It's been a rough, cold and early start to winter. Slick sidewalks, impassable roads, unpredictable plows and drivers without snow tires or experience in these conditions. You've parked your bike for the season or it's mounted on a resistance stand and you're ready for a season of no riding, staring at the walls or using apps that are helpful, but don't offer much human interaction.
That's not optimal winter training. You can train away from the cold and come back motivated and energized.
Where to go, what to do: three ways to gear up this winter
Cycle serious: go to training camp
Cycling training camp is an intense experience, focusing on mileage, speed practice, racing prep and acclimatization in a few days or a week-long session:
- This is the time to concentrate on your core cyclist, away from work and life distractions. Use this opportunity to transition into complete training mode.
- Choose your airline flight carefully; arrange for a nonstop flight if possible and save time getting to your destination.
- Bring food with you to get through the flight and snacks for the rest of the trip. You know what your digestion handles best; don't depend on airport or airline food, or your destination to offer what you need.
- Stay hydrated! Start with extra water before the trip, and continue the fluids during the entire trip. Hydration keeps you healthy and helps prevent the nasty cold and flu bugs that affect many travelers.
- Know the destination's training terrain. If you're a flatland rider and the camp offers mountain rides, it's time to get on your indoor trainer and crank up the resistance or work your abs, glutes, quads and calves to handle the higher elevation rides.
- Most camps offer on-site bike repair, but if you plan solo rides during time off, locate at least one local bike shop in case you forgot your chain lube or an unseen pothole damages your rear derailleur.
A training camp meets a road trip
This winter, combine the best of both cycling experiences: training time and scenic rides.
- For the passionate cyclist who wants stunning scenery during ride time, this is the perfect opportunity. You train and get fit riding on roads with incredible views, stop in small towns without the tourist crowds and meet the locals.
- These camps offer the opportunity to work on specific road skills, such as ascending, descending, sprinting and extended riding time.
- Unlike riding on a closed training course, road riding includes traffic and pedestrians, giving the camp a "real-world" aspect, which maintains a sharp focus on both your cycling and managing everyday distractions.
- You take two items off your bucket list for the price of one trip: the training camp and the travel experience.
- If you're a road race competitor, this is the training that prepares you best. Choose a camp with terrain and distances similar to what you race for valuable off-season practice.
- Prepare for weather at varying elevations; bring multiple light layers that pack in pockets as you ride throughout the day.
DIY training camp: you plan the details
If you can't leave town, plan your own training camp.
- You spend the least amount of money when you stay close to home, and your riding buddies are nearby for motivation.
- Find plowed major roads and head out early. Set up a series of rides, each one increasing in length and elevation. Ride one route a day, or one in the morning and one in the afternoon, with time between rides set aside for strength training at a local gym or community center, nutrition counseling with a dietician or a bike tech talk at the local shop.
- Invite new riders to join the group: now is the time to expand your cycling circle. Post your DIY camp experience on social media and ask interested cyclists to join.
- Practice team competition techniques and work on race strategy. Look at strengths and weaknesses, figure out who the best sprinters are and whose drafting needs work. Practice like pros: break down, clean and reassemble bikes, ride with a repair vehicle and eat while riding during longer workouts.
- Reserve off-road time: whether it's a session with a professional masseuse, potluck dinner or beer and snacks at a bar, cyclists' camaraderie builds off the bikes as much as on them.
Whatever your needs for the season you ride, Element Multisport has your gear. From bikes and repairs to electronics, wheels, watches, arm warmers, tights, gloves, travel packs and racks, our trained staff keeps you moving towards the better athlete every day. Call, visit us online or come inand we'll get you ready for that winter getaway.