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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 08-20-10, 07:12 AM   #1
Smallguy
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headwinds and being a bigger dude...any tricks to maintain your speed ?

I really find being a bigger guy at 205 for a cyclist that headwinds really effect me

I have a broad build and some times feel like I'm' a parachute when donig my pulls

last night I found we would be riding along at 38km/h but then on my pulls we'd drop down to say 32 and my legs were not feeling snappy at all

I found the more the wind picked up the harder it was for me to hide my bigger frame even in the drops....where I rarely ride

so anyone have any tips for hiding a bigger frame from the winds so you can keep pulling at the same pace with smaller riders who seem to thrive in the wind
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Old 08-20-10, 07:55 AM   #2
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I weigh 310, and the trick of course is to get as low as you can. When I'm descending I often have my head directly over the handlebars as in an aero tuck, but I'll have my rear out of the saddle out over the top tube to get even lower.

If Im taking a pull or riding hard its be down in the drops because it pulls your whole body down. When Im in the tuck my elbows are bent but usually to the back instead of the side.

Still I feel your pain and as bigger dudes while we get benefits on downhills and long flats, we have losses in headwinds and climbs.
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Old 08-20-10, 07:59 AM   #3
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205? You mean if I lose 40 more pounds I will still have trouble riding into the wind? Yeah, I know what you mean, sometimes I feel like a sail mounted on top of my bike. My advice, stop riding with freakishly skinny people ;-)
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Old 08-20-10, 08:17 AM   #4
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Draft or get stronger. If you can ride in the drops do it. I'm 190 and have a wide chest so the frontal mass causes drag.
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Old 08-20-10, 08:34 AM   #5
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If you figure it out, let me in on it! I'm just under 300# and I've got a pretty broad upper body. The other night I felt exactly the same way. I was trying to climb into a strong headwind and was happy to reach 8-10 mph. It seriously felt like I had people trying to hold me down while I was riding.
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Old 08-20-10, 08:35 AM   #6
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For short stints up front, put your hands close to the stem, drop your elbows and lower your shoulders. You can get your torso down into the same position as if you were on the drops, but you present far less frontal area.
It's not just about getting low; it's about being narrow. Don't recall the issue number, but ROAD magazine did an article over the summer about aero positioning. The author did a bunch of wind tunnel testing and showed that there was a better increase in aero capacity from getting narrow vs. getting lower (once you're already in a decent riding position to begin with.)
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Old 08-20-10, 08:41 AM   #7
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For short stints up front, put your hands close to the stem, drop your elbows and lower your shoulders. You can get your torso down into the same position as if you were on the drops, but you present far less frontal area.
^^This. But you won't be able to control the bike as well in this position in situations where reacting fast is required.

And if it's any consolation, little guys hate headwinds too.
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Old 08-20-10, 08:46 AM   #8
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And if it's any consolation, little guys hate headwinds too.
Sure they do! They could get swept away like in the Wizard of Oz!
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Old 08-20-10, 08:47 AM   #9
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Someone once said, and I wish I knew the source, "hills make you strong, headwinds make you mean".

I find that at 6 foot and 180 pounds, still quite large by cycling standards, I have a big advantage in headwinds. I kind of get pissed off at the wind and put the energy from that into the fight. I punch through the wind in a gear that allow me a high cadence with the power I can generate as a large rider. I think that my strength to mass ratio may actually tip to my advantage in headwind, at least on the flats.

During a double century this spring I was pulling a pace line and my buddy cccorlew, who goes about a buck fifty, asked me to slow down. I backed it down to 18.5 mph and after a few miles we came to a stop sign and he cried out "That's, what you call turning it down a notch?, 18.5 into a headwind?" As a smaller rider he was having trouble holding my wheel, even with me shielding him from most of the wind.

Use your size, use your power and get mean in your fight with Mr. Wind.

So my tip is, get low in the drops and wrestle that headwind to at least a draw.
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Old 08-20-10, 09:05 AM   #10
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I am at 205 now, lost 45 lbs from last year and I do not have near the problems with wind I used to. I use the drops a lot more, and also use windy days as an opportunity to build strength.
I have about 20 lbs more to drop to be where I want to be, but the wind will always be a struggle for everyone, sometines I think more mental than physical.
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Old 08-20-10, 10:15 AM   #11
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Someone once said, and I wish I knew the source, "hills make you strong, headwinds make you mean".

I find that at 6 foot and 180 pounds, still quite large by cycling standards, I have a big advantage in headwinds. I kind of get pissed off at the wind and put the energy from that into the fight. I punch through the wind in a gear that allow me a high cadence with the power I can generate as a large rider. I think that my strength to mass ratio may actually tip to my advantage in headwind, at least on the flats.

