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October 31, 2014

Kurt Fearnley

Ernst Van Dyk


Q. テつSo let's somewhat break it down, in generalized terms.テつ The big guys that have momentum can coast like sons of bitches, have the breakaway, but the guys who are the Energizer Bunny, the smaller guys, gravity doesn't hurt you in either direction.
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ Very much like cycling.テつ You've got the guys who can go downhill fast, and the uphill guys who climb well.
KURT FEARNLEY:テつ I think a lot of guys focused a lot on coasting.
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ Coasting is a skill.テつ You find your equipment and you find the right position to go fast.テつ That was something they could work on.テつ We don't climb so well; had to work on that.テつ So it was either losing weight, getting stronger, or just training harder.
KURT FEARNLEY:テつ The sport has changed more.テつ Everyone is meeting in the middle sometimes.テつ It will change again.

Q.テつ Have the chairs pretty much stabilized?
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ The rules have stabilized.テつ I think we had this chat.テつ Below, there's an improved‑‑ it's a carbon fiber, single shell chair that's out.

Q.テつ Carbon fiber single shell‑‑
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ Chair.テつ It's made in Japan.テつ It's $20,000.

Q.テつ Who was the guy that had that?
KURT FEARNLEY:テつ Yamamoto.
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ He had the prototype.テつ Now they're selling it.テつ Do you have the piece of paper with you?

Q.テつ Yamamoto had the prototype, and he won with it because he had better equipment.
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ He won Boston.テつ Here we go.
KURT FEARNLEY:テつ So he's the new champ.

Q.テつ He won Boston what year, 2012?
KURT FEARNLEY:テつ 2012, yeah.

Q.テつ He won Boston 2012.
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ So basically this is what's changed.テつ You go to Japan.テつ They 3D scan you in your chair.

Q.テつ Go to what city in?
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ Tokyo.テつ Then they produce‑‑

Q.テつ They scan you?
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ 3D scan you in your current chair to get your position.

Q.テつ In your current chair.テつ And your position has all got to do with your level of disability and all that?
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ Yes.テつ And they produce this mold, which then produces this chair.テつ So it's $20,000, and you get a carbon fiber model racing chair.

Q.テつ That you put on your wheels?

Q.テつ Carbon fiber Monocog shell.
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ Which is basically the standard in cycling today.

Q.テつ Which is now standard?
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ If you buy a bicycle, that's what you get.テつ You get a Monocog, carbon fiber frame.テつ We haven't had that in wheelchair racing, now we have it, but at a price tag of $20,000 because everyone is unique.テつ It's not like a bicycle.

Q.テつ All are built to conform to your physique type thing.
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ They 3D scan you, they produce the mold, and your carbon fiber racing chair is produced.

Q.テつ So the cog plus the wheels cost 20 grand?
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ Not even the wheels, just the cog.

Q.テつ So just the seat is 20K?
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ The main frame, just the Shell.テつ So that's where the technology is going because you were asking about technology, right?

Q.テつ Exactly.
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ So basically, the guy that's in that still needs to be good.テつ He needs to go fast.

Q.テつ But used to be one guy had it, so he had a big advantage, Yamamoto, and he didn't have to be as good.
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ Right.テつ He won Boston 2012.

Q.テつ How much do you think that helps?
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ Well, I think going downhill, coasting, optimizing your aerodynamics, it helps a hell of a lot.テつ And then weight‑wise, it's about 2 kilos, so 4.5, 5 pounds lighter than my chair.

Q.テつ Than your previous chair?
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ The one I've got now, yeah.テつ The one I'm using.テつ Because I can't buy this.テつ I can't afford $20,000 for a chair.テつ It's a huge chunk of money.

Q.テつ Not the way the prizes are.
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ So basically‑‑

Q.テつ How many guys in this race will have that?

Q.テつ Two guys in this field.テつ Who?
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ Yamamoto and Wakako.テつ So one in the male field, one in the female field.テつ It's great that we have this technology available.テつ It's just not fair that it's that expensive.

Q.テつ That's absolutely outrageous bullshit.テつ There's got to be a way to build that chair technology‑wise.テつ I don't know where you go‑‑ I can't direct you where.
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ The thing is, if you think about the bicycles, they'll develop one mold.テつ The tooling to do the mold is about $70,000, and they'll produce thousands of bicycle frames and sell it to the market.テつ So the money comes back.テつ Here they produce one mold for one athlete.テつ That's why it's $20,000.
It's actually still cheap.

Q.テつ It's like the first T‑shirt in the run is the most expensive T‑shirt.テつ If you make 500,000 T‑shirts.
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ For us, every athlete is different.

Q.テつ And the market is one?
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ So there's no volume.テつ Every chair requires a unique mold.

Q.テつ Every athlete is a market of one?
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ Yes.テつ So that's on the front of technology what's improved.テつ Very much for the rest of us, we're still using the same chairs we used 15 years ago, same kind of wheels, same kind of gloves.

