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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Katy, Texas
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    1,811

    How hard was the wind blowing?

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    I did a short ride today. Actually I intended to do a long ride since the weather report said winds 5-8 and with temps in the mid 60's- a thaw for us. After struggling through 20 miles of headwinds that were definitely more than 5-8, at a pace of 10 mph which I was struggling to maintain, I found a side road and coasted for 2 miles at 16 mph without peddling before I gave up and tunred across the wind to head home. If you live in the Texas plains, you don't need hills cause you just have to fight the wind. Of course then you never get the joy of a downhill, and rarely the ease of a tailwind. Time to take a day or two off I guess.
    marni
    Katy, Texas
    Trek Madone 6.5- "Red"
    Trek Pilot 5.2- " Bebe"


    "easily outrun by a chihuahua."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    3,436
    Marni, a long time ago I posted a formula that my engineer husband Chris gave me that explains why you suffer more from a headwind than you benefit from turning around and using it as a tailwind. It was a comforting and amusing way to quantify headwind suffering. I will try to dig it up for you. And 20 miles of headwinds IS a long ride.

    Chris actually came out to Texas last May and did this ride: https://sites.google.com/site/texasstampede1200/. And, he said, out of the three and a half days, about three were headwind days. I believe I remember hearing the phrase "soul-sucking headwinds". But he had a great time and really likes the Texas randos.

    Put your feet up and know you had a hard-workin' day.
    "My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved;I have been given much and I have given something in return...Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and an adventure." O. Sacks

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    248
    Marni - we were fighting those same winds today.

    Salsa - could you point me to that little formula??
    "Susie" - 2012 Specialized Ruby Apex, not pink/Selle SMP Lite 209

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    3,436
    I promise I'll post it on this thread when I unearth it.
    "My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved;I have been given much and I have given something in return...Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and an adventure." O. Sacks

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    1,301
    Another one who didn't appreciate the headwinds today. I was sticking with an out of towner from Austin. I think we were both thinking it would be an easy ride for her since it's flat here, instead the headwinds were beating us up.
    2012 Jamis Quest Brooks B17 Blue
    2012 Jamis Dakar XC Comp SI Ldy Gel
    2013 Electra Verse

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Rowland Hts, CA
    Posts
    461
    You are right. Head winds are as difficult or more difficult than hills, especially since winds can suddenly start/stop and blow you at different angles.
    2014 Liv Lust
    2013 Specialized Fate Expert with carbon wheelset (sold)
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    2010 Santa Cruz Juliana with R kit and Crampon pedals (sold)

    2011 Specialized Ariel Sport,suspension post,Serfas Rx Women's Microfiber saddle (sold)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Cornwall, UK
    Posts
    38
    Oh boy, tell me about head winds! We live in a windy area and it's very 'up-and-down' too so more often than not you're faced with a ride that hits you with uphill headwinds at some point. It's ...errrr... character-building! But recently, with the terrible rain and storm force gales (90mph!) the UK has been suffering it's been impossible to get out on the bikes, too darn dangerous for one.

    Anyway... today gifted us a brief respite, sun, blue sky and only a light wind. So hubby and I grabbed our bikes and set out to cycle to the nearest lake, a round trip of only about 10 miles (mostly uphill coming back!) with a large hot chocolate drink at the cafe by the lake, it was heaven just to be out again!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    california
    Posts
    1,227
    If I’m in a hurry to get somewhere I’m not using my bike.

    I look at headwinds as helping improve my fitness! Getting aero, gearing down to find a fluid spin and keeping my mind on positives usually makes for a good ride. Strongest headwinds I've had were on Ragbrai. I was down to single digit speeds and enjoying the challenge….and looking for someone big to draft behind every now and then
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    3,436
    Okay, here it is as Chris explained it to me. Fluid drag force (air is a fluid—it takes the shape of its container) is proportional to velocity squared. Factors include the density of the fluid (so air is not as dense as water, for example); the drag coefficient of the object (bike, your clothing, etc.), the projected area in direction of motion (that’s why you get aero, to decrease your area), and velocity.

    The drag force increases as the square of the wind velocity relative to the bike. Downwind, you subtract your speed from the wind speed. Upwind, you add your speed to the wind speed. So, for example, you have a 15 mph wind and your bike is going 10 mph. Downwind, the push you get is proportional to (15-10) squared = 25. Upwind, the resistance is proportional to (15+10) squared = 625. Fun, eh? Thanks to my cool engineer spouse for the explanation.
    "My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved;I have been given much and I have given something in return...Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and an adventure." O. Sacks

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Katy, Texas
    Posts
    1,811
    that is the most lucid and useable explanation I have heard. Thank you to your and your husband.
    marni
    Katy, Texas
    Trek Madone 6.5- "Red"
    Trek Pilot 5.2- " Bebe"


    "easily outrun by a chihuahua."

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    2,041
    Quote Originally Posted by salsabike View Post
    The drag force increases as the square of the wind velocity relative to the bike. Downwind, you subtract your speed from the wind speed. Upwind, you add your speed to the wind speed. So, for example, you have a 15 mph wind and your bike is going 10 mph. Downwind, the push you get is proportional to (15-10) squared = 25. Upwind, the resistance is proportional to (15+10) squared = 625.
    That is so cool to have an actual science type explanation and a formula of what I have known for a long time. Thank you.

    I have more than once gotten myself in trouble because I was going into a wind and working harder than I realized.
    2009 Trek 7.2FX WSD, brooks Champion Flyer S, commuter bike

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    3,436
    I know! It's oddly gratifying to grasp the magnitude of all that work we're doing when we plow into a stiff headwind.
    "My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved;I have been given much and I have given something in return...Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and an adventure." O. Sacks

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Katy, Texas
    Posts
    1,811
    today was a warm 80 degrees and windy two shots of pickle juice ride. I was averaging 14 mph and the wind was 20 mph which means that the proportional resistance force was 1600. I did 50 miles mostly with headwinds today and 45 miles yesterday. No wonder my legs my legs are really tired .
    marni
    Katy, Texas
    Trek Madone 6.5- "Red"
    Trek Pilot 5.2- " Bebe"


    "easily outrun by a chihuahua."

 

 

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