Saturday, February 4, 2012

What A Difference A Draft Makes!

I am loving loving loving riding my bike these days! Part of that is definitely due to the fact that we have had a very dry winter so far... dry roads all through January is definitely something new and while I'm sorry that the Big Island has been declared a Disaster Area due to draught, I am selfishly thrilled about the blue skies. It also didn't hurt that the winds were on the lighter side again today. I am going to be spoiled and soft if these conditions persist!

The other thing that is making riding more fun these days is Oia'i'o. Going out and having power goals to hit with every ride totally makes riding every bit as much fun as swimming! :) This morning I headed out with Patrick which was awesome for several reasons... partly b/c the workout I wrote for him was one I wasn't altogether sure I could do myself (so that made it exciting) and partly because Patrick is a dedicated athlete who has his shit together... which means he shows up on time and completely prepared to execute the workout exactly as planned. I love smart athletes who pay attention to the details.

Anyway, the lesson learned today was mostly about drafting. I think I always knew that drafting provided significant benefit to the rider in the back, but I've never really been able to document concrete proof of that before today. So Patrick and I are about the same size, which theoretically means that we would both have to be putting out about the same wattage to go the same speed... but he is stronger than I am so the wattage goals that were appropriate to him would be impossible for me to hit... But I figured I would just try to hang on to his wheel for as long as I could? Interestingly though as we compared numbers after each interval, I was able to hang on no problem because I was saving average ~50W while sitting on... I never would have guessed that the drafting advantage would be so high! But we proved it over and over on every interval today. For you math/science geeks out there, the equation looked something like this:
(PW = MW+50) Where PW = Patrick's Wattage while pulling and MW = Michelle's Wattage while sitting on.

Some key take-aways in my own brain:

~The drafting advantage is greatest when on a flat road into a headwind.

~The drafting advantage is significantly reduced when riding even a little uphill (like maybe 20W vs 50?) Patrick is a good climber so I felt this for sure on every slight incline today.

~If you are a woman and in training you are constantly drafting off of men who are not significantly stronger than you, you are not working nearly as hard as you could/should be. 

~Now I'm going to have a harder time controlling myself and not being even MORE PISSED when I witness draft packs in Ironmans. Gah! Drafting really is a significant and blatant form of cheating. Don't do it during an event that calls for an "Individual Time Trial".

So all in all another Super Saturday of bike/run! I am feeling awesome.


Steve said...

Glad you feel awesome. :)

mmmonyka said...

Lucky you! I was riding today outside in 21F and it was snowing on me. Of course I was on a trainer on a balcony but I still call it outside:)

50watts is HUGE!!! If I didn't have powermeter I would have no idea what it means. But holy cow, it's huge!

Teresa said...

The numbers don't lie do they! Glad you are loving power as much as you love swimming :)