Cycle Smart this Winter
By Sara Carrigan, columnist for – Coast Multisport & Paddle Magazine
We can hardly complain here on the Gold Coast about our winters but it is all relative! I know that I certainly find it that little bit more difficult to be motivated to get out from under the snuggly doona when it is chilly and dark early in the morning!
However, winter is inevitably looming and here are some tips on how to keep enthused, warm and fit:
1. Training Camp – Have a look at what is available around your area or even in a warmer climate. Perfect for motivation, fun and maintaining/building fitness.
2. Group rides/training partner – meeting someone provides accountability & motivation for each other. It’s also safer to ride with others people in low light conditions.
3. Set realistic goals to provide some accountability for yourself and to drive you through the tough times.
4. Bike Fit – Definitely worth investing in a proper bike fit that you can take into the new season. A small change can create a huge difference in efficiency, being comfortable, better bike handling, improved aerodynamics.
5. Do something different – Always do what you’ve always done, and you’ll get what you’ve always got. So, try mountain biking, spin classes, try a track bike on the velodrome or even get a race licence to keep excited!
6. Get a Coach – Winter is the ideal time to get yourself a coach who will support, guide and plan your training for you, work on weaknesses, make changes and try new ideas.
7. Enjoy -Make your training sessions challenging but enjoyable – you want to ‘want to do it’!
8. Just get out the door – it’s never as bad as it seems once you get going!
1. Warm up and cool downs –Important to stick to the general warm up guidelines in cooler weather
2. Base-layer clothing – Always wear a GOOD undershirt, it is the key to keeping warm. Made from fabrics that are designed to wick moisture away from your skin.
3. Dress to your training plan. Essentials are a vest to keep the cool wind off your chest, booties to keep your feet warm, long-fingered gloves, arm and leg warmers to cover your skin. A windstopper jacket can be handy for your warm-up and cool-down, & can be easily taken off for the workout. Experiment to find a combination of clothing that works well for you.
4. Do not overdress –It might feel nice and comfortable at the beginning, but you will sweat much more than you would otherwise, making your clothes wet. Wet Clothes = Cold Body. Generally, if you feel slightly cool at start, you have dressed perfectly for the conditions.
5. Coffee Shop stop – Ensure you have some sort of warm clothing to keep you toasty during the coffee shop stop. This is the danger time, when colds can brew!
6. Hydration – A big challenge training in cold is to avoiding dehydration. Keep sipping!
7. Bike lights – Ensure you have a bright front light that illuminates the way forward and also one for the rear. Reflective strips on your clothing can also help to be visible.
8. Take a break – Depending on your goals, the first thing you could consider is taking a break from training! 2-3 weeks rest from structured sessions will allow your mind and body to wind down and recover. Burn out is a risk with training all year round and taking some time off so you are “hungry” to get back on the bike can be a good thing.
1. Windtrainer – helps with consistency of training and you will never miss your strength session no matter what the weather! Can be boring but very time efficient and super beneficial to hone in on particular aspects.
2. Rollers – Perfect to work on pedalling technique, bike handling, cadence and rewire bad habits/techniques.
3. Weight training –Depending on your goals, winter may be a great time to build specific cycling strength in the gym. Ensure you get advice around your strength training from an expert with technique and cycling specific exercises for maximal gains and translation onto the bike
4. Core Work – Strengthen abdominal muscles to improve your efficiency, technique, control and stability on the bike as well as reducing chance of injuries through the season. Important to get advice on cycling specific exercises for maximal gains and translation onto the bike.
5. Training program – Make the best use of your time by following a training program designed for you. Train consistently and you will see greater improvements than if you train like an animal one weekend out of three.
6. Work on your weaknesses – Winter can be ideal time to work on your weaknesses & improve technique. Remember the more efficient you are the faster you will be and less likely to get injuries.
One of my favourite winter rides on the Gold Coast is definitely cruising along the esplanade along our beautiful coastline. There is nothing like the splendour of dawn, watching the sunrise creep over the horizon and across the beach, and feeling the warmth of the sun’s rays finally splashing across our faces and lighting up our world. Just wouldn’t wanna be anywhere else. 🙂