Drafting on a slow uphill climb

I am a heavier (225 lbs/102 kg), older rider (48). I’ve done the Whistler Gran Fondo 4 times. It’s 122 km with ~ 1,500 meters (4,500 feet) climbing.

My typical speeds during the climbs drop quite a bit on steep sections sometimes as slow as 8-15 km/hr. So very slow. Not winning the event any time soon :~)

Ignoring the downhill and flat sections, I know the hills have benefit. I am wondering are there any benefits what so ever of drafting on the climbs? Or is it complete wasted energy trying to line up behind a wheel?

Being this slow, I’m not getting into any big groups (so maybe behind one or two people.

The slower you go the less the draft matters. There’s no hiding on hills and you just have to crank those W/kg.

Yep drafting wont help much if at all on steeper/slower climbs. However dont discount the mental aspect of being able to follow someones wheel, it should make it feel a bit easier if you have a carrot/person to chase :stuck_out_tongue:


True, when speed is low, drafting is minimal. But keep in mind wind as well.

Wind is pretty common on many hills & mountains. So paying attention to any wind, it’s direction and speed, are worthwhile.

  • 5 mph climb + 10 mph head wind = 15 mph wind speed for the rider.
  • That is a start of concern for aero issues and drafting.

Good points

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Great point about the wind.

I would also add the positive physiological benefit of following a wheel.

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