There is drafting, and then there's this.

Winter Training

Winter Training

by / / 147 posts

Merckx famously professed that after a night of sinning, the body must be cleansed. He obviously meant this figuratively, not literally, because those mud guards on his bike aren’t going to take a big bite out of whatever that lorry has to offer him by way of a Flandrian facial.

Winter is a tough time for those of us pawing about in search of our climbing weight. With the shortening of days, the nesting instinct awakens. Darkness falls in late afternoon and when we wake, we are greeted by the same darkness that wrapped us all through the evening. Nature urges us to combat the darkness with food and drink; summer’s dinner salads are replaced by slow-cooked meat and potatoes served with a side of pasta and bacon and washed down with a few bottles of red.

Weight defies the conservation of mass; it is more easily gained than lost. Fitness occupies the opposite realm; it is more easily lost than gained. Riders like Kelly, Merckx, and De Vlaeminck were famous for their discipline throughout winter; training long and hard to lay the groundwork for their Spring and Summer campaigns. With a sea of months between us and next season’s goals, there is little urgency to train properly. But keeping our weight down and putting in the long base kilometers will reward us throughout the season. Besides, it hardens the character to train in the cold, wet winds that characterize the winter months. The training we do in summer feels a luxury by comparison.

I cherish the winter months when my training is peaceful and free of pressure. I look forward to the sun warming my muscles, but for now I am content to stock up on fresh Flandrian Best, prepare the bike for the winter roads, and submit to the solitude of the cold training hours that lie before me.

// Belgian Affirmations // The Hardmen // Tradition

  1. @frank 

    The “Stunt Double” in the movie was Gary Rybar; at the time a Cat 1 racer out of Indianapolis.  We were told through the grapevine Gary was clocked at 85.3 KPH while drafting the Cinzano truck.  The scene was filmed on a flat section of Indiana highway 37 between Indianapolis and Bloomington.  To note, also, one of the Cinzano riders was John Vande Velde, father of Garmin rider, Christian Vande Velde. John, in his own right, was a 1968 and 1972 Olympian.

  2. @teleguy57

    @wiscot

    @The Oracle

    @wiscot wiscot, you didn’t happen to be riding on Hwy. 45 in the Campbellsport/Kewaskum area this past weekend, did you? On my way to a scout event with the young lad, and I saw a rider on an all-black steed…

    Yes sir. That was me. West Bend – Kohlsville – out west of 41 – Kewaskum – New fane – Campbellsport – Waucousta – Dundee – loop north and south to Beechwood – New Fane – Kewaskum – West Bend. 135 kms. It’s a great loop with some serious rollers in there – especially the bit west by Hwy 41. The roads are, overall, really good though.

    Failed to apply Rule #5 and do the extra 25 kms to get the 160 in. Too windy, too late in the year and I was too buggered to do the extra hour. (Hangs head in shame).

    You’re up near Fond du Lac now, right? A flatlander!

    @wiscot: Wow, that’s a great ride. And as for The Oracle being a flatlander – ha! At least he has the Niagara Escarpment on the east side of town and can head to the Kettle Morraine pretty quickly. Everyone knows flatlanders are living in Appleton!

    @The Oracle: Good on you on doing Scouting with your son. Did that with my two sons, and I’m still involved even though the youngest is now 27. If you look closely you’ll find that it actually teaches some of the Rules, albeit with different language:) It’s a program that makes a big difference “” and one we really need.

    Hey, if you’re in the area, a bit of company on such rides would be welcome. I generally ride solo but having a riding buddy would be nice. I know most of he roads in the area pretty well and can tailor a ride to whatever distance might be desired.

  3. @fixedgear66

    @frank

    The “Stunt Double” in the movie was Gary Rybar; at the time a Cat 1 racer out of Indianapolis. We were told through the grapevine Gary was clocked at 85.3 KPH while drafting the Cinzano truck. The scene was filmed on a flat section of Indiana highway 37 between Indianapolis and Bloomington. To note, also, one of the Cinzano riders was John Vande Velde, father of Garmin rider, Christian Vande Velde. John, in his own right, was a 1968 and 1972 Olympian.

    We get some super truck drafts here – big 5,000 gallon water trucks that you know aren’t stopping in a hurry – and I’ve been up to mid 70s on a compact before I spun out.

    With a cooperative driver, good roads and a standard 53-11 it wouldn’t be too difficult to hit mid 80s I reckon. Edgy, but possible.

