Article written by Quintana Roo professional triathlete, Matt Hanson, 4x IRONMAN champion and 3x 70.3 champion.
It has been almost four months since my trip to the Boardman High Performance Center for physiological and aerodynamic testing. I’ve held off on publishing this for a few reasons. Primarily, I wanted a chance to fully implement and test the changes we found in a few of the early season races so I could validate the findings. When I first told a few people outside of my support circle the numbers I was finding in the tunnel, their responses were pretty much along the lines of “there is no way that’s right…” I tend to trust numbers more than opinions, but before feeding the fire for you internet trolls out there, I thought I’d hold off to have the data from a few races to verify the numbers from the tunnel. Now that Ironman Texas is in the rear-view mirror, I feel even more confident in the data we found. So here you go:
Obviously, taking corners, climbing, grabbing bottles from aid stations, etc. is going to influence drag. So to be so close to the numbers I was getting in the wind tunnel is definitely something to be excited about.
I spent two full days in the Boardman Center with the team there along with my bike coach, Matt Bottrill. We started the time with an orthopedic and biomechanical assessment and then a bike fit. This allowed us to play with a few positions along the spectrum of the most aggressive from an aerodynamic standpoint and the most from a power production standpoint. Then we took the position into the tunnel for refinement and optimization. I spent the next two days riding the new position to make sure I could hold a line and felt comfortable, then headed back to Boardman for day two of testing. Monday started with a full gambit physiological tests in the new position to make sure I could breathe and produce the power we wanted (and also gave me a full profile of myself as an athlete). Then we went back to the tunnel primarily for equipment optimization.
I could go on and on about everything I found there, but that would get way too long and no one seems to have the attention span to read that these days. So I’ll just highlight the major findings.
Overall, I couldn’t be happier with what I got out of that trip. It confirmed how much right we were doing already, and helped me find a lot of free speed. The team at the Boardman center has been fantastic. I’ve been able to go back to them with a number of questions for follow up and they are always quick with a response. It was also really fun to geek out talking shop with the exercise physiologists they have on staff. I was pleasantly surprised by the team they have assembled and hope to be able to return again the next time I am in the UK visiting Matt, even if just to talk shop!
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