You know what’s great about winter – nothing! At the end of every epic summer, we enthusiastically proclaim, “I’m not going to lose my fitness over the winter.” We mean it too… but soon we find ourselves sitting in front of the TV while our fitness ebbs away and the bikes go rusty in the shed. What the hell happened, and how do we hold onto that summer stoke?
Of course, we would all love to lead the lives pro athletes, with time and money to train while following the sun and dust around the globe – but for most of us life’s not like that! One way to keep trim during the winter is to avoid going out at all, visiting the pain cave with a turbo trainer. While this is fun for some, others would rather poke an angry grizzly bear in the eye with a very short stick! Another option is to head to New Zealand with the rest of the racers, but then your buddies will unfriend you on Facebook! No, for many of us we have to settle for infrequent rides on home trails in the mud and rain. This time of year daylight is short and precious, and so are our rides, so we need help to stay fit and motivated. If your motivation has become unstuck, we have five tips to keep your game strong, using nothing more than your normal fun ride.
Misery loves company
First things first: you are going to have to call in help! On those frequent days where it looks marginal and motivation is weak, get on social media and find someone to ride with. Not only is it a sure-fire way of helping you escape the lure of the sofa, but it also makes shredding muddy trails a lot more fun!
No stopping, keep her lit!
Everyone loves talking nonsense, and during summer rides we probably spend more time engaged in banter than actually riding our bikes – but that does not make you warm, or fast! Next time you are out, climb hard to the top of the hill, but this time, rather than stop and wait for your heart rate to drop out of the red, keep on going! Not only will you keep your body temperature on the boil, but you will start building some epic fitness too! We are not advising leaving your buddies behind, but make them work and keep your ride at full gas!
Free your feet, free your mind!
If you are a clipless rider, winter is the perfect time to refresh your bike skills, and nothing sharpens you up faster than a return to flat pedals. If you haven’t been keeping it real on flats every now and again, you will quickly learn a lesson about how lazy your style has become. Not only will riding in flats free your feet and teach you proper movement over the bike, but they will also free your mind! The loose connection between you and your bike will result in a smoother, more relaxed style, allowing you to play with the bike and get ‘foot out, flat out.’ Try it!
KOM’s of the climbs, not the descents!
During the winter months, it’s unlikely that you will be busting any STRAVA times on the descents. However, that’s no reason to not be lighting up your STRAVA feed with personal bests – only this time you can earn them in reverse. Does your normal training ride feature some sharp climbs? Yes? Well, next time you’re out, put the hammer down and smash them. Race your buddy and see who can claim the king of the mountain!
The fireroad schoolyard!
Gone are the days when we could while away hours practicing wheelies in the park – grown-up life’s too busy for that now! However, winter is the perfect opportunity to learn a new skill. if you’ve ever wanted to pop an epic manual or perfect a bunny hop high enough to wow the opposite sex, now’s your chance to learn! Set a goal and make every fireroad your schoolyard; manual every puddle and jump over every stick! Keep doing this for the winter months and you will become a fitter, stronger skills machine. Not only will you keep nice and warm, but you will also hit summer with a brand new trickbag that will stay with you forever.
There is no denying it – in the winter it’s harder to get out of the door. Leaving for a ride when it’s raining is often as appealing as going to a stag party sober! However, once you’re out on the trails, railing ruts, detonating puddles, and carving through the mud, it’s always amazing fun! A wise man once said, “Shoot the bear while it’s there,” so hit the trails and don’t let winter get you down!
Text & Photos: Trev Worsey
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