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I've done some searching and cannot find any info on this...so thought I'd try asking here. Why is it that I cannot seem to get my HR up as high when riding into a headwind as with no wind or a tailwind. The perceived effort is higher, I focus on maintaining the same cadence and try to ignore the speed that I am traveling but my HR remains stubbornly low.

  • :mad2:
Any exercise physiologists out there care to comment?

  • :idea:
Any other cyclists observe the same phenomenon?
 

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In theory, your heart rate when riding 25 mph in still air and when riding 15 mph into a 10 mph headwind should be identical. But since headwinds are never steady, it's possible that you don't increase speed during those brief moments when the headwind lets up a little. In other words, you're allowing your body to constantly recover just a bit, but many times during a ride. Another possibility is that your posture on the bike is very different in a head wind than it is in still air and that this affects your heart rate.
 

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In theory, your heart rate when riding 25 mph in still air and when riding 15 mph into a 10 mph headwind should be identical.
Not quite. First, when you are going 15 mph then your friction (bearings, chain, tires) losses are lower than when going 25 so right away the numbers will be different. Then you have the problem that a 10 mph headwind (as reported by the weather service) is much less than that at "cyclist level" due to ground effects and various wind blocking trees, buildings, etc. Even if the wind speed was 10 mph at 4 feet off the ground it still is zeo at ground level so you would not be seeing a true 10 mph headwind no matter what.

That said I agree that if the rider's perceieved exertion is the same then it may well be body position compressing the chest cavity. It could even be that when it's windy it's often colder and we know that HR is depressed as the temperature drops. My HR is about 5 bpm lower at 60 F than at 80 F (15 C vs. 27 C).
 

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What about the cooling effect of the wind? If I ride my trainer without a fan my heart rate is much higher for a given effort simply because my body isn't being cooled as much. I would think that a headwind could have the same effect.

Cheers!
K
 

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I'd guess that you're dogging it going into the wind because the speed is discouraging and you're hammering with the wind because you're able to go so fast. For me it's the opposite, I hammer into the wind, my power goes way up as does my HR and I have to focus to maintain the same effort with the wind because there is a habit of recovering and still maintaining good speed. The biggest benefit to my ride of a power meter is making a windy day more fun... much easier to get really good power into a wind.
 

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Then you have the problem that a 10 mph headwind (as reported by the weather service) is much less than that at "cyclist level" due to ground effects and various wind blocking trees, buildings, etc.
Absolutely correct, but my 10 mph headwind was "in theory," meaning a fantasy 10.000... mph everywhere and all the time. Agree with the friction loss difference, which fell through a crack in my aging brain. Perhaps I should've worn a helmet for those 30 out of 45 years of cycling :)
 

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What about the cooling effect of the wind? If I ride my trainer without a fan my heart rate is much higher for a given effort simply because my body isn't being cooled as much. I would think that a headwind could have the same effect.

Cheers!
K
This, to me, if the most likely explanation. In my extensive time on the treadmill, both when I was in cardiac rehab following my triple bypass, and in continued exercise outside of it, I have found that the cooling effect of a fan significantly changes your "work" output given a constant heart rate input. Without the wind to promote cooling, your circulatory system ends up working harder to circulate the blood, especially to the surface-to-air intercooler that is your skin.
 

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I've done some searching and cannot find any info on this...so thought I'd try asking here. Why is it that I cannot seem to get my HR up as high when riding into a headwind as with no wind or a tailwind. The perceived effort is higher, I focus on maintaining the same cadence and try to ignore the speed that I am traveling but my HR remains stubbornly low.

  • :mad2:
Any exercise physiologists out there care to comment?

  • :idea:
Any other cyclists observe the same phenomenon?
Yes but I with power. For me it seems more like a cadence issue. Anyways, another thread a while ago brought this up and I've been observing it for a while.
 

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What about the cooling effect of the wind? If I ride my trainer without a fan my heart rate is much higher for a given effort simply because my body isn't being cooled as much. I would think that a headwind could have the same effect.
Not quite but a bit. Assuming you can put out 170 watts or so, you're going 20 mph (32 km/hr) on the flats so you're already getting quite a bit of cooling. Higher relative wind speed (you don't slow down as much as the increase in total wind your body "sees") will give you a bit more cooling but nowhere near in direct proportion to the wind speed.
 
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