Hey all – ALOT can be told about a triathletes cockpit, aka their handle bars! If they are simplistic, complicated, messy or clean people! More-often-than-not it reflects an athletes mentality!
Its a location that becomes almost intimate to some where long and tedious miles are spent together in the pursuit of personal athletic objective! Often, it can hinder a triathletes performance and enjoyment of their bike ridding!
For years I rode a mainstream group set and never thought twice about my decision. Mainly because I had to buy it myself and had been using the same brand for years. But this season I got a sponsored Campagnolo RECORD 11 groups set =)
And the difference in the shifting was INSTANT! Forget about weight or cometics, the basic responsiveness was memorizing as well to the ability to micro-manage my front chain ring was a like “DUH this is how its should be” type of passive nod I did to myself while ridding!
Not until I got my TT set-up going a few weeks ago did I fully realize how much though had been put into these products! Once I put on my R2C (return to center) 11 Speed Bar End Shifters.
The first thing is that the Campagnolo shifter is molded with a curvature thats very comfortable around the fingers/bands!
The 2nd is that the R2C (return to center) feature that gives a more aggressive and ‘aero’ appearance regardless which gear I am in!
Now onto my 3T Mistral Bars.
Having the extension hook UNDER the base bar might have *SOME* aero penalty but allow’s me to have a cleaner top as well to being able to grab my bars lower when I am really giving her!
The double S bend extension allow’s me a few possible hand position; which I find crucial when ridding for extended periods of time in order to release stiffness!
ANYWAY, racing in Asia means I have to confront some very humid/hot climate and sometimes with dodgy aid stations and/or in-experienced and naive volunteers!
Having my main hydration right under my nose, allow’s me to *SIP* my drinks and not *GULP* like I would from a drink bottle. Another big thing is frontal resistance or ‘drag’. Many athletes will compromise on their hydration for this simple reason and has compelled many companies to concoct various systems!
One of the most UN-aero aspect and drag creating aspects that many over look, is not material but rather the body movements when one gets out of their aero position when drinking from a bottle.
Also, fumbling bottle will hinder the oh-so-important rythym especially in athletes who are in-experienced or ridding technical courses or females with small hands or anybody grabbing wet and slippery bottle over-and-over!!!
To conclude, go have a look at your cock-pit and see if it reflex the type of athlete you are? It most likely does. So remember that whats truly important is a mix of practicality, sleekness in the wind and comfort according to the where & how long you race!
See you in Cebu