Jim Bean factory to this pedestrian bridge across the freeway, this took 2 major intersections out of my commute. In a city there’s all sorts of weird oddities like this, so once you get your basic route down, don’t be afraid to try new ones out.

BIKE
1. Ride 25mm tires or bigger
Less flats, nuff said. I had a flat in the west end of Cincy once….switched over to beefy tires immediately

2. If you ride with a backpack you’ll have to tilt your saddle down or raise your handlebars
It will feel different

3. Get lights
Or not, getting caught out in the dark in the hood is actually a great excuse to leave work on time.

4. Ask if you can keep your bike in the office
Lot less headache and worry, plus you can ride your sweet bike in instead of a beater.

5. Get fenders
Riding in the rain is fun, and people give you all sorts of weird looks

GENERAL
1. Get your stuff ready the night before
Trust me it your motivation for riding into work is very low at 7 am

2. Run errands on your way home
Adds some miles, also multi-tasking

3. Start in the summer
Less clothes required, less dress up time, easier to start the routine.

3. Keep your head on a swivel
Don’t get distracted by speedometer, music, etc. Your senses are the only thing between you and getting creamed by some idiot driver not paying attention.

MOST IMPORTANT:
Be obvious and ride like a Honey Badger, Honey Badger don’t care
This took me some time to learn but greatly improved my overall quality of commuting: Don’t give a shit about pissing off drivers.

You are riding with people in 2 ton metal contraptions whizzing past you with not always the most competent people at the helm. Think of the drivers for a second: they’re in a rush, they’re on their smart phones, they may be drunk, they may be dozing off, who knows. The bottom line is don’t worry about hurting anyone’s feelings, be as obvious of a cyclist as possible. Ride in the middle of the lane, pull in front of people at stop lights, wave your arms wildly when turning. It may not convince any drivers to love cyclists, but really, a few people getting pissed off is a small price to pay when you consider the consequence of being hit by a car. If someone has to slow down because of you, yells at you, or honks at you, they’ve noticed you.

Those are just some things I’ve done and work best, hopefully it’s helpful to anyone considering it. Oh yeah and there’s all that, saving money and saving the environment stuff that goes along with bike commuting.

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