Zipp News

Back 6.6.2012

Linsey's big choice on the Big Island

Linsey Corbin

Ever wonder what goes into a pro athlete’s wheel choice for a big race? We do. So we asked pro triathlete Linsey Corbin why she choose to ride dual 81-mm deep Zipp® 808 Firecrest® wheels on a day of high winds at last weekend’s Ironman 70.3 Hawaii. 

Here’s Linsey’s race report in her own words:

I often get criticized for my aggressive wheel choices here in Kona. At the pre-race press conference, I was asked what wheels I was riding and I said 808s - knowing the winds had been ripping out here. 

I was really happy with my choice. The Firecrest technology handles far better in the winds than standard deep wheels. I am not going to say I wasn’t blown on the roads -- as I most certainly was. However, it was not any worse than riding my standard 303 Firecrest training wheel in the days prior to the race. I just can’t speak enough for what a stable, comfortable wheel choice that is the 808 Firecrest. 

People often question why I chose the aggressive wheels out here. First of all it comes from confidence -- both in myself as a strong(er) cyclist as well as confidence in the product. The way to handle the winds out here is constant tension on the chain, with the goal of keeping the wheel moving in the wind. If the wheel is moving in a forward direction, it’s much faster than moving slow and getting caught up in the side winds. The other benefit of the Firecrest wheels is that, yes, there are crosswinds, but the benefits you receive in the head- and tailwinds far outweigh what happens in the crosswinds. 

The race win (and the course record) was set up on the bike course on Saturday. I can’t speak highly enough for the SRAM RED and the Zipp 808 Firecrest I used. Looking forward to doing it again in October -- and here’s hoping for a windy day!

Postscript: Linsey rocked the 56-mile cycling leg at Ironman 70.3 Hawaii in 2:25:02, which was 3 minutes, 35 seconds ahead of second place Julia Grant. After a strong run, she crossed the finish line cowboy hat in hand – she is a proud Montanan, after all -- in a course record 4:26:09. The numbers back Linsey up.  In the wind tunnel*, dual 808 Firecrest wheels save roughly 40.5 seconds over dual 303 Firecrest wheels and 3 minutes, 36 seconds over traditional aluminum race wheels over the 90.1 km of cycling in a 70.3 triathlon. 

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Linsey! To learn more about Linsey Corbin, visit or follow her on Twitter

* Aerodynamics calculation methodology:
Time and watt savings are calculated using a top-selling aluminum race wheel as the baseline and assuming a power output of 300 watts and a speed of 30mph (48kph). If you’re going slower, the time savings are greater, as you’ll be riding for a longer time. Aero savings reflect rider-on-bike testing, not wheels-only testing. All numbers are calculated at a 10° wind angle to approximate the most common real-world riding conditions. Tests are conducted using 21mm Vittoria® tires; Zipp Tangente tires can save an additional 3-9 seconds, or 1-3 watts.