Paul 'Barney' Matthews may be one of the most overlooked guys in the sport of triathlon. You might say he 'flies under the radar.' But with multiple 70.3 wins, a wicked run, and multiple Ironman finishes at 8 hours and single-digit minutes, he's undeniably a force to be reckoned with. And after being disappointed with his luck at Kona this year, he's back in action to tackle Ironman Arizona on Sunday, Nov. 16th. We took a close look at Paul's bike back at the Hawaii World Championships, and I noticed that his front end setup looked like it could stand to lose a bit of frontal area. So I bent Paul's ear and let him know I'd like to work on the bike a bit. He was all over it, and brought his Blue Triad SL to TriRig Headquarters for a full Service Course customization.
The Fit Puzzle
Paul's position is relatively straightforward. No crazy bar tilt, no wacky accessories. The weird thing about his Kona setup was the combination of components he was using to achieve his required fit coordinates. Specifically, he had a stem with about 30mm of rise (to get higher), then a bar whose handholds would drop down (to get lower), extensions mounted under the base bar (to get lower), a 20mm spacer under the pads (to get higher), and a massively high-stack extension (to get the shifters up to the right spot). It was a case of up and down, components acting against each other's purposes in a way that simply added extra material not needed.
... and after.
So my goal was simple: get a flat stem and a flat bar, then simply add pad spacers to get to the appropriate coordinate. Sounds easy, and it should be. But in this case, it wasn't.
You see, the stem that was on his bike was an integrated component to the Blue Triad. Its positive-rise stem is the only option available for the bike, and is meant to bolt into the bayonet fork. So it took a bit of creativity to find the right solution. I actually hacked into his bayonet fork, leveling it off so that it would accept our Sigma XF stem, and even modified the Sigma to bolt directly into the fork. It was a very delicate task, and one that clearly would void the warranty of anyone attempting to replicate it (don't try this at home, kids!), but it put the bar clamp exactly where we wanted.
... and after.
From there, the job was very straightforward. An Alpha aerobar replaced the ENVE SES bar on there, in order to maintain his base bar position, and the Alpha's spacers got his pads up to the right spot. Then, as a result of having the extensions clamped just under his pads (rather than 70cm below them), we could use a much shallower extension to get his shifters into position, in this case the Gamma extensions that come with the Alpha.
And with Omega brakes front and rear, Paul is completely kitted out in TriRig livery. Unfortunately, we couldn't take advantage of the Sigma's integrated cable stop, due to the bayonet fork getting in the way. But careful routing of the housing means there's no added frontal area, so things remain nice and clean. Finally, I installed a custom M5 top tube boss in order to attach a TorHans Aerobento which hides the cables and Di2 junction box, and also provides a little aero storage. The custom M5 boss was a bit of a job too, as the Triad SL doesn't have top tube bosses stock.
We're incredibly proud to have him in our corner, and are looking forward to the race next Sunday at Ironman Arizona. Enjoy the gallery below, and good luck, Barney!