Climbing question for new guy

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by mwvt9, Jul 16, 2005.

  1. mwvt9

    mwvt9 New Member

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    This is my first thread, so I apologize in advance if I am in the wrong place for this question.

    As I watch the Tour de France I can understand on the flat stages when riding at 30mphs it would be much, much more difficult to be in the front of a breakaway or the peleton due to the high wind resistance (or the team time trials as the perfect example). What I don't understand though is why in the mountain stages is it harder to be on the front of a group setting the pace vs. being on someone's back wheel? At that speed it can't have anything to do with the wind can it?

    When I watch a breakaway in the mountains everyone seems to share the load by switching who takes the lead and the announcers are always saying it is harder to "pull" than be one someone's wheel. If this is a really dumb question feel free to make fun of me! Basically why is it harder to be out front in the mountain stages?

    I am thinking about buying a bike in the near future to join my brother-in-law on some rides and have been getting into watching cycling much more lately, so I am very much a newbie.

    Thanks for the help.
     
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  2. blowin mud

    blowin mud New Member

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    pedaling @ 10-20 mph up a hill means you have a 10-20 mph wind in your face (assuming winds are non-existant). I would agree drafting uphill is not as beneficial as speeding across flats @ 28-35mph, but it does help. Drafting reduces wind resistance by 30%.
     
  3. scotty72

    scotty72 New Member

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    I would imagine that the psychological factor kicks in too.


    It's easier to motivate to chase someone than set the pace.
     
  4. gpriatko

    gpriatko New Member

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    Chris Charmichael and Bob Roll were talking about this on OLN tonight. Charmichael says that he has set up power meters on the bikes and measured the effects of riding on some one's wheel during climbs. He says that on climbs like today's (where speeds are below 20 Km per hour), the effects are 'neligible' -- except maybe for the psychological benefit of chasing rather than leading.
     
  5. mises

    mises New Member

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    There's neglible and there's negligible. The percent difference between Basso and Armstrong is neglible too so any benefit is still a benefit. For most of us it's all psychological. It's much easier to just stare at the wheel in front of you and hold on for dear life, having someone else punish you, rather than deal out the same level of punishment to yourself. Unless you are into that kind of thing...
     
  6. gpriatko

    gpriatko New Member

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    I don't want to stiff up a fight, but I suspect that a 1% benefit would be a big deal, so when he says 'neligible', he's talking about potential benefits that are much smaller than a percent.

    In any event, I don't put too much emphasis on Carmichael's exact phrasing. When someone's being interviewed and they toss off a term like 'neligible', it could mean a lot of different things. It could mean that there's no statistically significant effect, or it could mean that there is the potential for benefit under the right set of conditions, or it could mean that there is a small benefit.

    I'm not a racer, but I climb a few miles every week. My experience is that the wind is constantly changing direction; the roads twist and the winds shift. It's very difficult for me to imagine that there is a 'best' position in a group of riders on a hard climb.
     
  7. Cheesy

    Cheesy New Member

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    If anyone's interested, the current 2'46" difference between the 2, with Lance's time of 62h9'59", works out to be 0.074%.
     
  8. gpriatko

    gpriatko New Member

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    It's not like Ivan would be in yellow if he were riding with a method that gave him a 0.1% improvement in performance. That would be like saying, "If only Basso had maintained a slightly more aerodynamic profile for the last 2000 kilometers then he'd be the race leader".

    When people start to debate the potential aggregate benefit of fractional percentages of efficiency ( or extra effort ) over long periods, the effect that they're trying to demonstrate is much smaller than the 'inaccuracy of the measurement'. It's like saying that a rider uses 6000 calories a day, and if they could generate 0.1% more output, then they could be race leader. So if they were to add a teaspoon of sugar in their morning coffee, they'd be leading the race.
     
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