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Ride like the wind

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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

Ride like the wind

Old 10-27-12, 10:40 PM
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eja_ bottecchia
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Ride like the wind

The lovely Santa Ana winds are back and with them, a return to suffering on the bike.

This morning I rode 60 miles. The first 30 miles, from my home to Neptune's Net, on PCH, were fun. I had a tail wind almost all the way down to NN; I was going faster than I have ever gone down that portion of my route. I know that I am normally not that fast and so I knew there was going to be hell to pay on the return trip.

Well, as soon as I turned right on Lewis Road, on my way back home, I was hit by a hot, dry and persistent headwind. As I expected my average speed dropped like a lead balloon. It was a slugfest riding into that wind all the way home.

There is not much you can do when riding into this kind of wind. At least when climbing a hill there are points when the climb flattens for a bit and you can catch your breath. But these winds blow steadily...there may be a drop on wind speed, but it does not last for long. The wind gusts are just as bad because not only do you have to fight the headwinds but you also struggle just to keep your bike upright.

I don't mind the wind, it is just something else to deal with; but it is just not so much fun for 30 miles.

How do you guys feel about riding into the wind?

Do you like it?

Do you hate it?

Do you have any special techniques for dealing with the wind?




Last edited by eja_ bottecchia; 10-27-12 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 10-28-12, 03:22 AM
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Friday's ride was affected by hurricane sandy. Sustained 25-30mph winds with gusts from 35-45mph. Went hill hunting. Into the wind I had to pedal down the descents in order to keep the bike over 15mph. On the ascents I was in my 39/23 bailout the entire day. On the way back with the wind, we were absolutely screaming. Climbed a few decent hills in a 53/14. When you hit the hill doing 42mph, it gets over with really quickly.

The biggest problem I have with wind is letting it freak me out. Nothing sucks more booty than working at a pace consistent with what normally nets you 19mph and looking down to see 13mph. Just try to stay calm. Don't let it get to you. 13mph into a 30mph headwind takes a hell of a lot more effort than 19mph on a calm flat. I love the wind, it adds an element of mental exercises to my rides. My "technique" ? Stay calm, watch my heart rate, be patient and let the strong guys do the pulling.
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Old 10-28-12, 04:09 AM
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Welcome to the suck!

If I wanted a challenge, I'd sprint up the hills

Never really catch a tail wind with my luck.

It's uphill both ways with a headwind, in 2 feet of snow, etc. etc.
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Old 10-28-12, 05:45 AM
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I don't like necessarily like it, but I find it to be a good addition to the workout. Having the mentality that on the way back, you'll catch a nice tailwind is good motivation. Unlike you're situation though lol
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Old 10-28-12, 06:26 AM
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Since the start of the monsoon season in Thailand, my training rides on a loop parallel to the runways at Souvarnabhumi airport have had the added pleasure/pain of headwinds and tailwinds.

During calm periods, I generally average about 32-34 kmh over an hour and at least 30 kmh over the 100 kmh ride. But, during the monsoon season with the headwind and tailwinds, I try to achieve my 32 kmh pace for an hour then succomb to the winds and generally end up at 27 kmh over the 100 kmh ride. With a good tailwind, I am able to average about 40 kmh with sustained peaks of 48 kmh riding on the hoods, no less. With the reverse headwind, my speed drops to 20-23 kmh with me being in the drops and the 34/16 combo, trying my best to maintain a 90 rpm cadence. This has allowed me to train my 'aero' in-the-drops position, maintain cadence discipline to not mash, and ignore the speed. The 'aero' is in parenthesis is because I always joke that a whale is very aero in the water but not so much on land.

What kills me though is the occasional, temporary lull in the headwind that fools me into shifting all the way to a 50/19 combo that is actually a change-up and that then knocks me back down. This breaks my cadence discipline as I try to mash my gears and let my cadence drop to 75 rpm. I have found this actually kills my endurance training. On those days, I barely hit my 100 km goal and my legs are burning for the next day.

But, in Bangkok, there are no hills so this is my only 'simulated' training for climbing. At least it is always sunny and warm before 11 am, unless it is raining buffalos and cattle (raining cats and dogs would not do justice to monsoon rains here).

