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Is mildly bad weather an excuse?

Old 10-08-17, 11:13 AM
  #1  
rachel120
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Is mildly bad weather an excuse?

I guess I'm in worse shape now, the last week or so I've really been struggling on the same exact route. Today was really bad.

My normal speed is 12-14 mph. Today I doubt I managed that. When I got to work I checked the weather and discovered I was riding into an 8 mph headwind. With my normal slow speed would a wind of that speed tire me out? Or am I looking for an excuse when I'm just getting more out of shape?
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Old 10-08-17, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by rachel120 View Post
I guess I'm in worse shape now, the last week or so I've really been struggling on the same exact route. Today was really bad.

My normal speed is 12-14 mph. Today I doubt I managed that. When I got to work I checked the weather and discovered I was riding into an 8 mph headwind. With my normal slow speed would a wind of that speed tire me out? Or am I looking for an excuse when I'm just getting more out of shape?
If there hasn't been a significant lapse in riding, I doubt you're "in worse shape." Some days are just flat-out better or worse than others. I've tried to find a rhyme and reason for it, and can't.

A headwind will definitely decrease your average speed, and make you tired quicker. Also, little things like tire pressure and a properly lubed chain make a difference.
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Old 10-08-17, 11:31 AM
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You could be looking for an excuse. It all depends how badly you want to ride. Personally, if I really want to go out for a ride, there isn't much that I won't put up with IF I really want to ride. In the winter I won't hesitate to go out with the temps are in the teens (F). But sometimes I may not feel like dealing with it. On the other hand, some people won't go out if it's cloudy, or if it's too windy, too hot, too cold, etc. The only opinion that really matters is your own. If you don't want to put up with the weather conditions...don't. But yeah...riding into 8 mph winds will make you more tired over the same distance.

Dan
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Old 10-08-17, 11:34 AM
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Some years ago, during my active hiking/backpacking days, I traveled to New Hampshire from Rhode Island, a drive of just over 200 miles. I got half way up the mountain, an hour of hiking, and decided I was not enjoying myself. So I turned around, walked down the mountain, got in the car and drove home. There are days like that.
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Old 10-08-17, 11:46 AM
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Not personally , but I see a lot fewer bicyclists out when its raining, so your justification is sufficient to you.. and many others..

Harley M/C riders making their patented racket, on runs thru town to the coast, have dropped off nicely..

Headwinds do lower your ground speed, on Bicycles or in Airplanes..





.....
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Old 10-08-17, 11:55 AM
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Any headwind is bad, but 8 mph isn't too bad. if you're going at that speed. Hopefully you get the benefit of a 8 mph tailwind on the way back. It doesn't even out exactly, but it's not bad.

I balked at the ride this morning with wind gusts of 60 kph. Went running instead and much happier for it.
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Old 10-08-17, 12:00 PM
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Eight mile and hour headwinds could make a difference, especially if you are having one of those days where your body is just underperforming.

It's also possible the local wind was higher than reported on the internet or TV.
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Old 10-08-17, 01:11 PM
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Invisible hills. Free extra workout in the same mileage.

Seriously, we don't have many long hill climbs here so it's been difficult to work on my weakest area -- climbing. So I deliberately go out on days with headwinds on the worst of my nemeses. Gets more oomph out of those half mile 2% grades and one mile 1% grades. A few days ago I rode some repeats on a couple of loops with the downhills at my back and uphills into the wind (15 mph steady with gusts over 20 mph). Snagged my fastest times on the downhills and slowest on the flip side.

It's worth the effort to improve the physical and mental conditioning -- and don't underestimate the mental aspect. Headwinds can be grueling psychologically. When you're able to overcome that challenge it makes the longer casual rides more enjoyable rather than an tedious chore.
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Old 10-08-17, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by one4smoke View Post
If there hasn't been a significant lapse in riding, I doubt you're "in worse shape." Some days are just flat-out better or worse than others. I've tried to find a rhyme and reason for it, and can't.
If you're treating your commute like a training ride, where you're trying to 'beat yesterday,' some days it just won't be there. It's like with any training plan, you don't want to do the same thing over and over again every day.
I get with commuting, that there's only so many ways to get back and forth to work, so ride somewhere different. Go to the beach, explore a trail, go to a food festival, or brewery/vineyard tour, if that's your thing.
Switch up bikes, if that's an option. There's a reason why so many of us here have a vintage bike or two in the stable. A downtube friction-shift road bike is a much more engaging experience than a modern bike. Kind of like handling a sailboat, the goal becomes the rider getting the bike to the destination, rather that the bike taking the rider there.
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Old 10-08-17, 01:45 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by rachel120 View Post
I guess I'm in worse shape now, the last week or so I've really been struggling on the same exact route. Today was really bad.

My normal speed is 12-14 mph. Today I doubt I managed that. When I got to work I checked the weather and discovered I was riding into an 8 mph headwind. With my normal slow speed would a wind of that speed tire me out? Or am I looking for an excuse when I'm just getting more out of shape?
Of course a headwind will slow you down. I just did a Century yesterday with an average speed of 25kph (15mph) but hit a moderate head wind for 30km's that dropped my speed to 15-19kph.

Don't be afraid of the slow days. Struggle is what makes a cyclist stronger.
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Old 10-08-17, 01:53 PM
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Sounds pretty normal to me. I always to terrible when it's cool and damp outside, like today, because I have asthma. Also, I don't ride in the rain or even when the streets are wet. And headwinds kill my speed.
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Old 10-08-17, 02:16 PM
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I would love to blame tires and chain but I had a flat earlier this week and checked the pressure a few times since to make sure my patch held. And working on the tire was a great reason to oil the chain.

