Aero Position for Triathlon 101 – Triathlete

“], “filter”: { “nextExceptions”: “img, blockquote, div”, “nextContainsExceptions”: “img, blockquote”} }”>

For access to all our training, gear and race reports as well as exclusive training plans, FinisherPix photos, event discounts and GPS apps >”,”name”:”in-content-cta”,”type”:”link “}}” >Sign up for Outside+.

Among the many weird things triathletes do in our sport (pee in a wetsuit, eat glorified mush, walk around in spandex, etc.), one of the weirdest feelings is cycling in a semi-horizontal position.

Colloquially referred to as “in aero” by triathletes, this semi-horizontal position means a rider’s elbows are resting on the arm cups of two aerodynamic extensions and their hands are outstretched, holding the end of the two aerobar extensions.

We’ve seen some extreme aero positions over the years from both pro and age group riders looking to save watts and cheat the wind – but is this setup for everyone?

What does it mean to be Aero?

While the fundamentals of an aerodynamic setup don’t change—elbows on arm cups, arms outstretched on the extensions—no two bike fits are the same. It is highly recommended that you consult a bike fitter first if you are considering transitioning from riding upright (e.g. on a road bike) to shuffling in an aerodynamic position.

Missy Erickson is the owner of Ero Sports Pennsylvania and an Olympic cyclist. She’s fit hundreds of cyclists, including those who have wanted to make their fit more aerodynamic, whether that’s by adding clip-on aerobars to their road bike or by purchasing a triathlon bike with built-in aero extensions.

TIED TOGETHER: Road Bike vs Tri-Bike: What’s the Difference?

In Erickson’s experience, being aerodynamic means finding a balance between comfort and efficiency.

“Your best aero position is where you’re most efficient,” says Erickson. “Being truly aerodynamic means finding a blend of comfort and efficiency that allows you to perform at your maximum level on race day.”

Erickson noted that it’s common for athletes to try to replicate positions other athletes see, but that’s a recipe for disaster.

TIED TOGETHER: Ask a Gear Guru: How Much Slower Are Clip-On Aero Bars?

A triathlete rides in an aero position during a triathlon
(Photo Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Why is the aero position important?

If you’re looking to take your triathlon game to the next level, one way to achieve free speed is by finding a more aerodynamic bike fit. In some tests, riders saved up to 70 watts over 10 miles when transitioning from an upright road bike position to an aerodynamically optimized position on a triathlon bike. Seventy watts is a a lot of of free speed and saves several minutes of time. While each rider’s wattage and time optimizations will vary when transitioning from a road bike to a tri-bike, the data suggests that with an effective bike fit, aerodynamic behavior will reward the rider with time and less energy expenditure.

Also Read :  Garmin Forerunner 255S Music: A user review

Lexy Troup from Fort Collins, Colorado is a former collegiate swimmer who got into triathlon a few years after graduating to find fitness and community after years of dedicated swimming training.

After her first sprint triathlon, Troup knew she wanted to cover longer distances in the sport and that her commuter road bike wouldn’t be enough for hours in the saddle.

“My triathlon coach encouraged me to get a triathlon bike as I was preparing for my first half Ironman,” says Troup. “He told me it would save me time and energy over the miles. I was a little skeptical at first – as a swimmer I was used to working so hard to drop even 0.5 seconds off my personal best, but buying a tri bike was worth it.”

Troup bought their first tri bike a few months before their 70.3 and got a companion to go with it.

She notes that her first impression of the aero position was, “Damn, that looks painful.”

However, Troup was pleased to note that with a few adjustments from trained bike specialists, the aero position need not be uncomfortable.

“Now that I’m training the full distance for my first Ironman, I actually find the aero position to be more comfortable than riding upright on my all-day rides,” says Troup. “I use less energy in aero and I can rest my upper body differently than on a road bike in aero and make the most of descents and flats.”

TIED TOGETHER: Maximize the strength and flexibility needed to stay aerobic

How low should I go in an aero position?

The lower or more “aero” an athlete goes, the more they decrease their hip angle (how much room your hips have to extend with each pedal stroke), have to crane their neck up to see, and shift their weight forward her bike. All of this can lead to physical ailments such as cramps and unsteady handling if too much mass is placed on the handlebars.

Well – is it possible to achieve a very comfortable, very aerodynamic position? Absolutely. For those who have been in the sport and have carefully evolved their bike fitment over the years to suit their flexibility, mobility and athletic goals, a lower aero position to gain some free speed might be achievable, but it is is probably not a healthy starting point for those who are new to a tri bike.

