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12 mph?! Post Your Headwind Riding Tips...(21 posts)

12 mph?! Post Your Headwind Riding Tips...Fez
Dec 12, 2003 7:29 AM
I'll start with the first tip:

1) Turn off computer when riding directly into headwinds :P

Just for thought:

a) In very strong direct headwinds, is a *slightly* slower cadence/taller gear more aero efficient?

b) I heard getting narrow is almost as important as getting low. So what hand/body position is best for trying to slice thru a direct headwind?
Headwinds are about the only time I ride in the drops. nmDave Hickey
Dec 12, 2003 7:32 AM
Turn around :-) nmkevinacohn
Dec 12, 2003 7:36 AM
I already rode 20 miles and didn't really notice howFez
Dec 12, 2003 7:56 AM
strong the tailwinds were. I guess I could have continued with the wind at my back and have Mrs. Fez pick me up.

That would have really made her mad.
I already rode 20 miles and didn't really notice howPEDDLEFOOT
Dec 12, 2003 8:05 AM
A friend and I were doing an out and back to a town that was 35 miles.We got there with no problems and had a quick rest.I mentioned at one point how easy the ride was not noticing the tail wind.As soon as we started back I knew we were in trouble.The first time I can remember truly bonking.I was completely drained and dehydrated.The temps were in the upper 80's by the time we finished.Since then I have always paid very close attention tn wind direction and speed.
been thereFez
Dec 12, 2003 8:13 AM
Similar experience to you.

Except I was alone. I felt so good (didn't realize it was the tailwind) that I turned around a little later than I usually did. Bonked, ran out of food (still had a little water), and had to chug along at 12mph for the final 5 miles, trying to conserve energy.

I learned the same lesson as you did.
14mph yesterday..cyclopathic
Dec 12, 2003 7:40 AM
I barely avg 13.6mph on morning commute, 16.5mi ride and about half straight into wind. A couple of hills, which I was looking forward to :)

with respect to b) the trick is to keep back flat and turn elbows in/down, not out as many do in drops.
90% mental..................Len J
Dec 12, 2003 7:53 AM
but there are a few things you can do.

1.) Think of it as a long hill. You don't expect to do 20 mph up an 8% grade do you, no you gear down, accept a slower speed, moniter your effort (via feel or HRM) and hunker down for the long haul. Do the same thing with wind. It frustrates us because we want to go faster, don't let it frustrate you.

2.) Get more aero. Drops, narrow, flat back.

3.) Relax. Like a hill climb the more relaxed you are the more efficient you are (you're not restricting blood flow).

4.) Try earplugs. It's amazing how much less mental impact the wind has when you can't hear it. Try it sometimes.

5.) Vary cadence & gearing. Just like a hill, vary the muscles you are using to stay fresh. remember, this "hill" is going to last a long time.

Len
yeap, and it suckscyclopathic
Dec 12, 2003 8:00 AM
I admit in the past after riding alone in headwind for several hours, I got off the bike and walked on perfectly flat road.

CP

PS tip #6 do not ride alone, stick to the group.
Yeah, and it sure made some go mental at the '03 Vuelta! (nm)hrv
Dec 12, 2003 10:18 AM
The trap I get caught in...spluti
Dec 12, 2003 8:07 AM
I have to be mindful of the early ride tailwind. The one that fools me into thinking I'm really riding strong today, I feel good, I'll have a PR on this route I can go like heck. As the return trip begins I relize I'm pretty well spent and the "I feel good today" is gone and I have 40 miles of headwind to go.
The heavier headwinds aren't as much of a problem for me. Just relax, don't try to "break down the resistance". Treat it like a long climb and be patient.
When handed lemons...............Mike Tea
Dec 12, 2003 8:09 AM
......make lemonade - think of a headwind as an opportunity to work on strength training.

It's like hills - they're not put there to hurt us, they're there to make us stronger.
Alternative roadsdzrider
Dec 12, 2003 8:20 AM
Go around a few blocks to get out of it for a little while. Even a cross wind is some relief.

Ride into the wind first. I find it better to enjoy the ride home.

If you have big hills, climb into the wind and descend with the wind at your back.

All the aero stuff does for me is allow me to suffer at a slightly higher speed for a slightly shorter time. The misery stays much the same.
Be the eggDale Brigham
Dec 12, 2003 8:23 AM
Back in the old days when dinosaurs ruled the earth and aerobars/handlebar extensions were yet to be invented, we intrepid cyclists had to find ways to cheat the wind using just our regular drop bars.

