Cover image for Faster : demystifying the science of triathlon speed
Faster : demystifying the science of triathlon speed
Gourley, Jim.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boulder, Colorado : Velo Press, [2013]
Physical Description:
xviii, 197 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV1060.73 .G68 2013 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Triathlon is among the world's most gear-intensive sports. The gear you select and how you use it can mean big results--or bigger disappointment.

FASTER takes a scientific look at triathlon to see what truly makes you faster--and busts the myths and doublespeak that waste your money and race times. In this fascinating exploration of the forces at play in the swim-bike-run sport, astronautical engineer and triathlete Jim Gourley shows where to find free speed, speed on a budget, and the gear upgrades that are worth it.

FASTER offers specific, science-based guidance on the fastest techniques and the most effective gear, answering questions like:

Which wetsuit is best for me? What's the best way to draft a swimmer? Should I buy a lighter bike? Deep dish or disc wheels? Are lighter shoes faster? Who's right about running technique?

Gourley reviews published studies in peer-reviewed journals to show what scientists have learned about swim drafting, pacing the bike leg, race strategy for short and long-course racing, and the fastest ways to handle transitions.

FASTER will change how you think about your body, your gear, and the world around you. With science on your side, you'll make the smart calls that will make you a better, faster triathlete.

Author Notes

Jim Gourley is a teacher, a writer - and yes, a rocket scientist. His articles on the science and technology of triathlon and cycling have been widely published in Triathlete, Inside Triathlon, LAVA, Peloton, and Bicycle Times magazines.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. ix
Prefacep. xiii
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
Chapter 1 Physics & the Tri Athletep. 01
Battle Against the Universe: Forces and how they relate to youp. 01
Get a Grip: The importance of frictionp. 08
Feel the Flow: An introduction to aerodynamicsp. 09
Chapter 2 The Swimp. 17
Everybody in the Water: The body and the mediump. 18
Catching a Clue: Is it better to cup your hands or keep them flat?p. 29
Fishtailing: The benefit of drafting other swimmersp. 31
Salty Dogs & Flash Freezes: Is there really such a thing as "fast" water?p. 34
Like a Sturgeon: Would I be faster if my suit had scales?p. 36
Chapter 3 The Bike & Powerp. 41
Let's Roll: The body and the mediump. 42
Finding a Better Body: All the fastest parts might not add up to speedp. 46
The Triathlete's Secret Weapon: The best equipment money can buyp. 48
Knowing What's Watt: The fundamentals of power on the bikep. 52
What's it Worth?: The relative value of a wattp. 55
Chapter 4 The Bike: Weight & Aerodynamicsp. 59
Climbers Beware: Working against the weight of the worldp. 60
A Weighty Matter: The (relative) benefit of lightening your loadp. 67
Mass Effect: The ups and downs of being heavier on descentsp. 74
Aero Head: The smart way to get fastp. 78
Numbers in the Real World: Because nobody races in a wind tunnelp. 85
Heads Up: The finer points about aero helmetsp. 92
Brace Yourselves, Winds are Coming: Crosswinds and their effects on cyclingp. 93
Lord of the Rims: A discussion of wheels that comes full circlep. 99
Law & Order, CFD: Investigating the case of the dueling wind runnel testsp. 102
Where the Rubber Hits the Road: Can my choice of tires really make me faster?p. 106
These Aren't the Upgrades You're Looking For: Stop worrying about "other" lossesp. 113
Chapter 5 The Runp. 115
The Mechanics of Running: The body and the mediump. 117
Pogo Gadget Legsi from Kenyans: Tuning up the mechanics of running economyp. 122
From Kenyans to Clydesdales: The unknown science behind running economyp. 128
The Big Not-So-Easy: Heat dissipation versus athlele sizep. 135
Don't Stand So Close to me: Can you really draft on the run?p. 141
A Discussion Worth Repeating: Running on hillsp. 143
Hermes' Sandals: What's to be gained from lighter shoes, shorts, and shirtsp. 146
Kicks & The City: Is your sole mate out there?p. 147
The Road Less Traveled: How treadmills, trails, and beaches affect your runp. 151
Chapter 6 A Scientific Approach to Racing Strategyp. 155
Finding Your Happily Ever After: Looking at the race from start to finishp. 155
Dropping the Hammer: How to finish faster on sprint- and Olympic-distance coursesp. 157
It's the Economy, Stupid: What the smart athlete knows about pacing an Ironman effortp. 162
Notesp. 171
Glossaryp. 181
Indexp. 189
About the Authorp. 197