So, if you havent noticed... the winds are up in Big D, pretty much they are high everywhere throughout the entire country. This winter has been pretty interesting, to say the least.
When the winds are up, I am asked/ told a lot:
1. I can't control my power- no way can I ride below training pace into the wind.
2. I am scared of the cross winds.
3. Can't I just walk my dog for recovery if that is all we are looking for???
I am here to tell you, there is so much we can learn in every workout- yep, even in that below training pace workout, in 25+mph winds/ Texas hills! :)
Let me back up real quick and go a little philosophical on your butts :)
Have you ever watched a puppy or a child play? They could be on the same ol' street or playground everyday, and yet they are totally immersed in the moment.
They are completely engaged and seeking to discover, without bounds or expectations... simply, they are present in the moment and hungry to learn what is right before them.
I recently heard Mark Nepo state, "Hearing, learning, and connecting with whatever we are doing is the reward- excellence/being good at something might be a byproduct of the process, but there is a richness and thoroughness of being that we long for and find by simply showing up and listening." (7,000 Ways to Listen)
I firmly believe that we often lose sight of this opportunity in training to create and experience our body's and minds working together. In other words, we quit listening, we stop learning- we live/train by assumption. I am sure all of you at some point have been in conversation with someone who comes in and already assumes what you are going to say- they might even cut you off, telling what you should or should not do/think...It feels awful right??? Cutting ourselves off and not listening and learning at every opportunity also stinks...It stinks so bad, it can lead you to wanting to throw in the towel and walk away, just like you would want to do to someone who is ignoring you and not hearing you out.
So you are wondering where I am taking this... back to the below training pace ride amongst the winds. IF you are willing to listen, there is so much to learn, and guess what, it is pretty damn fun + it will make you smarter and faster, on down the line...
Again, that's just a bonus, but we all love to get faster, even if 'you do this just for fun'... being faster is more fun, period.
Few things to focus on when riding in the winds:
1. One minute of you doing 25mph with the wind:
a. watch your head and body position, stay relaxed,
b. keep your chin down- looking only 6-8inches out in front of that front wheel,
c. hold a straight line with your bike, maintain a continuous cadence because you don't know when the wind will shift or gust,
d. glance at the heart rate- you are going fast, what does it do- well, at the beginning of the year, most likely it will rise making you less metabolically efficient and distracted from your surroundings- what does it take for you to lower that heart rate and become more aware of all that is around you,
e. how comfortable are you grabbing your nutrition/hydration when going faster with the winds at your back, again, we gotta take care of these basic needs and if you are gripping on for dear life, you can only ignore the necessities for so long before they bury you
2. Next minute, you gripping on for dear life as those same winds push you from the side:
a. again, watch your head and body position, how much does it take it out of you to keep the bike upright
b. momentum vs muscle- cadence cadence cadence- you choose to mash, watch how the winds 'catch you and push you' if you create less time between each pedal stroke you will be more effective with consistent with your power and control
c. holding a straight line becomes more difficult, what works best for you to 'hold your line', how much does it take out of you, what muscles are sore after the fact- this gives you great insight on what you need to strengthen and lengthen to maximize your efforts and energy + it make you a safer rider when riding with others in a pack
d. check out that heart rate, my guess- it is through the roof while 'negotiating with the winds'- what does it take to lower it, can you even get it down and how long can you keep it down before it creeps back up
e. can't neglect those basic needs- can you grab your bottles and nutrition- if not, do you need to change the position of your bottles on your bike, do you need a new bento box rather than relying on the pockets in the back of your jersey...
3. Lastly, the winds smack you head on, ie: THE WALL:
a. now, how do you maintain the ideal riding position and what does it take from you- mentally and physically
b. time to get patient with a continuous pedal stroke and smaller chain ring- this can be just as mentally taxing as physically challenging- you must practice this reality to become effective with head on winds
c. normally you can hold a straighter line with head winds, but lets get real- that chin tends to pop up, straining your neck, reducing your core efficiency, you push back in the saddle reducing the pull emphasis of the pedal stroke- all proper riding technique becomes more difficult- how many minutes can you hold that correct position while controlling your power and focus
d. how high did that heart rate soar, if you are properly spinning, you will find, your heart rate can and will drop with practice- EVEN into the winds
e. are you wiling to take your hands off the bars and grab your water bottle/ calories- watch your power when you do plus notice that heart rate will soar due to the focus it takes to not just be 'crushed by the wall'
f. do you experience any numbness or discomfort that would lead us to adjusting the bike fit or position of saddle/ cleats...
These are only just a few things to think about when riding in the winds...
But once again, only by getting out there will you be able to find out for yourself, YOUR little secrets and solutions.
Ignoring these rides, we miss out on opportunity to listen and learn new techniques.
Immersing yourself completely in the ride and what is happening can be quite telling but frankly, when we are out on the 'same ol' playground',
it gives us the chance to connect with ourselves. The validation comes from simply showing up and listening.
If you have any questions you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call a store near you for some 1 on 1 time in the wind.