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.