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How to Get Rid of a Drafter

Posted by benproko on April 26, 2019 at 12:25 AM

How to Get Rid of a Drafter

Racing Scenario: During the bike portion of your race you notice an athlete that you have just passed hasn’t dropped back to the legal distance. They have decided to get a free ride right behind your wheel! This can be very frustrating and many of you have been there. Now what?! Well, Option A: You could do nothing and just race your race. Option B: You could hammer the bike for a bit and hopefully drop them; however, you could be adversely affecting your race. Either way it’s not the most ideal place to be.


To kindly, and most importantly, safely navigate your way out of this situation here’s a great tip!


Step 1) Slowing down. Don’t slam on the brakes, but just reduce the speed some. They will initially slow down with you, but once they feel you are not helping their cause they will pass by and look for another wheel. This will usually get rid of them.


Step 2) The pass. Now that they are in front of you, it’s your turn to pass them! When you pass you will want to increase the effort so that your speed is much greater than theirs and not just a nonchalant pass. Depending on your speed it takes about 20-30 watts to go 1 mph faster. Building your speed before the pass will make it difficult for them to latch on to you. Also, pass a little wider (be sure to always check left before passing) as this will initially give them much less of a draft. Keep this particular effort until you know they have not attempted to latch on or they have hopped on your wheel again. If the latter is the case, repeats steps 1 and 2 and pass with a little more effort the next time.


In my personal experience I have found that after the 2nd round of dropping back and passing they give up on trying to draft.


My personal race analysis. When reviewing my race, I look at where these drafting instances have happened to see if it had any effect on my race. When only having to do Step 1 I have found it only cost me 1-2 seconds max. But I also was going at an easier effort for a bit so the losses are even less and in a long course race this will have virtually no effect on my overall time. When going through both steps there is usually no time loss but there is additional effort. My average power for the encounter is usually about the same as my average for the race, but there is a slight elevation in my normalized power. Over the years I have learned how to finesse my way around the drafter in a way that my efforts do not negatively impact my race. It takes a little practice, but completely obtainable. If you are worried about the elevated effort just stick to Step 1 and you will not lose much time.


Hope this helps and enjoy your next race!

 

Categories: Tips from the Coaches

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