As you folks know by now, Cap't Thomas, Quang, and Thanh were the three VeloViets that completed the 202-mile ride in 9 hours and 39 minutes recently. This distance and time is amazing by itself, but what were some of their ride "secrets"?
One answer is that they stayed together in a tight paceline... Greg in MN share with us this info below, along with a diagram from Felt Bicycles:
"Aerodynamic drag is a fascinating phenomenon. You will soon experience how much energy you can conserve by tucking in close behind another rider" and "the effectiveness of a draft is related to the size & shape of the object in front of you, how close you are following, and the relative air speed".
Photo 1 - The effect of aerodynamic on a bicycle (Felt Bicycles)
Notice the large air gap created right behind the ride in the photo. This is where you want to be as there is less air drag in this area. Greg went on to state that he is one of the taller VV riders in MN, and hence is a very popular person to draft behind as he creates a large wind shield for the rider behind.
Quang states that "the % power saving at about 20-21mph on flat" is "10-15% from the rider in front of you".
He also said that "position 1, 2, 3, 4 ... are all different" and "paceline in the track with the draft only about 2-4 inches apart and NO hill ... 100% power from 1st rider, 2nd rider only use 71% = 29% save, 3rd only use 64% = 36% save and 4th only use 63% = 37% save ..... in a straight line".
So in a long distance ride like the one recently completed by the VeloViet Club, the idea is share the workload among multiple riders by each rider rotating periodically through the front. The riders in the back then "rest" and conserve his energy by tucking in as close as possible to the front rider. The larger the pack, the less energy each rider have to expend compare at similar speed and distance.
There is no reason why a large group with OC A1 and A2 members can not finish an epic ride together and with a good time. Typically where the group tends to break apart is the accelerations from a dead stop. You see riders like myself work hard to close these gaps, from dead stops or even gaps in the paceline, as we know that we will have to exert a lot more energy later if we loose the draft of the front rider.
Besides the mental and physical conditioning to prepare for an epic ride, I practice drafting, and the occasional rotating to the front, when I ride with the A1 group. With the A2 group, I practice the above as well as accelerating smoothly from dead stops so that I don't loose anyone behind.
Give it a try at one of the Friendly/Social Rides. For those who are not experience with drafting, I suggest keeping the distance 1 or 2 feet between your front wheel and the front rider's rear wheel.
See U Sunday,