I love the idea of Pace Partners but I just cannot stand the “washing machine” effect you have to put up with to do it. EG for the 1.8w/kg pace partner you get pulled through to the front even if you are doing about 1.6 or 1.7w/kg then you are shunted out the side or back through the middle - which instinctively you try to fight because you want to maintain you position so the watts go up to about 2.4 or 2.5w/kg to try to stay where you are. If you give in and let yourself get shunted down the back, if you are not careful you can be out the back before you know it!!
However, if you get out off the front of the bunch with a group, the bunch dynamics change to “normal” and riding with them is great!!! The ONLY way I can put up with Pace Partners now is to head off the front with a bunch of other riders, so joining a pace partner now is just a means of forming a bunch of riders off the front. You always find bunches of the front, yes some are just a bit stronger than the pace, but many are off the front because riding in the pace partner pack just SUCKS!!! What have you done to the bunch dynamics with Pace Partners!!
Why does the pace partner bunch dynamics have to be different to a normal bunch ride??? I was with the 1.8w/kg pace partner in Watopia yesterday and hated the bunch dynamics, then a bunch of about 20 of us formed off the front and it was HEAVENLY!! Much more like real life!! Please please fix this or I will have to go back to riding by myself again.
Not sure about a pack of 100 riders but a pack of 20 or 30 there definitely is and it is very noticeable, not just by me. I was discussing it with others and they agreed with me (others riding with me off the front of a pace partner).
I’m pretty sure the pack dynamics are the same whether or not there is a Pace Partner present. I’ve certainly not seen any indication that there have been any changes to how pack dynamics work since the currently version (3.0?) was rolled out.
The two situations are slightly different (rider with constant power as the focus vs riders roughly doing a constant power), so differences would be expected. Based on my knowledge of physics the difference seems plausible based on the situations. Giving the pace partners varying power, similar to a human, might improve it, but it probably still wouldn’t be quite the same.
As another Kev Lewis (yep, two of us in the thread ), I also agree that the pack dynamics of the PP rides are the same, for me, as normal group rides. I love the Pace Partners, both the riders and runners