Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
pinoy thunder
Joined
·
341 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am a lightweight rider at 144 lbs. While I like climbing, riding against a headwind is a real struggle for me, at least when I compare riders of the same level (Cat 3/4). I feel like a headwind just pushes my body around so easily so it really gets into my head when I get to the front of the peloton, for instance.
Obviously, a better aero position and a stronger engine would be the answer. Besides these two things, are there other racing techniques or maybe training advice that would be helpful in making me a better rider solo? I'm saying solo as in going for a solo break..I would also like to try and join or initiate more breaks this season than I have before. I'd like to be more aggressive this year, we'll see what happens..
Any suggestions from the more experienced (or less) riders will be much appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,387 Posts
You already said it..

stihl said:
I am a lightweight rider at 144 lbs. While I like climbing, riding against a headwind is a real struggle for me, at least when I compare riders of the same level (Cat 3/4). I feel like a headwind just pushes my body around so easily so it really gets into my head when I get to the front of the peloton, for instance.
Obviously, a better aero position and a stronger engine would be the answer. Besides these two things, are there other racing techniques or maybe training advice that would be helpful in making me a better rider solo? I'm saying solo as in going for a solo break..I would also like to try and join or initiate more breaks this season than I have before. I'd like to be more aggressive this year, we'll see what happens..
Any suggestions from the more experienced (or less) riders will be much appreciated.
Going against the wind, the only way you'll get better is to be more fit, and to be more aerodynamic. That's it.

As far as being in breaks, or creating them, just be aggressive, and ride like it doesn't matter. In other words, once you make the committment, make it. Ride hard, and don't look back. You can't be scared to blow up when riding away, or trying to ride away solo, or in a small group. If you find that the group that you find yourself with is not to your liking, don't work, get caught, and try again. Sometimes the right people will make all of the difference.
 

·
For president!
Joined
·
7,802 Posts
I like to push a bigger gear when I'm cranking into a headwind. May or may not be any better, but it's a habit that I have and it may give you a bit more confidence.

How do you usually ride with a headwind? Drops? Bent elbows on the hoods? How wide are your handlebars? A lot of people with smaller frames, and narrow shoulders are on bars that are too wide for them. That exposes a lot of your chest to the wind.

All this advice will not change the fact that you're a small guy and will have better abilities in the hills. Initiate and power breaks on the climbs, work towards your strengths in races.

Silas
 

·
pinoy thunder
Joined
·
341 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
magnolialover said:
Going against the wind, the only way you'll get better is to be more fit, and to be more aerodynamic. That's it.

As far as being in breaks, or creating them, just be aggressive, and ride like it doesn't matter. In other words, once you make the committment, make it. Ride hard, and don't look back. You can't be scared to blow up when riding away, or trying to ride away solo, or in a small group. If you find that the group that you find yourself with is not to your liking, don't work, get caught, and try again. Sometimes the right people will make all of the difference.
I agree with you. I think the way to go is to optimize my strengths and try to improve my weaknesses as a rider. The bigger riders can punish me as much as they can on flats..I'll try to hang on, but I sure will return the favor when the roads go up..
I only train solo on Sundays (which is a recovery ride for me). All my other training rides are either crits or club rides. Maybe that's the problem :(
 

·
pinoy thunder
Joined
·
341 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
SilasCL said:
I like to push a bigger gear when I'm cranking into a headwind. May or may not be any better, but it's a habit that I have and it may give you a bit more confidence.

How do you usually ride with a headwind? Drops? Bent elbows on the hoods? How wide are your handlebars? A lot of people with smaller frames, and narrow shoulders are on bars that are too wide for them. That exposes a lot of your chest to the wind.

All this advice will not change the fact that you're a small guy and will have better abilities in the hills. Initiate and power breaks on the climbs, work towards your strengths in races.

Silas
Against the wind, I ride most of the time on the drops and sometimes on the hoods with arms bent as much as I could. I also try to move a little forward on the bike. Is that a good idea?
I have 42 c-c bars. I've never tried 40's though..the one's that I've seen look uncomfortable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,387 Posts
Sunday??

stihl said:
I agree with you. I think the way to go is to optimize my strengths and try to improve my weaknesses as a rider. The bigger riders can punish me as much as they can on flats..I'll try to hang on, but I sure will return the favor when the roads go up..
I only train solo on Sundays (which is a recovery ride for me). All my other training rides are either crits or club rides. Maybe that's the problem :(
Sunday is race day. Monday should be a recovery day.

Sounds to me also that you need to do more rides on your own. Sometimes you actually need to go slower to get faster. Hence, the club rides and training crits, you don't get to do your own thing, your own workout, and you overwork the engine too much, and it ends up making you slower, and not faster. You must train with intent, and with a plan, and with a group ride, or a training race somewhere, you can't, most of the time, implement your plan. You are robbing yourself of good recovery ride time by riding with groups more often than not if you ask me. Find a good training partner or 2, some guys who are on the same schedule as you, and when it is time to go slow, then go slow. If someone wants to hammer, let them ride away, and do your own thing. Then on the days when it's time to go hard, you can go really hard, and get the most out of your training.
 

