Does it count if the wind helps a little?



turtletocheetah

New Member
May 31, 2014
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My over all speed has been improving. From struggling to maintain 14 mph to hitting 18-20 and maintaining it for a few miles without much trouble. Today I hit my highest speed for a good amount of distance, got 25 mph for over 2 miles until I got to some traffic lights and so forth. But here is the question, in the start of my ride I got a good gust of tailwind to help me on my way. It was on and off throughout the 2 miles, more on than off, so does it count that I actually reached this speed for such a long time? Or is this not much of a showing on my part as improving in my cycling endeavor? I don't think I would have reached that speed with wind or no wind two months ago when I started cycling:) Let me know what any of you think:) Thank you Mike
 

maydog

Well-Known Member
Feb 5, 2010
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A tailwind boosted average speed is not a indicator of improved fitness. It is a silly thing to say that you are more fit when the wind it to your back vs. in your face. You don't need to check the forecast to know how strong of a rider you are.

I have snagged plenty of Strava KOMs away from very strong riders using a favorable tailwind. However, I do not entertain any illusion that I am a stronger rider than they are - I just happened to play the game when the variables were in my favor.

Weather does come into play for races and other timed events. Some body types, riders perform better in differing conditions. I prefer the weather on the colder end of the spectrum while others prefer hot.
 

AyeYo

Active Member
Mar 21, 2014
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Wind has a very dramatic impact on speed, since air resistance is the largest source of resistance when riding. Here's a chart that shows rider speed at a constant power output with varying wind speeds and angles (0 degrees is a straight head wind).

wind3-excel.jpg


http://sheldonbrown.com/brandt/wind.html

You can also play around with this to see how large of an impact wind has. http://bikecalculator.com/



So no, riding fast with a tail wind doesn't make you a good rider any more than riding slow into a head wind makes you a weak rider. Unfortunately the wind is always changing, but do your best to compare apples to apples on your rides when trying to determine your fitness level.
 

Colnago62

New Member
Nov 24, 2011
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If you want to track improvement accurately, and you have the funds, get a power meter. 100 watts is a 100 watts no matter the what other variables are happening.
 

turtletocheetah

New Member
May 31, 2014
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Yep, that's exactly what I need:) Been looking into a few good deals on one on eBay. This looks to be the only true accurate way to track my progress. Thanks Mike
 

Mr645

Member
Jun 22, 2013
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You have to look at power. I did one ride that was a 5 mile loop. We pushed hard, over 200 watts to maintain 18 mph, but on the return side we were at 23 mph at 150-160 watts, which was needed to recover from the 17-18 into the wind direction.
 

ambal

Well-Known Member
Oct 15, 2010
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It doesn't matter in the slightest. Train by focusing on your heart rate or power output. An effort at 90% max heart rate or 90% of your FTP is the same no matter what way the wind is blowing. In the tail wind you might be traveling at 55kph vs the head wind 30kph.
 

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