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  1. #1
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    Ever go a windy ride - that didn't suck?

    I just finished another double-century. And for whatever reason, can't seem to buy a "break" for favorable winds. In this case, I went southeast for 75 miles in a foggy early-morning start. (no winds) And then was "blessed" with head and crosswinds, that grew in strength for the remainder of the ride.

    I guess, it's part of being an over-the-hill cry-baby. But, I could swear that each year it gets harder and harder to pick ride dates and routes for favorable time-trialing. I don't want every ride to be a "record- run," but hey it would be nice if I could get a "50-50" split on wind favor-ability every other ride.

    The other thing I notice more, is the afternoon Sun. Maybe I just need more acclimation, but I think we're headed for some serious heat waves this summer - especially in the midwest and eastern US......

    How many of have "turned a corner" on a long ride, and realized you had 75-100 miles of headwinds left to ride. You may post your "whines" below this cheeesy thread I started.......

  2. #2
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    I know I'm weird, but I don't mind headwinds. It's blowing 30 so you hunker down in your 42X23 and hey, everything is normal, except that you're going slower. But so what? So is everyone else. Another wonderful thing about headwinds is that no one has to work except the puller. Going downwind, someone will hit the front and take it up to 25. Well everyone in the line is only 3 beats off his HR, so no one gets a break. True, you get there sooner on a downwind ride, but if you really wanted to get there sooner, you could have chosen a shorter distance! The trick on headwind legs is to keep the pulls really short - 3 minutes or less.

    Look at it as an opportunity to practice your riding-aero skills. God, don't I sound like a p***k though? My very favorite thing is downhill upwind time trialing. It helps to be short, fat, and ugly.

    On my 400k yesterday, after the sun came up the headwinds started. I figure we had about 50 miles of downwind on the whole course. Headwinds on flat broken chipseal do kind of get to me after a while, but it's more the chipseal than the wind.

  3. #3
    Senior Member richardh's Avatar
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    Even though I prefer not to have any headwinds, they don't bother me to bad unless they are really severe. I have ridden in plenty of headwinds but I had nothing compare to a century I did last week. Going south was real fun because it was with the wind and you where able to cruise pretty fast. The weather got worse though and the winds got stronger and now I had about 50 miles to go north in 25-30+mph winds. A lot of people gave up because it was just so crazy. Had it in the lowest gear possible on the flat and had to use the same strength to go 8mph that I normally can do 18 or 19mph. I finally made it the full 100 miles 8.5 hours later. I was totally exhusted. The next week I did 75 miles in 4 hours with only 5mph winds and was totally fine and could have gone another 25 easily.

    Wind is a very powerful force.

    I plan on doing a double century in Aug so it might have been good training and give me a feel of what it is going to feel like being on a bike so long.

  4. #4
    Brusheda
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    Wind is where my hills come from in FL

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    After 13 years of cycling in Manitoba I got used to riding in wind ... that's all there was! I developed a technique for wind riding and can put 200 meters on someone who is not used to riding in wind in the blink of an eye. I've dropped a number of riders that way.

    But I must say, I prefer a headwind to a crosswind. With a headwind, I can tuck in and just go ... but with a crosswind, I don't seem to have the strength to control the bicycle, and I'm blown all over the place. The worst cycling situation for me is a very strong crosswind on a hill, when I'm climbing the hill. I've been reduced to tears in those situations.

    Last week, I rode a windy 200K, and didn't mind it a bit except that I was pushing the control closing times. Luck was with me though, and it was a headwind for the first 120 kms, and then a nice strong tailwind for the last 80 kms. I made up 2 hours on my time on the return trip!

    Yesterday, I rode a windy 300K .......... and hated every minute of it. I couldn't breathe and my shoulder hurt ... and the stupid wind kept changing directions to be a really, really annoying combination of head and crosswind no matter which direction I turned. It was so strong in places it was blowing my helmet off.

  6. #6
    Senior Member The Octopus's Avatar
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    The last half of Saturday's 225 miles was done into a 20mph headwind with gusts to 28mph. It's tough. Sometimes you just gotta pick a gear you like, get your mind in the right place, and keep turning the pedals. I find it good for my psyche in these situations to turn the computer to some setting that doesn't show me my speed. When it gets rough, I just tell myself that I'll get there when I get there.

  7. #7
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    OK, Machka, you can't tempt us like that. Tell us your wind-riding secret!

  8. #8
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    I had a commute to work last year that gave me a tailwind both ways. That was SWEET, but also very rare.
    safe riding - Vik
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  9. #9
    ****ist lazzarello's Avatar
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    Saturday's 400k had 40 miles of headwind through farmland. The four of us did 2 minute pulls and we averaged 18 mph to the last daylight controle. It was hard but not as hard as it would have been if I were alone.

  10. #10
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
    OK, Machka, you can't tempt us like that. Tell us your wind-riding secret!
    First, wind is rarely ever constant. It may be windy, but there will be stronger gusts, and there will be times when the gusts are weaker either simply because the gust dies off, or because a bank of trees or something has blocked the wind, or perhaps the road changed directions temporarily, or whatever.

