In which I marry my two passions: fluid dynamics and the bladed spoke

update: An alert readers points out that my attempts to link to my ABQJournal stories are apparently being thwarted in at least some cases. Call this “fair use”:

If you have tried to ride a bicycle fast on a windy day, you likely have an intuitive understanding of the basic principles of fluid mechanics. A brisk wind in your face can make it feel as though you are climbing a steep hill.
The people who will line up at the start of the Record Challenge bicycle race south of Moriarty this weekend have thought the issue through in a little more detail.
On N.M. 41 this Sunday and Monday, you will see wheels made of solid disks rather than spokes, strange helmets that have been described as looking like something out of a 1960s science fiction cartoon, and handlebars that look as though they’re pinning riders’ arms down in some bizarre torture ritual.
It is all in the name of beating the wind, and riders from all over the country will converge on Moriarty this weekend to have another crack at the problem. The race is popular in the local bike racing community, but more than half of the 120 or so riders who typically show up come from out of state, said Bill McLain, the race’s organizer.