Bike Shorts: What’s an Echelon?
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Bike Shorts: What’s an Echelon?


The next fun thing to understand is a little bit more of an advance concept of drafting than we just talked about, and it is called an echelon. So an echelon, is when you have a really strong crosswind. When you have a really strong crosswind, the draft isn’t directly behind the rider in front of you, instead the draft is sideways. And so you’ll see the riders fan across the road. Well the problem is when there is a straight wind, a headwind, a tailwind, or no wind, you can pretty much draft as many people as you want all the way back to 200, even 300 one person gets the draft, two people get the draft, three people get the draft, because the wind is coming like this, then all of a sudden there is this guy right here, he’s not in the draft anymore because of the crosswind, and after a very short period of time, he’ll no longer be able to keep up with this front group. He’ll literally get cut off, because he isn’t in the draft, and he’ll drop far behind. So what you try to do as a team, is at crucial moments in the race where there is a strong crosswind, you try to bring the entire team to the very front of the race, and actually start rotating among the team members here, trying to cut off all the other teams from the draft, and you do it suddenly and sharply, so that they are taken by surprise, and are unable to react quickly.

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