Ok one last post on the Super-Tuck. There’s some mis-information out there. I think everyone agree’s that it’s empirically faster, however great caution must be exercised when using it. Trying it out mid-race will endanger you and people around you. As with most things cycling related: practice first.
OK, warnings aside, onto some practical information.
As you can see there’s 4 positions: Drops, Hoods, Elbow’s on Bars, and finally ‘Super-Tuck’. One other note is that all positions were done while pedaling except the Super-Tuck….which is usually pretty appropriate.
Recalling the Drag equation, CdA is a measure of how ‘aero’ something is and is directly proportional to the amount of drag generated by an object.
|Power to overcome drag (30mph)||CdA (m^2)|
|Aero on Hoods||409w||0.276|
|Aero Postion tops||383w||0.259|
Recall, that CFD report that came out mid-TdF busting the Aero benefits of the ‘super-tuck’ claimed that the super-tuck was 0.6% LESS aero than a standard drops position. However Mac’s wind tunnel results show that Mac’s position in the Super-Tuck is 32% MORE aerodynamic than his position in the drops. I’m sure this delta is exacerbated by the fact that he’s pedaling in the drops…but still. Even if it’s only 25% without pedaling in the drops that difference is HUGE.
The answer to what to do with regards to the super-tuck is…….it’s complicated.
For instance We just did a Time Trial this weekend as part of the River Gorge Omnium. If you’re not familiar with the courses there are several relatively long downhills during the course of the 4 mile TT. We don’t have specific time trial bikes since we don’t really do many during the course of the year. Riding a standard road bike changes the type of ride you’ll have to do for a TT. On the main downhill that occurs mid-way through the race:
I mean yeah I’m 6 seconds slower than the eventual winner from this year’s TT: Aaron Beebe, but I’m also fairly certain I did less pedaling and probably recovered a bit thanks to coasting for a whole minute.
This kinda paints a picture of what kinda gains you’re getting in the Super-Tuck. At 25 mph, for instance, the difference is pretty small and you probably should be pedaling. However the faster you go the more benefit you get. Hypothetically on a smooth, straight road going down a 5% gradient mac could do ~45 mph in the super tuck without pedaling, while the Aero Tops position (which is BASICALLY a TT position) he’d have to pedal at 340 watts, and in the Drops 445.
Bang for your buck wise, when I’m racing, I’m not pedaling over 35 mph. If you’re on a TT bike and strong enough to win a TT it’s a different story, but most crit racers are rarely in that situation.
However, if you’re mid-pack and you’re super tucked…..YOU ARE A MORON
**cough** looking at several riders at River Gorge Omnium, especially the kid with his jersey unzipped while he was super-tucking **cough**