Get Ready for Spring Cycling
Updated: Feb 14
Fun Fact: for every 1 kilogram or 2.2 lbs of extra weight that you are carrying you need an extra 3 - 5 watts of power just to keep up with someone 1 kg lighter on a hill. If you are carrying an extra 10 kg's that's a whopping disadvantage of 30 - 50 watts over your rivals.
by Don Jackson
There are many reasons our fitness declines in winter and it does so to varying degrees for each of us. As cyclists, our goal is to keep our fitness level as high as possible during the cold weather months, but we will each emerge from winter training with our own level of fitness.
The spring cycling season finds riders at widely disparate fitness levels. Some of us have the discipline to methodically lay down slow, steady base miles as we wait for evidence of warm weather, while others come out of winter like a rocket, ready to climb mammoth hills and ride at a summer pace. But some of us are much slower getting back to riding condition and the differences can be based on several things.
What accounts for those differences?
Genetics. No matter how hard I work at keeping fit for cycling over the winter, I know that Coach Mark S, Amanda L and Allen S have been blessed with God-given legs and lungs (Genetics). Of course, it would not hurt my genetic predisposition if I would lose about 20 pounds, but that is another story.
Age. We all feel the reality when the number starts to catch-up with the body. Triple chins start to emerge from nowhere and the riding bibs start to make us feel like a sausage, stuffed in a casing. While we can't fight aging, proper nutrition, reasonable exercise and a positive supporting personal environment will help ensure you get the most from your off-season training.
Goals and training approaches. While some cyclists need intense training, others are content with "group coffee rides" throughout the season. These low-intensity, low-mileage rides can be just the ticket for busy athletes who do not have much time to ride.
You can't control age or genetics, but you can control the training approach. The key to maintaining YOUR best level of fitness is discipline and consistency.
Discipline. To become better at cycling, we need to train consistently to get results. By training hard we stress our body physically, and push ourselves mentally to find new limits. During the recovery periods after hard cycle training is when the body and mind begin to adapt. This natural cycle training effect is called positive adaptation or supercompensation. Attaining this training effect provides us with the cycling performance that increases ability to ride our bikes longer, faster… and stronger.
So be mindful that to be resilient and healthy, we all have to discipline ourselves to do the right thing even when the sun doesn't shine.
I've learned one important thing over time:
“Fast in March doesn't mean a thing, but showing up means everything.”
Remember it is discipline and not desire that determines destiny. Stay on the course! Let's get started today!