Finding it tough to get the mileage in when the weather turns foul? Well our resident adverse weather expert Ailbhe Carroll has some tips. As an elite triathlete from across the Bristol Channel, she’s used to the occasional drop of rain or worse!
We all know a few fair weather riders out there who only bring the bikes out when its acceptable to wear a jersey and short combo, but for those winter warriors who don’t crack under the pressure of a single digit temperature reading, how do they do it? What’s the secret?
Well – setting yourself some goals to work towards can really add something special to winter training. That might be a goal of riding a certain distance, or a certain time or climbing a certain amount of vertical metres or foot, which ever metric you prefer. These goals hold you accountable to your riding.
We all know that feeling of self disappointment when we don’t do as we set out to do. Set the goal, make yourself get appropriately dressed for the single degree digits and take that first pedal stroke and off you go.
Good kit is also something that believe it or not, can really help. If your kit is good and actually does what is says on the tin ie. keeps you warm during the 5 hour rides where the thermometer barely nudges into positive digits, then that makes a huge difference. 5 hours in a well insulated outfit eliminates the miserable feelings we can contract when cold. It makes a difference like no other.
Spend the initial dollar, buy the good stuff and then use and wash and use and wash and use and wash away to your heart’s content. The great thing about good kit is that it washes well….cheaper kit doesn’t always wash well and then falls to pieces, and the need to splash more cash and buy and second and a third set of kit will actually total to more than the original value of the good kit in the first place!!!! Logic!!
Try a hot drink
Having a hot drink on a cold ride is often a life saver. For me personally I struggle. When I ride, regardless of my kit, the cheap or the expensive set, I will sweat. I have a very weird internal body temperature regulation system that cools me down VERY quickly and so the minute I stop, I am instantly freezing from sitting in my cold clothes. Café rides are sadly not a thing I can do much of because of this. Even in warmer climates I can sometimes struggle, so that phrase the struggle is real, is very true for me and the café ride epidemic.
Anyway, my point was – a hot drink on a cold ride. There is no hard in filling one of your bottles with a hot drink and sipping away on it throughout – or at least until the outside temperatures cools it. There are also some insulated water bottles out there that aren’t quite Thermos levels, but they slow down cooling process a bit. Once emptied, you can stop and refill with water again like you would have to do anyway on a long ride (or should have to do anyway!!) How many of us actually drink enough water on our longer rides?? Probably a different article topic/book!!!
Keep those hands warm
Warm hands and feet are essential to comfort on a bike in colder conditions. Again, I am suggesting that you splash the cash (sorry, not sorry) but warm hands are a very high priority on a bike. Get the right gloves, and even some liner gloves, and enjoy the warmth they provide. The same can be said for your feet. A good pair of shoes that keep the heat in, and a decent pair of overshoes and happy feet will be a regular occurrence. Again, I am slightly weird in this department and struggle street is my most common street here. I get cold feet on a warm weather camp – so ya….any suggestions, let me know!!!!!
(Occassional) turbo session)
Lastly, the good ol’ turbo sessions. You don’t have to go outside and see a physical mileage number to have trained. The turbo is designed to allow you to be uber specific in sessions and really target zones, be that heart rate or power or whatever metrics you use. The turbo can be your friend if you allow it to be, so don’t be rude, make a new friend!
So keep pedalling out there and happy winter!!