"The 33"-Road Bike Racing - Too much draft?
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04-26-08, 12:13 PM
Here's my problem. When I'm in a big group going downhill I'm always gaining on the riders in front of me. Not sure why, I'm a small guy at 5'7", 135lbs. The only thing I can think of is that I'm always in a draft zone. On smaller rides I can just move out a little and catch the wind. On big rides (2 or 3 abreast) I'm surrounded and have to feather my brakes. I'm sure the riders behind me really appreciate that. Any suggestions.
04-26-08, 12:16 PM
In a big group going down hill you'll always have the accordion effect. You can try drifting back a little bit to mitigate it, but some braking if you're near the back of the field is inevitable. You can also sit up and use your body as a sail to catch more wind to slow down. If it's a race, you can also make sure you're near/on the front of the descents. That way you control your pace...
04-26-08, 12:33 PM
Didn't mean to put this only in the Racing forum, can a Mod move it to Road Cycling?
04-26-08, 12:34 PM
Yep, draft has a greater impact when descending because it's at a higher speed. Sit up... way up. It will let you breathe and recover faster anyway.
04-26-08, 01:00 PM
Trust me, sitting up doesn't help much. And this happens with even a slight decline.
04-26-08, 03:11 PM
Its called gravity. Gravity applies a force and accelerates you on a downhill, its as if you were still pedalling (but its free). You reach an equilibrium, a steady state free-fall speed, when the force of the wind resistance is exactly the same as the force applied to you due to gravity. Now, if you are drafting behind someone, the force due to gravity which accelerates you is the same for both of you, but since your wind resistance is less than the guy in front of you, since you are drafting him, you go faster.
A group that understands this can really fly down a hill without pedalling at all. You just do a circular paceline exactly as you would on the flats, but without pedalling, and you will fly. The trick is to get off the front as soon as you get up there and stay as close together as possible.
Believe me, you aren't the only one feathering his brakes, everyone is. Try to stay to the outside fringes of the pack on the downhills and use the free speed to get around cyclists and move up in the group.
Yell at the guys in front to keep pedaling. And feather your brakes if you have to.
04-26-08, 11:39 PM
you may have a heavier bike or something too.
04-27-08, 06:27 AM
The ~5lbs. more that my bike weighs is surely negated by the fact that I'm at least 20lbs. lighter than everyone else.
04-27-08, 09:02 AM
In the context of racing, this is a great reason to try to crest the hill first. If you lead the pack down the hill you can do whatever you want and people won't try too hard to pass you.
I'm a heavier guy (180-ish) and I get this worse than you do. Add to this the fact that nobody in northern california in cat 4-5 knows how to descend correctly, and I could gain a good 10-20 second gap on the field on every decent if I could get to the front by the crest of the hill.
Sidenote, if you are on the front of a decent, never stop pedaling. Ever. Coasting pisses off the people behind you. If you spin out, put your chin on your stem and move over.
04-27-08, 09:13 AM
If you spin out, put your chin on your stem and move over.
:eek: I got stitches that way
Edit: It happens to everyone, read San Rensho's post. I'm usually one of the taller and lighter riders and in the races I've done and I always have to break. Just get to the top first next time.
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