Last weekend we had strong north winds. Sunday morning the forecast was for
40+ mph winds with gusts to 50 mph. When I heard the weather man say "...tapering off in the afternoon." I knew it was time to shop and visit friends in the far southern suburbs. I got the strong push on the drive out but the winds stopped and I didn't have to fight them on the return trip. If the forecast had been wrong, plan B was to put the bike on public transit for the return trip. There are variations on this strategy. For example, when you have alternate routes with different exposures, you take the exposed route for a tailwind and the sheltered route for the headwind.
A physicist friend recommends the same strategy with respect to gravity. He pointed out to me that wind drag increases non-linearly with speed so to conserve energy (given other factors as approximately equal) you should plan an out and back trip to climb steep hills and descend gentle hills. I used to do the opposite because I liked the rush of high speed on the steep descents. I didn't think that the drag due to the high speed reduced the total energy available from the change in elevation.
40-50 mph winds are a real challenge, and I wouldn't want to ride in them too much. But "normal" wind and "normal" hills are just part of cycling, and must be adapted to. Like the old saying goes, "Hills are your friend because they make you strong." I can't believe how much stronger i am now than I was when I started riding 3 1/2 years ago!
The only other bikers I saw out in the 40-50 mph wind were on road bikes riding against the wind. They each grinned at me as I flew downwind. I expected to have other bikers pass me as usual but in 10 miles I saw no one else taking advantage. It was fun to go flying along. The cross wind on the potomac bridge had me spooked when it felt like it would slam me into the railing but it didn't.