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How Much Wind Do You Tolerate?

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

How Much Wind Do You Tolerate?

Old 01-30-18, 05:35 PM
  #26  
Clyde1820
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I suppose it depends on the purpose and need for the ride. If commuting, I'll typically just leave earlier and cope with the wind, whatever the speeds. If above 20-25mph or so, though, I'll be seriously grumbling.

If wanting to do a pleasure ride, if it's above 20mph I'll likely do something else that day. I'm all for incorporating wind into some training, and that's fine. But, for pleasurable rides there's just something frustrating about wind.
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Old 01-30-18, 06:35 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by RFEngineer View Post
Yes, Sunday was the real bummer day, when I canceled my weekend ride. Not sure what the wind speed was, but it looked to me like it would blow me off the road, or into traffic.
It wasn't real gusty at CCSP though. Just pretty hard and constant. I can deal with that. But when an unexpected gust from the side catches the deep section wheel like a sail, is what I don't like.
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Old 01-30-18, 06:39 PM
  #28  
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I'm amazed to see people actually pay attention to wind. Snow, no chance. Rain, I won't start in it but if it pours while I am out there, oh well. Wind is just a pain. Give me 90 degrees and no wind and it's great but honestly wind is a tolerable element. I look for excuses to ride, not excuses not to ride.
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Old 01-30-18, 08:31 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Shuffleman View Post
I'm amazed to see people actually pay attention to wind. Snow, no chance. Rain, I won't start in it but if it pours while I am out there, oh well. Wind is just a pain. Give me 90 degrees and no wind and it's great but honestly wind is a tolerable element. I look for excuses to ride, not excuses not to ride.
Maybe if you lived somewhere with more snow, you wouldn't be so inclined to use it as an excuse not to ride. Snow isn't so bad. You just have to watch for ice.
Some places are windier than others, too, so it's not surprising that some people find themselves more tolerant of it than others.
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Old 01-30-18, 08:39 PM
  #30  
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I cancel rides when the wind is cold and out of the north. Hot days with wind are fun. Although we very seldom get steady winds over 20 mph and even that is fairly rare. Windy days are normally a bit below that with gusts up to 30.
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Old 01-30-18, 08:57 PM
  #31  
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20 with gusts makes me reconsider, 15 I’m OK with as long as it’s above 40 deg. F.

If possible I’ll do the local bike path which is sheltered in woods, or if not in the freeze/thaw cycle will mt. bike.
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Old 01-30-18, 09:24 PM
  #32  
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It depends what else is happening out there with the wind. If it is a nice day but just windy, chances are I'll ride and I've ridden in winds gusting up around the 80-90 km/h point. Steady at 50-60 km/h but gusts up to 80-90 km/h.

I get more particular about where I ride in those conditions. I don't like riding anywhere where there's traffic because I do get blown around a bit. It's really hard to hold the bicycle steady and I've suddenly ended up halfway across the road. Also I prefer to have a route with a bit of tree or building shelter so that I can get a break from it now and then.

I spent 13 years cycling in Manitoba. We didn't have hills, we had wind. I've also spent many more years cycling in Alberta where we had hills and wind. So I got used to it. There is a trick to riding in wind which makes it more tolerable ... for me anyway.


However, if that is in combination with cold temps and/or rain ... that's when it's time to go to the gym. +3C and pouring rain and wind is just not nice. Nor is -20C and wind.


And, although gusts of 80/90 km/h might be where I cap things given the choice, I have been caught in a 160 km "microburst" as well. That one took me off the bicycle.
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Old 01-30-18, 09:38 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
A 30 kph wind will do it for me if it's a weekend ride. For my commute I can tolerate much more--perhaps 40-50 kph.
Winter around me is windy, and since most of my riding is to work, I do a lot of windy rides. Headwinds to work and tailwinds home (my route to work is NNW). If the wind is pretty constant then in the 30s (mph) is doable and 15 mph is normal. I get the full effect of the wind, as I ride across rice fields most of the time. When there is a typhoon that is coming or just passed I usually skip though because the wind is too gusty and the direction changes often.

