Spring has finally come to my area after a cold and snowy winter. I should be happy because it’s warmer, but the wind is worse than I can remember. It seems like 40-mph gales kick up just when I get off work for a ride. How can I keep my enthusiasm in these hurricanes? — Jeffrey S.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies:
I agree that wind is tough. Here in western Colorado, the great spring wind machine is revving up right now, too. I especially hate how strong it gets just when I want to train for a particular tour or event. Wind makes me crawl when I want to feel fast.
It helps to remember that headwinds actually help your fitness. They make you work harder for every inch you cover — terrific for power building. Then when you get a tailwind, you can improve your leg speed.
Also, a headwind gives you the chance to tune your position. It’s almost like being in a wind tunnel. You can feel small changes in upper-body posture make a big difference in speed and pedaling ease.
Experiment with aerodynamics by putting your hands in different locations on the bar, moving your elbows in or out, and altering the angle of your back.
For rides when all you’d like to do is enjoy the bike, head for roads that offer windbreaks. These may be low in the valley or sheltered by trees, buildings or walls. Tall corn works well, but where the heck is it in the spring when you need it?
If it’s really howling, ride a circuit a couple of miles around so the wind alternates from the front, side and rear at frequent intervals. Without this option, ride into the headwind to start the ride, then let the tailwind blow you home after the hard work is done.
For more specific and detailed ways to Win Against Win, take a look at my eArticle on the subject.
Coach Fred Matheny is an RBR co-founder who has four decades of road cycling and coaching experience. He has written 14 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach Fred Matheny, including the classic Complete Book of Road Bike Training, which includes 4 eBooks comprising 250 pages of timeless, detailed advice and training plans. The Complete Book is one of the many perks of an RBR Premium Membership. Click to read Fred’s full bio.