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Into this (wind) Tunnel of Love

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Old 07-01-10, 05:48 PM
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Into this (wind) Tunnel of Love

Back from a 3-turned-5-hour session at the A2 tunnel in North Carolina. In addition to getting to meet Wanders for dinner and seeing the Smokies for the first time, it was both enlightening, and reinforced a lot of what I already thought I knew, which was mostly...

You just don't know.

But you need to.

The gains and losses can be huge; for all those "the frame doesn't make that big a difference" people out there, you don't know your buttocks from the Grand Canyon. "Good enough" might be worse, and all the intuition in the world might yield you great numbers, or lousy numbers.

Everything affects everything, and what might be the mack daddy of all helmets/wheels/frames for one set up might be a boat anchor for another. a 40w swing (or more) isn't hard to produce, grinding the gnats down at the lower CdA's is.

Case in point:

Testing a front wheel. Not great. Left it on and did a Playdough mock up of a rear break fairing on the Dean...the rear brake sits under the BB...

Wow....that worked!

Put on the best front wheel we had tried and...

Same number as without the fairing. Hypothesis was that the faring corrected some of the turbulence created by the front wheel.

One helmet rocked in one position, another in another.

So: Test. Borrow stuff. There is no "best" though there is "worst". Some stuff doesn't work no matter what. And know that getting 5 watts out of your position or equipment choice is often a heck of a lot easier than throwing 5 watts on your FTP.
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Old 07-01-10, 06:09 PM
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heretic

burn him

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Old 07-01-10, 06:15 PM
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U one serious dude...
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Old 07-01-10, 06:49 PM
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cda or gtfo.

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Old 07-01-10, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Greg180 View Post
U one serious dude...
Yes he is...but I benifit from his "trickle down aerodynamics".
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Old 07-01-10, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by El Diablo Rojo View Post
Yes he is...but I benifit from his "trickle down aerodynamics".
Reagan would have loved him
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Old 07-01-10, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
...Borrow stuff...
Can I borrow your BMI and FTP?


It was great meeting you. I now have a desire to drag my Madone over there and optimize my Merckx position.

Damn you.
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Old 07-01-10, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Greg180 View Post
U one serious dude...
It's good for the brain.

The TT thing was a surprise, first time I did one I won. For a while I grudgingly did them, without putting a lot of time or effort into training or set up. I kept finding myself at the pointy end of the results and finally started to put a little thought and effort into it. As it's progressed I guess I've come to accept that it's probably the strongest part of my racing. For stage races it's not a bad thing.

And it's really pretty engaging when you start delving into the primordial soup of cheating the wind.
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Old 07-01-10, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
And it's really pretty engaging when you start delving into the primordial soup of cheating the wind.
The benefit of the wind tunnel can never be underestimated! I only had 1 1/2 hours of tunnel time a while back with the focus primarily on position and not equipment (other than helmets) and came out with an estimated 43 Watt saving at 40km/hr on what I thought going in was a good position.
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Old 07-02-10, 02:46 AM
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How much testing for repeatability did you do? All these numbers all over the place make me think "noise," but obviously the engineers there know a little more about their system than I do.

Did you ever, say, do a test then get off and back on the bike without changing anything and retest?

The fairing phenomenon is interesting.
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Old 07-02-10, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Pedaleur View Post
How much testing for repeatability did you do?
Enough to verify. The numbers really weren't all over the place; no outliers to speak of and where I had done field testing on things like helmets, the results (A>B>C) for the various positions corresponded. Makes me pretty confident in my field testing BTW. And that's it's really easy to go slower.
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Old 07-02-10, 06:27 AM
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what is the equipment baseline before going into the tunnel?

for instance, if i go out and by a tt bike and whatever bars/extensions/helmet, etc. look cool to me, slap on my wheels that i already own, i assume i get significant return on tunnel investment just in getting the body position maximized?
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Old 07-02-10, 06:47 AM
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MD, when I went up and did the roll down tests with Ex that's essentially what we did. I bought my bike put on the equipment I already had, adjusted my position to get as low as I could with the flattest back and best head angle I could and we went testing. We did 4 runs per set up and found some interesting stuff, like I was actually faster with my arms slightly wider than I had them and in the standard UCI position my Giro was the fastest helmet. Using the "arms up Flandis" position the Uvex was significantly faster. We didn't bother testing wheels (although it seems my front wheel is fast based on Ex's wind tunnel tests we both use the HED 90) because frankly I can't afford to kick out a over a grand for new disc right now. What we did find was that my current position if pretty good, but the new position, assuming I'll be able to make the same power, will be over 1km/hr faster or +/-15w.
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Old 07-02-10, 06:58 AM
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Nice job, man! No pics?

Here's a video from my teammate undergoing tunnel testing last winter.

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Old 07-02-10, 07:06 AM
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Old 07-02-10, 07:08 AM
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rooma zoom zoom!
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Old 07-02-10, 07:12 AM
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He's not wearing socks...He's a Tri Guy! Burn him! Burn him!!!
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Old 07-02-10, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by El Diablo Rojo View Post
He's not wearing socks...He's a Tri Guy! Burn him! Burn him!!!
What is this afront to the sensibilities of moisture wicking components everywhere? New position looks fast BTW.
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Old 07-02-10, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by El Diablo Rojo View Post
He's not wearing socks...He's a Tri Guy! Burn him! Burn him!!!
It was over 90 in the tunnel. Socks and booties seemed a bit silly.
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Old 07-02-10, 07:44 AM
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Kestrel?

Ridley???
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Old 07-02-10, 07:45 AM
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Very interesting stuff. Was there one thing that was a big surprise?
I hear mtb downhill racers are using the tunnel now.
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Old 07-02-10, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by El Diablo Rojo View Post
MD, when I went up and did the roll down tests with Ex that's essentially what we did. I bought my bike put on the equipment I already had, adjusted my position to get as low as I could with the flattest back and best head angle I could and we went testing. We did 4 runs per set up and found some interesting stuff, like I was actually faster with my arms slightly wider than I had them and in the standard UCI position my Giro was the fastest helmet. Using the "arms up Flandis" position the Uvex was significantly faster. We didn't bother testing wheels (although it seems my front wheel is fast based on Ex's wind tunnel tests we both use the HED 90) because frankly I can't afford to kick out a over a grand for new disc right now. What we did find was that my current position if pretty good, but the new position, assuming I'll be able to make the same power, will be over 1km/hr faster or +/-15w.
thanks! next year, that's the year I get some dedicated equipment adn committ to improving against the clock. (i've been saying that for 5 yrs.)
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Old 07-02-10, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
Very interesting stuff. Was there one thing that was a big surprise?
I hear mtb downhill racers are using the tunnel now.
yeah they discovered you can get massive bong hits from it
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Old 07-02-10, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Creakyknees View Post
yeah they discovered you can get massive bong hits from it
Massive hits with low drag.
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Old 07-02-10, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
rooma zoom zoom!

"All I wanna do is zoom-a-zoom-zoom-zoom ..."
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