We run a lot of photo galleries on Slowtwitch, and here's an excellent selection of shots from Talbot Cox. Can we do more than just look at Talbot's pics? Let's see what we might learn.
Here's Mirinda Carfrae and other pros getting ready for the swim start. Yes, some folks use longjohns in the swim (sleeveless wetsuits). But not many pros. Very, very few in fact. It's fullsuits for them.
And here they are getting out of the water. There's winner (left) Melissa Hauschildt and third-placer Heather Wurtele next to her. In the background is runner-up Carfrae.
But there's a lesson here I think! I believe this is Rachel Olson, 2nd out of the water, carrying her wetsuit to transition. It's hard to stop, to take your wetsuit off upon hitting dry land, for fear of being left behind. But the other competitors will have to take theirs off too at some point!
Rachel wasn't the only one. Above is Haley Chura, I believe, 3rd out of the water. Why do they take their suits off early? Ever try to take a dry wetsuit off? It's hard. It's slow. Smoothskin rubber, on the outside, can dry between the water exit and transition.
Why don't elite ITU racers take their wetsuits off immediately upon hitting dry land? It's against their rules. Make sure you don't block anyone's progress if you take your wetsuit off immediately upon exiting the water, because impeding the progress of an athlete is against your rules.
Ben Kanute is one of a few 70.3 athletes — Josh Amberger and Jan Frodeno among them — who can win a race wire to wire. That takes a lot of concentration and a very good bike position.
Ben rides quite steep (forward on the saddle) so it might seem odd he's riding a "mid-near" stem on his Speed Concept. One would assume a "far" stem. But look at where his elbows fall on the armrests. You and I, our elbows are behind the armrest. If you place the armrest under his forearm, where the rest of us ride, he'd need a "mid-far" stem (but with correspondingly shorter extensions).
Here's Matt Russell. I love his bike position! Matt came back from what was feared a career-ending, near life-ending, crash while at the Hawaiian Ironman. I can only assume he's riding his Diamondback Serios instead of his Andean because the latter didn't make it through that crash.
There was an Andean in Texas, and this Andean's rider finished second place.
And speaking of bike riders, here's the rider who's typically the fastest of the lot. Andrew Starykowicz finished third on the day, and Starky is no stranger to career-ending collisions with vehicles. Note where the armrest hits Starky's forearm. Now go back and look at Kanute. There's no better or worse, but it affects how you set up your bike (stem length, etc.). By the way, Starky ran a 1:18 this past weekend. Well done!
Speaking of Matts, here's Hanson. I do not believe this is the position Matt used to ride. (He used to be much more stretched out, I believe.) I'm going to have to ask him about this. I'm not complaining! I like this position. I'd just now like to know the story. Matt got 4th.
Remember that speedy swimmer who carried her wetsuit? Rachel Olson? Here she is on her Quintana Roo PRsix. Now, let's look at her alongside...
Mirinda Carfrae. They look pretty similar. In general, many of the women don't ride quite as low as the men. Especially the smaller statured women. Why? Wheelsize? Don't know. But it's worth asking the question I think.
Still, Rinny is a little lower than I think she has been in years past. The Felt is almost unique in 700c bikes in how low you can get. Plus, she's riding Zipp aerobars now, and that looks like Zipp's undermount. I think Zipp may have given her a lower position. I'll check that out and report back.
Note Rinny rides with her elbows square on the middle of the pads, like Ben Kanute. But Rinny rides even more forward, more stretched, than Ben. Felt had to make a second, longer stem for its Felt IA FRD and 1 thru 4 bikes (its fully integrated tri bikes) just for Rinny (and it's available for you too). Is she riding that longer stem? Or the shorter stem but with that forward elbow position? I don't know.
What do we see from Ben Kanute's transition shot? He's a Shimano user, but not in shoes or wheels. He's a Trek and Bontrager user in saddle (Hilo), bike (Speed Concept), shoes, wheels (Aeolus). A Rudy helmet. He's in Hoka Tracers, as was Rinny.
It's good to be the king.
And the queen. And the princess.
[Images courtesy Talbot Cox. Follow him on Instagram.]