Mud, Slides & Gratitude
Winter training is in full tilt. Never has the weather forecast been checked and rechecked so many times. It’s fair to say it’s the hardy cyclists amongst us that brave the bad conditions. The saying ‘no such thing as bad weather – just bad choice of kit’ does indeed come into play this time of year.
I live in Devon, so, I’m lucky to not have had some of the snowy conditions that you northerners have experienced. Long weekend rides still need to be done – Cold toes & a pebbledash of mud to the face seems to be the minimum for this time of year. Shorter sessions are still in the comfort of indoors on the turbo – much to my neighbour’s dismay! My fatty has a constant covering in mud – on really grim days that beastie gets an outing along the trails!
Plan your season
Most of you would have planned your season already. For those of you who’ve lost your mojo somewhat or are waiting to emerge from Winter hibernation – I suggest you get your race calendar ready! Cycling, triathlon, road races, even sportives – get those events booked up – scribble them into your calendar and let the preparation begin. Work towards your goal!
Grim weather, endless bike & kit washing, makes for hard graft winter riding. If the thought of slogging out endless miles on wet slick roads isn’t filling you with joy, mix things up! Go off road for a change. If you don’t own a mountain bike, many trail centres hire them, it’s sooo much fun! I’ve taken my fat bike out many times into nearby woodland – it’s muddy, it’s hard, it’s basically interval training but with the low risk factor of getting creamed by a car! Try to get a few friends together, as you’re more likely to embrace the naff weather if you’ve arranged to meet others.
Winter Bikes – Winter Kit
Hopefully, we all have a sturdy set of mudguards fitted to your bikes, this is essential if you are riding with others – not to face splat anyone behind you! It also stops your butt from getting wet, muddy and cold!
Next time you’re cleaning your cassette & chain (Yes I do my own) get a chain wear indicator – this little tool can save you a lot of money in the long run, as its far cheaper to replace your chain than it is your chain and cassette together….. (oops, i learned the hard way, I had to get mine done!)
Kit – My favourite jersey at the moment is the Orkaan Race Team jersey alongside the Orkaan arm warmers, this combo is ideal for the many sharp short showers Devon seems to throw at me!! The leg warmer controversy still haunts me… do I go for full winter bibs, or regular bibs and leg warmers…..to be honest, it depends on the level of mud that may be encountered! But these are nicer problems to have and you know with SG kit, you’re going to be well covered and smiling all day long! I’m sure many of you have had to de-robe stood outside or in the bathtub – as when you start to remove your kit, layers of mud just seems to jump off into all corners of the bathroom!!
I watched an online video from a cycling network that suggested tin foil over toes to make them into toastie little jacket potatoes for your ride – but with thermal socks, I don’t have enough room for the foil. Overshoes are a must on every ride and have to admit, during an unexpected little ‘off’ at a slippery junction my shoe cover (and chin!) took the brunt of the slide. But my shoes are still good! Thank God SG will be releasing their own winter overshoes in the next week or so…. I need them in my life!
Do what makes you happy
A couple of my friends at the moment have grumbled about losing their motivation somewhat. My advice – Do what makes you happy. There’s no point beating yourself about a missed session or cutting a ride short. Winter time is hard, especially if you’re not used to being outside so much. Try something different, go to a gym spin-class instead of getting soaked outside, or try a different exercise class for a bit of fun. Stop at a café for coffee and cake on your long ride, make the most of slow(er!) rides in winter. Something is better than nothing! Have a look at whats around you, soak up the scenery, enjoy! There will be plenty of hard miles come summer when we will be bum up head down!
In your ears
If any of you want to try something different, try listening to motivation podcasts/youtube videos. I was recommended them by a pal and I’m hooked!! I keep saying the one-liners to my husband mid turbo session and you know what, they work! I caught him watching a motivational cycling video, and he was shouting out little mantras to himself! Try this one: youtube: Conquer. Maybe the best 60 minutes of workout you do! ‘You want to shine like a diamond you have to cut like a diamond’
January is the month in yoga (remember I’m a bike riding yogi!) for Gratitude – every class I have held, I’ve told my students this; ‘Be kind to your bodies, be grateful for what it can do, don’t punish it for what it cannot’. It’s good for your mental health to be grateful for something every single day, so give it a try, physically thank someone every day for a week, and see how it makes you feel.
Soooo, with the whisper of training camps and cycling weekends in the distance, I wish you all safe winter riding. SG will be in Mallorca from the 27th Feb – 2nd March if you fancy a ride?!
Ps… have you seen the snippets of the new Spring/ Summer SG kit……oohhh my days!! I’m loving it! Make sure you’re subscribed to get first access! – subscribe here
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