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Cycling Goals - NO races/events - winter/trainer

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Cycling Goals - NO races/events - winter/trainer

Old 09-20-17, 07:19 AM
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Cycling Goals - NO races/events - winter/trainer

This is a bit of a long-winded message...sharing my winter cycling ideas and looking for your thoughts on this topic

For years I have cycled purely for the joy of it; I don't race, and it's been many years since I've had an event that I had to "train" for. I wanted to find out if there are similar folks out there, and what you do in the winter months re: bike trainer and software applications (if any), and if you find any issues with motivation. I'll share my thoughts on this further below.

I pretty much ride every other day, almost year round. I usually have 2 or 3 one-week vacations where I don't ride. Mid-summer I'll ride upwards to 150-175km a week. Many of my cyclists/triathlete friends ride when there is an event in the future, and train seriously for it, though if it's a time period with no planned events they hardly ride.
This is not me at all...I do not need any event-related motivation to ride.

Starting five years ago I got a road bike for winter (and gravel roads), with wider 'winter' tires; a bike that I can leave dirty after a ride and not care. I used this as much as I could over the winter, unless the roads were too slippery / too much snow, or the weather was too cold (-15 Celsius or below). As I'm getting older I'm getting colder, and that winter bike wasn't a great fit and caused me discomfort (my main road bike is a custom sized frame due to some shoulder/back issues). I sold the bike a few months ago and have only ridden my one road bike, and my body thanks me for it. I actually feel more focused than before. I sold my old fluid trainer too, and have since bought a direct-drive smart trainer. I'm trying the various applications (Zwift, TrainerRoad, Fulgaz), but haven't gotten into it much because the weather has been great and I love riding outside. Though in the back of my mind I'm thinking ahead to winter...

I recently listened to podcasts from TrainerRoad (and Zwift), and coupled with other articles and a general understanding of 'training' that often goes along with cycling, it seems that so much of cycling is focused on training and meeting goals. This seems especially true with power/watts (or heart rate or other methods), and how to maximize training to prepare for an event (or events throughout a year). As mentioned above, I don't need to train for an event, and even when I have a charity ride or something that is say 100km, I can do it with a few weeks of ramping up my long ride, without any issues. Because I ride for the joy of it, I never focus on increasing anything...though the more I ride, and the more hills I do, the better I am next time around. That's nice, but not necessary. In the winter I have ridden less and added pounds, though I've generally been less motivated and less happy. Hoping to turn that around!

Winter/Trainer - my main 'goal' this winter is to stay motivated so that I continue to ride 3-4 times a week, and can hopefully ride at least 5-6 hours. Last year on the old fluid trainer I would watch Netflix (that was good) but followed a couple of lame 1hr workouts that got really boring. I'm hoping the smart trainer and app make it more interesting. So far Zwift seemed interesting, and I like the idea of watching Netflix so I could use TrainerRoad for that...though as I'm not training for any event, I'll have to sort out what kind of plan makes sense for me (is there one?). For others who are more in my boat, what is your winter routine?
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Old 09-20-17, 09:15 AM
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I live in Seattle (you might have guessed that from my username), where snow is rare. So I have the ‘luxury’ of being able to ride almost any day of the year. I used to ride faithfully all winter, just as much as in the summer, but as I’m getting older, I don’t do it quite as much. It’s harder to get myself out the door when it’s already raining and pooling up on parts of the road. It doesn’t rain every day, though, so I do go out and ride when it’s dry.

A few years ago I learned how to ski again as an adult. Cross country skiing is a lot like road riding in many ways. It’s an aerobic endurance sport, you generate power mostly with your legs, there’s plenty of opportunity to obsess over gear. People even tend to explain skiing technique in bike terms, the classic stride is a low gear, double poling is a high gear. You mentioned snow, you should consider giving this a try. It’s a fun and beautiful way to enjoy winter. There’s snowshoeing, too, but given your question, you’d probably prefer skiing. (XC isn’t terribly expensive.)

I can’t do a trainer, cabin fever is a big part of why I do all this. So I can’t help with that.
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Old 09-20-17, 10:11 AM
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I'm another PNW rider, but I dislike riding in the rain and getting my bike dirty, even my rain bike, and doing all the laundry associated with rain riding. So in winter, I ride outside once a week no matter the weather, but the rest of the week I ride my rollers in what is basically my mostly unheated garage. I don't use a PM. I just have my HRM and my resistance rollers on which I can do most anything I can do outside except ride for over 1.5 hours, which is my inside limit. I don't find the rollers terribly boring because if I don't pay attention I come off and I don't like that.

I train for one late summer event, and I advise doing something similar. It's hard to get faster if one does the same thing all year, besides as you say, it's boring. Having an event (or a non-event) to peak for encourages one to periodize one's training, meaning I'm constantly changing what I do on and off the bike - I also run, ski, and go to the gym. I think a goal is helpful, say some local double century or some similar thing of your own devising. I have a number of difficult training loops which I work toward being able to complete every summer.

I use TrainingPeaks Premium which gives me numbers to strive for and an annual training plan. Within that training plan, I devise a progression of bike and gym "exercises" if you will, which changes from month to month as I work toward my goal. Some things I do all year, like recovery and moderate rides and high cadence drills. Other things I gradually introduce as I become fitter. So I do the usual base stuff, then zone 3 work of various sorts, then zone 4 workouts, then in summer add some sprints and speed work, though at each level I retain workouts from the previous level, just not as many. One can't do only zone 3 or zone 4 workouts.
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Old 09-20-17, 10:23 AM
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I like that idea of riding once a week even if the weather is bad. I'll keep that in mind for this winter. The amount of time stuff stays frozen on the ground varies wildly. A couple of winters ago, it was 52 consecutive days, which was very unusual. Last winter, we hardly had any such days.
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Old 09-21-17, 08:09 PM
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I too ride for "joy" by which I mean I pretty much like everything I do on a bike, but the day in and day out of how I ride is dictated by my racing schedule. I don't need to do anything to motivate myself, so maybe you should take up racing. That might be the key to finding enough enjoyment on the bike that you don't need to figure out how to be motivated.

Being a bit tongue in cheek, of course, but the implication there are two options: being "joyful" on the bike or being goal-oriented- is a load of hooey. When I have a workout to get done and it's raining and I have to pull out the trainer, I know I'm going to get something out of that workout- progress towards my goals, I'll learn something, gain experience etc. The whole thing is a process, and each individual workout is part of the process and I like both the process and the endpoint. It's self-perpetuating, doesn't take much priming of the pump from me.

I don't do any other physical activity off the bike except things that help me on the bike- stretching and strength workouts. I do guided meditations 4-5 days per week to manage my head. I haven't taken a full week off the bike since Jan 2016 I think. I took three bikes on my most recent vacation, lol. Summer is my off-season and I still do a few interval workouts per week. But my whole schedule is looser and more flexible in the summer, which I enjoy. Then it gets tighter and more interlaced as race season goes on, and I like that too.

The Joy of Cycling- fueled by training and racing. Imagine that.
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