Q.テつ Almost everybody has the encased areas on the wheels?
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ Yes.テつ Some have disk wheels.テつ For some, it's a little too heavy, so they use the four‑spoke carbon wheels.テつ So technology has been pretty much stable.テつ So the improvements you've seen in time and packs has all been about training and athletes.テつ That's what it should be.テつ It should be about the athlete and about the work, not so much about the technology.

Q.テつ Again, we're talking about now second full generation with University of Illinois program, from the post‑World War II.テつ In the modern times, we go back to all those guys from the '80s.テつ So we're almost like in the second iteration.
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ Jim Cobb had something like this ready to go back in the early '90s.

Q. テつI remember the short spoke.
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ He had a carbon shell that covered the front wheel all the way to the back, and his funding ran out to complete it.テつ So he never finished it.テつ But, again, it would have been a once off.

Q.テつ Training improvements over wheelchair improvements.テつ Last 10 years or 15 or how many?
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ I would say the last 10 years.テつ Sport science really picked up.テつ We're understanding the wheelchair athlete better.テつ We are understanding the stroke mechanics better.

Q.テつ So it's your job to try to use the downhills and the flats to your advantage?
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ Considering the wind.テつ People don't realize how the wind affects.テつ We're going 25 miles an hour.テつ The faster you go into a headwind like that, the more it hurts you.テつ That's why our time takes a huge dive when there's a headwind.

Q.テつ You go slower trying to run in water than you do walking in water because of the resistance.
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ Same experience.テつ So I think our pack will be smaller than it was in Chicago.テつ I don't see half of those guys we had in Chicago.テつ Chicago was windy, but it was all flat.
KURT FEARNLEY:テつ I was amazed at five people in New York.テつ Usually, because how tough this course is physically, every single person has a moment of strength on this course, but every person has a moment of weakness.

Q.テつ That's why it's a good race course.
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ We were actually only four.テつ He only pulled up to us in the last 5K.テつ Once we slowed down and we played tactics, he pulled up.

Q.テつ Who did?
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ Soejima from Japan.
KURT FEARNLEY:テつ As far as exciting wheelchair races, I would put this down as one of the most exciting.

Q.テつ You're talking this course?
KURT FEARNLEY:テつ This course.
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ This course, yeah.
KURT FEARNLEY:テつ You have someone like myself or Josh just absolutely drilling the uphill.テつ You have Ernie and Yamamoto smashing it on the down.テつ Sometimes we all get together for a period of straights, but it's just so chop and change.

Q.テつ There's not enough of each to get to be dispositive, to make the difference.
KURT FEARNLEY:テつ You're right.

Q.テつ Of course Boston, right off the bat, off you go.
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ We've had sprints in Boston.
KURT FEARNLEY:テつ We've had a few sprints.
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ This year it was pretty close.テつ They were never more than 30, 40 seconds behind me.テつ I had to push all the way.テつ I could see them alternating the lead, changing, working against me.テつ It levels.テつ There's no more running away.
KURT FEARNLEY:テつ I would be also massively surprised if there is a breakaway in this of less than 3 meters.
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ With the wind against us, who's going to have the guts?

Q.テつ Especially if the other guys are working together.
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ Exactly.

Q.テつ You can't get enough of a break.
KURT FEARNLEY:テつ We need the tail wind here again.テつ Remember in 2006?
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ That's when you did 1:39.

Q.テつ Because it's a northern run course, and rarely do you have a northern kind of wind.テつ It's got to be an odd day because most of the wind comes from the west.テつ Now we have the northwest wind, which means it hits you front side.
KURT FEARNLEY:テつ Going up Fifth Avenue, you always feel the wind at your back for some reason.

Q.テつ It's going to be worse than last year.テつ Last year it was cold and a headwind the whole way except that last turn after 35K.
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ The runners still don't go that much slower.テつ We slow down like ten minutes.

Q.テつ They were 2:05 to 2:08.テつ As a practical matter, it adds a kilometer to the distance for the runners.
KURT FEARNLEY:テつ We went from 1:30 to 1:40.
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ That's ten minutes.
KURT FEARNLEY:テつ In the field, the level of fatigue and the level of muscle damage at the end is just‑‑

Q.テつ It's harder on you guys.テつ Do you guys actually verbalize on the course?
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ We talk a little bit during the race.

Q.テつ They say it's a 5 to 7 percent difference in the drafting for runners, where you've got a 25 percent advantage.
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ I remember last year, I said, "Kurt, he's catching up to us."テつ I said, "Kurt, you take the pull."
KURT FEARNLEY:テつ Was that last year?
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ Yeah, last year, "He's catching us.テつ Go to the front."
KURT FEARNLEY:テつ Yeah, yeah.

Q.テつ But if you're in the fourth man in the line.
ERNST VAN DYK:テつ You're doing nothing.

Q.テつ The guy in front, it's like never coming off, never coming off, and the guy is doing one every four, like 25 percent of what he's doing, that's the advantage.
KURT FEARNLEY:テつ That's the advantage.テつ But New York is one race where, if you fall off that pack, you're not getting back.

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