    From my observations, a lot of people have the idea that they have to maintain a certain speed when they ride into wind. In order to do that, when the wind gust is strong, they work very hard to maintain that speed, and when the wind gust dies down a little bit, they ease up their effort and rest a bit until the next gust starts a few seconds later.

    I do the opposite. When the wind gust dies down a bit for whatever reason, I go hard. Because that's when everyone else is easing up on their effort, I can be 200 metres down the road before they look up again. Then when the stronger wind gust starts blowing again, I ease up ... sit and spin ... and rest. My speed may drop a couple kms/h, but that's OK. As soon as the wind dies a bit, I'm off again. I ride wind like intervals.


    The one downside to riding wind like that is that it doesn't work well if you've got someone drafting behind you. They can't anticipate the wind changes like you can because they are somewhat sheltered, and so when you suddenly shoot down the road, you've dropped them, and they'll have quite a time catching your wheel again.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    I guess, I wasn't very clear. Yeah, I can ride upwind as well as anybody. I was just complaining about the "spring winds" in general - especially the winds, that unusual for the time of year or direction they come from. Just seems harder to "plan" a good fast route...............

    I guess, I shouldn't complain, I know plenty of people have worth weather than the midwest........

  12. #12
    Senior Member nosferaustin's Avatar
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    Ghost town?

    Quote Originally Posted by richardh
    Even though I prefer not to have any headwinds, they don't bother me to bad unless they are really severe. I have ridden in plenty of headwinds but I had nothing compare to a century I did last week. Going south was real fun because it was with the wind and you where able to cruise pretty fast. The weather got worse though and the winds got stronger and now I had about 50 miles to go north in 25-30+mph winds. A lot of people gave up because it was just so crazy. Had it in the lowest gear possible on the flat and had to use the same strength to go 8mph that I normally can do 18 or 19mph. I finally made it the full 100 miles 8.5 hours later. I was totally exhusted. The next week I did 75 miles in 4 hours with only 5mph winds and was totally fine and could have gone another 25 easily.

    Wind is a very powerful force.

    I plan on doing a double century in Aug so it might have been good training and give me a feel of what it is going to feel like being on a bike so long.

    I think I was on that ride if you're talking about the Ghost Town down in Tooele. Those winds sucked and I was one of the ones who bailed (after about 68 miles) It sucked because it was my first attempt at a century, though I'm doing the SLC ride this coming Sat (the 19th) Is the double you're referring to the Desperado by chance? I'm sort of thinking about that one, a friend of mine is trying to talk me into it, but I'm very nervous about getting in shape for the climbing. The climb to Opher in the GT nearly killed me!

  13. #13
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I did a ride in 2001 that I do every year. It is in October and normally in good weather but this year was different. Circular route so wind should not have been a problem. It was. It changed so that for the majority of the ride- there was a headwind. The stiff breeze tuned itself up to 70mph winds. Oh and it rained aswell. Horizontal rain in the face required a face mask but who carries them on an Autumn ride- I did. The only way we could progress forward was a pace line. Sounds great, a pace line at 5mph but that was the best we could do in the exposed parts. If you tried riding on your own- then you were finished in 5 minutes, but with that pace line of 8 of us- we took about 1 minute in the lead and then 7 minutes rest. It was only a century, but it took 1 1/2 hours longer than usual. Oh and a new rear wheel cos the seals blew on the Freehub and the pawls never did engage again.

    I still do that ride but check the weatherforecast, Rain or wind forecast and I don't bother going to that ride.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  14. #14
    Senior Member robo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    First, wind is rarely ever constant. It may be windy, but there will be stronger gusts, and there will be times when the gusts are weaker either simply because the gust dies off, or because a bank of trees or something has blocked the wind, or perhaps the road changed directions temporarily, or whatever.

    From my observations, a lot of people have the idea that they have to maintain a certain speed when they ride into wind. In order to do that, when the wind gust is strong, they work very hard to maintain that speed, and when the wind gust dies down a little bit, they ease up their effort and rest a bit until the next gust starts a few seconds later.

    I do the opposite. When the wind gust dies down a bit for whatever reason, I go hard. Because that's when everyone else is easing up on their effort, I can be 200 metres down the road before they look up again. Then when the stronger wind gust starts blowing again, I ease up ... sit and spin ... and rest. My speed may drop a couple kms/h, but that's OK. As soon as the wind dies a bit, I'm off again. I ride wind like intervals.
    This is interesting. I was on a long ride a few weeks ago with a friend who is a physicist, and I was complaining about a headwind. She pointed out that air friction increases with the square of your velocity.. in other words, if you go, let's say, twice as fast, you won't be fighting twice the air friction.. you'll be fighting something more like FOUR times the air friction. So the people trying to go fast against a headwind are wasting exponentially more energy than someone taking it easy and going slow, and then putting their effort in when the air is still.

    All of which you seem to have discovered experimentally!

  15. #15
    Slippery Urethane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robo
    All of which you seem to have discovered experimentally!
    Awesome...I am definitely trying this. Thanks Machka!

  16. #16
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    So the people trying to go fast against a headwind are wasting exponentially more energy than someone taking it easy and going slow, and then putting their effort in when the air is still.
    Yeah, and that's why the steeper the hill [and no wind speed], the more you should increase your effort going up, and rest, while going down.[during great wind speed]

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