Pro Modifications: Jesse Thomas' Bike Tech Solutions Three-time Wildflower champion Jesse Thomas has made these eight key modifications to his Specialized Shiv. Pro Modifications: Jesse Thomas' Bike Tech Solutions MODIFICATION: TriRig Omega replacing the Specialized side-pull front brake caliper.
HOW: The aftermarket front brake mounts to the Shiv’s two brake posts.
WHY: The Omega sits completely in front of the frame while the stock version juts out to the side to reduce aero drag. Pro Modifications: Jesse Thomas' Bike Tech Solutions MODIFICATION: Disc cover instead of a solid disc or spoked wheel.
HOW: A disc cover is just two lens shaped sheets of plastic that bolt over a spoked wheel. The squeezing pressure from the bolts secure the plastic sheets onto the wheel.
WHY: Disc covered wheels have been shown to be similarly aerodynamic to standard discs. They also preserve ride feeling. Solid foam-core discs transmit a ton of vibration to the ride, although a disc covered wheel is noisy. Pro Modifications: Jesse Thomas' Bike Tech Solutions MODIFICATION: Thomas carries a water bottle in a cage attached to the back of his saddle instead of a frame-mounted cage.
HOW: The cage is zip-tied to Thomas’ saddle and a rubber band loops around the nipple to keep it secured.
WHY: Positioning the bottle behind the saddle has been shown to reduce aero drag compared to a bottle on the frame. Pro Modifications: Jesse Thomas' Bike Tech Solutions MODIFICATION: Hydration and nutrition mounted to the aerobar.
HOW: A sleeve of Clif Bloks are taped to Thomas’s up-turned extensions, directly next to another bottle in a horizontally mounted cage between the extensions.
WHY: A horizontal bottle between the arms has been repeatedly shown to create less aero drag than a frame bottle. Plus, the location makes both the bottle and Bloks easily accessible. Pro Modifications: Jesse Thomas' Bike Tech Solutions MODIFICATION: Sunglasses. Thomas still uses drug store aviators while he runs. He rides without shades.
WHY: When Thomas first came to Wildflower in 2011, he was a true up-start professional with nearly zero sponsorship or resources. He grabbed a pair of cheap glasses and ended up winning the race with them on his face. They quickly became part of his “brand” and, although he could certainly find a glasses sponsor at this point, he still races the aviators. Pro Modifications: Jesse Thomas' Bike Tech Solutions MODIFICATION: Fuelselage hose is taped to the frame extensions behind the stem and steerer tube.
HOW: A piece of duct tape wraps the hose to the stack.
WHY: By taping the base of the hose into place, Thomas prevents it from flopping side to side. Pro Modifications: Jesse Thomas' Bike Tech Solutions MODIFICATION: Instead of gripping the extensions, Thomas lays his hands on top of each other and ducks his head into the space behind them.
HOW: Thomas went to the San Diego Low Speed Wind Tunnel to test his position.
WHY: Although he only goes to this position when riding fast and straight, many riders have found that elevating the forearms and ducking the head helps reduce drag. Pro Modifications: Jesse Thomas' Bike Tech Solutions MODIFICATION: Lots and lots of transition stuff.
HOW: Thomas earned the number one spot and the transition place on the end of the rack, giving him a ton of extra space.
WHY: He laid all his gear on his towel, including a blue lunch bag. He had access to everything he wanted and a soft place to wipe the pebbles off his feet after running up the concrete ramp following the swim.
Photos and captions by Aaron Hersh.