Kinetic One’s Ben Price gets aero in the velodrome and finds out that the new K1 80c’s are pretty damn fast!

Aero-testing with Watt Shop. Or more accurately: geeky wattage chat and the ‘tunnel of pain’.

It was a dream day for any cyclist who wants to go faster: private access to the ‘boards’ of an indoor velodrome, a British Cycling coach holding up your splits to make you feel like Wiggo himself, lots of serious data crunching and techy chat about wattage, plus a few new acronyms such as ‘CdA’ thrown in for good measure. Not to mention walking away a faster athlete at the end of the session with no change in physiology!

When my friend and fellow multisport athlete, Dan Geisler suggested some aero testing at the Derby Velodrome I thought he was mad, that it was just for the pros and David Brailsford with his obsession for marginal gains. But the more I thought about the more I thought, ‘why not?’: I train my arse off, have never thought much about my position on the bike (so clearly throw away some power) and fancied taking the TT machine for a spin on the boards. Plus, who’s not excited about the possibility of some ‘free speed’?!

We got in touch Dan Bigham of the new company Watt Shop and sorted a session at the Derby Arena.  Dan Bigham is a university graduate with an engineering degree, a serious passion for the finer detail, a 3 time gold medallist at the British Track Championships earlier this year (and currently heads the British elite road racing rankings), loves all things cycling and is also a very nice bloke to boot. In other words, he was the perfect person to make it a productive but also highly enjoyable day at the track.

The testing involved 8 or 10 laps of the track at a set power and speed (roughly 45kmh) before downloading the data, making changes to our bike setups and doing it again.

The changes I made included testing a high performance 58mm Zipp carbon front wheel against a new K1-80c Carbon front wheel, (that Andy at K1 had built for me the night before), lengthening the stem, narrowing the aerobars, trying a Huub high performance tri suit, shrugging the shoulders (the ‘turtle’) and several different helmet models amongst other things.

It was awesome fun hurtling round the track with Mick or Simon (local British Cycling coaches) holding up the timing iPad to show whether we were up or down on the target lap splits like you see on TV for the pursuit ‘schedules’. For a few fleeting seconds it felt like I was in the individual pursuit, hunting down Sir Bradley.

benvelodromepc

 

The only slight problem with the session was that I got the timing wrong on the first couple of tests: I basically went faster than I thought I had to, pushing harder than the threshold effort mentioned by Dan at the start. As the first two sets were at this pace I had to stick at it to make the data as meaningful as possible: in other words it got quite painful as the session went on! In the end it was really hurting and whilst trying to maintain the aerodynamic ‘shrug’ position with a new helmet obscuring my view I was in what can only be described as a narrow ‘tunnel of pain’- 10 laps was more than enough. The hour record? No thank you!

It was reassuring to find out that my Kask Bambino was faster than the other helmets I tried (no need to buy a new one).

Most interestingly from a K1 point of view: The new deeper K1-80c wheels were worth 2.0 watts per wheel over the Zipp 58mm’s I ran as a comparison. To put that in context: the 4 watt gain from going deeper and running a pair of K1-80c’s would take me incredible amounts of training to achieve from body power gains alone!

Ok, there’s a real world out there with things like hills and cross winds getting in the way. So the deeper wheels would of course not always be the best choice. But you can see the principle at work – get the aerodynamics right for your type of riding and you go faster!

Actua Data Below: Wheel aero test comparisons in yellow

Test 1 _ baseline normal position/ Zipp 58 front wheel /K1 prototype Disc Wheel

 

Test 2 _ baseline normal position/ Kinetic-One K1-80c front /K1 prototype Disc Wheel

Ben test data - watt shop

Sadly, as expected, the horrendously awkward shrug position is worth a fair few watts so I’m going to have to get a bit more flexible and spend more time on the tunnel of pain if I want to maximise my speed!

