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"making the pack" in non-drafting races
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I'm trying to get my head around the advantage to be had in "legal drafting" in non-drafting races. That is, trying to stay in a group outside of the 4 or so bike lengths that are required. I know people who race competitively talk about "making the pack" out of the water being a big part of their strategy despite the race being non-drafting. Here are the possible benefits I can think of. Am I missing anything?


Riding at > 4 bike lengths can still get you some draft advantage.
Keeping your competition in sight is a mental advantage
Seeing the accelerations/suffering/eating of your competitors can help you figure out when to try and put the hurt on them

To what degree is the first one true? Is that all it boils down to?

http://forum.slowtwitch.com/gforum.cgi?post=5113994;search_string=%20legal%20drafting%20;#5113994

http://adamfort.blogspot.ca/
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Re: "making the pack" in non-drafting races [AdamFort] [ In reply to ]
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Wind tunnel has shown 10-15w savings at legal length. Also I think its easier to pace with others mentally.

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Re: "making the pack" in non-drafting races [AdamFort] [ In reply to ]
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This is a pretty cool informal study that Specialized did (same guys who tested the effect of shaved legs): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PevpVXelq8A

It would be interesting to see the results with a rider on an actual bike placed varying distances away from the rider (both in front of and behind) and the difference between a rider on a road bike on the hoods or drops, and a rider on a tri bike in the aero bars. I would assume that the effect of drafting is more significant for riders on a road bike because the rider is more upright, but the video at least gives a general idea of what the effect might be.

I thought it was pretty neat that you actually get a draft benefit even if someone is drafting off of you. So next time someone illegally drafts off of you in a no-draft race, quit complaining :)
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Re: "making the pack" in non-drafting races [AdamFort] [ In reply to ]
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Riding just outside of the 5 meters gives you an advantage.

Competition in sight doesn't really work with me.

Accelerations and stuff doesn't affect me either

I'm simply trying to go as fast as I can with as little power as I can. If someone happens to be going the same speed as I am then that's great but I'm not waiting around for that someone.

It happened to me at Rev3 Florida where a guy in the wave behind me came out of the water near me. I was a quarter mile behind for a long time then he dropped a bottle and stopped to get it. I passed him, then he passed me back, since I knew we were riding nearly the same speed I stayed 7 or so meters behind him. You can actually see the drop in power in the data file. It was about 15 watts as another poster mentioned.

jaretj
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Re: "making the pack" in non-drafting races [jaretj] [ In reply to ]
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http://connect.garmin.com/splits/404575515

You can see laps 7 and 8 where I was behind him. I passed back cuz I felt he was slowing down
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Re: "making the pack" in non-drafting races [AdamFort] [ In reply to ]
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There is one disadvantage (other than the risk of getting popped for drafting if you screw up): responding to the surges in the pack and the pressure to stay with the pack can lead people to overextend themselves and blow. Look at the men in Kona last year; most of the top competitors were shattered on the bike, and the runs were all quite slow (Rinny set a marathon and overall record, so it wasn't the conditions).


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Re: "making the pack" in non-drafting races [Anando] [ In reply to ]
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Anando wrote:
This is a pretty cool informal study that Specialized did (same guys who tested the effect of shaved legs): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PevpVXelq8A

It would be interesting to see the results with a rider on an actual bike placed varying distances away from the rider (both in front of and behind) and the difference between a rider on a road bike on the hoods or drops, and a rider on a tri bike in the aero bars. I would assume that the effect of drafting is more significant for riders on a road bike because the rider is more upright, but the video at least gives a general idea of what the effect might be.

I thought it was pretty neat that you actually get a draft benefit even if someone is drafting off of you. So next time someone illegally drafts off of you in a no-draft race, quit complaining :)

Actually they did a much better "real" drafting test using Ben Hoffman and Bevan Docherty. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-c8kM3aA_EE
Go to about minute 3 and they give the aero savings. Claim at 7.7m front wheel to front wheel, if you ride @ 44-45 kph(about 26.5mph), you save 60w by drafting. That seemed high to me but what do I know.
I don't remember anyone talking about this video on ST but maybe I missed it.
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Re: "making the pack" in non-drafting races [tucktri] [ In reply to ]
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Wow, the two things that surprised me here were

1) How huge our advantage is in AG racing at 7-10 meters

2) How negligible the advantage is for the pros at 12-13 meters

Last season I raced both WTC WC races and couldn't help but notice at both races that the pros are basically 1 or 2 off the front, then a long line of most, then a small chase line off the back. Really thought there must be a notable advantage, wondering if higher wind speeds would bring those out?

Tim Russell, Pro Triathlete

Instagram- @timbikerun
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Re: "making the pack" in non-drafting races [AdamFort] [ In reply to ]
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count me as one for the mental advantage. even in running, if i'm trying to stay on someone's shoulder, once the gap is more than a few meters, i'm broken.

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Re: "making the pack" in non-drafting races [JustinNorCal] [ In reply to ]
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Did not know that. Good to know.
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Re: "making the pack" in non-drafting races [AdamFort] [ In reply to ]
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Riding at > 4 bike lengths can still get you some draft advantage.

You ask to what degree this is true, well depends. YOu can be 2 bike lengths behind and get no draft advantage or you could be 5 or 6 and getting a significant savings. So many factors to consider. If you are in hawaii and it is a straight 25mph crosswind, well that pretty much blows away the draft. If it is a 30mph tailwind, well that pretty much blows away any draft. But a direct head on 30mph wind with a very large rider in front, well that could be a jackpot for trailing riders. And not sure if it has been tested, but i suspect that if you are 10th in a 10m line with a headwind, you are even getting more than #2 in line is getting.


Keep in mind that unless you are talking about pros, AG'er rules are much more lax, probably like 2 bike lengths in most races. So certainly in most conditions they are getting a huge savings legally. Just part of the science of doing our sport, you need to know where and when to be in all 3 sports to do your best race..
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Re: "making the pack" in non-drafting races [AdamFort] [ In reply to ]
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Hang on for dear life.
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Re: "making the pack" in non-drafting races [Timbikerun] [ In reply to ]
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Also believe in WTC pros must be staggered

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Re: "making the pack" in non-drafting races [JustinNorCal] [ In reply to ]
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WTC races are ride to the right for pros too, just a much longer zone than age groupers

USAT-only races (ie non WTC) uses the stagger rule
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Re: "making the pack" in non-drafting races [jaretj] [ In reply to ]
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I'm pretty sure the rule is 7 meters for age groupers and 10 meters for pros. At least for WTC races anyway.

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Re: "making the pack" in non-drafting races [Sbradley11] [ In reply to ]
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7 meters for USAT
7 meters for WTC

Yes, you are correct
Last edited by: jaretj: Jul 7, 14 17:21
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Re: "making the pack" in non-drafting races [jaretj] [ In reply to ]
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jaretj wrote:
7 meters for USAT
7 meters for WTC

Yes, you are correct

I believe these are the current draft zones

USAT - AG - ride right - 7 meters front to front (3 bike lengths between bikes)
WTC - AG - ride right - 7 meters back to front (4 bike lengths between bikes)

USAT - pro - stagger - 10 meters front to front
WTC - pro - ride right - 12 meters front to front
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