Originally Posted by caloso View Post
30mph days are for KOM hunting.
^Yup. I've been having all kinds of very fast segments on my way home the last two weeks with some ridiculous winds.

I had this on the way home the other day, but I wasn't able to use it to full effect.
wind.jpg
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Old 01-30-18, 10:05 PM
  #34  
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I admire riders that pull 30+ kph into 30+ headwind.
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Old 01-30-18, 10:47 PM
  #35  
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How Much Wind Do You Tolerate?
Originally Posted by RFEngineer View Post
At what point will you cancel your ride because of the wind? 15 mph sustained winds? 20? 30? I've had a couple beautiful days here lately, but the wind has been ridiculous. There's no way I can have an enjoyable time in 20 mph winds.
Originally Posted by Doctor Morbius View Post
On the days that I ride I'll look out the windows and check out how badly the neighbor's flags are whipping about. This little tidbit helps determine if I go out for a ride that day and/or which bike I'll ride that day. On really heavy wind days I'll not ride as I don't enjoy it. On moderate wind days I'll ride my slowest bike and not track speed as there's no sense in it.

Over 15 mph and I'll not ride. I'm an old, tired Fred and can do something else that day, like watch TV and eat cheesy poofs.
Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
I'm not used to evaluate wind speed. but I ride as long as the wind doesn't blow me off the road.
I a cycle-commute to work (14 miles one-way) so I have motivation to go out and ride, no matter what the wind. I have recently posted to the thread, "So do you track? How do you track? and what do you track?"
Originally Posted by Jim fromBoston View Post
On my Excell spreadsheet I track:...
  • Wind speed and direction: Either as recorded on a weather station, or on a personal 1 to 6 scale (headwind / tailwind) based on flying flags; to explain variations in average speed...
Here in Boston, wind speeds of 4 of 6 on my scale are rare, less than once a year, and gusts do have the force to push me laterally. I don't conscientiously think about falling tree limbs, but such usually occur with rainstorms that dissuade riding.

It's useful to assess wind speed and direction because on good and bad riding days, sometimes it's hard to know if it's me and my energy levels or the wind that's responsible.

My most dangerous wind riding was along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, with gusts that vigorously pushed us laterally to the left; about a 5 of 6, graded retrospectively.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 01-30-18 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 01-31-18, 12:28 AM
  #36  
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Over 15mph I don't go out on the road. Bike path maybe, but its just not fun where I ride the road, and usually here once it's over 15, there are enough open places where gusts will hit you hard and that can just be dangerous. I ride for fun, so windy days are good days to go for a walk, hike, or mow the lawn.

I don't ride in rain unless I get caught in it, and snow..havn't yet, I gotta get my fat bike out...also need warmer clothes to do so.
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Old 01-31-18, 01:01 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
30mph days are for KOM hunting.
This.

The top ten in some popular local segments are dominated by wind assisted rides, including mine. I ain't proud. Just having fun.

The downside is the return trip. Last weekend I improved from 8th to 4th on one segment but the return trip into steady 20 mph wind with 30 mph gusts on a climb was grueling. Good exercise though.

I don't enjoy the wind for longer casual rides, but it's good for shorter workouts. Helps remind me to not be so sloppy about flailing my elbows out, etc.
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Old 01-31-18, 05:26 AM
  #38  
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I do most of my riding on roads near my house. If it is below 45 degrees or above 20 mph winds (the latter is rare), I don't go out. I'm only doing 20-30 miles usually and it's a loop, so wind only affects a portion of the ride. If I'm doing a t-shirt ride for MS150 training, I'll usually take a shorter route if the wind is bad.

