… Sorry, trick question – there is no such thing as a good headwind.
I knew I was due some weather-related grief on the bike because on Thursday I’d very cunningly managed to not only avoid all the rain, snow, hail, snow and hail, and plagues of locusts and set off for Bigtown during the only fine part of the day with a stonking tailwind – but I’d also arranged for a lift back, so I knew I wasn’t going to have to battle the headwind home.
I thought I’d repaid my karmic debt yesterday, which was forecast to rain solidly from dawn to dusk and duly did. However, once I’d donned the full waterproofs and set off for Bigtown I discovered that the wind had shifted round from its normal prevailing direction and while this meant a massive gusty headwind into Bigtown (bad) it also meant a tailwind on the way home – and importantly, up the worst of the hills. Indeed it was stonking enough to be not just assisting me as I rode alongside the river, but actually pushing me on, which is a bonus when you’re wearing not massively breathable waterproof trousers.
And then there was today, which had a yellow warning of wind – but we’ve had weather warnings of one form or another every day for almost a fortnight now, so they’re beginning to lose their warning powers. I was considering ditching parkrun as I didn’t fancy another battle with the gusts, but I haven’t been for a few weeks, and I decided if I didn’t go today then I’d probably just stop going altogether. So out I went and headed down the road thinking it wasn’t too bad after all when I turned the corner and realised that was because I was sailing along on a tailwind, and a pretty hefty one too. One that would be massively in my face for the whole of the last climb home.
Possibly at that point the sensible thing would have been to give up and go home then and there but that would have meant riding back into the headwind. There’s always the forlorn hope that if you keep on riding the tailwind, by the time you’ve reached the park, run 5km and have to head home, the wind will have dropped and you won’t have to slog back into it on by-now weary legs. Obviously, this never actually happens, but there’s always that hope…
Anyway, I can report that an hour spent cycling uphill into a weather-warning-worthy headwind on legs that have run five unaccustomed kilometers was exactly as bad as I was dreading it would be – but not, in the end, any worse. So perhaps the best (or least-worst) headwind is the one you have been dreading long enough to be fully prepared for. Blessed are the pessimists, for they shall never be disappointed.
And I didn’t even get a parkrun personal best, despite a wind-assisted uphill finish.