Outpacing the Gear Heads
Faster: Demystifying the Science of Triathlon Speed by Jim Gourley VeloPress 2013 $19
Triathlonis notoriously gear and technology- heavy and if you’re not an engineer or kinesiologist, it can be hard to discern the scientific language used to support product claims. Jim Gourley’s new book, Faster: Demystifying the Science of Triathlon Speed, answers questions you may have long wanted to ask but were afraid to. After all, revealing your technical blind spots could mean a field day for the wrong salesperson.
You’ve heard it about wind tunnel testing and claims of aerodynamic efficiency, but what is the yaw factor? We know we want to reduce it, but what is drag in the water? Can you really buy speed? The higher the tire pressure, the better, right? The answers to such questions are sure to surprise you. Gourley, an astronautical engineer and triathlete, debunks popular myths of performance enhancement, and his accessible language and numerous diagrams make Faster an easy read. Gourley shows readers how to question the elaborate graphs and quoted studies filling the White Papers of product manufacturers from aero helmets and race wheels to running shoes.
Gourley’s guide navigates the newest product trends and finds techniques in form and biomechanics that give them free speed – no purchases required. Still, there are upgrades worthy of purchase and Gourley weeds through an entire market of products so you don’ t have to.
Following an overview of physics as it pertains to triathletes, the book is broken into chapters on each of the sport’s three disciplines. These are further broken into subsections such as: understanding the bike and power, and another on the bike in relation to questions of weight and aerodynamics. My favourite section in the book is the self- explanatory “Numbers in the Real World: Because Nobody Races in a Wind Tunnel.” The chapter on the run includes a robust discussion of running mechanics, and minimalist running. Faster concludes with a consideration of race strategy in light of the preceding chapters, explaining how to pull it all together for your big day.
The writing is clear, humorous and to the point. Faster will empower triathlete consumers while saving them time and money and helping their race results skyrocket.– SZ