Article written by Quintana Roo professional athlete, Justin Metzler.
Hey team. If you tuned into my last blog, I wrote about my trip to 70.3 Dubai where I kicked off my 2020 campaign. In conjunction with that trip, I stopped off in Birmingham, England on the way home to visit the Boardman Sport Performance Centre wind tunnel in learn how to maximize aerodynamics on my new PRSix Disc.
My entire life I’ve been dreaming about the wind tunnel. Always a big fan of the sport and particularly the tech/ engineering side, I watched from afar for years as the best guys in the world optimized their equipment and position in the tunnel or on the track. For years, it was not financially or logistically feasible for me to get in the tunnel. I blindly trusted my equipment and position, worked hard in training and hoped for the best on race day. I continued to improve with that method and consistently saw progress in all three sports. Last year I started to scratch my head more because I had elevated my swim and run to meet or exceed demands of competition but the bike was a glaring relative weakness. At the end of the year I concluded that if I was able to ride faster and maintain my swim-run, I would be closer to winning races.
That opinion became the driving factor in a lot of the decisions I have made over the last few months. First step was to get on the fastest bike - the Quintana Roo PRSix Disc. Second step was to meet with my triathlon coach Julie Dibens and bring on a new member to my coaching staff, Matt Bottrill. Matt is a cycling and aerodynamic expert based in the United Kingdom. Last year, I worked with Matt in a consulting role. He helped me with pre-race course analysis, my bike fit and informally connected me with Julie to review my strengths and weaknesses on the bike. Now with him on board as a full time coach, he will be writing all of my cycling sessions many of which will incorporate the information we gathered from the tunnel (Matt was with me during all of the testing).
The tunnel testing itself was great and very worthwhile but nothing that we learned in there was groundbreaking. Many people will go into the tunnel to test varying equipment choices but many of my categories are already secured by sponsors (thankfully I have awesome sponsors in QR, Shimano and Castelli). An open category for me was helmets so we did a lot of testing there and found the best one with my position. A second important area that we spent a lot of time on was my position on the bike and morphological changes that I can make to go significantly quicker.
I think in years past I thought that the tunnel was going to be this massive “gainer” that would net me huge watt savings. But at this point in my career my position and equipment are already super optimized. At the end of the day we saved 17w from our initial run to the final run which many not sound like much but was actually a lot more than I was expecting so I left the UK with a big smile on my face.
A big piece to this puzzle is implementing the information we gathered. That’s what I am doing right now. I’m back in Boulder for the next 4 weeks putting my head down and getting to work before a big race on my schedule, 70.3 Oceanside the first weekend in April. Last year I swam at the front and ran 1:12:06, the second fastest run split of the day. I lost the race on the bike and although I do not expect to be off the front or have the fastest bike split, I would like to bike better than I did last year so I’m excited to give it a shot in a few weeks time.
Thanks for tuning in, my next post will likely be after Oceanside so in the meantime check out my website bigmetztri.com or Instagram @bigmetztri.
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