Wheel Sucking

Ha, this was cool: Tonight I figured out that on the Computrainer, you can slip behind the "guy" you're riding against, stick on his wheel and save tons of energy. It's just like when I'd ride in Napa Valley with my friend Dan, and we'd be churning through the last 10 miles of a 60+ mile loop, heading down the Silverado Trail into the inevitable south wind. By myself, I'd have been working like a dog for de boss man to maintain 18 miles per hour. In Dan's slipstream I'd cruise at 20 mph at, I don't know, two-thirds the effort. Which brings to mind a nifty thing about these power-meter gizmos: You know exactly how much (less) effort you're putting out. My virtual opponent might be cranking at 175 watts, but on a flat I'm on his ass at 115 watts; on a climb, it might take me 140 to hang. Having this information in stark, numerical terms really brings home the value of a pull (and, thus, strategy and teamwork) in cycling.

Of course, I'm a triathlete, not a cyclist, so on race day, there is no drafting allowed. Which isn't to say drafting doesn't happen; it's shocking how many people are willing to engage in this form of cheating. You see it all the time, every race. Still, on my daily basement ride, it's fun to be able to get a blow every once in a while by doing so.

Meanwhile, holy cow, a wild weather night in the Northwest. The big rain is going north of us. Forty miles up I-5 from Portland, floodwaters are raging. Here, it's barely rained at all, though the wind is howling. I can literally feel the house shake from time to time. It's fun, as long as the power doesn't go out (especially with the Blazers locked in a tight one with the Pistons and only a minute to go).

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