Out­pac­ing the Gear Heads

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - Warm Up Reads -

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

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