  4. @teleguy57

    @wiscot

    @The Oracle

    @wiscot wiscot, you didn’t happen to be riding on Hwy. 45 in the Campbellsport/Kewaskum area this past weekend, did you? On my way to a scout event with the young lad, and I saw a rider on an all-black steed…

    Yes sir. That was me. West Bend – Kohlsville – out west of 41 – Kewaskum – New fane – Campbellsport – Waucousta – Dundee – loop north and south to Beechwood – New Fane – Kewaskum – West Bend. 135 kms. It’s a great loop with some serious rollers in there – especially the bit west by Hwy 41. The roads are, overall, really good though.

    Failed to apply Rule #5 and do the extra 25 kms to get the 160 in. Too windy, too late in the year and I was too buggered to do the extra hour. (Hangs head in shame).

    You’re up near Fond du Lac now, right? A flatlander!

    @wiscot: Wow, that’s a great ride. And as for The Oracle being a flatlander – ha! At least he has the Niagara Escarpment on the east side of town and can head to the Kettle Morraine pretty quickly. Everyone knows flatlanders are living in Appleton!

    @The Oracle: Good on you on doing Scouting with your son. Did that with my two sons, and I’m still involved even though the youngest is now 27. If you look closely you’ll find that it actually teaches some of the Rules, albeit with different language:) It’s a program that makes a big difference “” and one we really need.

    That was exactly my response–a mere 5 miles east of my present location (up over the Escarpment, or the Ledge” as the locals refer to it) is “Seven Hills Road.”  There are seven hills.  And they each have their own level of suck.  My first time riding up 15% gradients (albeit only for very brief periods).  10 miles further east gets you into the Kettles and their uppy-downy-foresty goodness.

    Unfortunately, rides to take advantage of my newfound enhave been few and far between of late, new kid, new house, new job, new town, etc., and all that.  Hoping to have a good off-season and hit it pretty hard-core come next spring.

  5. This article really made me waiting for the start of base training. Time to build my winter training bike!

  6. @fixedgear66

    @frank

    The “Stunt Double” in the movie was Gary Rybar; at the time a Cat 1 racer out of Indianapolis. We were told through the grapevine Gary was clocked at 85.3 KPH while drafting the Cinzano truck. The scene was filmed on a flat section of Indiana highway 37 between Indianapolis and Bloomington. To note, also, one of the Cinzano riders was John Vande Velde, father of Garmin rider, Christian Vande Velde. John, in his own right, was a 1968 and 1972 Olympian.

    Coolest thing I’ve read all day.

  7. @dissolved

    @Buck Rogers

    @dissolved

    I was all set for the idea of heaven @deakus had set before us until I decided to try for a space on the RVV or LBL sportives, now it looks like the holiday period will be all velodrome and turbo sessions if the weather is beyond a stern application of Rule #9.

    I can’t wait!

    You’re signed for these??? Oh MAN! How awesome!!! If full course you will indeed be needing to kill yourself this winter! So jealous!!!

    Buck the registrations open on November 1st (RVV) and 15th (LBL). I figure if I don’t get in one I’ll get into the other. If I don’t get into those then I’ll have to go for the P-R option. The most I’ve done in a day is 230km which was mainly flat so the training is going to be immense.

    I was already training for a 4 day ride in June next year but RVV/LBL will be more pain than 4 days condensed into one I am absolutely certain. Excited already

    You know what the true solution is? Keepers’ Tour 14

  8. @frank

    I will only start caring about your back when I can feel the pain myself; your argument is therefore invalid.

    I sincerely hope you never will.

    @frank

    My solution to the backpack weight problem was to buy a portable closet where I could hang my clothes and kept a few pairs of shoes there as well. I had a locker with towels and toiletries. I also bought a power source for the office which meant all I carried was a pair of underwear, socks, and the laptop itself.

    This is all part of the plan but I’m still not putting it on my back.

     

  9. Ok so I got a place on the RVV.

    “Sorry I can’t make christmas dinner this year, I’ve got a meeting with the man with the hammer”.

    ace.

  10. @Mikael Liddy

    @dissolved

    @Buck Rogers

    @dissolved

    I was all set for the idea of heaven @deakus had set before us until I decided to try for a space on the RVV or LBL sportives, now it looks like the holiday period will be all velodrome and turbo sessions if the weather is beyond a stern application of Rule #9.

    I can’t wait!

    You’re signed for these??? Oh MAN! How awesome!!! If full course you will indeed be needing to kill yourself this winter! So jealous!!!

    Buck the registrations open on November 1st (RVV) and 15th (LBL). I figure if I don’t get in one I’ll get into the other. If I don’t get into those then I’ll have to go for the P-R option. The most I’ve done in a day is 230km which was mainly flat so the training is going to be immense.

    I was already training for a 4 day ride in June next year but RVV/LBL will be more pain than 4 days condensed into one I am absolutely certain. Excited already

    You know what the true solution is? Keepers’ Tour 14

    would love to but more of a ’15 goal in terms of time and finance I think.

