Izandla Ziya Gizana – a Zulu saying meaning hands wash each other
The Power in the Peloton
Peloton Def : In a road bicycle race, the peloton (from French, originally meaning ‘platoon’) is the main group or pack of riders. Riders in a group save energy by riding close (drafting or slipstreaming) near (particularly behind) other riders
In this week’s coaching newsletter , we will be going inside the game plans of the great Tour de France champions to see how they take full advantage of ” The Power in the Peloton ”- and explore how others in sport, like the mighty All Blacks , do likewise to save finite energy – without us even realising it.
The Tour de France is no easy race.
The modern editions of the tour consist of 21 gruelling stages over a 23-day period and cover around 3,500 kilometres. And they say there are days at the Tour de France when one would consider swapping non-vital organs for a bit of shade.
One thing is for sure – it’s 21 days of intense competition where the champion riders, dogged by constant scrutiny and continuing doping allegations, seek to find and apply leverage in many different legal formats.
Leverage defined as the ability to do more – with less.
One of these potent forms of leverage is the Peloton (from French, meaning little ball or platoon).
The purpose of the Peloton is to do more with less – hence creating an:
Elastic Band Effect
It’s all about the alignment of the team . Synchronicity saves energy – and creates a magical multiplier effect.
In many ways it’s the same in real life: T.E.A.M standing for :
Together Everyone Achieves More
By riding close to other riders (drafting, slipstreaming and particularly behind), the reduction in drag is dramatic :
Scientists have proven that it can be as much as 40 %
The peloton travels as an integrated unit (similar in some respects to birds flying in formation) with each rider making slight adjustments in response to their adjacent riders. Riders at the front are exposed to higher loads, and will tend to slip off the front in order to rejoin the pack farther back. A fluid formation often results in a situation where the centre of the peloton appears to be pushing through its own leading edge.
The Peloton mimics strategies and tactics used in real life situations – and having to adapt to constant change.
A strong headwind or a hard effort tends to spread out or string out the riders, while a slow tempo or tailwind tends to bunch up the peloton into a wider formation.
Side winds force the peloton to form into echelons in the direction of the wind.
Often, the width of the road , forces the peloton to form several echelons. When two or more groups of riders want to contest control of the peloton, several lines may form racing one another. So, it’s always advantageous to be close to the front of the peloton.
One reason is to avoid being affected by the “elastic band effect” – in which a change in speed becomes amplified as it propagates to the back of the peloton – often resulting in serious wipe outs.
All types of team dynamics come into play as teams seek to create competitive advantage and deliver their lead rider to the bottom of the first big Pyrenean climbing stage – fresher than any rivals – and with the opportunity to let loose.
It’s about being FRESH . being ready to step up to the plate – when required to do so .
It’s the power of the Peloton. It’s the power leverage – the ability to do more with less.
And it applies far beyond the realms of professional cycling :
Consider the mighty All Blacks.
A coach’s primary role it to get a team to perform consistently at its highest potential- and the players within the team .
Current All Black Coach , Steve Hansen is doing a mighty fine job, with a win record above 90 % .
A lot of that has to do with ‘the peloton effect ‘which the All Blacks have cultured . Every player knows exactly where they fit in – where they stand in ‘The Haka ‘ – and even more so when they are playing .
Any player who steps out of formation – out of line on or off the field of play , soon finds himself either on the bench or right out of the match day 23.
By operating in a peloton , the All Blacks save on their finite energy levels ,and this saving can be as great as 40 % according to scientists .
This means they go into battle far fresher , with 40 % more energy to expend , than opponents who ” fail to align ” themselves.
Teams that fail to align themselves will often experience the very opposite effect – a drag effect of up to 40% – leading to mental and physical exhaustion.
The peloton’s elastic band effect often proves decisive in winning or losing.
It’s one potent game -changer leveraged in business, sport and life.
It’s the power of the human collective in action.
Practical Tip for the week
Leverage is the ability to do more with less .
THIS WEEK’s INPIRATIONAL VIDEO :
I found this video from way back : David Foster’s ‘Winter Games ”- 1988 Calgary Olympics official theme song
Wow , 29 years on , it’s still something spectacular to watch .
The Power in the Peloton – as depicted by an orchestra – and olympic skiers all in perfect unison .
And it’s not just some of the orchestra’s players or skiers are virtuosos , a lot of them are.
Perfectly in sync .
Please watch how the skiers make things look oh so easy -and fun.
THE GAME CHANGERS – ROB OPIE , foreword by John Robbie
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Rob Opie is a Brand Strategist , Entrepreneur ,Speaker, Author and Performance Coach.
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