Craig Alexander In The Wind Tunnel Not a lot for the wind to see here! Even a small detail like where Craig keeps his thumbs on the aero bars is analyzed to minimize drag and maximize benefit. After numerous tests using a higher hand position and narrowed elbows, Steinmetz concluded that Craig’s fastest position was with lower hands and slightly wider elbows. Craig Alexander In The Wind Tunnel Craig Alexander tries on the new Specialized S-Works + McLaren TT helmet prior to a session at the A2 Wind Tunnel. Craig Alexander In The Wind Tunnel Alexander’s technical advisor Mat Steinmetz is a constant presence with Crowie, assisting in everything from motor-pacing to aerodynamic advising in the wind tunnel. Craig Alexander In The Wind Tunnel Steinmetz points out some positioning intricacies by snapping pictures using the camera on his phone, a technique many age-group athletes could use themselves. Craig Alexander In The Wind Tunnel Whenever Crowie is around, there is sure to be a crowd, and this session in the A2 wind tunnel was no exception. Specialized sent a film crew to document the day, which was the first time they had sent a triathlete to the wind tunnel. Craig Alexander In The Wind Tunnel Despite the high cost of time in the wind tunnel, examining the smallest details often helps to yield the highest gains in speed. Here, Craig is wearing the same helmet he used to capture the 2011 Ironman World Championship, establishing a baseline to examine how changes might help, or hurt, his position. Craig Alexander In The Wind Tunnel Because changes made in the tunnel are often minor, consistency in an athlete’s position is key. Here, Craig is being coached on how to maintain certain aspects of his position so that the results of any changes made can reveal themselves in the data more clearly. Craig Alexander In The Wind Tunnel This is the position that helped Crowie win the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii in 2011. Craig Alexander In The Wind Tunnel With Crowie famously switching to the new Specialized Shiv just days before his successful Kona Ironman in 2011, 2012 has been a year to fully take advantage of the resources that Specialized is able to provide him. Specialized sent their new in-house aerodynamicist Chris Yu to assist in this session. Craig Alexander In The Wind Tunnel While the photos of athletes riding in the tunnel are sometimes more interesting to look at, this is where the magic really happens: Steinmetz and Yu are here poring over data generated in the tunnel, and painstakingly planning their next move. Craig Alexander In The Wind Tunnel The main purpose of this trip to the wind tunnel was to examine the potential benefit the new S-Works + McLaren TT helmet might give Crowie in his world-championship title defense. Also tested during this visit were bottle positions and hand positioning. Craig Alexander In The Wind Tunnel Getting your hands on the new Specialized S-Works + McLaren TT helmet anytime soon might be tough, with initial production quantities expected to be low. Craig Alexander In The Wind Tunnel Performance advisor Mat Steinmetz is a master of details, and the positioning of Crowie’s helmet is no exception. Where a helmet sits on a particular athlete, and the shape of that athlete’s body, dictate what will be the fastest position. Craig Alexander In The Wind Tunnel Where a TT helmet’s tail sits relative to a rider’s back is a very important component of how the helmet will benefit the rider’s aerodynamic profile. Here Steinmetz helps Crowie to position the new S-Works + McLaren TT helmet to maximize its benefit. Craig Alexander In The Wind Tunnel While the new S-Works + McLaren TT helmet lacks any venting in the front, athletes are cooled by unique, gill-styled vents just to the rear of the ear flaps. Specialized contend that this design feature minimizes aerodynamic drag while still helping to keep athletes cool. Craig Alexander In The Wind Tunnel The new S-Works +McLaren helmet uses a truncated tail to minimize drag in the widest variety of positions and in the most varied wind conditions. Craig Alexander In The Wind Tunnel While wind-tunnel testing can verify the aerodynamic benefits of a helmet, real-world testing will be next to verify the S-Works + McLaren TT helmet’s utility racing the Hawaii Ironman. Steinmetz contends that very few equipment decisions are ever finalized in the tunnel. Craig Alexander In The Wind Tunnel Mat Steinmetz is currently a trusted advisor to many of the world’s top cyclists and triathletes, including Craig Alexander, but he will soon be providing many of the same services to amateur athletes as well through his new venture, 51 Speedshop. Craig Alexander In The Wind Tunnel Crowie listens as Steinmetz explains some of the changes made in the A2 Wind Tunnel. Craig Alexander In The Wind Tunnel Technical advisor Mat Steinmetz runs the show when Crowie goes to the wind tunnel. Here he explains the goal of the next set of tunnel runs while testing the new S-WORKS + McLaren helmet at the A2 Wind Tunnel. Craig Alexander In The Wind Tunnel To maintain Crowie’s place at the top of the triathlon world, his bike position is almost always a work in progress: any change that can be made is examined to assess whether it might help to gain a crucial few seconds. Steinmetz puts a lot of value in each trip to the wind tunnel, with each additional trip not only helping to try new ideas, but also to help repeatedly validate what was learned in previous sessions. Craig Alexander In The Wind Tunnel In order to most accurately assess Crowie’s bike position, he almost always wears his full racing kit, and rides his bike in its full race setup, while in the tunnel. Craig Alexander In The Wind Tunnel The eyes of Steinmetz are constantly scanning and studying the position of Craig Alexander during trips to the wind tunnel, looking for any clue that might reveal a potential gain in speed. Craig Alexander In The Wind Tunnel Mat Steinmetz.
Photos provided by Mat Steinmetz.
Captions by Geoff Nenninger.
Recently reigning 70.3 and Ironman world champion Craig “Crowie” Alexander traveled to North Carolina to do some product and position testing as he launches himself into a campaign to defend both of his titles. We spoke with Crowie’s technical advisor Mat Steinmetz about their goals while there.
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