Soon after I sent out my newsletter on wind, my brother (followed by another newsletter rearder told me the power of wind goes up as a square of speed. A 15 mph wind is 3 times as powerful as a 10 mph wind. Horsepower is also affected by speed. HP = drag force x velocity.
Put these all together and you can easily see that the faster you go the harder it is to get incremental gains. Here’s a nifty calculator
Going 15 mph on flat ground with no head wind the drag is 5.91 Newtons needing requiring 40 watts of power. Go up to 20 mph and its 10.5 Newtons and 94 watts. At 25 it’s 16.43 N/ 183 W.
And if your name is Fabian, and you can maintain 33 mph your drag is 28.6 N/ 422 W. Add only a 10 mph headwind and its 48.6 N / 934W.
It’s easy to see why drafting is so advantageous – even in the mountains (at the speeds the pros go).
Reducing aerodynamic drag does the same thing as reducing the velocity of the headwind.
Thanks for reading – John Neugent
BTW, before you go out and drop all of your savings on bike parts, 85% of the aerodynamic drag on a bike is the rider.
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