Spinning Profile: Pace Line Intervals

We’re back with another Spinning Playlist and profile!  Summer has wound down and as fall approaches, I am encouraging my riders to make a fresh start and look for ways to get something new with each and every ride.  My early morning riders have been riding consistently for over a year, so we are going to work toward a Race Day for the next month.

Today’s profile was built on the concept of a pace line.  According to Jim Watrous’ Cycling Page,

“Pace Line Riding consists of two or more riders traveling in a tight group in the draft of the rider(s) in front of you.  If you are the leader of this pace line, than you are creating the draft for others.  The draft envelope behind a single bicycle is about six feet long and behind a tandem is about eight feet.  The closer your front wheel is to the rear wheel of the rider ahead of you, the stronger the draft.  Riding in a pace line draft can save 20 to 30% of your energy output.  This energy savings is what allows the pace line group to travel at higher speeds.  Concentration on what you are doing in a pace line is essential.  That is, there is no time for sight seeing. “

 It can be difficult to simulate outdoor riding concepts in a darkened room of stationary bikes, but the idea of a pace line is pretty easy to convey.  The group was divided into teams of five riders. Each rider must work with their team in order to stay ahead of the other teams.  Every rider within the team was given a number corresponding to which position in the line they would start.  Position 1 was the leader; 2, 3, and 4 were riding in the middle, and position 5 was drafting at the end of the line.  Riders rotated positions throughout the journey.   The person in the leader’s position is the one doing the hardest work; they are responsible for pulling the group and pushing through any wind resistance.  Their perceived work effort (scale of 1-10) is up near 8 or 9.    Persons 2, 3 and 4 are benefitting from the reduced resistance, but must still pull their share of the weight.  RPE = 7-8.  The person at the end of the line has just completed their job leading and now recovers thanks to the near-0 wind resistance RPE = 6-7. 

After warming up and explaining the process, we rotated through the paceline 3 times.  The first time through, each rider held their position for 1 minute before moving forward in the line.  The second time through, it was 90 seconds, and finally 2 minutes.  The last 6.5 minutes simulated finishing a race with an all out effort.   The best part of the ride was the encouragement and cheers shared by teams as they helped push the leader on through their hard effort and then took the leadership role themselves knowing that their team was relying on them not to fall behind the others.   As the coach, I simply told them when to change jobs, then they motivated each other. 

Since the profile is so loose, all you really need is the playlist.  It is the same one I used for the 1:1 Intervals Ride.

  • 1. Blue Man Group – I Feel Love (f. Venus Hum)
  • 2. Bob Sinclair – Rock This Party
  • 3. Mary J Blige – Be Without U (Moto Blanco Vocal Mix)
  • 4. Dario G – Sunchyme
  • 5. P!nk – U + Ur Hand
  • 6. Chasing Cars (Northbeat Club Mix)
  • 7. Party Mountain at Mashuptown
  • 8. Kat deLuna – Whine Up
  • 9. Kinky – Coqueta [Remix]
  • 10. James Asher – Amma
  • 11. Rusted Root – Send Me On My Way
  • 12. Anggun – Snow on the Sahara

 Here are a couple of additional links to information about pace lines and other group riding:

The Science of Cycling: Aerodynamics

Jim Watrous’ Bicycling Page



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