Tuesday, April 03, 2007

High speed/low drag

Aerodynamic drag is the big limiting factor on bicycle speed. Humans can produce a limited amount of power whether they're operating aerobically or anerobically. So at a given power output, drag pretty much determines the speed. And it increases geometrically with speed, so if you double the speed, you have to quadruple the power. Obviously, drag reduction is beneficial even at relatively low speeds typical of recreational cyclists.

Drag was on my mind as I read a newspaper article about the actors in "The 300" and the workout routine they used to get that 'ripped' look. (USAToday, Monday, 2APR2007) I'm not concerned about being ripped. All those little muscle indentations cause more drag for a cyclist, so I'm concentrating on a smoother, more aerodynamic physique. Face it, a six-pack ab does next to nothing, but a slightly rounded midsection make the rider infinitessimially faster. And I'll take whatever advantage I can get even if it is infinitessimal.

Here's the 300 workout. I get sore just reading it.
25 pullups
50 deadlifts (135 pounds)
50 pushups
50 jumps (on a 24 inch box)
50 floor wipers (lying flat, the person holds a 135-pound barbell overhead, keeps legs straight and lifts them side-to-side so that feet touch each weight plate)
50 clean-and-presses (36 pound kettle bell)
25 pullups (again)

'Trainer Mike Twight says the workout was done under close supervision, and he does not recommend it for the public."

Yep, there ain't no doubt about it. I'm tons more aero than these buff guys. I think I have a big bowl of chocolate chip-cookie dough ice cream to celebrate.

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Blogger Coelecanth said...

Claire's aero-belly is growing apace. Hopefully it will stop snowing around here before she has to switch to the sit-up-and-beg 3 speed.

I keep pointing out how much more aero she's getting and she keeps trying to kill me. Alas, despite a degree in engineering her body image trumps her scientific knowledge. :)

I've been reading "Bicycling Science" and it has extensive stuff on aerodynamics and drag. Facinating stuff.


4:26 PM  
Blogger Ed W said...

You might mention to her that she'll float higher in the water, too. And speaking of water, my father said that a married man has to be able to walk on water. A man married to a pregnant woman has to be able to walk three feet above it.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Coelecanth said...

Dang it! I knew I should have taken "ability to levitate" rather than "stunning good looks" for my last genie wish. I'll never find another magic lamp before the due date.

6:29 PM  

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