Tyler Butterfield Wind Tunnel

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Two weeks ago, Bermuda Olympian and recent Ironman convert Tyler Butterfield made a visit to San Diego Low Speed Wind Tunnel for a test session, and LAVA Magazine was invited exclusively.

Despite his rising stock in Ironman, Butterfield didn’t have a single sponsor that would take up the bill in making him better.

So, as a man who doesn’t wait for anyone, Butterfield took the reins and decided he would fly his friend and former ITU World Champion Tim Don from the United Kingdom to San Diego, and fund his own off-season wind tunnel testing session.

“I figured I’d let my race results and earnings dictate if I was going to do this at all. I did all the math in time in tunnel, the cost of bringing Tim to help me out…”

Don chimes in: “…and I was expensive!”

The two laughed. Butterfield continued: “It was important having Tim here and I was glad he came, because he’s got a lot of experience with this stuff. He had his own wind tunnel session recently and told me about that experience, but also he’s really detailed.”

Don flew out with Butterfield from Boulder, Colorado simply on principle to support his friend.

“It’s impressive,” Don said. “He’s just not relying on a sponsor to get his this data. He wants to win Hawaii, so he says ‘hey, let’s look at the little things as well as the big things, and aerodynamics is huge.”

After testing various bike positions and wheel and apparel choices aboard his Cervelo P5, Butterfield, with an eye to his return to ITU racing before the Rio Games, switched to his S5 aero road bike for a few changes.

Will it pay off? “The end has to justify the means,” Butterfield says. “I sure hope so.”

Here’s a gallery look at his day in the tunnel.