  11. @dissolved

    Ok so I got a place on the RVV.

    “Sorry I can’t make christmas dinner this year, I’ve got a meeting with the man with the hammer”.

    ace.

    Chapeau!  Are you still aiming for LBL too?  Do please be sure to give us all the gory details after RVV.

  12. @dissolved

    Ok so I got a place on the RVV.

    “Sorry I can’t make christmas dinner this year, I’ve got a meeting with the man with the hammer”.

    ace.

    FUCK Yes!!!  Awesome!!!

  13. @Buck Rogers @Mike_P I don’t think I can afford both but will definitely post how I get on in the RVV!

  14. Looking forward to the days when even the man with the hammer is wearing a coat.  Those are the days that make summer rain taste even better.

  15. I had to don the arm warmers the other day until 10am.  I dont suppose that gives me any credability on this subject at all does it?

  16. Now that we are all happily back on UST, what front lights work very well for rides up to 3 hours or so entirely in the dark?

  17. @DerHoggz

    Now that we are all happily back on UST, what front lights work very well for rides up to 3 hours or so entirely in the dark?

    Check out The Eye of Sauron which I wrote on the subject last November:

    http://www.velominati.com/technology/the-eye-of-sauron/

    Lezyne Mega-Drive on the bars, Lezyne Super-Drive on the helmet. Like riding in your own pocket of daylight. I cover the handlebar light when a rider approaches, but honestly when a car comes, I hope they’re blinded. Better that than they don’t see me at all.

    Both lights come with a spare battery; 3 hour rides are not problem with the spare.

    Strangely; I notice that it seems to be the combination of headlamp and barlamp that makes cars really notice me, so even if you’re doing lower-power lights, I suggest the combination. Must be something to the movement. But when missing either one or the other, I find cars darting out in front of me when they shouldn’t.

    You may laugh at all this, but when it comes to being seen at night, I’m not about to fuck around.

  18. @frank

    Strangely; I notice that it seems to be the combination of headlamp and barlamp that makes cars really notice me, so even if you’re doing lower-power lights, I suggest the combination. Must be something to the movement. But when missing either one or the other, I find cars darting out in front of me when they shouldn’t.

    You may laugh at all this, but when it comes to being seen at night, I’m not about to fuck around.

    Who’s laughing? This all makes total sense. Those two lights, in their vertical spatial relationship and with one moving more than the other, is something drivers aren’t accustomed to, so it’s bound to get more attention.

    The only possible improvement I can think of would be to add a third light: a 600-lumen strobe briefly activated by a trigger and your right index finger.

  19. @frank

    @DerHoggz

    Now that we are all happily back on UST, what front lights work very well for rides up to 3 hours or so entirely in the dark?

    Check out The Eye of Sauron which I wrote on the subject last November:

    http://www.velominati.com/technology/the-eye-of-sauron/

    Lezyne Mega-Drive on the bars, Lezyne Super-Drive on the helmet. Like riding in your own pocket of daylight. I cover the handlebar light when a rider approaches, but honestly when a car comes, I hope they’re blinded. Better that than they don’t see me at all.

    Both lights come with a spare battery; 3 hour rides are not problem with the spare.

    Strangely; I notice that it seems to be the combination of headlamp and barlamp that makes cars really notice me, so even if you’re doing lower-power lights, I suggest the combination. Must be something to the movement. But when missing either one or the other, I find cars darting out in front of me when they shouldn’t.

    You may laugh at all this, but when it comes to being seen at night, I’m not about to fuck around.

    Our winter training group in the hills use a similar rig but most of us use various combinations of Exposure lights.  Stacks of power and on the odd occasion we hit road sections with half a dozen or so riders packing 2,000+ lumens between bar and helmet mounted lights cars have a strange tendency to stop in their tracks as we go by.  See pic in The Rides for sample output from 2 bikes.

  20. Cyclocross in Tucson is a sad thing

  21. @RedRanger

    Whoo, yes, not a huge variation in surfaces there but full marks for trying.

  22. @mouse I think there was a total of 2 barriers. but oddly some of the people had some really nice kit. the other half raced on 29ers

  23. Local promoter of Cascade Cross used to design a course every year at a multi-use city park.

    The city would use the park as a dumping ground for various organic waste And the promoter would work these big piles of wood chips, boulders, etc into the course design.

    One year there was a big pile of dirt so he set up some course tape to send riders straight over it.

    Race day came and there had been a bit of rain. As the day went on, the rain became more intense and riders were covered in mud. The pile of dirt began to emit a horrible smell.

    Then he realized this was no ordinary pile of dirt. It was a pile of manure.

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