Triathletes Love Affair with Wind

images (28)If your like most triathletes, you dislike training on your bike in wind as much as the next guy, especially when your training routes are located in high wind areas.

In the Chino Valley of Southern California, where I do most of my training, if I am out on course beyond 11 o’clock, I find myself riding into a stiff headwind coming out of the Southwest. And although frustrating at first, I always remind myself the training opportunity the wind affords me.

Therefore, here are just a few of the reasons you too should view wind as an invaluable training opportunity.

Aero Positioning– All forms of racing that deal with wind as a primary limiter spend a lot of time and money testing aerodynamics in a wind tunnel mad triathletes are no exception — Craig Alexander comes to mind. As tunnel time is expensive, your time riding into the wind is the perfect alternative. Test, improve, and re-test your aero positioning on the bike as well as your gearing. This is especially valuable for those with future Kona aspirations.

Aero Confidence — Any experienced triathlete or time-trials rider will tell you to achieve maximum time and velocity benefit from your TT rig requires you to spend maximum time in your aero-positioning. This is hard to do when you keep sitting up because head or cross winds make you nervous. Committing fully to your aero position requires confidence in any weather or riding condition, and that confidence can only be achieved during practice in windy conditions.

Aero Setup — Wind is the perfect platform to test your race day set-up. For example, how do your rims perform in a head, cross, or tail wind? I know my four spoke aero rims can be a harrowing experience in a cross-wind. Another important aero question to be answered before race day is bottle placement. My friend found out the hard way when he had his blown off his bike on the Queen-K highway a few years back.

Simulated Hill Training — Many places around the country are hill challenged, meaning they are non-existent. Riding into a head wind in a larger gear then you might otherwise use is a good hill simulation, and should be utilized whenever possible to develop leg strengths and overall aerobic endurance.

As you can clearly see, the advantages of riding in windy conditions offers a plethora of opportunity if you do a slight paradigm shift. Next time the wind in your area rears its ugly head, put on a smile and go wind tunnel testing. After all it’s free.




Filed under Coaching, Cycling, Gregg Seltzer, Ironman, ironman bike training, Ironman Triathlon Training, Triability Coaching, Triathlete, Triathlon

2 responses to “Triathletes Love Affair with Wind

  1. When I first started riding I hated any type of headwind and would find myself cursing at it out loud at times. As I’ve continued to ride more I’ve actually really come to like a good headwind (at times). What I realized is that my problem was more of an ego issue than wind issue. A headwind made me feel slow and my MPH reflected it. Now training with power and HR, a good headwind really helps maintain constant intervals and cadence (just like hiding uphill). Very good post.

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