Last week, I posted about drafting in cycling, and why some riders are so much easier to follow than others. It’s not subtle. You can follow some people with a tiny gap between your front tire and their rear tire. Others cause you to drop back a foot or more for safety’s sake, and make you nervous even then.
It seems to me on further reflection that those of us who have spent many, many miles trying to hang on in fast groups or behind one stronger rider, develop a sense of pace...that riders who have done loose group rides or club centuries do not learn.
We had to learn to draft...or we were riding home alone with a terrible defeated feeling.
So we slowly developed a feeling...for a pace that keeps the level of effort steady. We learned that legs that are about to scream NO can sustain a consistent effort, but are pushed over their limit by spikes of demand. We learn to moderate our pace, to keep those sudden demands from hitting the legs of those behind us.
Over the miles and years, we get incrementally better at doing that, at sensing what is best for those behind us. We learn to appreciate people who provide that same consistent pace.
But I don’t believe that most of us can explain what it is that we do. We just do it. We’re bike riders after all.