At the Wind Tunnel with T.O.

Timothy O'Donnell is a former ITU Long Distance World Champion, as well as a former US Pro Ironman Champion. With a long history in short distance, long distance, and drafting-style events, he is a force to reckon with at any race venue. Tim recently visited the San Diego Low Speed Wind Tunnel, with the intention of improving his aerodynamics and speed on the bike.

Timothy and his technical advisor, Mat Steinmentz, focused primarily on small position changes, clothing, and hydration system mounting. T.O. used the same bike, saddle, handlebars, and Mavic CXR80 wheels for all tests.

Steinmetz told us that, "Our job isn't to completely overhaul his position. He's not one of those guys who looks beautiful on the bike, but sometimes that's how a person's physiology works out. We want fast, not pretty." After long hours of testing, they both learned quite a bit, and arrived at what Steinmetz and T.O. agreed to be a fast position - that was also usable for long-course racing. How much faster will he be? We'll all find out in October.

All images © Greg Kopecky /

This is TO's first run - of what ended up being several hours of testing.

TO's Argon 18 gets set up in the bike prep room.

Tim's bike has the new 11-speed Campagnolo Super Record EPS groupset. Wires are fed through the extensions, and the excess gets tucked in to the stem.

It's not just for Shimano Di2 anymore. Perhaps Argon 18 will update their bike to add an EPS logo.

Campagnolo's take on dual-position shifting.

T.O. rides 170mm crankarms and 54/42 chainrings.

T.O. is using the new Mavic CXR80 wheel. It is 27mm wide at the brake track, and required some serious grinding to his Swiss Stop yellow pads to fit.

TO's ISM Racing II saddle was slightly modified at the rear. The rear hook had to be cut off, in order to mount a bottle cage there.

Mat Steinmetz is an advisor to many top professional triathletes, including T.O. His glamorous job includes mounting bottle cages with zip ties, as pictured here.

Timothy's wheels travel in their own case for protection.

They had lots of different gear ready for testing...

...including several different unique drinking systems.

TO's bike gets secured in the tunnel.

The rear wheel gets bolted in securely.

Tim and a Mavic representative receive instruction from the wind tunnel staff.

The bike is ready to go.

Final instructions are given. Soon the testing begins.

These screens track real-time output in the control room.

An overhead projector even gives the rider a heads-up display of the information on the floor.

This is where it all goes down - the San Diego LSWT.