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Blowin’ in the Wind

April 19, 2011

Ride: 36km—Out: Jerseyville, In: Governor’s Rd.

Weather: Cool. Windy.

No weather conditions are harder on the cyclist than wind. Rain, snow, and sleet can be unpleasant, but it’s their combination with wind that makes them difficult. It’s easy to bundle up to keep the cold out, but a strong, cold wind seems to cut through all garments indiscriminately and chill the rider. It doesn’t matter how high the heart rate or how hard you’re working, wind has an uncanny knack for cooling muscles and joints. Even your bones feel cold.

Psychologically, the wind is even worse. A strong wind can make a rider feel as though s/he isn’t even moving. On the return leg today, I felt as though I was riding straight into the wind with a sail on my back. While cycling clothing is designed to limit wind resistance, I was hammering the pedals and not making serious progress. Which is a shame, since I felt so strong on the outward leg. I really attacked the hills along the Old Ancaster Rd. and Jerseyville Rd. I was out of the saddle for good, long stretches, and living in the big ring for much of it, especially along Jerseyville Rd., where I don’t think I even shifted down once.

Turning right onto Field Rd. was another story. While headwinds make for hard work, cross winds can be just as difficult. While leaning heavily to my right just to keep the bike upright, I was reminded of this video, which I posted a little while ago. I doubt my winds were quite this severe, but I weigh 80kg; the bike another 8-10. And the wind threatened to knock me down. When the road went up on the outward leg, I jumped out of the saddle to put more power on the pedals; in the cross- and headwinds, standing up was counterintuitive, since it created more wind resistance. Sufferfest on the way home. And colder than my last ride by, like, a lot!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. xyxax permalink
    April 21, 2011 2:41 am

    Ha! I clicked through to your site from your inner ring comment, thinking the name was familiar.

    OK, I was given a 2 minute minor for slashing but it was my third stick infraction of the game and thus game misconduct. (I had to look that up in Wikipedia. It’s hard to admit to being so juvenile)

    As for wind, we don’t have any real hills in the immediate area, so I try to think of head winds as an ersatz hill climb, but I have almost as much difficulty with that mental gymnastic as Museeuw’s comparing the burning legs of climbing the Kapelmuur to an orgasm.

    BTW, did you count your Phoenix MTB kms towards the total?

  2. April 21, 2011 3:15 am

    Wow! Very well played on the third stick infraction; I had an inkling that might be the case when I posted on velominati.com, but wasn’t sure. I didn’t join the MTB ride; apparently, it devolved pretty quickly into a drinking session at a hotel.

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