One of the best ways we found to battle a headwind is to:
1) Place hands on bar tops, close to stem.
2) Bend elbows to right angle and bring them in as narrow as you can (somewhat) comfortably hold them. (Your forearms and chest will make sort of a triangle in relation to the stem, when viewed from above.)
3) Round (droop) your shoulders, narrow your chest, and round your back (a flat back will stick your noggin higher up into the wind). Think narrow, streamlined, and smoothly round, like an egg. This position is akin to the Graham Obree position.
4) Maintain position until you get where you are going or your triceps fail. (This is a good reason to do some chair-dips).

Dale
Go aerobimini
Dec 12, 2003 9:00 AM
I've been working on aero position & TT after the season let up.

If you have aero bars, use them and use them properly.
Or get down on the drops.

Drop the bars down as low as you can tollerate

Raise the seat and move it forward.

get the elbows in, head tucked down even curve your shoulders in. Keep knees in so they almost touch the top tube each stroke.

I go for a high cadence 95-115

I keep the computer turned on but to the cadence channel. There is a temptation to drop the cadence down going into the wind and then getting loaded up. Keep an eye on it and drop down gears as needed to keep it up.

I found a very nice side benefit of the aero tuck this winter. I stay nice and toasty warm even in 30+MPH headwinds. If I even raise my head up an inch or 2 I can feel the cold on my chest. When things are right I feel it on my back and a little on the chest. (maybe the wind & cold is a good training tool for working on aero and TT).

I found I can hang onto 19-20+ MPH in moderate headwinds and 18 MPH in strong ones as long as I stay focused on body position, cadence, & pedaling effieciency. Then you can have a lot of fun flying with the wind when you turnaround.
out and backtarwheel
Dec 12, 2003 9:19 AM
My brother lives outside Chicago where winds are pretty persistent. He generally checks the weather before riding, and then heads out into the wind for XX miles and then returns with a tailwind. You get a good workout on the first half of the ride, and then can relax (or really fly) coming back.

It's hard to do rides like that where I live in NC. When it's windy, the winds are generally variable and change direction a lot or winds get funneled down certain roads because of trees. I generally ride in the drops a lot when it's windy. Even better, ride with a group and take turns pulling.

Once a year, I generally spend a week at the beach with family and bring my bike. The winds are pretty consistent there, and I follow the same technique as my brother -- heading out into the wind and coming back with a tailwind. Last time I was there (Pensacola, FLA), it was difficult averaging 13-14 mph into the headwind, but easy to average 25 mph on the return. I thought it was a blast.
Don't lose the wheel!4bykn
Dec 12, 2003 9:41 AM
If pacelining, make sure you don't lose the wheel of whoever is ahead of you. If you miss the back of the line after your pull it can be freaking hard getting back on (especially after a hard pull on the front).

Yes, I speak from experience, and not a pleasant one at that.

Ride in Peace...Mike
CadenceChen2
Dec 12, 2003 12:42 PM
I ride in a lot of wind here in Oklahoma and I've spent a lot of time analyzing what works best for me.

1) Cadence, I use the cadence meter on my Astrale because I can maintain a higher speed into a strong headwind for a longer time if I keep my cadence between 85 and 100 rpm. This usually means I'll be on my 39 ring and then it's finding the right cog, and this is the time to have a close ratio cassette.

2) Aero, I do better in the drops or maybe on an aero bar.
Turn around!russw19
Dec 12, 2003 3:25 PM
OK seriously... I used to live in Daytona and there are no hills there, but you can get some serious headwinds if you ride up and down A1A (right on the beach) and they are brutal in the winter month. Yeah, just one month in the winter down here.. January, but that's another story....

So I just put my head down and rode as hard as I could into the wind. It's like climbing... you have to fixate on the return leg with the tail wind... it's like looking forward to going down the hill you murdered your legs on for a half hour... that 5 minute thrill of going down fast... it's like that with the wind... just wait till you get to turn back for home and blitz down the road at like 35 mph passing cars. It's so much fun.

I would try as hard as I could to always ride into the wind at the start of my rides. If the wind died, I would be slightly ticked, but if it picked up on the return leg, it was like riding home to a big ol birthday cake with a stripper inside.

But as for the original question... you are on the right track... make yourself small. If you are getting tired and can't stay in your tuck make sure you ride with your hands close together on the bar tops and not the brake hoods. Try to keep your elbows and knees in too. And just suck it up and try to ride even and smooth, just like if you were climbing.

Russ
Repeat this mantra...theBreeze
Dec 12, 2003 4:02 PM
"I am an arrow...I am an arrow... I am an arrow..."
35 mph sustained windslunchrider
Dec 12, 2003 4:36 PM
as I plow into the East Winds (coming out of the Columbia River Gorge) I keep myself thinking about how this is just like riding up hill a very steep hill when the winds blow at 35mph and gust up to 50. of course its always good to think about how much fun the ride back will be.
last week it was 35 on the flats with very little effort, the stange thing was going that fast with no perceived wind on my face.

keep on riding