Overall, it was a brilliant day. I highly recommend Dan and WattShop. It’s a brilliant concept that yields great results. With Dan’s expertise, enthusiasm and cycling talent, WattShop is going to grow massively in the coming months and years. Sign yourself up whilst you can!  Ultimately, what more can a competitive cyclist ask for than a private ride round the velodrome, some wattage chat and walking away at the end of the day a faster rider?

 

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K1’s Wendy Wins World Silver

On the weekend 4th & 5th June the ITU World Duathlon Championship’s took place in Aviles, Spain. The event included both elite & age-group athletes, all looking to perform to the best of their ability. This was my first World Duathlon Championships & my ultimate aim was to get a podium place but foremost was to run/bike to the best of my ability & to enjoy the experience.

 

The venue and organisation of the Championships was superb. I arrived in Aviles two days before my race, which enabled me to do a recce of the course. On the Friday morning I rode the bike course with the GB team & I was filled with confidence. The course was only slightly technical and had a few inclines in it to break groups up, the road surface was superb (which meant fast) and lots of long straights, which suited me. Both run courses were pancake flat, running up and down the side of the river.

On race morning we had great weather, though the supporters probably enjoyed that the most! I lined up for the 10km run relaxed & confident that I could beat the majority of my competitors. The gun went & I set off at a reasonable pace following a Spaniard and Australian. I settled into the first lap running alongside fellow GB athlete, Gill Fullen. We worked together and gradually caught and passed the Aussie. I entered T1 leading my age-group, which boosted my confidence as I set off on lap 1 of the bike course. I knew I had strong cyclists chasing me down but I remained focused and kept thinking of my recent improvements I had seen in my bike training leading up to this event. On the final lap a Danish girl in my age-group came past me, but I didn’t let this bother me & kept pushing on. I had a reasonably quick T2 and started the 5km in silver medal position. My run fitness was beginning to show now though,  and I knew my pace was dropping and competitors were catching me! Since April I had struggled with achilles problems, so hadn’t been able to do the necessary run sessions and mileage as I would have hoped. Nevertheless, I was in silver position and was determined to keep it that way.

The crowd support was immense and 400m from the finishing line I was aware of GB supporters shouting at me to run for the line! My husband was screaming at me to sprint! Once I hit the blue carpet and saw the finish I sprinted to the line, beating a girl from the US by a mere two seconds – phew! I’d won a silver World Championship medal and finished 12th female overall. This is my best ever result at International level and I was immensely proud of my achievement. Next year’s champs are in Canada & I’m gunning for Gold!

Kinetic-One Duathlon Series – What a wonderful job this is!

Castle Combe was the wonderful venue for the finale of The Kinetic-One DBMAX South-West Duathlon series! And what a day! Not only were there our 400 entrants, but several hundred more in the 10KM run just beforehand, plus another 1000 or so students from all over the UK – piggy-backing on our duathlon!

castle combe duo1

With families and supporters this meant there were Literally thousands of sporty people at the “Combe”! Good news too that the weather was kind and helped the party atmosphere! It was a great day for Team K1 too, with Wendy coming in 2nd overall in the women’s event (beaten only by someone much much younger, sorry Wendy to mention that, and she was first vet of course).

wendy chilly nov 2015

Our Ben Price was laid low with Shin Splints, but there was something of a silver lining to the only cloud visible on such a great day – as Ben was crowned South West Duathlon series champ by virtue of his stunning performances throughout the year.

The race wrapped up very nicely the 2015 season for us and for most of the many friends we are lucky enough to have who came to race with us.

A huge shout out to DBMAX, in our humble estimation, the coolest and most efficient organisers the world has seen. Nothing phases them and its such a pleasure to work with them. Blimey, they should be working for NASA.

I know how much hard work goes into these events and into our teams training – Race Day is the culmination of all this blood, sweat (and tears !) of course!  There are so many people working massively hard behind the scenes too (marshalls, registration peeps, venue staff, timekeepers, referees, refreshment peeps, car park custodians, and loads more too!)

A huge thanks to them. – It’s hard work, but what an office we get to work in:

castle combe duo2

Now onto 2016 plans!