·
pinoy thunder
Joined
·
341 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
magnolialover said:
Sunday is race day. Monday should be a recovery day.

Sounds to me also that you need to do more rides on your own. Sometimes you actually need to go slower to get faster. Hence, the club rides and training crits, you don't get to do your own thing, your own workout, and you overwork the engine too much, and it ends up making you slower, and not faster. You must train with intent, and with a plan, and with a group ride, or a training race somewhere, you can't, most of the time, implement your plan. You are robbing yourself of good recovery ride time by riding with groups more often than not if you ask me. Find a good training partner or 2, some guys who are on the same schedule as you, and when it is time to go slow, then go slow. If someone wants to hammer, let them ride away, and do your own thing. Then on the days when it's time to go hard, you can go really hard, and get the most out of your training.
Sundays during off-season. My race schedule is starting soon. I think I'm in decent shape.
Week schedule on a typical race week:
Monday: I usually have class so I hit the rollers
Tuesday: nightly .6 mile crit
Wed: track day
Thurs: nightly 1 mile crit
Fri: rest/party day
Sat: club ride usually around 80 miles or so

Any suggestions Magnolia?
 

·
Moderatus Puisne
Joined
·
15,882 Posts
Part of the problem is comparing yourself to others, too.

When you get with a group to a hill, doesn't it seem like they've all got the brakes on?

If you're dividing power / weight, you'll get something different than power / drag area.

I'm a light rider, too, and sometimes I need to wheelsuck to keep pace on a flat into a headwind.

Read some articles on how to time trial; those skills ought to apply.
 

·
Squirrel Hunter
Joined
·
3,806 Posts
Read the Wind

Well very few headwinds are truly straight on. You need to learn to feel the wind and watch those subtle hints like treetops, flags, smoke and birds to get a feel for its exact direction. Take this knowledge and then look for places to hide in the landscape. Is there a woods, cornfield, ditch, fencerow... that might provide a little protection? Perhaps you need to be over by the yellow line rather than in the center of your lane or maybe near the gutter. Time your breaks to take advantage of areas of protection and course direction changes and climbs.

For instance if you see a small treeline up ahead in the distance time your breakaway to take advantage of it. For instance go hard into the headwind and establish your break well before the woods while the pack debates over who should be up front working to real you back in. Once they get organized to fight the headwind you should be able to find a little shelter from the wind in the woods (hugging the gutter or centerline) and establish your break in the shelter as well as recover just a touch. You emerge from the woods again and fight the headwind again for another stretch of road and then turn or head uphill taking advantage of your climbing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,387 Posts
I think...

stihl said:
Sundays during off-season. My race schedule is starting soon. I think I'm in decent shape.
Week schedule on a typical race week:
Monday: I usually have class so I hit the rollers
Tuesday: nightly .6 mile crit
Wed: track day
Thurs: nightly 1 mile crit
Fri: rest/party day
Sat: club ride usually around 80 miles or so

Any suggestions Magnolia?
I think that your training time could be better utilized honestly. You're not getting the max potential from your time with this schedule.

Monday: Rest day. Meaning, easy ride of around an hour or 1.5 hours whatever you feel like. If you establish a rest day, and maintain it, it's easier to get into a routine, well, that's how I feel about it anyway, and it seems to work for me. Monday has been my rest day for I don't know how long now. Normally because I'll race the entire weekend, and the body is busted down, and if I'm not racing, the weekend will normally hold some long rides for me, so once again, the body is busted down and tired.

Tuesday: Will do intervals. Long, short, and in between, depends on what system I'm working on that particular week. Sometimes it's 20 or 30 minute intervals, and sometimes it's more like 3-5 minute intervals.

Wednesday: Day 2 of intervals, or intervals and sprints. Or possibly intervals and hill repeats, or just hill repeats. Like to mix it up.

Thursday: Day 3 of intervals (if I'm doing a block of 3 on and 3 off). Or rest day, meaning easy ride (active rest my friend, active rest). Usually no longer than 2 hours.

Friday: Rest day/easy ride. And race prep. Race prep means shaking the legs loose, maybe doing some shorter intervals to get the blood pumping again.

Saturday: Hard group ride, or race.

Sunday: Long ride or race.

Monday: Repeat the above more or less, and fit to how I'm feeling and or what I'm trying to do. Some weeks there are 2 days of intervals, some weeks there are 3, and some weeks, there might only be 1 or none.

It looks to me with the schedule that you're riding, you're riding at other people's paces, meaning practice races and or track days, or things like that. You're not putting in specific work, intervals and such (hill repeats, sprints, and working your weaknesses). And then you're not recovering after you've put your work in. You need to work really hard, then let your body come back down, and recover, before you can work hard again. So from what you gave me before, it looks like you might be riding pretty hard on 4 out of the 6 days that you're riding, and either not at all on one day, and on the rollers on another day. Train with intent. You're not doing that. You'll only get so fast, and so fit, riding group rides and training races. You'll get faster and stronger, and more fit, doing more work on your own, or with a training partner or 2.
 

