Winter training can make you feel crazy. So many hours cooped up inside, riding your stationary bike for so many hours, it may make riding outdoors feel like a distant memory.
Here are some tips to make the most of your transition to the streets.
Be prepared for the cool air before you even step outside. Feeling the cold air biting at your skin will make you want to turn back and huddle for warmth.
- A thin beanie that fits underneath your helmet and a mask to cover your face will go a very long way.
- Wear a midweight base layer under an aerodynamic windbreaker to keep your core warm while avoiding drag that could hold you back from an early-season personal best.
- Thick leggings will keep those hinges greased throughout your ride while gloves and shoe covers will keep your extremities from crossing your mind as your focus needs to be on what's ahead.
Smell the Roses
While you might be inclined to hit the ground with all you've got, keep in mind: you have all season to break record. As you get back out there, take your time and stop to smell the roses - literally.
Slow your bike as you pass by something beautiful in bloom to snap a few mental memories and remind yourself just what it is you love so much about cycling. You don't have to be in full blown race mode quite yet.
Ride During the Heat of the Day
During the summer, you want to schedule your rides around the heat of the day. But in the spring, you'll want to do the opposite to soak up as much warmth as possible. Tune in to your local news or use an site like weather.gov to find the time of day when it's going to be the warmest where you are.
Riding in the "heat" of the day during the spring months will allow you to ride with fewer layers and achieve maximum comfort.
Make it a Group Event
Call up some friends to help get out there before the season is fully underway. Sticking to a training plan on your own when the weather is uncomfortable is a feat in itself. Having a community to hold each other accountable helps everyone get out earlier in the season.
Being around friends is a great way to keep group morale up while you're all riding through the bitter cold air.
Get Out There
Load your bicycle onto your car's bike rack and drive to nearby trails. Not only are you getting out, but you're experiencing new territories and figuring out how to connect shorter routes into longer ones for your big later-season rides.
One thing we enjoy is finding lesser-known trailheads with miles of pavement in either direction. Seek out those hidden gems near you and all you'll hear is the wind whipping past your ears as you count your pedal strokes.
At the end of the day, keep in mind that training isn't a short sprint; it's a process. Enjoy the process of getting back to being race ready and you'll set yourself up for a great season.