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winter bike training

after 2 seasons of triathlons (1 sprint, 3 olympic and 1 halfIM) ive decided that its about time i took it a bit more seriously and started training properly

yesterday was my first winter training session and i went for a cycle as thought best to ease in with my best discipline

the route i took (i live in oxford) was my usual summer training route of 25 miles 9out towards thame for those who know the area) but the road was pitch black and even though i had decent lights was still very wary (far more so than summer time) of potentially being hit by cars that didnt see me so eventually i get to my point which is what do other people do about winter bike training? (i work 9 til 530 so always dark when i get in)

do people save it for the weekend as safer due to daylight and stick to running and swimming in the week or stick to well lit roads, where i live this would involve cycle paths with constant start-stopping to cross main roads or just get on with it and believe that as well lit (with high vis jacket and good lights)

also do people still cycle in dec and jan when roads are potentially icy even at weekends in daylight?


  • Yeah, winter training is tough on the bike. I usually save my big rides for the weekend, trying to get the timing right with the daylight. Nothing puts you off your stride quite like the nagging feeling in the back of your head that you could be hit by some £"$%^* car at any second.

    I also bought a turbo trainer last year in February when we had that long, frosty winter (in East London, anyway) and I just couldn't get motivated to do long rides every week (and my fingers and toes couldn't get de-frosted, either). Using the tubo trainer seemed to do me a lot of good, as my race times in the cycling section improved very dramatically last summer. It's also great that you can continue to use your own bike (I bought a new saddle and seat post last winter and it would have been terrible if I hadn't gotten used to it through the winter), rather than using an exercise bike or something at a gym.

    So, I'm preparing to do lots of practice on the turbo again this year.
  • Oh, and I'm also looking at doing a lot more off-road cycling this winter. I know it's not going to be directly triathlon-specific, but at least I will get on a bike and put in some miles, enjoy myself, worry less about traffic conditions (and daylight hours, etc) and use a mountain bike (one I got on sale at Halfords with an aluminum frame and disk brakes for about £300, if you're asking) that can handle wet, icy, muddy and other conditions that winter will inevitably throw at me.
  • Nothing beats training on the road rather than on a turbo.

    I ride all year round, I invested in decent gloves, a jacket, overboots and an ear warmer and have been riding all year for the last three years.

    Living in deepest darkest Somerset the only time i don't is after a heavy frost as the roads turn to ice (no salt round here).

    As for cars, a decent set of front lights so you can see the road at speed (try St John Street Cycles, selling cheap lights on ebay at the moment) and lots of rear lights,some flashing some solid beam. My bike looks like a christmas tree with all its lights on, certainly more visable than during the summer. It may be heavier than my race bike, but the extra weight is good training and it feels like i am flying when i get back on the race bike.

    The only other essential would be a set of mudguards to keep the wet muck off you, again lots of people sell race blades if your bike does not have enough clearance for mudguards.

    Enjoy the winter and feel much better when spring comes and you can start losing some of the winter protection. Gain a psychological advantage over your competitors as you know you have been training all year.
  • The bike is my weakest element and I haven't yet plucked up the courage to get out in the dark. No space at home for a turbo either so I do a couple of 50-60 min sessions on the bikes at the gym (very boring but a necessary evil) and get out on a long (1:30-3:00) ride at the weekends.

    It's not ideal but it's what fits for me and I guess at the end of the day that's the deciding factor on any of the training we choose to do....


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