Monday, February 11, 2008

The Domino Effect.......

No this post isn't about pizzas, although after this past weekends hard workouts I was definitely craving some pizza ;-)

The "domino effect" is something that generally goes unnoticed but is a crucial element of the weekend group ride. Without the "domino effect" everyone would be groveling their way back to cars absolutely destroyed from the ride and in no fit shape to get home. So what is the "domino effect" and how can you impact it?

Well, it all starts from the front of the group and therefore whenever you are up there pushing the pace, don't forget about I mentioned before it's a crucial element of the group ride! So there you are tapping out the tempo at the front and everyone behind is having a good ole time, chatting, moaning about the weather, showing off their new super light, shiny bike part and generally enjoying the drafting effect of a 50 rider strong group.....oblivious to the domino effect!

This is where the domino effect is essential, the riders within the first few rows have to take a drink or have something to eat and then just watch what happens....gradually a huge proportion of the group will follow suit and either eat or drink something! It truly is something to marvel at and probably tells us some very interesting things about human behavior.

There you have it, the beginnings of the domino effect. The key is for the riders at the front to remember every now and again to drink/eat and therefore they are looking after the well-being of the whole group. Without the leaders doing it everyone would get to the 50 mile point and would have not eaten or drunk anything. The problems then begin in the final hour or so when the hammer goes down and BOOM people realize that they have nothing left [due to the lack of fluids/food...or lack of fitness :-)] and get dropped like Jan Ulrich in March!. That just leaves everyone’s worst enemy, the dreaded "Bonk" lurking just around the corner or at the top of that next hill....

The Domino Effect is a funny thing to watch and if you haven't noticed it, just look out for it at your next group ride. If you are at the front remember to look after everyone else and if you find yourself drinking, think why you did it, was it habit? or the fact that the rider in front took a swig? either way perhaps pay more attention to your nutrition needs in the future!

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