Have you ever heard of drafting? Sure you have, but perhaps not the kind of drafting I’m thinking of. Drafting can refer to:
- Refining several preliminary versions of a piece of writing.
- Governmental enlistment of young men for mandatory military service.
- A brilliant aerodynamic technique that significantly improves one’s athletic performance.
The drafting I want to bring to your attention is the third type. It takes place in cycling (and other forms of racing). Drafting means to get right behind another rider, so close that your front wheel is almost touching the rear wheel of the cyclist in front of you. I’m talking about a matter of inches (or cm). You do this while you’re clipping along at 20-30 mph (30-50 km/h).
Does this sound like a bad idea? When you first try it, it certainly feels like an awful idea. There is simply no chance of stopping if the person in front of you suddenly hits the brakes. The distance is far too small and the speed way too fast to react. In addition, your forward vision is almost totally blocked by the person in front of you, so you have essentially no chance of seeing anything anyway. If the front rider hits the brakes, you are absolutely going to smash right into him or her. In large races, like the Tour de France, the stakes are even higher: drafting groups can have 100 riders or more. This means if something goes wrong out front, you’re looking at one massive metal-and-flesh-and-bone pile up.
We are essentially relational beings, designed to live better when together in community.
So why do it then? The answer is to reduce wind resistance and thus decrease the effort needed to travel at a certain pace. In certain conditions, drafting can reduce the needed energy input by more than 50%. That means you’re laughing and giggling in the second, third, or fourth position, while the cyclist out front is huffing, puffing, and, as cyclists say, “pushing air.” The increased efficiency and decreased effort is astonishing.
Similarly, we are all riding in a race—the Christian’s race. But we were not meant to ride alone. We are essentially relational beings, designed to live better when together in community. Admittedly, relationships are risky. But Jesus is our great Leader who is always trustworthy.
Draft behind Him, invest in those around you, and I assure you the reward will be great!