Using the male pros as subjects, a pictorial analysis of the false choice between comfort and speed.
Let us start with the gold standard, Torbjorn Sindballe. His position is balanced, tight, low, and powerful.
Note Sindballe choking up to gain a bit of power.
Craig Alexander, though riding a bike with shallower geometry, chokes up.
Like Crowie, Cameron Brown will ride his shallow bike steep, if it's the hip position we're judging.
German Frank Vytrisal. Notice a trend in shoulder and elbow angles? Tight and compact.
As with the others pictured above, 2-time Kona champ Stadler rides with a compact cockpit.
Frederick Van Lierde rides a comfortable position: not quite as flat as Sindballe, moderately steep, moderately low.
Ain Alar Juhanson, owner of this year's fastest bike split in Kona, is a picture of power and aerodynamics with his flat back and compact upper body.
Chris Lieto, one of triathlon's best cyclists, comes from a cycling background and retains a more rearward saddle position.
Riding rearward comes with its trade-offs, e.g., the need to partially suspend the upper body with spinal erectors, yielding low back stress.
Faris Al-Sultan's position changed when his choice of aerobar changed. He's now more open, more stretched, less compact, and in my opinion his power suffers as a result.
James Bonney had his breakthrough Ironman at Arizona in April 08. But he's rearward, and stretched out in this photo. Thumb tack a pic of Sindballe to the ceiling above your bed, James, and memorize for 10 minutes every night before you sleep.
Kona's second placer this year, Eneko Llanos. Sort of Stadler-like.
Andy Potts is a huge, young, and still by Ironman standards raw, talent. He's up, and he's open, when he should be low and tight, like Sindballe, Alexander, and Juhanson. Look for him to ride his new Kuota Kueen K just like Sindballe's Argon 18 E114 next year.