·
Every little counts...
Joined
·
3,924 Posts
Agree, know how to ride in an echelon to get out of the wind. Be smart, read Prehn's book on tactics.

You have lower power, but high power to weight. In the wind, you will have a disadvantage any day. Look at any crosswind stage in a GT and the rouleurs do well and the climbers are blown in the ditch.

Training: Increase your FT power with training that targets that. One thing to remember, we always like to train what we're good at and neglect what needs work. You need to work on FT.
 

·
I heart team Zissou!
Joined
·
2,953 Posts
I know wind... races here are made or broken on your headwind riding and echelon skills!

One trick that can eek out a little bit of aero comfort is to place your hands on either side of the stem, drop your chest (and elbows) to where it almost hits the stem, settle in to a good breathing pattern and try to keep the lactic burn managable. Your butt should scoot back a bit and your back should be flat and parallel to the TT. Think a full-on aero tuck on a long downhill -- You need to be pretty limber to do this but when you do it right, you can feel the extra speed.

Just remember, like Lemond said, it doesn't get any easier, you just go faster...

A+

Philippe
 

·
For president!
Joined
·
7,802 Posts
stihl said:
Against the wind, I ride most of the time on the drops and sometimes on the hoods with arms bent as much as I could. I also try to move a little forward on the bike. Is that a good idea?
I have 42 c-c bars. I've never tried 40's though..the one's that I've seen look uncomfortable.
Those all sound like good habits to me. I have no further advice to offer, sounds like it's just a part of your physical makeup.

Silas
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
342 Posts
Bigger gears and scoot yourself back. This will allow you to use more of your glutes and help you ride in a lower more powerful position. Spinning is great for stage racers, but I'd look at the form of the powerful flat riders -- Museeuw, Tafi, Ballerini, Bontempi, De Vlaminck, Moser, Boonen, Wegmuller, Duclo Lasalle, etc.... Typically flat back, back on the saddle, medium RPM's at high torque. Of course, we each have to find our own style but they are the archetypes of
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
773 Posts
Visit College Station, TX and feel free to join us on a Tues. ride. Currently, the winds are 20-30mph with 32mph gusts. Crosswinds will push you off the highway shoulders. We mostly ride slanted in a crosswind and practice drafting quite a bit.

Winds down here will not be slower than 20mph during spring. The terrain is pancake flat since it's all farmland for cattle. It's pretty similar to Belgium, except the only winter gear you'll need are knee and arm warmers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
You can do what my roommate says the Dutch do to train...big ring into the wind, little ring with the tailwind. Seems to work quite well for him!
Plus, I agree with Magnolia...ride by yourself. If you are like me (sprinter) you will try to hide in the pack on your group days (which you seem to have alot of). When you ride by yourself it forces you to do the work!
 

·
Windrider (Stubborn)
Joined
·
22,021 Posts
Mental Toughness.......

all of the advice so far has been good, but to me (And I live in an area where we have high headwinds on every ride) the single biggest thing that you have to train to do well in headwinds is mental toughness. It's going to hurt, and the noise is going to fatigue mentally, you have to "train" yourself to be tough, to not give up, to know that just beyond the pain is a place where you can still perform, to realize that everyone else is hurting just as bad, and to not give in to the pain & noise. You have to train yourself to do this so in a race, it's second nature.

Another thing that actually does help, is to put earplugs in....believe it or not, the constant noise is fatiguing....every advantage helps.

len
 

·
Self-Banned
Joined
·
16,905 Posts
wzq622 said:
Visit College Station, TX and feel free to join us on a Tues. ride. Currently, the winds are 20-30mph with 32mph gusts. Crosswinds will push you off the highway shoulders. We mostly ride slanted in a crosswind and practice drafting quite a bit.

Winds down here will not be slower than 20mph during spring. The terrain is pancake flat since it's all farmland for cattle. It's pretty similar to Belgium, except the only winter gear you'll need are knee and arm warmers.

Sounds like northern Illinois/Chicago area. When I lived in Chicago and I worked down town I would train on the near by MUT going south along Lake Michigan. (Yeah I know... training on a MUT but it worked time wise and it's fairly low traffic much of the year.) Anyway, that path is very close to the water and there is very little cover. It's oriented in such a direction you often get blasted with wind going one way or the other. It's insane when the wind and weather are coming from the north. I've hit gusts that seemed to be on the verge of knocking me over many time. When people complain about the wind here in SoCal I'm amused.
 

·
Every little counts...
Joined
·
3,924 Posts
I was out on an early spring ride a few weeks ago and my wheels were slipping (cold pavement, cold tires) as I leaned into the crosswind. Yikes!

When the wind comes up, he with the highest FT power wins. Big, small, short, fat...everyone suffers, but those with the highest power suffer the least.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top