Sometimes there's just no avoiding the wind, whether that's for a training ride or in a race situation. So we've put together some tips that will keep you fast and safe whatever the wind direction.
If you know you're going to be riding or racing in windy conditions, then it's worth looking at your bike and seeing if you can reduce the side profile. Now that basically means your wheels.
Yeah, the wheels are a big area of focus. I know a lot of people like to go faster on a disc wheel, but for really windy conditions you probably want a low profile one. And then especially on the front because it's the front wheel that's going to get that big side crosswind and cause you a few problems.
Yeah, I had this experience in Kona which is known for its strong cross winds. So I actually chose to ride 454's on the front and the back, just to improve my handling. Riding into a headwind can be pretty tough but there are a lot of ways in which you can make it easier and the most significant is to reduce your frontal area. So you want to try and drop your head, bend your elbows and tuck up as small as you can.
And also you want to keep the cadence nice and high. So if you've got a nice fast cadence, you get a sudden gust of wind, it's not going to slow it down too much. But if you're already at a really slow cadence and you get a sudden gust of wind, it's going to stop your peddle stroke and you're not going to go anywhere. So when you ride in a group and pulling your usual 10 minute turns on the front you might want to halve that time into a headwind because the intensity is going to go up when you're on the front and you want to get back for a rest as soon as possible.
Yeah, and the same goes even if you're just riding in pairs. Take it in turns and maybe make those turns shorter and if you're a bit cheeky and maybe you're tired or you're the weaker rider in the group, try and do your stint on the front when you've got a tailwind and when it's a headwind use it to tuck in behind someone a bit stronger. Come on then. Now irrelevant of whether you're riding on your own, in a pair or in a group, remember going into a headwind is a little bit like riding up a hill. So don't worry about your speed, think more about the intensity you're riding at. If you try and maintain the same speed you've got with a tailwind, you'll just find yourself burning out and it will be a long ride home.
Now the most challenging conditions are like this when you've got a crosswind taking your front wheel and you're much better actually coming onto your base bars where you'll have a lot more stability and control.
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