Winter’s Coming


If I was back in Canada right now, I would totally be fretting the arrival of Winter.  In fact, I would already be upset about the cool weather and lack of good riding conditions.  But fear not….I’m in Austin and all is good.  But if you are in the situation of the former, my good friend Chris Russell has some advice for you on fall/winter riding.

Don’t you play those winter blues!

We all love riding bike.  That much is clear by virtue of the fact you’re reading this.  But it’s that time of year when the days get shorter, the temperatures start to plummet, and the appeal of getting out there and putting in the miles suddenly disappears.  Not by coincidence, it’s at this very time everyone starts to talk about “turbo trainers”.

For me personally, I’ll be riding straight through until the sun starts to shine again – my training program dictates it, and I’m somewhat of a gluten for punishment :). But I do know it simply isn’t fun at times and do sympathize with everyone out there. So here’s my take on how to survive this winter without losing the bike-touch:

1. I was given a poster a while back (it’s quite famous) of a certain Texan riding the Pyrenees in the spring of ’99.  The caption reads “I rode.  And I rode.  And I rode.  Punishing my body over every hill I could find.  I rode when nobody else would ride.”

Striking words.

The sentiment here is clear though, and leads me to my first point: HTFU!  You get out what you put in.  If you want to beat the club favourite, or smash a PB next year, then you’ve got to be willing to go that extra mile to achieve it.

Okay, this doesn’t mean you have to ride in 2 feet of snow through gale force winds and blizzards. Be sensible about it.  All too often, people give up very quickly at the sign of bad weather.  My rule: if the quality of your workout is being affected, then it’s time to move indoors.  But never forget that this is when you actually win.  Not in 6 months time when you’re at the start line.

2. So when it does get too bad to rid outdoors, head for the spin studio or the turbo trainer.  But don’t be afraid to mix it up.  They are boring!  So keep workouts short, but increase the intensity.  Load up on tempo intervals, but keep your cadence high.


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Most importantly, keep yourself entertained.  Catch up on your favourite television show, or episode that you missed.  MTV is a favourite of mine.  Or better still, stick on a cycling workout DVD or podcast – @trainright has some great new ones out and the ‘Do the Tour at Home’ podcast series from a few years ago let’s you hill climb with and against the pros.

3. This brings me nicely to my 3rd and final point.  The winter is short.  Yes, its’ cold.  Yes, it will rain.  Yes, it’ll be windy…but remember why we do it.  Enjoy it.  And your hard work in the coming months will see you right for a fab 2011 season.

Now get out there and ride!

Chris Russell is a UK pro athlete currently training to compete in the 2012 Olympics in the sport of sailing.  He’s likely the first in his sport to use cycling as one of his main training tools.  He’s training under Chris Carmichael and is a proud LiveSTRONG advocate. His sponsors include GU, Helly Hanson, and others….but he is actively in need of more sponsors to finance his Olympic goals.  If you can help him out in any way, hit him up @chrismrussell or via his Youtube page,
Enjoy Your Ride

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9 Responses to “ Winter’s Coming ”

  1. Redbike on October 18, 2010 at 2:02 am

    Apparently we’re due a cold snap later this week (here in England)

  2. Tim on October 16, 2010 at 6:57 am

    Ah yes, flashbacks to riding my bike in the snow in Missoula, MT. Now as I sip coffee on my deck soaking in the temperance of another beautiful Austin autumn morning I wonder…

    …what the hell was I thinking back then.

    • Loving the Bike on October 16, 2010 at 4:23 pm

      Exactly……it was a little more difficult for me, but I’m so happy to have made the move to better temperatures.

  3. Clive Chapman on October 16, 2010 at 3:20 am

    As my old Sergeant Major was fond of saying, “There’s no such thing as bad weather only poor equipment.”

    Anyway, if we waited for good weather to pedal in the UK we’d never get out and ride!

    • Tim on October 16, 2010 at 7:03 am

      We had a RM Colour Sergeant as our physical training instructor at Quantico. I remember him saying the same thing.

    • Hamish on October 16, 2010 at 8:57 am

      Modern clothing makes cold weather cycling easier but the cold was still getting to my hands. I designed the It is a protective cover for my handlebars. The BarBra TM keeps my hands warm and dry.
      The hard part is still getting out the door!

    • Loving the Bike on October 16, 2010 at 4:24 pm

      Yeah, I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to cold weather….I give huge respect to anyone who can brave the elements and still ride.


  4. Allison Peacock on October 15, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Nice words of encouragement. Needed them, too, since I’m already feeling the fall blues – in mild weather Texas, no less – and need to get back in the saddle.

    (By the way, I didn’t know that there was gluten in punishment. I thought all punishment was gluten-free! Either way I’m okay, since as a glutton I don’t have to stay away from gluten.)


  5. Bryan on October 15, 2010 at 6:50 am

    Great article. Even here in Northern Florida the mornings are becoming brisk. It takes a little bit more effort to plan for the cold but the benefits are worth it.


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