During a double century this spring I was pulling a pace line and my buddy cccorlew, who goes about a buck fifty, asked me to slow down. I backed it down to 18.5 mph and after a few miles we came to a stop sign and he cried out "That's, what you call turning it down a notch?, 18.5 into a headwind?" As a smaller rider he was having trouble holding my wheel, even with me shielding him from most of the wind.

Use your size, use your power and get mean in your fight with Mr. Wind.

So my tip is, get low in the drops and wrestle that headwind to at least a draw.
+1 a good headwind will knock anyone's speed down - but I think bigger guys have an advantage in the wind. Our frontal area is not that much bigger, but we're able to produce a lot more power (particularly if you climb regularly - we have to produce more power just to get over the hills).

JB
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Old 08-20-10, 10:24 AM   #12
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Find a tandem to get behind.
Pedal faster and harder.

Ride down wind!

Sorry other than that I haven't found a sercert. If I do, I won't tell a person.
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Old 08-20-10, 10:36 AM   #13
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I tried doing Contadors booty under the seat position. I fit and its only for downhills. It freaked me out. I won't do it again. Just be happy that chicks/your wife/girlfriend digs a broad chested He man.

A lot is attitude. I have learned to tell myself to push through that wind. If you stay positive and push it helps. When I start complaining in my mind (and I still do that a lot, color me grumpy) it effects my effort. If it don't kill you it will make you better.
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Old 08-20-10, 10:42 AM   #14
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Funny, as a fluffier gal I have no problems with wind. Hills, yes gravity is my enemy but wind, my leg strength and size is helpful. It is good, if riding with others, to draft. Unfortunately people usually like to ride behind me in a headwind (wonder why) and won't help me out!

The key is to get stronger. Larger people actually do better in wind than the smaller guys who get blown around (I saw a whole group of lightweights blown right over once. They were knocked down like dominos!).
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Old 08-20-10, 11:18 AM   #15
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I downshift and spin faster, get the rhythm down (at which point, my speed goes back up), then go back to a longer gear maintaining the pace and I gain back everything I lost. Not sure how well that would/could work in a pace line though....

I personally hate headwinds that are 45 degrees from facing forward to my side.....I seem to present a nice sail from the side and I get pushed all over the place.... I'm a healthy 265ish. That same angle but from the rear present nice little surprises when turning too....but that is fun, and more manageable for me.

My touring/commuter is stupid unresponsive/numb feeling when turning, so I found when turning by shifting my weight (most likely reason for numb/unresponsive feeling) back, I can get it really snappy/twitchy. Which is fun for me! Then I go ride my Felt and everything changes....
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Old 08-20-10, 11:33 AM   #16
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And if it's any consolation, little guys hate headwinds too.
Sure they do! They could get swept away like in the Wizard of Oz!
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Old 08-20-10, 03:41 PM   #17
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Shave your chest it will cut down on the drag.
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Old 08-20-10, 04:12 PM   #18
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I always found using a bigger gear into headwinds works better for me..
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Old 08-20-10, 04:25 PM   #19
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I don't buy it! Big engine into headwinds is better than little engine into the headwinds.
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Old 08-20-10, 04:27 PM   #20
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I don't buy it! Big engine into headwinds is better than little engine into the headwinds.
Yep....
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Old 08-20-10, 04:59 PM   #21
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I don't buy it! Big engine into headwinds is better than little engine into the headwinds.
+2..
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Old 08-20-10, 05:20 PM   #22
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I don't buy it! Big engine into headwinds is better than little engine into the headwinds.
Exactly, your mass increases much faster than your frontal area.
Assuming "not all the extra weight is fat" that leaves a lot more muscle propelling not that much more frontal area.
A second benefit is that once up to speed you are a lot less affected by gusts since mass in motion tends to stay in motion.
Hills are another story.
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Old 08-20-10, 06:40 PM   #23
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I spin up to higher than my average cadence into a headwind - I tried mashing instead but the computer says the higher cadence works better for me
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Old 08-20-10, 10:35 PM   #24
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Smallguy, Headwinds don't get easier when you're lighter. Attitude counts a lot, headwinds are there to make you stronger... make the most of them.

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Old 08-20-10, 11:06 PM   #25
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Exactly, your mass increases much faster than your frontal area.
Assuming "not all the extra weight is fat" that leaves a lot more muscle propelling not that much more frontal area.
A second benefit is that once up to speed you are a lot less affected by gusts since mass in motion tends to stay in motion.
Hills are another story.
I'm 5'10", 205lbs, and my shoulders measure close to 2ft across. Those headwinds suck. They suck even more with my laptop backpack.

Lean over the handlebars, downshift for a bit, inertia is your friend, and feel free to get pissed off at the wind. Combined, it works wonders.

(And people wonder how I've lost close to 30 pounds this summer...)
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