I am afraid that you misunderstood what you read:
Aren't you a charmer? And not patronizing in the least.
"A change to the shape of the bike frame had no significant impact on the drag (<0.3%)" p. 234 a few lines above
So what she says is that the shape of the frame itself does not matter. It matters only when the frame alters the rider's position.
This is a fair point. Underwood's modifications were extensive and groundbreaking, as is appropriate for a serious inquiry into frame aerodynamics:
burrito.jpg [ 12.32 KiB | Viewed 339 times ]
You're quite particular about the correct interpretation Dr. Underwood's dissertation. She wrote "a change to the frame shape had no significant impact on drag," and you understand this to mean that "the shape of the frame does not matter." A broader reading might suggest that she meant that she didn't get anywhere with her modifications to two already-aero frames and elected to focus on other areas instead, but you've rejected feeble-minded approaches that indulge in considering the overall context. One must respect a man with such a clear-eyed worldview.
And surely, you're no hypocrite. A man with the courage of his convictions would never complain if others applied to his
words the narrow, literal interpretation he himself uses. For example:
[This dissertation] has as its main conclusions that the aerodynamics of the frame itself (comparing track frames) do not, practically, matter
Certainly you must mean that there aren't substantial aerodynamic differences between track frames. Round-tubed steel, wind-tunnel-tuned carbon? As long as they're intended for the velodrome, they have pretty much the same drag according to what you wrote. It's an extraordinary claim and it contradicts all the available evidence, but you wouldn't write it if you didn't mean it, I'm sure.
Wait, what? You didn't literally mean that all track frames have the same drag, no matter their shape? You meant something other than what you wrote, perhaps intending to say that similar aero frames have substantially similar drag? Well, I agree: if we read your claim literally, it's incoherent. If we consider the larger context, your argument goes from batshit-insane to a reasonable-sounding (if tautological) position.
If we consider the broader context of Underwood's dissertation, it's fair to say that it's fundamentally about the mathematical modeling of pursuit races and the further modeling of changes to position and their aerodynamic effects. It's kind of weird* that she makes such a weak attempt to modify frames, yes. But looking at the big picture, that seems to have been an effort to justify her decision to ignore the bikes themselves and focus on position and clothing modifications. Here's what Underwood has to say about it:
Lindsey Underwood wrote:
The focus of this thesis was to analyse methods of increasing the speed of track cyclists through changes in position rather than equipment.
I don't know how you decided that one of Underwood's main conclusions was to say that frame aerodynamics "don't practically matter." Chapter 10 contains Underwood's conclusions. Only one sentence mentions frames, and that's just recounting all of the variables she considered. The same sentence mentions putting one's hair in a bun, but I wouldn't draw any sweeping conclusions about hairodynamics or bun drag from this dissertation. It's just not about
Anyway it seems that you have done more rigorous research than Dr Underwood. Can you please share it with us? I honestly respect your knowledge and I would like to learn more.
I can tell you're sincere when you describe your sense of honest respect and an earnest desire to learn from me in particular. How could I possibly think anything else?
Since you asked, I have indeed done more rigorous research on frame aerodynamics than Dr. Underwood, but so has my dog. I've also performed much more serious structural analysis than Oprah. Look: if you think this dissertation has anything to say about frame aerodynamics--and that taping a burrito to a stem somehow supported its claims--you're being willfully obtuse. Your tone is disdainful, your story changes constantly and you flat-out walked away from jwfinesse when he politely asked you to clarify an ambiguous point. Just what do you get out of posting this way?
* I'm not an academic, but I was married to one for twelve years. It's common for dissertators to pass their defenses conditionally: their committee announces that they will have passed as soon as they make certain changes. This is just a guess, but the section on the aerodynamic effects of stem burritos looks to me like it was thrown in to appease a committee member who insisted that Dr. Underwood needed to justify her focus on position and clothing. She also goes on at length about the elastic modulus of different fabrics, a subject that doesn't have much to do with her conclusions. That may be in there for similar reasons, possibly to satisfy a committee member who wanted to see more material analysis. Overall, I think this dissertation is fine, but there are a lot of meanderings down blind alleys.