More Amateur Triathletes Heading To Wind Tunnels

  • By
  • Published Mar 15, 2011

Wall Street triathletes are following the lead of professional triathletes and cyclists and are spending money to head to the wind tunnel.

Martin Gilmore, a partner at BB&T Capital Partners, aims to compete again in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii later this year thanks to a high-speed wind tunnel in Mooresville, N.C.

Gilmore was aboard his $6,000 carbon-fiber 2006 Cervelo P3 model last week trying to make himself and his bike less wind- resistant for the 112-mile leg of July’s Ironman Lake Placid race, where he hopes to qualify for October’s triathlon championship in Kona, Hawaii.

The two-hour session inside the A2 Wind Tunnel, built by former General Motors Corp. aerodynamicist Gary Eaker, cost about $1,000 and resulted in what could be a 15-minute difference in Gilmore’s ride time during the Lake Placid, N.Y., race.

“Fifteen minutes is huge,” Gilmore, 50, said during an interview while pedaling inside the tunnel. “When you look at the available Kona slots, it comes down to a couple minutes. So, you just can’t describe the impact that 15 minutes could have.”

Gilmore, who has qualified for the Kona race on three other occasions, is part of a fast-growing group of amateur triathletes descending on the tunnel, which has been used by top U.S. cyclists including Lance Armstrong and George Hincapie. Last year, about 250 cyclists and triathletes — who swim, bike, and run in their races — bought time in the tunnel, up from about 100 in 2007, according to Mike Giraud, 38, the tunnel’s operator and bike specialist.

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