Headwind or hills ?


Well-Known Member
Mar 30, 2007
Todays ride was filled with wind gust up to 25mph at times, and at some times 5mph. Add to that and the temperature didn't get much past 63 degrees. So it was a chilly ride with unpredictable winds, and a bunch of hills thrown in. I live in a hilly region and can't go more than 4 miles from my house before I have some good little climbs. So today after service I head down to the 4th hilliest city in the US then climb out and head home.
That got me to thinking what I would rather have and it would be hills more than wind. I've never met a hill in my region that I can't get up, and besides there is always an end at some point. With wind it just never seems to end on some rides. So what would you rather have ?
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I say headwind! I like riding into the wind,even when we have the Santa Ana winds blowing at 30 with gusts up to 60 mph. Of course climbing some makes you stronger so heading into the wind is almost like climbing to me but without the gravity disadvantage

Plus I know most riders hate the wind so that gives me an advantage being a wind rider.

Funnies wind story I ever experienced. Gina and I did a century ride in Brawley (near Salton Sea, desert area). Wide open fields and pretty flat. We were riding our steel Burley Duet tandem. It was pretty windy the first 10 miles. At 20 miles, man it was blowing like crazy! We caught up to another tandem couple on a high end Santana (we couldn't afford one) with really nice aero wheels. Well since we caught up, I guess they felt they had to compete with us having a BETTER tandem. I say that out of sarcasm because of what they said next.

We would catch up then they would sprint off. I'm smart enough to know if you're at 20 miles of a 100, you don't blow your wad trying to show off the bike's abilities. :D

But we continued to roll up on them several times and each time they felt the need to show some speed. We kept our pace. About 30 miles into the ride, we rolled up along their side. The lady asked what kind of tandem we had. Oh, it's a Burley.

She said, "you should save up your money and invest in a good tandem. We did and bought our Santana. Then we bought some better faster wheels for it. They are fast and make a big difference!", she said. Wow, that is a nice bike I told her, it was, I was jealous! :p

But 50 miles in, it got super windy, like 60 mph gusts. It was murder for the next 15 miles but we toughed it out. I've done about 35 centuries and never given up. I don't quit unless someone shoots me! :p:D:p

It was tough but we kept going. Left the other tandem behind. Lost track of them and their fancy wheels. At that point, I had to laugh! I don't diss other riders but if you boast about your super bike, you better show me something.

So we finished the ride, never saw them again that day. But at night, we went to the local restaurant, not many out there so only one nice place to dine. We ran into them. I mentioned the strength of the wind and told them congrats for completing a though flat, a tough windy ride.

"Oh, we didn't finish. We dropped out about mile 50!". :(

Oh, OK! No, I did not laugh in their faces, but I laughed about their expensive super fast super light bike and wheels. :p:D:p
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Hills rather than high winds every time.

I was once blown into the middle of a country road by a cross wind. People and trucks will drive on that road at 80 kph (50 mph) and more. Luckily nothing was coming else I would be dead.

Once in the lane I couldn't get back either. The wind gust was so strong that at one point I thought it was going to blow me over, and I was leaning quit a bit into the wind to stay upright. Because of that, I now don't ride when high winds are predicted. Even then, I've still been grabbed a few times by a crosswind but nothing like the experience above.

And 63 is a great temp for cycling....I used to keep going out till ice was on the roads up hete in Canada.
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I hate headwinds, they are relentless and can blow for hours, hills and mountains you eventually get a break and usually within 15 minutes and you get either less of a climb or a bit of down grade till the next grade upward.
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Sounds like you had quite the challenging ride! When it comes to endurance cycling in unpredictable winds, focusing on your aerodynamics can make a significant difference. Consider a more aerodynamic riding position, and if you're not already using them, consider investing in some deep-rim wheels.

As for the temperature, layering is key. Wear moisture-wicking base layers and have a windproof jacket handy. This will help maintain your body temperature and keep you comfortable during those chilly rides.

Lastly, for those hills, incorporating hill repeats into your training can help improve your strength and endurance. And don't forget to keep your gearing in check - a compact or semi-compact chainset could be a game-changer.

Ride safe!
Sounds like a challenging ride, but I'm sure you conquered those hills with ease! As for the unpredictable winds and chilly temps, that's all part of the adventure, right? I sometimes prefer a good, steady headwind to push against - it makes the descents even more exhilarating! Keep up the great work and enjoy those hill climbs! :) #cyclinglife #bikelove