Zipp News

Back 7.10.2012

Ben Hoffman's day at Zipp

Pro triathlete Ben Hoffman’s wheel choice for the Zipp lunch ride was no surprise – an 808 Firecrest on the front, Super-9 Disc on the back of his Specialized Shiv Tri. It’s the wheel combination that the Boulder, Colo.-based pro triathlete knows to be the fastest… He even rode that combo to victory in May at the Ironman® St. George in Utah in the face of 50-plus mph winds.

Ben, 28, visited the Zipp factory in Indianapolis this week as part of our ongoing efforts to connect with our sponsored professional athletes – a process that helps us get useful product feedback and helps the athletes better understand all what goes in to creating the Speed Weaponry they ride so well. Plus, it’s just fun to talk about and ride bikes. Here’s some of what Ben had to say why we had him here in Indy:

SEE PHOTOS OF BEN’S VISIT TO ZIPP

Impressions of seeing Zipp factory and meeting Zipp engineers:
“You know that these are handmade in the USA, but to actually see the people who are doing it on a daily basis is pretty cool. It kind of brings it home.”

“It’s interesting to talk with these guys and have some of the real-world experience that I’ve had be validated by the research and the effort that they put into making these wheels. I remember the biggest epiphany for me was going from a normal 808 to the 808 Firecrest when I was in Kona a couple years ago -- just the stability of that. Seeing that they basically figured out where the pressure point should be in terms of your steering, and how controlled that is and how narrow that zone is. Now it makes sense.”

Stability provided by Firecrest rim shape:
Ben said he felt more side force from the wind before switching to Firecrest wheels. That, he said, can sap performance because energy is wasted steadying the bike and worrying about wind movements. “You’re engaging more core (muscles) from the buffeting. Also, a big factor in the longer races is that it causes you maybe not to pay as much attention to your hydration and nutrition as you would because you’re spending more time thinking about the next gust of wind and whatever else, you’re not drinking like you should every 10 minutes or whatever.”

Goals:
“I’d like to win Ironman® Wisconsin…. It’s a course that suits me well, a tough bike. … I’m at the point in my career, I’m 28 years old… The focus for me long term is definitely winning Ironman Hawaii. The steps to get there for me are to get the experience and confidence from winning some races that aren’t Hawaii right now. And then, of course, finding some races where I put myself against some of the best guys in our sport.”

Life as a pro triathlete:
“I love my career. I love my job. I love interacting with you guys, all my sponsors, all the age-groupers… going around doing these races, having this lifestyle where I dedicate a huge portion of my day to training and being outside.”

Importance of aerodynamics:
“I’ve cared about it right from the beginning. I knew having aerodynamic wheels was important. For me, stepping up to the start line knowing I have the best equipment available… then the only pressure is, did I prepare myself as well as I could…. That’s it. I can do that. I can push myself in training. I can prepare my body as much as I can prepare… When I get on that bike, I’m going to be riding the fastest bike out there. I’m not going to be giving up anything to anyone I’m racing against.”

“Why I really appreciate my relationship with Zipp is, I sought you out right from the beginning. The evidence is there. It’s pretty obvious what’s going on -- the dedication of your team to making the fastest products and the best products. I bought my wheels from you in the beginning…. I was willing to do that as opposed to getting some free wheels that wouldn’t make my any faster."