For a long time now we have been proponents of the message that competitive cyclists and triathletes should be paying more attention to their aerodynamics. Make no mistake - aerodynamic drag is the most important resistive force consuming a rider's hard-trained power. Riding as fast as you can is as much about aerodynamic efficiency as it is about pure fitness and power output. For many trained cyclists drag reduction also offers a lot more potential for improvement than relatively slower and harder-fought gains in fitness.
Understandably many riders and their coaches find it hard to work meaningfully on improvements in aerodynamics. You can't measure and monitor aerodynamic drag with a simple set of scales in the way that you can with weight. Measuring CdA, the metric which determines how much resistive force a rider will experience at any speed, is achieved in one of two ways. Either you go to a wind tunnel: it's fun, it's easy, but it's not very accessible either geographically or financially. Or you run field test protocols using a power meter: within the scope of any power meter equipped rider but not so accessible in terms of know-how.
Cycling Power Lab incorporates calculators which can be used to estimate CdAs from field test data but we recognise that these are more illustrative than something you would want to use frequently. For this reason we have been working hard this winter on a dedicated aero analysis site. We asked the question "just how easy can we make the execution and analysis of aerodynamic field tests?" and we believe this site takes it to the limit. Please visit www.fastaerolab.com and register - we hope you will find it a useful resource in realising the potential of CdA estimation in velodrome or road environments.
There is a bit more to the site than just analysis of CdA. Using a modified test protocol you can also estimate Crr - the coefficient of rolling resistance attributed to a combination of tyre choice, inflation, and road surface. This is also highly worth measuring and can to some extent be optimised via tyre choice and inflation levels. A third choice of protocol allows simultaneous estimation of CdA and Crr though this is more time consuming.
Another major feature is the ability to order an "online" consultation around bike position in which a specialist bike fitter will analyse images and video, in conjunction with fit measurements, to provide recommendations on the complex matter of integrative aerodynamics and biomechanics. Position consultations are provided by custom4.us, a centre of excellence in the field of biomechanics and bike fitting led by Jon Iriberri - often billed as "the bike fitter to the stars" due to extensive experience with World Tour teams and riders as well as the Spanish national team. We are very excited about this collaboration because, in this internet age, it was high time that personalised bike fitting advice be accessible online.