When I lived in SoCal, apart from the ensuing brush fires and extremely dusty air and allegies, riding when the Santa Ana winds were blowing was always interesting - I always had to pack double the amount of water because the winds were so dry.

Mark
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Old 10-28-12, 06:39 AM
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Tx gulf coast has wind and lots of it. I plan every ride after checking local weather/wind report. Ride out into wind and tail wind home. If I work hard into wind my average does not change much. No hills here, so wind turns out to be the only way to prepare for climbing. In the end I view wind as my friend, not an enemy.
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Old 10-28-12, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by mrflip69 View Post

It's uphill both ways with a headwind, in 2 feet of snow, etc. etc.
I know the feeling...uphill both ways in 2 feet of snow...and I went to school in Florida!
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Old 10-28-12, 08:19 AM
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I don't mind it, just put head down and pedal.
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Old 10-28-12, 08:46 AM
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Embrace it, consider it just another form of a hill to climb. I try to break it into segments out here, which is easy cause a lot the roads are on a grid system. Also I will try and take the most forested route into the wind and derive some reduction of the wind by the trees. Ultimately though the beauty of cycling, the turning of the wheels, the pumping of the thighs combined with the pure beauty of the world is there, wind or no wind.
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Old 10-28-12, 11:06 AM
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Riding into the wind is one of the things that is much easier with a power meter. I have a Garmin screen that I use for climbing and headwinds - power, hr, and grade. It makes it easier to just put my head down and go - just dial in on what I can do for the given distance and do it.
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Old 10-28-12, 01:48 PM
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If possible I try to start into the wind and finish with a tailwind.
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Old 10-28-12, 02:12 PM
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Yeah. Another wind thread. Personally, I love the wind (except the noise). It's a matter of perspective.
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Old 10-28-12, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by bikerjp View Post
Yeah. Another wind thread. Personally, I love the wind (except the noise). It's a matter of perspective.
I also like riding in the wind. It is just another challenge out on the road.

Today, just for the fun of it, I decided to add a few climbs, into a headwind.

Other than the fact that the wind dries my skin and nasal passages, it is one of those things that you have to learn to deal with it. It does messes up with my averages, however.
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Old 10-28-12, 04:18 PM
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I dont hate it. When there is a strong wind, I try to plan a route where I have wind in my back on the way back home. That way, it feels like you have to work hard at first, but are eventually rewarded.
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Old 10-28-12, 10:45 PM
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I live in Florida, no hills here so it's good to have the wind. Rode a little over 241 miles this weekend, a ****-ton of it into wind and almost got blown down from one gust. Had to open up a can of HTFU to get it done!

Edited to add: Just ignore the cycle computer's speed readout when riding with or into the wind...
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Old 10-28-12, 11:43 PM
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Originally Posted by eja_ bottecchia View Post
The lovely Santa Ana winds are back...
Okay, I'll bite: what are "Santa Ana" winds? Is that a Catholic thing?

I don't like headwinds, but I do like tailwinds. I'll put up with headwinds because I like tailwinds. The wind is pretty predictable where I am, so you don't have to worry that much about being "betrayed" on the way home!
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Old 10-29-12, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
what are "Santa Ana" winds?
Seasonal, dry, dusty, strong winds that move towards Santa Ana/offshore.

I rode 30 miles into the wind (South Florida). My last 15 miles on the outbound trip took 90 minutes. I covered that 15 miles on the return in 32 minutes. Spent about 40 minutes in the 52x11t cranking out. It was completely worth the pain of the outbound trip.
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Old 10-29-12, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
Okay, I'll bite: what are "Santa Ana" winds? Is that a Catholic thing?
Actually sort of yes, originally it was. Satan's winds changed to Santa Ana winds.

Here is more info (than you probably ever wanted to know): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Ana_winds
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Old 10-29-12, 08:34 AM
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I "learned" and got used to riding on the drops because of the wind. Makes for good training. But yes, they suck.
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Old 10-29-12, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by eja_ bottecchia View Post
The first 30 miles, from my home to Neptune's Net, on PCH, were fun.
whenever anyone talks about neptune's net, all i think about is this scene:

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Old 10-29-12, 09:42 AM
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haha I made a thread about riding into the wind just a couple weeks ago.
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Old 10-29-12, 04:35 PM
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I just don't like it when it slows me down so much that I get passed by other cyclists.
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