What Can I Do About Headwinds?

Posted by tan xiao yan on

Now, first up we have this question from Kieron Burgess in the comment section. “I am a fairly novice cyclist. I live in Brighton in the UK and commute to work along the sea front. What is the best way to beat the oncoming wind? Are aerodynamics the key?”
Well,thanks very much for getting in touch, Kieron, and we certainly do sympathize. Headwinds absolutely suck, unless, of course, you are a little bit of sadist. Because, let’s face it, nobody jumps on their bike with the sole purpose of flogging themselves giddy into a headwind. And in fact will do our utmost to avoid them at all costs. But, as certain as night turns into day, from time to time, quite frequently in fact, we are going to face a headwind. So the best thing to do is use a few different sorts of technique. We know you cannot actually stop the wind, but you can go a little bit quicker, become more efficient, and more importantly, you can stop the wind from breaking you will and morale by watching this video. We said many times here on GCN that the biggest thing holding you back on flat roads is your body position. So, you want to get a flat back, get your elbows and your knees tucked in, drop your head, and you will find you can go much faster for exactly the same power output.

Next up we have this question from Anddres Omana in the section, who asks “Hello, I am 20 years of age and last year I got decently fit by training an average of 18 hours a week, which is a fair bit. Sadly, I cannot ride my bike now for more than five hours a week. Is there any way I can keep fit? And if not, how can I deal with the bad feeling of being dropped by the group that I used to lead? Thanks in advance, love you.”
Well thanks Andres for getting in touch with us. But firstly, I have to say to you, don’t give up. It can be done and I am testament to that because I used to train on limited hours around a full-time job for the vast majority of my riding career. So what you need to do is basically train harder and smarter to make every single one of those training hours count. So you need to basically instill a sense of discipline, order, get yourself into a routine, and it should work. And hopefully, if you watch this video, it should set you off in the right direction. This is going back a little bit. Just blow the dust out of it. It is a 90’s relic right there. Yeah, well a typical week would look something like this. So on a Monday, essentially where normally would be a recovery day for me, Tuesday would be one hour hard, for example, with three-minute hill reps.

Next up, we have this from Graeme Crowther, “when using an indoor trainer, how do you suggest tackling snot rockets?”
I spent a lot of time on the indoor trainer, do have issues with snot rockets, but just have a big towel and a mat. So, big towel and a mat, use as combination should sort out the snot rockets.
Okay rapid fire is done and dusted. And next up we have this question form somebody called Defredius in the comment section. Hopefully I am pronouncing that name right. “I am 74 kilograms in weight and thinking of switching to 25 millimeter tubeless tires on my road bike. So what sort of pressures should b be running?”
Well, Defredius, you have actually come to the right person because I am around 74 kilograms in weight at the moment and my preferred tire width of choice is 25 millimeter tires. So generally speaking, in dry conditions I will run about 100 psi and in wet conditions about 85-90 psi. Although I am running tires with inner tubes, I have actually used tubeless tires and ran exactly the same pressure. Now for me, that sort of tire pressure on that sort of width offers a comfortable ride, plenty of grip on the corners, and it is just not too harsh, either. And rolling resistance is pretty good, so it is for me, it is a do-all tire. Now if you are new to the sport, the whole issue of how much pressure to put in your tires can leave many, many people scratching their head because there are so many different things to consider. There is the type of road surface that you are riding on, there is the type of tire and width of tire that you are using, and then also you have got to factor in your body weight as well, because that is quite important. Now to answer all of these questions, and to give you a little bit of guidance on this very thorny subject, watch this video where Simon talks you through. That is a very good place to start, but it is so not the only thing to think about. We also need to factor in the width of our tires and also our body weight as well, because narrower tires need higher pressures than wider ones, and heavier riders need higher pressures than lighter ones.

Finally we have this question from MusicStuffSome. “I heard a few weeks ago someone mention that it was good for road riders to do some other sports so they don’t develop osteoporosis from doing non-impact exercise. I ride my mountain bike about 50% of the tome and road bike the other. Is mountain biking, with jumps, and pressing into corners for grip, and more explosive man oeuvres, classed as impact or non-impact and should I look at maybe getting back into running on the side to help maintain some bone density?”
As you can say, that is a very interesting question, which led me to the deep dark depths of the internet to try and find some answer for you. I must stress, they are very general. Now it is a great question. I think it is worth mentioning that most pro riders in the modern era do other sports in the winter. Many will jump on a different sort of bike, or a mountain bike or a cross bike, and many will head to the gym, depending on the sort of rider they are. But I think, pretty much every pro rider now will go to the gym to do some core work which they will then bring through to the rest of the season. And another trend that we have seen emerging over the last few years is that riders, pro riders in particular, going hiking and doing lots of walking, but what we cannot say is that they do that specifically in relation to preventing the onset of osteoporosis. It is a really complicated subject with lots of impact factors, but again, from what I have read, a good rule of thumb is to throw in some intensity to your riding and like you mentioned, riding on a mountain bike, or a cross bike, with the different dynamics involved, can help replicate some sort of impact, although there is a slight difference of course. Now, all of this may help and I stress may help, combat the issue of low bone density. Although what I can stress is that it is a subject that I advise you to read up on because it is remarkably interesting. Now a rider that does thing completely differently, again, is Richie Porte. Now check out it his approach to training. Yeah, I mean to be fair the season, I use it more as a recovery, you know, after my an easy ride or whatever, I will go to the pool and do a little bit more on the kick board or something like that.

Thanks again for all of your questions. We so read as many as we can, so do keep them coming, using the hash tag in the comment section.