One of the cycling skills that you need to learn to be efficient is drafting. This is when you sit behind another rider in a line, taking turns to take the wind before swapping off to let somebody else share the load.
This saves a significant amount of energy as you are not always riding into the wind. I have been honing these skills on the long flatter stages that we have been riding. Today was no different with a 224km ride across more of France.
To do this effectively you need to have a bunch of people willing to work together and also a certain amount of discipline. To take maximum advantage you need to keep a stready pace and be close to the wheel in front of you. Ultimately you have to trust the rider whose wheel you are a few cm’s from and the smoother and more stable they are the easier it is for you to follow them. In return you need to do exactly the same for the rider behind you.
This allows the collective bunch to move faster with less amount of effort than riding alone. If you factor in windy conditions, as we have been experiencing, then it can really save a lot of time and energy given we were riding for nearly 9 hours.
It’s also social thing and a great way to get to know people. As we passed through the Champagne region today we all commented how nice it would be to stop and sample the local wears. But we had a job to do and a stage to complete, so we decided to share a glass or two when we arrive in Paris.