If sprints are won in the off season, and success in races is determined by quality of training, then these few months are important ones. Unless you winter in Hawaii or the desert, then you’ve got a decision to make. It’s easy for cyclists who live in climates north of us – they don’t have an option – it’s trainer time for them. Riders a few hours south get enough warm weather that they can usually find the outdoor hours. The Pacific Northwest is a different animal. Admittedly it can get cold and it can get wet, but it rarely gets that bad.
1) HTFU. Seriously. 90% of the time you just need to man up and go.
2) Have the right kit. It takes a fair bit of trial, error, and discovery but it’s worth it. Getting prepared to go ride in the ugly is even worse if you know that you’re going to be uncomfortable. – Note – there is a linear inverse correlation between one’s ability to HTFU and how much money one will drop on winter kit.
3) Generally, if it’s cold I go on longer, base building rides, and if it’s raining I work on intervals. It’s not fun to get crazy sweaty in the cold, and it’s equally miserable being in a monsoon for 4 hours.
4) Ride Richmond (non Vancouverites insert your own long flat track here). Everyone does. If you’re sick of it that means you’re doing it just enough.
5) If you use a saddle bag, which most everyone does in the winter, it will leave room in one of your kit pockets for a spare set of gloves.
6) Invest in some thermal bottles (I like the PRO ones) and put some tea in them.
It feels quite civilized (as you decide to add 30 km) knowing that you’ve a spot of English Breakfast left.
7) If you’re on a long ride, relax and stop in for a quick espresso and a pastry once every 2 or 3 hours. Pro riders do this for a reason. Plus, as you head back out into the misery to resume the ride, that second pair of gloves is proper brilliant right about now.
8) I know it’s uncool to listen to music, and if we’re in Belgium then it is – but we’re not. Domestique took the liberty of helping you out here.
9) Keep your bike running well – the nagging creak or grind can ruin a ride in short order. It’s a myth that winter bikes have to ride like pigs.
Contact me if you need help with this.
10) Try and get to a warm climate for a few days in March.
11) Be thankful that you’re not stuck on the trainer. Remember, you don’t have to do this, you get to do this.