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I raced the same 70.3 course last year and this year.
I switched from Conti Ultra Sports with butyl tubes to Conti GP 4000s tires and latex tubes.
I shaved my legs this year and not last year.
This is a two loop fairly flat course. Last year the wind was 4 mph out of NNW, this year it was 4 mph out of the East. Looped course, wind speed the same, different directions should not matter much.
I rode 3 mins faster this year than last. Actually more like 3.5 minutes faster because this year I ran bare foot with bike shoes in hand onto the bike course (so the clock was running) before I stopped to put on my bike shoes. This amounted to a .5 mph increase in average speed over the 56 miles.
I lost the time on the run, I ran 6 mins slower this year and ultimately finished the entire course 55 seconds slower this year. But the bike was faster.
Last year I trained a lot more than I did this year.
So all in all I would say the bike was definately faster. I felt fast, I did not feel like I was expending a lot more energy. And I did not put in as many hours training.
Ok, I have a technical question. I know there are power meters that give readings for the left and the right leg. Are there any on the market today that give data for three legs (right, left, and middle) ?