Macca's beauty of a rig allowed the Aussie to ride fast and comfortable, setting him up for a blazing-fast marathon and his second Kona title.
We love minimal bikes - rigs that are elegant, purpose-built, and trim all the fat, keeping only what is necessary. Chris McCormack's Specialized Shiv is such a bike. And while Chris didn't post the fastest bike time on the course, he certainly rode well, staying with the lead pack of riders. And conserved enough energy while doing so to run a blistering 2:43 marathon and take his second World Championship title.
So what's on his bike? Well, let's first take a look at what's NOT there. No clunky aero bottle. Instead, he's got a standard bottle cage sitting between his arms, tucked out of the wind. No bike computer; Macca races on feel alone. No gels taped to the top tube; just a couple salt sticks tucked into his aero extensions, and a gel flask in his jersey pocket. No saddle bag, noy seat-mounted bottle cages, not even a spare tire back there. It really looks like a 'do or die' setup for Macca; he was either going to have a stellar race without any mechanical issues, or simply abandon if he did. Fortunately for him, the former scenario is the one that played out. (To be fair, he might be carrying a repair bottle like Pittstop in his right jersey pocket, but we can't see one.)
What IS there is just pure class: a Specialized Shiv, with the too-fast-for-the-UCI nosecone, Zipp 808 Firecrest Tubular wheels, and SRAM Red mechanics. It's elegant, beautiful, and obviously fast.
Macca's rig isn't what you expect to see out there on the course, and in fact almost looks more like what you'd see on a Pro Tour setup. He's riding straight extensions, almost unheard of in the tri community, but his wrists don't look terribly strained. In fact, he looks quite comfortable. Why is that? Well, the Shiv's armrests are very low, and sit roughly on the same plane as the extensions themselves, not significantly above them as on other setups. The straight extensions don't require a huge downtilt of the wrists. Keep in mind that his arms are somewhat tilted down as a result of his particular extension setup. Some armchair aero enthusiasts will say that down-tilted arms can scoop air up towards the chest in an un-aero way, but Macca is no stranger to the wind tunnel, and determined this setup works well for him. And the proof, as they say, is really in the pudding. We extend our congratulations to him for the fantastic win, and for riding such a classy rig.