On headwinds and in praise of drop handlebars!

A post in a less philosophical vein than some of late.  Yesterday was 61 km and I seemed to have a lot of thinking time, more than I’ve had time to convert to pages or posts but this was one: the wind!

The first 20km were fairly sheltered but then things changed and I found myself dealing with a wind that was rising steadily as the distance ticked on and Garmin seems to be telling me that at the end it was a 27kph wind which feels about right: it was bending branches and sunflower fields.  It was mostly from the SW and so as my route zigzagged mostly south in the way the roads and Google maps dictated, the wind was either in my face, coming across me from the right, or somewhere between.  Relentless headwinds are a bit draining: you don’t have the promise of the downhill pay back that you have when you’re climbing.  However, I felt able to be fairly phlegmatic about it: this is what it is and it’s an privilege to be doing this.  (But I do hope it’s not the same for 90+km I’m currently planning for today!)

It meant I spent a lot of time “in the drops”.  I don’t know how much wind resistance it really cuts when you tuck up tighter with your hands that bit lower but it feels much easier and there’s something quite satisfying about your thighs pretty much touching your abdo if you’re really crouching.

So, I know that some in the touring cycling world don’t like “drops” and sing the praises of “straights”, or favour the more upright butterfly handlebars but I realised that I’d really struggle to buy any bike that didn’t have drops.  Lovely simple design, gives you a huge range of positions you can use which offsets aches and stiffness and oh it felt splendid yesterday to have that hunkered down position available.


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