Hard to believe another road season is nearing conclusion and soon enough the talk will turn to what we can do differently to make 2017 a better season than the one just gone.
Many of us will stow the bikes away for October and take up some other form of exercise to stay in shape but before we know it, the grey November skies will be upon us and talk of winter training will begin again.
Logging base miles in harsh conditions is physically tough and mentally taxing and it requires motivation and planning to execute properly.
With races not for another four or five months it can be easy to say ‘I’ll give today a skip, riding 5 hours in zone two won’t win me any race next April’.
But it’s on these very spins where the engine is built and how big your engine is depends largely on your application on these long, arduous efforts.
So tough is winter in Ireland and the UK and so popular has cycling become, that it’s now the norm to go on winter training camps.
But before you start planning how you’ll structure your winter training this year…consider the benefits of training in the sun can benefit you – no matter what level you’re at!
New roads prevent boredom
Riding the bike in a new place is both mentally stimulating and exciting so do yourself a favour and download any of the multitude of apps like ridewithgps, strava or maymyride and plot some epic rides.
You’ll need a device that has a route mapping function but these are becoming more and more accessible – and affordable now.
Warm weather is mentally less taxing
Part of what makes training in cold and wet weather so difficult is the fact you’ve to plan what you’ll wear, yet no matter how many layers you apply you’ll still get wet.
Cycling in short sleeves and bib shorts is how cycling should be.
So get yourself away to the sun this winter and enjoy – instead of endure your training!
It’s a great social opportunity
Cycling is a lonely enough sport at the best of times and be it training or racing you’re often locked away in your own thoughts as you try to push out a certain interval or hold the wheel in front of you.
Riding as part of a group over the winter months is one of the most fun things about the sport.
The stress of racing is months away and it’s a great way to get to know others who share the same passion as you.
It’s a great way to build team morale
Lifelong relationships are built on the bike and spending hours riding side by side with someone fosters a unique relationship, both personally and professionally.
The best teams in the sport have a great bond and the best businesses are the same.
And riding a bike on a winter cycling holiday is one way to develop this bond!
The heat is actually beneficial
Aside from being enjoyable, riding in the heat is actually better for you and makes training more challenging.
Blood becomes thicker in the heat and the heart has to work harder to pump oxygenated blood to working muscles.
The body adapts to that by increasing plasma volume and makes a given workload in cooler conditions a little easier.
So what are you waiting for?