It’s cold outside!
It’s winter. It has been wet and now it’s cold. Doom and gloom! However, the winter wind is drying the trails fast and the spring equinox, 20th March, is not far away away. We need to get fit.
What are your options? Alternatives to getting out and riding.
Running, but that is tough. Walking is a good and underrated but you need time. A dog helps. A very brisk walk up to the top of Cissbury Ring can be as hard as any mountain bike climbs round here. It all depends on how hard you want to go.
Riding the trails is the obvious answer but we are assuming that you have lost the will with the wet, mud and the cold. You can always say that you are saving/protecting your bike.
Road riding is the next best option but that excludes all those either without a road bike (29ers are a good alternative) or those who (and there are a lot of you) are, understandably too frightened of West Sussex’s drivers.
If you take a look at your Strava feed you’ll see that over 50% of all activities are on Zwift -on line gaming for cyclists. All you need is a turbo trainer and an internet connection. Use your phone, tablet, laptop or PC. Of course you can enhance the reality and toughness by using a smart trainer like the Bkool Pro and even add a big screen. For more information and offers on trainers look at our previous article
If you are not into the sharing a mulit-media world you can do your own thing. I would strongly recommend following a structured program. These can be found anywhere or you can write your own. There is an example below.
40 minute turbo session
Start in the easiest gear and ride easy for one minute, then the next gear, and the next. That is an 8/9/10/11/12 minute warm up. Now repeat but at tempo, breathing hard but not out of breath, this time two minutes in each gear. You have now done about 20 minutes and are probably surprised and how quick it has gone.
Now the fun begins. Pick the gear that most feels like your rides and do 10 seconds flat out followed by 20 seconds very easy. Do three repetitions, that is 90 seconds, and then repeat but this time 20 seconds flat out and 10 seconds rest. This is hard. So now you have completed approximately 23 minutes exercise and probably feel like a rest. Pick your gear that most feels like your rides and spin for 2 minutes, then the next easiest gear and do another two minutes. Keep working down easier and easier until you have run out of gears. That is about 40 minutes exercise but with so many things to do you will find that the time has flown.
If that worked for you, you can do it again next time but I do not mean on the same day. If you worked hard you will need to recover. When you do it again you might want to adjust the program to suit your needs. By picking a harder gear for the intense section you will increase power or by staying in the same gear you will increase speed as you accelerate quicker and spin faster. Unless you are training for a specific goal just do whatever you find the most rewarding. Try to make it a fun challenge. All you are aiming to do is to keep your legs, heart and lungs going until you can hit the trails/roads.
What else can you do?
Many cyclists ignore the rest of the body. I started doing planks and some press ups a couple of years ago and that now includes a personal training session once a week. Oh boy is that tough? But the benefits are enormous. My cycling strength has improved and I have greatly reduced the chance of injury. I really noticed the difference skiing this winter. SussexFit.
Finally, if you are tempted out on the frozen trails follow our advice first: Winter riding warning.
For those either time short or too fearful of the season to get out on your bike why not ride some of the iconic climbs that you still haven't found the time or money to ride - and all in the comfort of your home. Bkool trainers allow you to experience those climbs: Alp d'Huez, Izoard, Col d'Aubisque, the Tourmalet, the list is endless as are the climbs. You can even ride some of our recent trip from Biarritz to Barcelona. At least you won't have the rain that we had. There are countless online training options for riders with or without smart trainers so you could easily come out of winter stronger than when you went in.
The benefit with this is that the fit and adjustments are carried out on your own bike.
New for 2018 are the Bkool Smart Go Trainer (£349.99), a budget version of the Bkool Pro (normally £449 but on special offer at £399). Or the Bkool Smart Pro 2 at £499, an upgrade on the Bkool Pro. For those serious about their training there is the Bkool Air Smart at £1099 (like a watt bike but using your bike). Anyone wanting a bargain and a basic trainer we have the Bkool One now only £125 (save £40).