The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

When you say head winds ….

… many mph are you talking about?

24 Replies

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jwsknk, April 5, 2013 at 1:19 pm

under 5 probably wont notice much, sustained 6-12 you’ll notice that after awhile , 13-20 with gusts 20-25+ peddling up and downhill and sometimes uphill is easier. those can be loong days if we head into it for 40-50 miles



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John Arnold, April 5, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Although I am a new commer to longer distant cycling, I’ve been able to get in quite a few miles this year, considering I live in a cold state (Iowa). One thing is for certain, riding into a headwind is WAY more difficult than I imagined it would be. As a former enthusiastic but not very fast distance runner, I sometimes enjoyed riunning against the wind because it had a cooling effect.

And while riding a bike against the wind has the same coolong effect, the extra effort required just isn’t worth it, IMO. On the other hand, when I turn around and ride with the wind, I feel like I am flying. And that is very much worth it.



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John Arnold, April 5, 2013 at 2:27 pm

. . . and it’s always windy here. Des Moines ranks as the 4th windiest city in America. The good news is that there is typicall more wind out of the west and southwest in Iowa in late July. So that means more super hero time. 🙂



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rjjensenia, April 5, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Whenever possible I try to ride into the wind for the first leg of a distance ride, so when I am returning (and a bit fatigued) I will have tail winds that will help with the ride home .



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CyclingRoberto, April 5, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Not out of the question to experience sustained winds of 15-20 MPH. A blessing when it’s hot, but a curse for the effort required.

See you on the road.



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Peter Lake, April 5, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Headwinds are a brutal life sucking natural phenomenon that frequent the dessicated plains of the great state of Iowa. Although some claim that they are random in nature I theorize that they are the souls of former slain vampires that come forth, called by the heat to swoop down and suck the very life’s blood from the casual rider. They lay low at night and only slightly stir at the rising of the sun but as the heat rises and the road heats up they are drawn like a moth to a flame to the heated asphalt. The rise up like an oncoming tsunami to hit the unsuspecting full on in the face with an unrelenting frontal assault which rapidly depletes water, energy and will power from all but the most diligent riders.They are a scourge across the land and should have been systematically wiped out like the buffalo and the passenger pigeon. I curse them and the horse they rode in on

…..I really don’t like them



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lisa o, April 6, 2013 at 1:32 am

All I know is that I noticed on the windy day last year that I was peddling DOWN a significant hill going 14 miles an hour! Downhill! Peddling! Yep – me and SAG wagon had a date later on that day. No shame in my game!



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Michrider !!!, April 6, 2013 at 7:20 am

Wednesday 2012, that was one tough headwind! However when we made those turns out of the headwind, the heat (105 deg) coming up off the pavement was brutal!!! Heat or headwind, tough choice but luckily, we don’t get to choose!!!!



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Jack in VA, April 6, 2013 at 11:16 am

Peter – I just might try riding at NIGHT and sleeping during the day next time!

Have done 13 RAGBRAI’s and the most memorable (in the worst way) were those days with a relentless headwind and a route that had us traveling straight into it for MANY MANY MILES! Last years’ Century day sits freshest on my mind. I’ll never forget heading straight east into Coralville (Iowa City) for over 30 miles with a 15 – 20+ wind in our face.

When you do find yourself in a really bad headwind condition,
Repeat over and over – “I’m Not At Work… I’m Not At Work… I’m Not At Work”.
An occasional “I paid for this crap” helps too.



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dpackboy, April 6, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Wind in Iowa are just like hills in Iowa or the Loch Ness Monster or Bigfoot (the critter not the truck) are just the spurious rambling of a demented mind.

Let me say this for the record, there are no hills or winds in Iowa!



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Ed Kanitra, April 6, 2013 at 5:27 pm

I have to chuckle at the direction this thread has taken. The only reason I asked was I was out riding yesterday, what I thought was going to be a nice, easy 30 mile ride. When I reached the 1/2 way point the winds started to pick up, and I was really struggling. As I was riding my thoughts were of ragbrai. “Please don’t let them be this strong” When I got home I checked the weather on line and the winds were 23mph gusting to 28. So is that what lays in store for me in Iowa?



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John Arnold, April 6, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Ed, no the winds are not usually that bad. Who knows, maybe we’ll have very little head wind. Either way, with the mileage your putting in, it will be no problem. I can’t believe how excited I am and it’s still 100+ days away.



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Ed Kanitra, April 6, 2013 at 6:13 pm

John Arnold: I can’t believe how excited I am and it’s still 100+ days away.

I know what you mean!
I don’t think an hour passes that I don’t think about it!



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CyclingRoberto, April 6, 2013 at 10:24 pm

I beg to differ with the idea that the winds in Iowa are “not usually that bad.” Last year, and in previous years, I’ve experienced headwinds in the steady 20 MPH range. Given the lack of TREES or any other type of shelter (mountains, buildings, etc) this can be daunting. Training helps big time, but you have to be prepared for the punishment psychologically as well.

See you on the road.



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Cyfan, April 8, 2013 at 9:25 am

Iowa is third in the nation in wind power generation behind Texas and California. And the main resource needed for this wind power generation…..wind. So train and be prepared. If we are lucky the wind will be at our backs and you will fly to your next town. And if the wind isn’t at our backs, pedal hard and keep thinking a bad day on RAGBRAI is better than a good day at work.



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