Bifurcation and Marginal Gains

What do aircraft wings, the Tacoma Narrows bridge and Coronavirus modeling all have in common? As you may have guessed from the title, it’s bifurcation — just about the least intuitive (or predictable) behavior known to humankind. In this episode, we talk about bifurcation and its relation to all of these — as well as how understanding bifurcation can affect real-world racing…and how the same effect that can tear the wings off a plane can also make for the terrifying speed wobble you may have experienced on a fast descent on your bike.

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3 thoughts on “Bifurcation and Marginal Gains

  1. My dissertation (decades ago) was about stable and nonstable equilibria in dynamic systems in the neighborhood of bifurcation thresholds. Everything is about bicycles–it’s just that sometimes we don’t know it yet.

  2. Hi Josh loved this topic and really interesting info. As R Chung says everything is about bicycles we just need time to see it. My next question is what about the the Super Secret Drip lube, why not use this on other parts that need lube like bearings? WS2 is a good bearing coating and well max makes them immune to dust? Just remove dust seal clean and drip wax? Does that sound reasonable? Could this be the next video marginal gain?

  3. Thinking about the change from optimizing equipment for a course to optimizing for the bifurcation point where the critical move goes, I was wondering how you account for the cost of the critical move optimized equipment elsewhere. For example, a race that will end in a sprint (field or small group) but has climbing early. Critical point would say go for the most aero set up possible, but if that entails extra weight, then the rider might come to the sprint more fatigued for having to climb with that extra mass. How would the bifurcation approach address this situation?

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