Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Drafting - it ain't so hard to Do
"Drafting is the act of riding behind another cyclist in an area of reduced air pressure created in the wake of that leading cyclist. The trailing or drafting cyclist uses less energy to maintain the same speed as the cyclist they are trailing. This creates an unfair advantage."
(I will elaborate on this in a minute. but first...)
I suppose I should act like I remeber I have a blog and post something, anything, even if it is B-O-R-I-N-G.
Since Cleveland I managed to enjoy week ZERO running only about 10 miles at the end of the week and eating just about everthing in sight and reveling in my accomplishment. Week 1 allowed for what I call a "significant" amount of cycling and a dip in the pool as I have my first triathlon coming up here soon.
Now however, the moment is passed and i am chiding myself for not being faster as the memory of the pain has subsided and the overbearing overachiever has returned.
I am now in week 2 of post-marathon/pre-triathlon and am aggressively planning my cycling attack. Last night I headed up to Mentor to meet the walrus for a 25-30 mile ride. The weather was perfect. I arrived around 5:30pm. He was outside waiting with his tri bike! What was going on?!?! His average pedal speed is usually around 22mph on that thing. I was not going to be able to keep up! He had said he would take his road bike. This was going to be bad. I was going to be too slow and hold him back and he was going to get frustrated. The walrus denied my accusations and said things would be fine and to get ready.
I hurried downstairs to put on my cycling jersey and to my dismay had forgotten it. All I had was tank top that would show off way way too much cleavage when in the "aero position." GREAT. Well, I wasn't going to bag this ride. Every man in Mentor driving by was just going to get a little show that's all.
We headed out to ride the Willoughby Hills Du loop for a warm-up between 15-18 mph. It was nice and flat so I got to try out my new bars almost immediately. (I had tried at home on the trainer, but it in a very highly educated word analysis... it sucked!) It was a little awkward for a mile or so and then I started to get in the groove. These were way better than my old bars. Around mile 6 I began inching up closer and closer to the back of the walrus's tire. I was practically on top of him, which in any other situation he would have really enjoyed :)
We began cruising along at what felt like 15-16 mph, but when I looked down we were pulling 19-20 mph. YAY! I was pumped. I felt great. Drafting was fun. I had raced sprint distances last year at average of 17-18 mph and was killing myself, but today I felt like Lance Armstrong, with boobs of course.
We headed back into Mentor and down Lakeshore after that. There was some heavy traffic so between that and the road kill it became somewhat of an obstacle course. There was a man in an F150 with 2 long ladders sticking out of the back of his truck that turned right into a driveway and almost smacked the walrus in the head, but he was wary and managed to avoid the attempted sucker punch. We made it out to the Painseville/Fairport area before looping back. It was fairly flat with only a few hills so I continued to remain on my aerobars and be pulled along by my old man. We rode by Headlands state park, the marshes and the lake. It was very exhilerating. I felt so great. I am a competitor and I want to be "fast," but I also really want to train and compete "in the zone" where I enjoy the high's provided through my endorphins and my surroundings. Struggling to breathe and feeling like crap is just not an acceptable training method for me anymore.
I was still maintaining the 19-20 mph range comfortably. I thought about telling him to pick it up and see how far I could really push things, but it was only my second ride outside and my longest to date this year so I opted to not kill myself. I did however start to tighten in my neck and my shoulders at about an hour and my crotch was getting soar. I changed back and forth between my hoods, the drops and the aeros for the remainder of the ride, but continued to draft.
Nearly home, we had about 4 cars rev their engines and fly by us. Now, I am not sure what the hell the point was. We WERE in single file formation and we were on a somewhat residential street. I am trying not to get aggravated with drivers, but this bitchin' about gas and then revving the engine and burning additional gas is just plain pissing me off. We eventually had to turn back onto a much busier Lakeshore Blvd in which a car made a left hand turn and just missed plowing into the walrus as the driver was more concerned with getting to his destination than about safety. Again the walrus was alert and avoided any mishap.
Shortly thereafter, we arrived at his home completing 26.2 miles (yea, a marathon on a bike). The walrus ditched the bike and went for a quick run to make it a brick. I went for the shower. I had a great ride. I was able to keep up, thanks to the drafting and my boyfriend had still gotten a decent workout in for himself. I think we have decided to make this an ongoing hot and sweaty date every Monday now.