Last edited by rachel120; 10-08-17 at 02:27 PM.
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Old 10-08-17, 02:18 PM
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Doesn't sound like an excuse.

You rode, right?
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Old 10-08-17, 02:39 PM
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My bikes are slower on some days than others.

For me, not knowing quite what I'll encounter on my ride is part of the adventure. Still, if I know there's going to be a prevailing wind, I can choose a route that gives me a tailwind on the way home -- as a reward.
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Old 10-08-17, 04:48 PM
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I did ride today. My bike is my only transportation so I have to ride it no matter what the weather is like. I did have a three day weekend though my endurance problems started a few days before that. I just don't know why I'm struggling so much these past few days. The excuse I was talking about was not reason to skip riding but looking for external factors to explain why my endurance has gone to crap instead of myself.
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Old 10-08-17, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by rachel120 View Post
I did ride today. My bike is my only transportation so I have to ride it no matter what the weather is like. I did have a three day weekend though my endurance problems started a few days before that. I just don't know why I'm struggling so much these past few days. The excuse I was talking about was not reason to skip riding but looking for external factors to explain why my endurance has gone to crap instead of myself.
Do you feel "weak" other than riding? You may want to go see the doc just to make sure nothing medical is going on.
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Old 10-08-17, 05:02 PM
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Cycling strength comes and goes.

You might be under extra stress, fighting a bug, or missing a bit of sleep or fuel.

If any of us knew for sure, we'd bottle and sell it.
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Old 10-08-17, 05:03 PM
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Wind drag is a function of the square of wind speed.

At your 13mph normal speed, and 8mph headwind changes 13mph to 21mph. So the drag factor you were working against would have jumped from 169 to 441 if you maintained the same speed. That's two and half times the drag.


In reality, you probably couldn't maintain the same speed, so assuming you slowed to 10mph, the wind speed would be "only" 18mph, for a drag factor of 324. Still, almost double.
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Old 10-08-17, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by rachel120 View Post
I did ride today. My bike is my only transportation so I have to ride it no matter what the weather is like. I did have a three day weekend though my endurance problems started a few days before that. I just don't know why I'm struggling so much these past few days. The excuse I was talking about was not reason to skip riding but looking for external factors to explain why my endurance has gone to crap instead of myself.

Normal training includes easy recovery weeks.

The body does not get stronger during exercise but during recovery. This happens overnight as we rest and after several weeks of hard riding those with a written training plan will take an easy week to let the body recover. It is not uncommon to come back stronger as a result.

If you have been riding steadily and hard for many weeks then consider an easy week. I realize that might not be possible. The bus, Uber or an easier route might be good choices for a few days.


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Old 10-08-17, 05:54 PM
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Anything can be an excuse, if you are creative enough. HTFU and ride!
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Old 10-08-17, 05:58 PM
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To enjoy a ride at a cruising pace, i agree.
Fwiw; Not long ago i commited to riding a 55-65 miler.
It was impossible to gauge the weather with the gap of time in between.
The day arrives & the weather wasnt favorable at all. Start conditions were 38F 19mph headwinds gusts 27mph, & wet from days prior. 54F by end of ride with 20+ winds & gusts of 29.
What made it happen was that i felt 110% up for the journey. Also the person i was with gave me that positive outlook to sustain thru it all.

It really comes down to how you feel physically & mentally.
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Old 10-08-17, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by rachel120 View Post
I guess I'm in worse shape now, the last week or so I've really been struggling on the same exact route. Today was really bad.

My normal speed is 12-14 mph. Today I doubt I managed that. When I got to work I checked the weather and discovered I was riding into an 8 mph headwind. With my normal slow speed would a wind of that speed tire me out? Or am I looking for an excuse when I'm just getting more out of shape?
I try to ride in good or bad weather. In bad weather I ride an old used Schwinn Mountain bike and leave my new Trek Hybrid in the Garage.

in good weather I can ride at about 15-16 mph, but in really windy weather with some light rain that drops down to more like 10-12mph lol. One of the hardest bike rides I ever did was riding for only 10 miles at 10-12mph in some really strong winds. We had a tornado warning outside that day and they had warnings on radio about driving on the road with the strong winds, trucks had rolled over and got in accidents due to the high winds. That little 10 mile bike ride was harder than any 20-30 mile bike ride I ever was on lol.

Last edited by littleArnold; 10-08-17 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 10-08-17, 06:09 PM
  #23  
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Whether we ride in bad conditions depends on what we are doing. On tours we usually ride if it is reasonable. We are on a tour right now, and we took a weather day yesterday. We were in Grand Haven, Michigan, and the winds were 22 mph with gusts to 41 mph. It would have been a 50 mile day into that headwind. With rain! We wimped out

Generally we'll ride in the rain; after all we are from Oregon. We use our bikes rather than our car running around town. We usually just go for it. We have good rain gear and fenders. On longer recreational rides, we are a bit more selective.
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Old 10-08-17, 06:29 PM
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Make a slight change to your route.

I typically learn which direction the wind is coming from and ride out into the wind. Then as I head back in, I have primarily a tale wind.

Earn muscle strength going out, cardio building coming in!
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Old 10-08-17, 06:39 PM
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Headwind will slow you down and I find my motivation and efforts plummet when the weather is against me.
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