How to cycle in a headwind
Nik Cook explains how to cycle into a headwind and what you should be doing with your head/body position
Basically the key, when facing a headwind, is to keep low, aero and still! Get down into an aero position on your hoods, drops or extensions, and minimise the frontal profile you’re presenting to the wind.
Try to stay relaxed in your upper body, though, and don’t sway or bob, as any movement massively increases the size of the hole you’ve got to push into the wind. Make sure you zip up your top, too.
Use your gears. The road may be flat or even slightly downhill but, in a stiff headwind, there’s no shame in dropping down to the end of your cassette or even into the small ring. Forget your speed, work to a heart rate or power you know is sustainable, and don’t let your cadence drop to a grind. We all have different optimal cadences, so just try to stay in the range you normally would.
Finally, there’s a mental side to dealing with headwinds. Unlike a climb, there’s no reward of a summit, spectacular view or much-needed downhill run. It’s the relentlessness and monotony of them that can really get you down. Break up the road ahead and set yourself little goals, even if it’s just reaching a lamppost and having a sip of drink. Also, unless you’re riding an A to B route, remember, at some stage, that headwind will become a tailwind.