Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wind vs Hills

What is worse, riding up knee busting climb or boring into a relentless headwind? 

The question is interesting because you can work just as hard in either situation.  Weather you are on a climb or you are bucking a 40km/hr head wind you can find yourself begging for mercy.  On the climb you are fighting gravity, 9.8m/s^2.  If the climb is steep enough you find yourself grinding away your smallest gear and working way to hard for a speed of 14km/hr.  Riding straight into a head wind you are fighting the very air you breath.  If the winds are strong enough you find yourself grinding away your smallest gear and working way to hard for a speed of 14km/hr.  So how do you choose the lesser of two evils.

Now the answer may depend on your characteristics.  perhaps you are ultralight and you float uphills with angel wings, then your answer is simple.  Or maybe you are a big powerhouse envied by small cars but cursing the slightest rise in elevation, then your answer is simple.  I suppose I am something in between. And so, it comes to the mentality of it.  A psychological battle against a logical frustration.

When I am going uphill there is something that makes sense about how hard you work versus how fast you go.  Its simple and easy to wrap your head around.  When the road gets steep life gets harder and you ride slower.  Going uphill you can still feel the rhythm, there is rhyme and reason.   Everything still responds the right way around.  Harder equals faster, stand and sprint you go faster.

On the other hand. I love to go flat and fast, but start drilling into a head wind on the flats and nothing makes sense anymore.  The road is flat you should be going fast.  With the amount of effort you are putting into the flat road you should be going really fast.  Instead of fast, you ride as hard as you can to go just as fast as some people can run.  Everything is backwards.  If you ride harder you red-line for 0.5% increase in speed.  If you stand and sprint your body becomes a sail and you go slower.  The head wind is far more mentally taxing. 

I think my answer is clear.  Working equally hard in either situation, what is your lesser of two evils?

Training shall be based solely on feel,
while racing shall be guided by sensations and instinct.

Cuylar Conly

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