Every Thursday evening Patrick and I ride in the Great Valley Practice Criterium – it’s a practice crit where a bunch of guys (usually 30-50 guys) from all levels – pros to hacks like me – show up and ride a loop over and over again. There are two small rises, but it’s generally flat. I downloaded the data from last night’s ride and thought it was interesting. Take a look.
What you’ll see are three humps. The first hump was my warmup. Then a pause at the start line. The second hump is us getting things going. The pace started out slow, then picked up speed, topping out at 30.79 mph (remember, this is flat). Then, I blow up, hard, recover, and ride solo for the rest of the ride.
The reason I think this is interesting is because you hear Phil Liggett all the time talk about the benefits of riding in a pack – well, this is proof. When I was on my own, my heart rate dropped by 7 bmp, so I wasn’t working as hard as I was in the group, but not much. Yet, look at the speed difference!
Moral of the story – if you can manage to sit on someone’s wheel and hide in the pack, do it. Of course, take your turns out front and share the burden, but the more time you can spend in the pack, the better off you are.