Thursday, April 16, 2009

Inside vs. Outside

It's no secret to anyone who took high school geometry that the smaller the circle, the shorter the distance. Did you know that the difference between riding in a 250m velodrome on the black line versus the red "sprinters" line is 8m per lap? That's only over a distance of 250m! That means that if you're riding on the red line (outside) for the entire lap you'll need to be riding faster than the rider on the black line (inside) since he/she has not as far to go. (sorry, I have very limited internet access right now and can't remember the math of this to figure out "how fast" off the top of my head)

The same thing obviously applies to any course you're doing laps on. Why does this help me you ask? If you're in a break away move in a crit over a 1km course for example, take the inside part of the road as much as possible. This can save you approximately 20-30m per lap! (this is just a quick calculation based on the 250m velodrome example above. This can vary depending on the shape of the course you're riding on). Of course you'll need to account for the quickest line to get around those corners at high speed. Many times the large bunch who is trying to chase you down is not taking the optimal line around the course and not taking those corners as quick as your small group in the break can, so not only will your average speed be higher, but you'll also be travelling less distance. This will increase your chances on getting to the finish line before you're caught! Every little bit helps...