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Surviving winter as a cyclist

The cold snowy winter months of Michigan, dreaded by many loved by some. I have to admit I’ve been dreading the cold winter months this year more than usual. It’s quite difficult to keep the cycling motivation going when you must spend hours on a stationary trainer, often trying to keep yourself distracted by TV shows and movies or motivated by Pro race recaps on YouTube. Many cyclists still have fun in the winter with fat bikes and beautifully groomed single tracks, which is definitely more fun and a great way to get in some long base miles, but it takes a lot of motivation to get out in the cold weather for hours at a time.

Over the years my winter training has changed a lot. When I was younger Nordic Skiing was my big sport. I would race almost every weekend. As I got into biking more I would do a few less ski races ,but skiing was still what I would primarily do in the winter. As I started doing a lot of bike races in the summer my winter training shifted to focusing on preparing myself for that, like riding on the trainer as much as I could and doing some strength training that directly benefited my cycling.

But once the snow starts falling and I’m back on the trainer my motivation falls to an ultimate low. An hour on the trainer feels like an eternity. Not to mention the short winter days make you feel tired and ready to hibernate. But this year I have a different plan to keep me motivated and get some good base miles in before all my spring races.

I picked up some awesome 45NRTH Kahva Studded Tires from Suttons Bay Bikes (My favorite bike shop). These tires are amazing on all the dirt back roads near my house this winter. With all the snowpack and ice the studded tires make a huge difference. It’s definitely still difficult to ride on the roads that aren’t plowed and only slightly packed down from snowmobilers and a few cars driving through, but I love the challenge and it helps you work on your balance!

This winter I’m going to mix up trainer rides, snowy back road rides, with some strength training, and Nordic skiing. It’s always good to change up your training with some other sports that you love as well. The off season is the best time to try new things and just have fun! Another thing I’m excited about is getting some time in on my rollers. Rollers are a great way to work on smooth consistent pedaling, a slight shift in your balance is very noticeable which really forces you to pedal as smooth as you can.

Spring will be here before we know it! This is the perfect time to take our training to the next level, plan out our season, and work on any racing weaknesses we might have had in the last year. Happy 2022 and let’s get pedaling!