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Ed Burke on benefits of drafting(12 posts)

Ed Burke on benefits of draftingTig
Feb 6, 2003 10:55 AM
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There are three basic methods a cyclist can use to reduce
wind resistance: drafting, decreasing the frontal area, and
streamlining components. Drafting is the least expensive.

Remember, the area behind a cyclist is a low-pressure area.
When someone passes you, jump in behind them and ride in
their low-density space.

The benefit is more noticeable the closer you ride to the
cyclist in front. Racers must learn to ride comfortably
within 6 to 10 inches of a back wheel.

Here is how wind resistance decreases as distance between
cyclists decreases. It takes months of practice to ensure
that you can ride safely while drafting for maximum benefit.

Wheel Gap / Decrease in Wind Resistance

3.0 ft. = -34%
2.0 ft. = -38%
1.0 ft. = -42%
0.5 ft. = -44%
yupDougSloan
Feb 6, 2003 11:13 AM
That's why I can follow Cat 1's at 30 mph. Leader is making about 500 watts, and little old me 220. Cool.

Doug
now, if we could just tame gravity, it'd all be good. nmJS Haiku Shop
Feb 6, 2003 11:18 AM
good point; my statement modified...DougSloan
Feb 6, 2003 11:23 AM
That's why I can follow Cat 1's at 30 mph (until we hit a hill). Leader is making about 500 watts, and little old me 220.

:-)
now that doesn' explaincyclopathic
Feb 6, 2003 11:50 AM
why I get dropped like hot potato when tandem I draft on hits downhill. Is it because I spin out of 52x12?
no problemDougSloan
Feb 6, 2003 1:47 PM
I can always keep up with tandems. I don't know why, but here are some possible hints.

1. stay very close, less than 6 inches (don't overlap though, or it could punt you like a truck)

2. if there is a cross wind, move sideways downwinds slightly

3. never, ever, let a gap form. spin your butt off to keep up. don't think you can relax for a moment and they catch up

The first time I did the Central Coast Double, I met up with 2 fast tandem teams; we were jamming up highway 1 at 28 mph into the wind, with just the tandems switching pulls. I decided I was going to stay with these guys.

I beat them to lunch, as there is big hill just before. I waited and left lunch with them. A couple miles later, I threw a chain and had to stop to fix it. I did, and then, hit max heart rate catching up. I was then the last of about 10 wheelsuckers in the tandem train. We turned and started down a really big, straight hill. The solos ahead of me let a gap form. I thought, "no way I'm going to lose the tandems," and sprinted in my 53x12 up to 57 mph, past all the solos, and caught the tandems by the bottom of the hill. You should have seen the looks on their faces when they turned around at the bottom and saw little old me and no one else. They towed my for another 60 miles. Loads of fun.

I later calculated that I hit almost 170 rpms to catch them. So, being a sprinter/spinner even pays off in double centuries.

Doug
no problemcyclopathic
Feb 8, 2003 1:29 AM
my strategy is to wait at the top of the hill so tandem won't have a chance to build up enough speed to shoot by. Still with good pilot tandem hits 70mph+ on downhills plus they have wider gearing so if they decide to put hammer down and drop you they will even on lesser grades.

170RPM is impressive it's been a few years since I was able to hit 180 on rollers. Riding LSD kills spin; I think I ride nowdays at ~60.
3rd rider back gets even a little more aero benefitTig
Feb 6, 2003 1:47 PM
I know I've read it from one of the solid coaching sources, but forgot who it was. I believe it from personal experience as well. Anywhere back in the paceline, the work is easy until I get behind the puller. It always feels like I have to then work slightly harder. This is noticed when the pace is over 25 MPH.

The truth all comes out when we can't hide from gravity!
Racers learn to ride within 6 to 10 inches of back wheel...rightsaidfred
Feb 6, 2003 12:53 PM
Damn. Does the front guy ever slam on the brakes to crash the back guy?
rule no. 1: know and trust the cyclists you ride pacelines withtarwheel
Feb 6, 2003 1:08 PM
There are guys I wouldn't mind riding with 6-12" apart in a paceline, but I am awful wary of doing this with strangers. Despite our frequent concern about being hit by cars, I think one of the biggest risks to cyclists is going down or getting caught in pileups in sloppy pacelines. I try to stay within my limits and usually keep about a 2-3' distance between me and the bike in front. Safety is more important than speed.
Yes, mixed abilities can be dangerous in a paceline! -nmTig
Feb 6, 2003 1:39 PM
not if he wants to liveDougSloan
Feb 6, 2003 1:23 PM
If someone did that to me, I'd treat the same as if he sucker punched me in the mouth.

Doug