How come the Dutch are so good at riding in crosswinds?

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

I found the video thanks to my online nemesis, BIGRINGRING.COM. If you’re watching the classics this year and see the race get blown apart by a crosswind, you are likely to find plenty of Dutchmen in the front group. Holland isn’t particularly windy but it is exposed. With an extensive coastline and above all, a lot of flat terrain, it means that you notice ever breeze. But you certainly get windy days too.

The film shows waaier training as a group of riders try to cope with winds at Gale Force 7. Even holding onto the bike looks difficult.

Personally I’d have stayed at home but clearly the Dutch don’t. Instead these junkyard dogs head out, film the ride and come home to dub it with some fantastic Euro techno.

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{ 8 comments }

Sal Ruibal March 22, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Great video. Gale Force 7 is quite impressive. I guess even riding in echelon is not enough protection. Boulder, Colorado, gets big winds, too, but I don’t remember seeing anyone riding in 120 kpm winds there.

Ian March 22, 2011 at 1:48 pm

I love it! The next time I think about staying at home because it’s blowing a gale I’ll try to think of this for inspiration. Not a day for deep sections.

Oliver March 22, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Inspirational video, great music — do you know what it is? Thanks.

Tom March 22, 2011 at 3:18 pm

How the Dutch cope with wind was shown in Chasing Legends. During the 2009 Tour de France HTC-Columbia decided to split the peloton when the road turned into a crosswind. The Skil-Shimano team was there on a wildcard and had 6 riders in the first group by just being attentive. The significance of the break was big since of all the GC contenders only Lance Armstrong was there and several people tried to bridge the gap for their team.
Makes me proud to be Dutch :-)

chad March 22, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Here in the midwest (Iowa) you can’t stay home if it’s windy. The wind is our mountain. You ride into it till your head is ringing.

Starr March 22, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Having raced in West Vlaanderen for a spell, those images make me laugh.

Whether I was in the first group, the second group, the third group or in the laughing group, wind like that made tactics pretty damn easy.

1) hit the front with ten others
2) don’t let anyone in
3) race over

Larry T. March 22, 2011 at 7:20 pm

I’m with Chad –though I’m a huge wimp when it comes to wind here in Iowa. The guys who grew up here and ride bikes are tougher than yours truly by far. I always say if I’d grown up here, instead of Southern California where it’s never a bad day to ride (if you can stand the traffic) I’d have taken up some other sport! I detest the wind and when it’s 20+ mph I’ll find something else to do. Luckily we’re not here year-round or I’d be probably be into video games! No matter how many times I ride in the wind I never enjoy it…gimmee the steepest climb instead, with that at least I can see I’m making some progress, but the wind is the invisible enemy, making you think your tires have gone flat or your bottom bracket has seized up as the roaring in your ears drives you crazy. I guess that’s the difference between a hard-man like Chad and a wimp like me?

The Inner Ring March 22, 2011 at 8:15 pm

It’s definately something you can practice. First the sheer fact of getting used to it, getting down on the bike and being used to gusts. The there’s the tactics which are surprisingly simple… the difficult bit comes when everyone else has the same idea.

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