Wednesday, April 18, 2007

There may be something to this drafting stuff...

Took the opportunity to get out tonight and join up with some of the Blue Sky Velo team on a "no drop" ride. Figured that might be a good introduction to riding with the group, and I could get an idea of what my fitness was like compared to some others.

I showed up just in time to have a brief introduction, and then get rolling along down the road. There were 10 or 12 of us, probably 7 or 8 guys at least 3 women. We set out 2 wide pedaling along at a nice easy pace, and tucked in behind the riders in front it was very non-taxing to my legs.

As we approached Rabbit Mountain, the two riders in front peeled off which left me and another road newbie on the front for the grinder climb up to Rabbit Mountain. Not a big deal, we just carried along keeping a steady pace. What we didn't realize was that we had dropped the field behind us. We dialed it back a bit and we all came together for the harder part of the climb.

On the way back, we were zipping along with gravity pushing our speeds quite high. One rider had gotten off the front off the pack, and as the group I was riding with slowed I decided it would be a good excercise to try and bridge the gap up to him, so I went. I jumped out and mashed big ring, with a quick glance behind me I realized I was solo. After about .5 mile, I bridged the gap and tucked in nicely behind the solo rider out front. After getting into his draft, I was cruising at 25mph with little effort at all. I was starting to dig this draft stuff.

We regrouped, climbed up 36 to St Vrain Rd and then found some more downhill excitement. Once again, the big British guy (who's name I can't recall) powered off the front of the pack, establishing about a 10-15 second gap on the rest of us. I jumped out and powered down, this time with 2 riders going with me. I drug out trio up and tucked in behind the big British diesel, who was up front just pounding out the 53/12 ferociously. We powered down the 5 mile stretch hitting speeds between 25 and 30 mph for the 5 mile stretch.

I felt a bit guilty sitting in on the big guy's draft, but wasn't sure I'd be able to get around him and pull at his speed so I just stayed tucked in. The train of 5 of us pulled a couple of minute gap on the rest of the pack. Its pretty amazing what kind of gap you can put on a group in such a short time when you've got someone out front just killing it like the Big Brit was. Had the 5 of us been all rotating through and pulling up front, we could have sustained this pace for quite some time on downhills or flats.

I think maybe this wind resistance thing just might be real.

And as always, here is the elevation graph from tonights ride. Got in just under 27 miles tonight in about 90 minutes, 17.5ish average.

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