“The last thing you want to do is throw yourself into an impossibly low aero position,” says Erickson. “I understand the appeal of wanting to ‘look aero’, but when you’re so aerodynamic you can barely hold your head up, you’re actually moving backwards in terms of power delivery.”

Also Read :  Russian cosmonaut hitching ride with SpaceX as part of next space station crew

One of the main advantages of the aero position is that air and wind can flow more directly Above you instead of having to find a way around You, like in a normal upright position.

“The last thing you want, especially for day trips, is to be a sailboat,” says Erickson. “When you sit up straight, your torso and arms are essentially a sail, which traps air and slows you down. Aero positions help eliminate some of that drag.”

Another plus for this awkward-looking position is that it can be more physically sustainable than riding upright, especially in long-distance races. Here, too, an individual bike fit comes into play. Without an expert eye on your fit, you can cause extreme discomfort and even injury when holding a DIY aero position.

TIED TOGETHER: Ask a Gear Guru: How Much Slower Are Clip-On Aero Bars?

How do I get “more aero”?

Even the pros don’t refine their own aerodynamic setups; They rely on experienced bike fit specialists.

When you start thinking about buying a tricycle, first consult a bicycle mechanic. They can help you take measurements before investing in a new bike and ensure you choose the bike size and brand that works best for your body’s physiology.

If you’ve already bought your first tri-bike, schedule a check-in with a bike mechanic every six months for the first year or so. Your body and fit can change a lot during this time.

“When you’re training to change your physique, lose weight, or gain muscle mass, it’s imperative that your fit adapts to those physiological changes,” says Erickson. “Even if you don’t want to change your physique, a change in training volume, such as E.g. moving from short to long distance races, check-ins over time to ensure your fit stays comfortable as your mileage increases.”

Before/After Aero Position Bike Fit

A before and after shot of an aero position bike fit.
(Photo: Ivan O’Gorman)

In the photos above you can see how bike fitter Ivan O’Gorman adjusted triathlete María Guerrero’s position. In the first photo (L), Maria has:

  • Higher back and higher head
  • Flat arms and shoulders a little far back
  • Saddle looks a bit low

In the second picture (R) of Maria you can see how the fit of the bike has been adjusted for a better aero position:

  • Flatter back and head more flush with neck/back
  • The arms are slightly raised, elbow/shoulder angles more comfortable for them
  • Saddle height adjusted for comfort and hip angle efficiency

Although the aero bars are usually a sure sign of this, be sure to mention to the bike mechanic that you’re a triathlete. Any good fitter will recognize the fact that you need to be able to walk well off the bike and incorporate that knowledge into your aero setup, particularly when it comes to saddle height and hip angle.

Also Read :  Doing exercise, workouts at work must continue

To find a bike fitter near you, ask local triathlon clubs or triathletes they trust to enter their aero positions. Google can be your friend here too, but word of mouth is usually the strongest way to find a trustworthy fitter.

TIED TOGETHER: The five keys to finding the right bike fitter for you

Be comfortable in the aero position

Aero is an awkward position no matter how you design (or customize) it. It is unnatural for humans to sit on a bicycle when it is folded forward. Initially you may feel very leaning forward or as if you are draped over your bike and stretched out too much. These are normal first impressions but still worth mentioning to your bike fitter during the initial bike fitment.

Once your fit is established, you should be comfortable in the Aero. You shouldn’t be using your core too much (ie tightening your abs for hours) to keep yourself on the saddle, and your hands shouldn’t be grabbing the aerobars for the life of you. You should sit firmly in the center or near the nose of your saddle, with your hands gently but securely holding the aerobars.

The first few rides in your new aero position may leave you feeling a little sore: your neck, shoulders, and buttocks can feel stiff at the end of a long ride. This is normal as long as the pain is not debilitating or persists for many days after the ride.

Lower back, hip, knee or groin pain should be treated immediately with a fitter as these are all signs that something is wrong with the fit, such as a fit. B. saddle height or saddle style, needs to be addressed. Allowing these indicators to fester can result in nagging injuries or saddle sores.

TIED TOGETHER: Ask a Gear Guru: How Do I Get Comfortable in the Aero Position?

If aero isn’t better

Aero is a position most beneficial on flats and non-technical descents. The aerodynamic position in these two scenarios allows the wind to flow over you, saving watts while giving you a stable feeling. You should keep your eyes ahead of the bike, not down between the bars, to scan the road for safety and awareness. When you’re climbing, navigating a gnarly descent, or facing high winds, you should be on the base bars (ie, the non-aerobars where your brakes are) for safety.

TIED TOGETHER: Here’s how to develop your aero handling skills

Source link