Team Type 1 dials in positions in wind tunnel testing

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15.02.2008/ The same technology that is helping NASCAR’s top drivers reach faster speeds was put to good use on Monday by riders from Team Type 1 who were intent on improving their own aerodynamics. The A2 Wind Tunnel near Charlotte hosted TT1’s Chris Jones and Nathan Bartels for a day-long testing session on their team-issue Orbea bicycles.

© Chris Davidson, Team Type 1
Chris Jones in the A2 wind tunnel ( Chris Davidson, Team Type 1)

The A2 Tunnel was specifically re-designed last fall for use by cyclists by Gary Eaker, who created the AeroDYN Wind Tunnel that is testing home to many NASCAR race teams.

Team Type 1 Manager Tom Schuler said the team’s first-ever wind tunnel test paves the way for even more testing at a later date.

"We had such a good experience down here that we’ve decided we want to come back with more riders," he said. "Although we were only able to test two athletes, we have information to share amongst the team and our mechanics and sponsors."

A2 Wind Tunnel Bicycle specialist Mike Giraud oversaw the day-long session, which measured each rider’s power output, aerodynamic drag and wheel speed. Digital full-motion cameras recorded the testing, with a data projection system providing real-time feedback.

"Mostly it was tweaking their positions and finding out what hurts and what helps," Giraud said. "We want to make sure they are still comfortable, while putting power out and staying in that position."

Jones, who races on the TT1’s professional team, said his new position reduces his drag by 10 percent.

"They started off with my elbows as wide as they could go and as high as they could go, then went all the way down to the narrow and lowest position possible," Jones said. "Thankfully for me, I’m pretty limber. Even an improvement of one percent would have been good."

Bartels will use his new position while racing as part of a second team of all-Type 1 racers who will compete in national and regional races, as well as the Race Across America (RAAM). TT1 is the two-time defending champion in RAAM’s corporate team division.

TT1 Team Mechanic Chris Davidson said he was impressed by the efficiency of the testing.

"This is a great facility, with a very knowledgeable staff," he said. "Here we have the ability to make changes and make them in a hurry. A2 has developed an excellent interface in the control room, which really lends itself to quickly collecting and assessing data in improving the athlete’s position."

Team Type 1 was created to inspire people with diabetes around the world to take control of their health through diet, exercise and proper health care. The 15-rider pro team includes four athletes with Type 1 diabetes.

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