Last year's BP MS150 (2017) had a 15-20 mph headwind for the entire 70 miles of Day Two. That was probably the most effort I ever put into a bike ride. The SAG vans were busy that day.
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Old 01-31-18, 05:45 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
I'm not used to evaluate wind speed. but I ride as long as the wind doesn't blow me off the road.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
On my Excell spreadsheet I track:...
  • Wind speed and direction: Either as recorded on a weather station, or on a personal 1 to 6 scale (headwind / tailwind) based on flying flags; to explain variations in average speed...
Here in Boston, wind speeds of 4 of 6 on my scale are rare, less than once a year, and gusts do have the force to push me laterally.
My idea of a 1 to 6 scale of wind phenomena (waving flags) to guage wind force (speed) is based on the formalized Beaufort Wind Force Scale
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
The Beaufort scale is an empirical measure that relates wind speed to observed conditions at sea or on land. Its full name is the Beaufort wind force scale…Today, many countries have abandoned the scale and use the metric system based units, m/s or km/h, instead, but the severe weather warnings given to the public are still approximately the same as when using the Beaufort scale.
The Beaufort scale is from 1 (calm) to 12 (hurricane force) and the determination of the scale number is based on defined observations of phenomena such as rising smoke; papers, dust and debris on the ground; wave heights; flags; umbrellas unfurling, etc.

On review of the Beaufort scale descriptions, I would estimate my determination of 4 of 6 equivalent to the Beaufort number of about 5 of 13 (“fresh breeze” ; wind speed of 19-24 mph/29-38 km/hr).

One standard for assessing wind speed with a weather vane or flag, is that it should be unobstructed, and about 20 feet above ground. I make my determination on flags of at least a few feet in length. The Beaufort number of 3 (“gentle breeze,” 8-12 mph) is identified when “Leaves and small twigs in constant motion; light flags extended.”
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
It's useful to assess wind speed and direction because on good and bad riding days, sometimes it's hard to know if it's me and my energy levels or the wind that's responsible.
and my personal 1 to 6 scale is a handy way to make that assessment en route. BTW, I have found a semi-quantitative scale of 1 to 6 a pretty suitable estimation for wind speed; I also use such a scale to evaluate my levels of dress by temperature increments. I picked it up on a whitewater rafting trip when I learned the difficulty of rivers is determined as 1 to 6.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 01-31-18 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 01-31-18, 05:48 AM
  #40  
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Jim's 1-6 scale reminded me of the Beaufort scale, which goes to 12 (for hurricanes) - and I suspect the numbers are fairly close, seeing how a 6 on the Beaufort scale is a "strong breeze" of 25-31 mph. It isn't until you get to an 8 or a gale that twigs get snapped off and progress gets generally impeded.
I always liked the description of 5 on the Beaufort scale: Fresh Breeze. Sounds nice, but at 19-24 mph, above most cyclists' comfort range. Seems like many cyclists start to be dissuaded when there's anything more than a Gentle Breeze.
Hard to imagine riding in a gale as Machka did, but some people probably can't imagine riding up 15-20% grades. Then there are places with both hills and high winds - like Provence and the maritime alps (think Mt. Ventoux) - anyone here deal with the likes on a regular basis?
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Old 01-31-18, 06:01 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by kbarch View Post
Jim's 1-6 scale reminded me of the Beaufort scale, which goes to 12 (for hurricanes) - and I suspect the numbers are fairly close, seeing how a 6 on the Beaufort scale is a "strong breeze" of 25-31 mph. It isn't until you get to an 8 or a gale that twigs get snapped off and progress gets generally impeded.

I always liked the description of 5 on the Beaufort scale: Fresh Breeze. Sounds nice, but at 19-24 mph, above most cyclists' comfort range. Seems like many cyclists start to be dissuaded when there's anything more than a Gentle Breeze.

Hard to imagine riding in a gale as Machka did, but some people probably can't imagine riding up 15-20% grades. Then there are places with both hills and high winds - like Provence and the maritime alps (think Mt. Ventoux) - anyone here deal with the likes on a regular basis?
Thanks for the reply. It appears that my description of the Beaufort scale appeared just before your post, and you confirmed my interpretation.
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Old 01-31-18, 06:48 AM
  #42  
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20 mph causes me to rethink my plans.
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Old 01-31-18, 06:59 AM
  #43  
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I grew up on the plains. But I usually won't ride in 30+ mph wind, unless it's in a race.


My one and only road race win was a semi-intentional solo breakaway into a 30 mph wind. I didn't think I was moving very fast, but I ended up winning by over 44 minutes. Until that day, I HATED the wind. Since then, wind is okay.

