Monday, September 5, 2011
In no particular order:
* Single paceline: one rider holding a steady pace at the front, usually from a few seconds to a few minutes, then pulling off and drifting to the rear. Effort ranges from easy to hard depending on the goal of the group (easy training, chasing, break).
* Double paceline: two riders at the front holding a steady pace, usually from a minute to 10 min or more. Effort typically ranges from easy to just below threshold depending on the goal of the group. When finished pulling, the two riders move apart to allow the following dual column of riders to come through (see graphic at top of the blog).
* When front riders are near threshold, most in the group will be riding at tempo. When front riders are near tempo, most in the group will be riding at endurance pace.
* Single rotating paceline: a single line of riders rotating smoothly. As a rider nears the front of the line, instead of pausing at the front his effort increases smoothly and gradually as the rider in front pulls off and he comes into the wind. The goal is maintaining a steady effort and relatively consistent pace for the group. He smoothly rotates off (most often to the left), gradually reduces power, and drifts to the back of the line.
* A paceline rarely includes riders all having the same abilities. In single, non-rotating pacelines, the duration of pulls - not the effort/pace of the line - should be variable. Stronger riders should use lower relative effort and do longer pulls. Weaker riders should use higher relative effort and pull shorter. This keeps the paceline effort consistent. Some situations may have stronger riders at the front for several minutes and weaker riders at the front for less than a minute or just smoothly rolling through when their turn comes to pull. Having all riders contribute at varying durations and/or efforts is preferable to having some riders working and some sitting on the back.
* In a perfect world, the effort for everyone in a training paceline except the front rider(s) should stay close to the target level. The drafting effect is higher at higher speeds. So the rider(s) working at the front front should pull at 100% of the target effort on the flats, 120% of the target effort on descents, and 80% of the target effort on climbs. This minimizes riders feathering the breaks and crossing wheels on descents or struggling to keep the formation smooth and avoid gaps on climbs.
* When sitting on the back of a paceline rotating counter-clockwise, ride behind the left line of riders that are drifting back or even a few inches left of the left line if it's safe. This keeps you in a draft, but out of the vision of riders drifting back, looking right, and fading to the right to catch onto the back of the group.
* When riding in a non-rotating paceline with stronger riders, use 3/4 of your effort during the pull but save 1/4 of your effort to smoothly drift back and catch onto the rear of the line. If you pull until you are 95% spent, you will struggle to drift back smoothly and make the catch at the back.
*Do everything possible to avoid sudden touches of the brakes. If braking is necessary, do it very smoothly. Anticipate the need to slow and feather the brakes gradually.
* Don't half-wheel your pull partner. When pulling a dual paceline, stay even with the other rider at the front. If you ride a foot or two ahead or behind the other rider, it's annoying for him and screws up the alignment for everyone following you. The best way to minimize half wheeling or being half wheeled is just to pay attention. Another way is to align yourself within the group so that you are adjacent to a rider of similar ability and style.
* When you pull off the front of a paceline, do it smoothly - not a with a sudden, herky-jerky effort. And don't move laterally more than you have to do fade back along the line. Staying close to the line will give you some drafting benefit as you fade back and will give the group some drafting benefit. It'll also keep the group nice and tight and keep you further from traffic.
* When you approach the front of a paceline, resist the temptation to accelerate. Keep it smooth.
* When doing longer pulls, gradually transition from what feels like 90% of your target effort at the start of your pull to what feels like 110% of your target effort as you finish your pull. If you do that, chances are your actual effort will stay pretty consistent throughout.
* Get water, food, and blow your nose when you are at the back of the line.
I'm sure I could think of more - and maybe I will later. But it's time for a ride.