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Our advice for riding into the wind

Posted by Jean Baptiste on

Our advice for riding into the wind

If you live in Hauts de France, Normandy or Brittany, you are used to it. Same if we are in the Rhone Valley with the Tramontane! For a cyclist, amateur or professional, the wind can be as discouraging from the front as it is exhilarating when it pushes at your back. In reality, we can learn to tame it to make it an ally in our training depending on the objective we are looking for, exactly like when we are going to determine the difference in altitude that we are looking for when training on moguls. .

Who has never railed against this feeling of making excessive efforts and not moving forward? Fortunately, there are techniques to make these moments less difficult. Follow our advice and discover that cycling into the wind can become, if not a pleasure, a real engine for your progress.

Bike ride in windy weather: plan your route

Cycling when it's windy can quickly become unbearable. For what ? A headwind creates additional resistance and makes you feel like you're on a constant climb. You must therefore learn to manage this climatic factor , especially if you live in a region where Mistral, Vent d'Autan or Tramontane blow regularly.

The first thing to do when planning a bike ride in windy weather is to plan a route that allows you to breathe a little. How to do ? Select roads that provide natural protection from gusts . Trees along the tracks, cornfields as far as the eye can see and buildings are all elements that can shelter you.

If you live deep in the countryside and nothing can insulate you from the sea spray, choose your route taking into account the direction of the wind . Your loop will seem less harsh if you attack it into the wind and finish it with a pleasant tailwind that pushes you and reduces your efforts.

Monitor your equipment

Out of the question, if the wind is blowing, wear loose clothing for your outing. They will limit your speed and increase your wind resistance, forcing you to increase your efforts because of the parachute effect .

If you're afraid of being cold, it's best to opt for an extra layer under or over your swimsuit. Today there are many models of technical and thermal clothing among which you will certainly find what you are looking for. Also be careful not to leave your pockets open . They constitute real obstacles. Keep them closed.

When it comes to the bike itself, think about your safety and forget about aero wheels. They can be dangerous in the event of gusts. Ride light . Only bring the bare minimum.

Improve your technique

Riding into the wind requires a bit of technique. This is also the ideal opportunity to refine it. Start by lowering the gears to increase your cadence. This way you reduce your efforts and avoid cutting your legs.

Improve your body posture. Become aerodynamic ! Keep your elbows tight and extend your back as much as possible. Your wind resistance decreases and you feel lighter.

If you are riding in a group, now is the time to protect each other . Obviously, don't put yourself in the shoes of one of your comrades without warning them. You need to work together to make your outing more enjoyable. How to do this? Put the strongest riders in front. They face the wind and protect others. Alternate so that no one gets exhausted: keep the runner at the front of the group constantly changing.

Make it a workout

A strong headwind can become your best ally for training . Riding in such conditions requires more effort and will allow you to bring variety to your sessions.

Have you planned a workout on a day when it's very windy? Set up facing the wind and test your muscular resistance and endurance. Remember that you are improving your power and progressing.

For people based on the western side of France, in the majority of cases, we will be in western flow. Even if your training may involve leaving home...to return home, determine when you want to ride "due west" into the wind, to assess your resistance capacity. For an amateur ride, we always recommend on a “loop” to leave facing the wind (and therefore due west) and return with the wind at your back, to avoid excessive fatigue.

As soon as your outing into the wind is longer than 45 minutes, don't forget that your energy expenditure will have been much higher than what you do regularly and that you will therefore need to adapt your intake. Facing the wind, you can between 30 and 45 minutes start taking a few sips from your bottle of RGN3 ( Reload or Clean Up ) or Stimium Boost Powder . In order to switch with the wind at your back, take one or two Stimium Boost or Pro NRJ rubbers to make the return with the wind at your back easier, because you will already have lactic in your thighs and calves.

Don't mistreat your body. If you are facing the wind, do not stay in your usual gear ratio. Turn it down. This way you avoid hurting your knees and you have more fun because you suffer less.

Just because it's windy doesn't mean you have to cancel your bike ride. On the contrary, take advantage of these conditions which may seem unfavorable to plan a slightly different outing and get the most out of this experience. Riding into the wind allows you to optimize your training and, if you ride in a group, it can promote better cohesion.

Do you have any other tips for tackling a windy bike ride?
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