Question: I’m a cyclist and a runner who does trail races and climbs Colorado mountains. I like duathlons and run well, but if it’s windy I’m slow on the bike. Women, children and old men fly by me. How can I ride better in the wind? — Mac C.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: I’m pretty good in the wind. I won my age group in the Colorado time trial championships a couple of years ago on a very windy day — not because I have great ability but because I’ve convinced myself that I go well in a gale.
The more my competition complains about the wind, the more confidence I get. Maybe you can turn it into a plus, too.
I think riding well in the wind boils down to these factors:
- Aerodynamics. The less frontal area you expose, the faster you’ll go for a given power output. Work on your aero position. Get low, hold your elbows in, keep your head down but eyes up.
- Strength. Trail running increases leg strength but not like weight training or riding up steep climbs in a big gear with a low cadence. Train this way for more ability against the wind.
- Power. Climbing is the best workout for developing the horsepower for riding into the wind. Long climbs in a relatively large gear with a cadence around 90 rpm will improve your ability to put out the watts.
- Attitude. You need to welcome the wind and believe that you have an advantage in races when it blows hard. View a windy day as a chance for great training.