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Congrats Kiwis and 2017 America’s Cup for Cyclist

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I had a great conversation with my old friend Mike and it reminded me that I had not congratulate New Zealand for defending the America’s Cup in March 2021, it seems like a world away that you can run an entire race during COVID-19, but hats off to them.

It also reminded me that I hadn’t posted how incredible their early 35th America’s Cup race was. The main thing for cyclists is that they switched from generating power by using their arms (grinding is the term) to using stationary bicycles which then powered hydraulics which runs the sales and the hydrofoils on these incredible boats. So here are a retrospective from YouTube. Unfortunately, WordPress does now allow insertion to a specific timestamp, so here is the overall video. If you want to see some key frames and not go through the entire race, click on the links below.

And for fun as a biker, here is the race in 2017 USA vs NZL and you can see that the New Zealand team is on bikes and the other guys are grinding. The numbers at the bottom are the pressures stored in the hydraulic system. 350 is max. So the more wattage you can produce the more power you have to quickly push up and down the hydrofoils on the left and right up and down (these boats have a flying wing design, so they immediate lift out of the water which is how they get to 50 knots and they have a rigid wing instead of a sail). See https://youtu.be/926yzLioIxQ?t=539

Because the Kiwis can generate more wattage, they can afford to completely deplete and build it back quickly. So basically, they have a huge advantage in moving the sails and hydrofoils. YOu can see in this clip, they go into the “red” on the turn and then quickly build back up. See https://youtu.be/926yzLioIxQ?t=577

Finally, these are the Heart rates of each of the guys who are generating the power. Simon Van Velthooven is a sprint cyclist who has won the Commonwealth Games multiple times. In the clip he is at 99% of Max HR at 190 bpm. And his race average is 185 bpm! See https://youtu.be/926yzLioIxQ?t=970.

The other guys are incredible sailors like Josh Junior but they are not putting out the power of Simon, He’s a 90% max HR and 172bpm, pretty amazing as well, but having that extra power in a professional cyclist really made the difference. I love watching these clips.

Oh, and through it all, you can see that Peter Burling, the skipper, does a masterful job picking the puffs and the line. (He repeated this year winning the 36th Cup) He had just won an Olympic Gold Medal in 49er racing (and won the Silver in 2012) and jumped into this massive boat. Kudos to him 🙂

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