Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Pacelining

So this week's group ride was a training session more than a work out. This week we were learning how to "paceline." Those of you who are NASCAR aficionado (such as Joe in SH227) you will recognize pacelining. Pacelining is basically the process where riders line up behind one another and ride in another bicyclists slipstream. The effect is that the lead rider encounters most of the air/wind resistance and reduces the effort that the trailing rider has to expend. This is the equivalent of NASCAR "drafting." It also can save the trailing riders anywhere between 20 and 30 %.

Unlike NASCAR though, if you goof and "swap paint" or more likely bump a tire, someone or possible everyone following you is going to end up on the asphalt. Going 20 mph and hitting the asphalt and having 4 of your buddies pile up on top of you is no fun. That's why we learned this skill at a slow speed this weekend out on a quiet road.

The training seminar was relatively uneventful. Jen (another mentor) and I headed out with a group of about 6 people. We got out to a relatively flat area of Baltimore County and started doing laps on the road. Each lap, the riders became increasingly comfortable with the pacelining and got their bikes increasingly closer to the rider in front of them. There are a few flat stretches out in Tahoe where we will be pacelining and there should be some significant energy savings. Everyone did a nice pull and we all shared some of the air/wind burden.

All in all it was a great ride. I really enjoyed it.

One thing I forgot to mention in my post about Saturday was the great response I had to my TNT jersey. I was wearing my TNT jersey from last year and I got two big "GOT TEAM" shouts. One from somebody on the Capital Cresent Trail and one from a group of girls in a car near Dupont Circle. I thought it was great that teammates were out there yelling positive things for me! Felt great! Hugely awesome to be part of a TEAM!

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