Matt Russell + Omni in the Wind Tunnel
article & images by Nick Salazar
Mar 19, 2019
So what do we take away from all of this? Is this the end-all for Matt, his position, and his aerodynamics? Hardly. This is just the beginning. And even though Matt's position is unquestionably excellent, I can easily think of several more rounds of tests I'd like to do with him. Stack height tests, reach tests, bottle/nutrition locations, etc. But Matt and TriRig both left the tunnel very satisfied with the results, and looking forward to a very successful 2019. I'll leave you with some brief words from the man himself.
"It's always great to head out of the tunnel knowing I'm on the fastest bike with the fastest position. It gives me a huge mental boost that I can use on race day." -Matt Russell
Stay tuned for more from this particular tunnel trip. We want to express a huge thanks to Matt Russell (who suffered about 12 hours of flight delays reroutes on the way to the tunnel, making for a VERY long travel day for him and his family). Matt, his wife, and his 1-year-old son, came through without a single complaint, and then Matt rocked it in the tunnel. So thanks again Matt. And of course, best of luck this season!
Although they might not be so exciting at first glance, these graphs are the real treasure of our time at the tunnel. The two big takeaways are that, with the new equipment and position, Matt will save nearly 10 Watts compared to his previous rig, meaning that for the same power output, he could go approximately 3 MINUTES FASTER over the course of an Ironman bike leg. Second, we've significantly reduced the side force and handling torque he experiences in the wind, meaning he can spend more of his energy going forward, rather than fighting the wind's effects on bike handling.
Matt is a consummate professional. Not only does he have a very detail-oriented mind, but he can pedal in the tunnel with a stillness that makes the data very clean. Most athletes will move or fidget just a bit, causing the data readings to jump around somewhat. That's why you have to take very long data samples with a rider on board (the tunnel recommends 60 seconds per point). But with Matt, he's such a smooth pedaler that we were able to shorten the sample rate to 40 seconds per point, and still get very consistent data.
This test rig is set up exactly like Matt's rig back at his home in Florida. Because Omni and the Alpha One aerobar are so easy to adjust, it took us all of two minutes to set the bike to Matt's exact position. It was just a matter of setting the Monopost position, the tilt angle, and then the seatpost/saddle. Five bolts. Running through different hand positions was also a breeze, just two bolts to loosen, set tilt, and tighten again. The staff at the tunnel said we were perhaps the most efficient crew they had seen.
San Diego LSWT
Some shots of the facility and instruments at the San Diego Low-Speed Wind Tunnel, as well as a couple of those of Matt's prior bike that we used for comparison purposes.