Again, here’s another article I rode for the Vision Quest newsletter. With many of us riding consistently outside this summer, it seemed like an appropriate time to talk about group riding.
Depending on the type of rider you are and your training background, group rides may make up a large component of your riding at certain times of the year or they may be something completely foreign to you. In the past, we have talked about the advantages and disadvantages of including group rides in the training program for more seasoned riders. Here we will offer some tips to help newer riders find an appropriate group and learn how best to fit into that ride.
If you have never been on a group ride before, you may feel intimidated by the size and speed of the group that may resemble organized (or un-organized) chaos. There are two basic patterns you will encounter on any group ride: 2×2 and the rotating paceline. Riding 2×2 is most practical for lower speeds up to about 22 mph. Two leaders will ride side-by-side with the rest of the group lined up side-by-side behind them. The leaders will pull for 2-5 minutes before pulling off to the outside of their line and drifting to the back of the group. The next two riders in line will then move up between the previous leaders and take up pace-making duties.
While training for Ironman Canada last year, I spent some time working with some of the best aero experts in the business to uncover some of the intracies of aerodynamics. The result? I wrote the article below about aerodynamics for the Vision Quest newsletter.
Well I spent some – actually a ton of – time in the wind tunnel this past week with VQ aero expert Jim Sauls and the King of Aero himself, Steve Hed. Steve is one who lets the results speak for themselves. He was the one who dialed in Lance Armstrong’s aero position for the last six tours and he’s spent the last three years working with Levi Leipheimer and the top triathlete in the world. Not to mention he and his wife also have personal experience with Ironman racing! We also brought along VQ’er Bob weeks, an MIT grad who added great insight to the project. With all this brain power (Jim, Steve and Bob’s brain power, not mine!) I knew the fancy words and complicated equations wouldn’t take long to overwhelm me, in reality it only took about 10 seconds until I was lost. Reynolds numbers, drag coefficients, lenticular designs, boundary layers, K-factors and every other imaginable term were being thrown around constantly and we joked that we needed to get a helmet made of ice for all the experts to keep their heads from overheating. All these guys were great to work with and the time I spent with them and Mike Giraud at the A2 tunnel was some of the most productive and educational time I have had as a coach.