Posted on
Tuesday,
9 Nov 2010

Road Racing Tips

Slipstreaming

Sitting on is the most important skill every competitive cyclist will need to learn. When done correctly it will save you a massive 30% allowing you to go further and faster than you ever imagined. Sitting on is achieved by following closely behind another rider in their wind 'shadow'. As the lead rider pushes into the wind the following rider will be sucked along using considerably less energy.

This 'draft' created by the lead rider continually changes position behind the leader depending on wind direction, speed and the speed of the rider. In a dead head or tail wind the draft will be directly behind the lead rider. In a cross wind the draft will be slightly off to the side. If the wind is coming from the right then the draft will be on the left side if the lead rider. In a very strong cross wind you will need to move up next to the leader with your handlebars close to their hips.

Terminology:
Sitting on, Slipstreaming, Drafting, Getting/Holding a wheel.


Working Turns

Working turns allows a group of riders to collectively go faster than they could individually. By rotating the lead position each rider can make a short hard effort, then recover in the other riders slipstreams before again coming to the front to make another effort.

Generally a working bunch will form two pace lines, with the line on the slipstream side moving forward and the windward line drifting back. It is important that whatever line you are in, you continue to slipstream the rider in front of you. In a cross wind the bunch will create two diagonal lines across the road.

If the wind is coming from the Left, the lead rider should be on the far left of the road, and the next rider in the forward moving line (right side) will pass the lead rider on the right hand side and taking over that riders position. The passed rider then drifts across to the right hand side of the lead rider and becomes part of the second line (left side) dropping towards the back. The last rider switches from the left backwards moving line to right hand forward moving line to start the process again.
THIS IS REFERED TO AS WORKING "DOWN" THE ROAD.

If the wind is coming from the Right, the direction of the pace lines is reversed. The lead rider should be out on the center line of the road, with the forward moving riders passing on the left side.
THIS IS REFERED TO AS WOKING "UP" THE ROAD.