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Old 01-31-18, 07:38 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
I grew up on the plains. But I usually won't ride in 30+ mph wind, unless it's in a race.


My one and only road race win was a semi-intentional solo breakaway into a 30 mph wind. I didn't think I was moving very fast, but I ended up winning by over 44 minutes. Until that day, I HATED the wind. Since then, wind is okay.
Holy cow! How long was the race? Seriously, I'm guessing that was a typo. Four minutes is great, though, and believable.
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Old 01-31-18, 07:39 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by British View Post
...when it goes from "annoying" to "dangerous".
^this^

On windy days, I really don't care if the avg pace is 24 or 18 mph. I pay more attention to power. If I get in a good ride (good power numbers), the pace is irrelevant. Just view it like a mtn ride. But yeah, when it's windy enough to make a group sketchy, or drop limbs/trees... it's Zwift time!
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Old 01-31-18, 09:13 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by kbarch View Post
Holy cow! How long was the race? Seriously, I'm guessing that was a typo. Four minutes is great, though, and believable.


No, 44 minutes was the margin. And since you brought it up . . .


I was racing unattached in a race I had never run before. I had the sense that just about everyone else knew each other. My intention, in entering, was really just to get to know area racers. No thoughts of winning. I had just moved to the area for a 4 month stay. The race distance, if I remember correctly, was 86 miles. Just less than 100, anyway.


The first 12 miles were with a 1/4 tailwind. I caught on to the large opening break which started about 3 miles out. But instead of throttling back when the break was established, they kept the hammer down. Before long, I realized that I was over threshold and couldn't maintain the pace, so I eased back to sub-threshold and watched the breakaway pull away from me. The terrain was very flat, so I never lost sight of them and, at about mile 8, the breakaway fell completely apart. I quickly passed all but 3 of them and, over the next 3 miles, I reeled in and passed 2 of the 3, one at a time. Then, just past mile 11, just as I was catching the solo leader, he stopped to take a leak! (Who takes a leak 11 miles into a race???) I kept riding past him at a steady sub-threshold pace and, at mile 12, the course turned straight into the wind. It was like riding into a wall. I looked back from the turn and saw the three guys sitting up, waiting for the main pack, probably 2/3 mile behind them.


The next 20+ miles were an endless series of sand dune hills straight into the 30 mph wind. I kept my pace at just sub-threshold and actually looked back quite a bit, expecting the pack to catch me. I was eager to get some shelter. Those miles were hellish. The motorcycle with the time board came by occasionally and the margin kept going up. The last board I remember, at about mile 40+, had me just under 15 minutes ahead. I don't remember seeing another time board the rest of the way in. I just kept grinding and kept it as close to power zone reading 4.0 as I could.


20 or 25 miles from the finish, the road turned back with the wind. I was pretty exhausted by this point. There was a construction site there and a race official and deputy sheriff were stationed there. About a mile from that corner, I looked back and realized that the deputy sheriff was giving me an escort -- keeping cars off my back. He drove up and asked if I knew the way to the finish. (I didn't.) I asked him if he knew how much margin I had. He said I didn't have to worry about it. Between the escort and the favorable wind, I got pretty motivated and kept up a pretty good pace on the way in. (I will confess that I was motivated, in part, by the fact that I was being watched.)


I finished the race. Gave an interview for the PA announcer and the local radio station. Got a massage (one of the prizes for winning). Ate lunch. Watched the entertainment (including an Elvis impersonator). Received congratulations. And, as I was walking my bike to my car to load it up, six guys came tearing down the finish straight (in the parking lot), all elbows and slobber sprinting like mad for second place. 44 minute margin.


I'm not sure how it happened. As I said, it was a semi-intentional break away. Did they forget I was out there? Were they playing for a sprint finish and (like me) figured I wouldn't stay away? It was very much a sprinter's course. For over half the race, I definitely expected them to catch me.

