Winter Training

Winter training in Missouri has proven interesting. This is the first year that I’ve really strived to train all winter or at least come semblance of training and I think I’ve had some reasonable success.

Take a night last week. Training seemed similar to previous nights: cold, but above freezing temps and an impending winter storm that was forecast to drop 3 to 4 inches of snow. I opted to take the road bike out for my 1.5 hour loop. Starting up Clayton road (heading west) I started to catch some snow flurries. This has become old hat to me. I like riding in falling snow. But I guess the storm temps were warming up: the snow changed into freezing rain and eventually into a nice cold rain. For the record: freezing rain at road bike speeds is not fun. At all. I cut the loop short by about 10 miles, and while on the home stretch, I could feel water pooling in my shoes. Stopping at lights made this worse. I spent the last five miles looking over my glasses so I could see the road, hoping the passing cars would take pity on me, a reflective humanoid out doing a rather stupid bike ride. Looking back on this session, I love that I can’t really tell you how effective the training was because I was concentrating on seeing the road and staying warm! (Not to mention my heart rate monitor “freaked”, reporting a max heart rate of 218)

Based on how many total miles I’ve put on my road bike since around when I purchased it, I place a little over 200 miles a month on it. Obviously in the past that would be significantly skewed for spring, summer, and fall when I probably place the majority of those miles. This January I only managed about 140 miles on the road bike and 50 on the mountain bike. This doesn’t include cross bike time (no computer) and bike “miles” while on a trainer, but still doesn’t amount to much. Four out of the last seven days have been rest days!

I’ve ridden in sub-30 degree (Fahrenheit) temps, in rain and snow, both in day and at night. I’ve ridden the mountain bike on frozen trails, snow covered trails, bit it on ice once or twice. Spent at least one night doing a circuit or two of practice cross course. Scared runners in Forest Park with my trail riding light (not on purpose of course!).

In the end, will this help me meet my racing goals for the year? I think so. Last spring, when the first race rolled around I was most notably not in shape. I think I had hit trail maybe three times in the month leading to that race. This year, I can at least feel like staying on the bike for two hours won’t be the end of me, but I still have a lot of work to do if I’m going to stick with those cat 2/sport racers!