Last edited by FlashBazbo; 01-31-18 at 02:18 PM.
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Old 01-31-18, 09:25 AM
  #47  
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When the ferries stop running it's usually too windy to ride.
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Old 01-31-18, 10:21 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by rosefarts View Post
I grew up in Wyoming. I fought wind on the calm days.
Back in 2000 I did a self contained tour from Seattle, WA to Cortez, CO. One day was Lander, WY to Jeffrey City. I swear I spent most of the day at a 45 degree angle fighting a crosswind. That afternoon I took a walk up to the diner for lunch. I had to lean very far into the wind. One local told me it was a relatively calm day wind-wise. The next day would take me to Rawlins. I left super early to try beat the worst of the wind. When I left Rawlins I encountered a local riding to work at the Sinclair plant east of town. He told me some days it took him 20 min. to get to work and an hour to get home because of the wind.
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Old 01-31-18, 10:36 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
No, 44 minutes was the margin. And since you brought it up . . .


I was racing unattached in a race I had never run before. I had the sense that just about everyone else knew each other. My intention, in entering, was really just to get to know area racers. No thoughts of winning. I had just moved to the area for a 4 month stay. The race distance, if I remember correctly, was 86 miles. Just less than 100, anyway.


The first 12 miles were with a 1/4 tailwind. I caught on to the large opening break which started about 3 miles out. But instead of throttling back when the break was established, they kept the hammer down. Before long, I realized that I was over threshold and couldn't maintain the pace, so I eased back to sub-threshold and watched the breakaway move away from me. The terrain was very flat, so I never lost sight of them and, at about mile 8, the breakaway fell completely apart. I quickly passed all but 3 of them and, over the next 3 miles, I reeled in and passed 2 of the 3, one at a time. Then, just past mile 11, just as I was catching the solo leader, he stopped to take a leak! (Who takes a leak 11 miles into a race???) I kept riding past him at a steady sub-threshold pace and, at mile 12, the course turned straight into the wind. It was like riding into a wall. I looked back from the turn and saw the three guys sitting up, waiting for the main pack, probably 2/3 mile behind them.


The next 20+ miles were an endless series of sand dune hills straight into the 30 mph wind. I kept my pace at just sub-threshold and actually looked back quite a bit, expecting the pack to catch me. I was eager to get some shelter. Those miles were hellish. The motorcycle with the time board came by occasionally and the margin kept going up. The last board I remember, at about mile 40+, had me just under 15 minutes ahead. I don't remember seeing another time board the rest of the way in. I just kept grinding and kept it as close to power zone reading 4.0 as I could.


20 or 25 miles from the finish, the road turned back with the wind. I was pretty exhausted by this point. There was a construction site there and a race official and deputy sheriff were stationed there. About a mile from that corner, I looked back and realized that the deputy sheriff was giving me an escort -- keeping cars off my back. He drove up and asked if I knew the way to the finish. (I didn't.) I asked him if he knew how much margin I had. He said I didn't have to worry about it. Between the escort and the favorable wind, I got pretty motivated and kept up a pretty good pace on the way in. (I will confess that I was motivated, in part, by the fact that I was being watched.)


I finished the race. Gave an interview for the PA announcer and the local radio station. Got a massage (one of the prizes for winning). Ate lunch. Watched the entertainment (including an Elvis impersonator). Received congratulations. And, as I was walking my bike to my car to load it up, six guys came tearing down the finish straight (in the parking lot), all elbows and slobber sprinting like mad for second place. 44 minute margin.


I'm not sure how it happened. As I said, it was a semi-intentional break away. Did they forget I was out there? Were they playing for a sprint finish and (like me) figured I wouldn't stay away? It was very much a sprinter's course. For over half the race, I definitely expected them to catch me.
Good story. Where was this? Sounds like an extraordinary course. I'm guessing SoCal/AZ
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Old 01-31-18, 10:55 AM
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FlashBazbo
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Originally Posted by kbarch View Post
Good story. Where was this? Sounds like an extraordinary course. I'm guessing SoCal/AZ


No, nothing extraordinary. It was in Kansas. Lots of flat and lots of wind. No sustained climbing. No descents. Pretty much the opposite of anything we do in this part of the country.
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