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Go forward to not go backward

simonsaunders's picture
on Wed, 25/03/2015 - 13:34

Spring has sprung,  or at least is close to springing. 

The clocks go forward this weekend- welcome to British Summertime! Does this bring light relief to those of us who have spent a couple of months with towels on our heads, sweating in a cold room?

Has your winter looked like this?


I made no secret to myself, or indeed anyone who asked, that I should aim to improve across the winter. I'd finished the year on a bit of a damp squib, sliding off on the most incongrous patch of ice on a frosty morning. Landing on my hip, outside Fettlers and wrecking the rear mech in the process. Hey, soon fixed. At least the bike was. For me it took a bit longer, my left thumb was a bit knackered, and given it was over 12 weeks ago, I still can't grip properly. Nothing broken though, but this does makes riding less easy than it was, harder to grip the bars, harder to change gear- harder to brake!

My solution? Less outdoor riding, more indoor riding. So, in for a penny, in for a pound - I signed up for TrainerRoad, the indoor trainer workout package. And that's what I did. 

This is the first time I have ever followed a "plan" of sorts. Normally over winter, I run much more and cycle a lot less. Intermittently, I also do some rowing on the ergo but of course continue to ride on Sundays when the weather allows; generally to just keep ticking over. This means that I generally pick-up in Spring with slower legs than where I left them in November.

So, have things changed this winter? I think so. I tried to do 3 hours a week (hardly a lot of training) for 6 weeks with some form of structure.

Do I feel any stronger? Maybe.

Am I riding faster? I don't think so.

Am I struggling as much as normal at this time of year? Yes, probably.

Am I glad I did the turbo time? Absolutely; I certainly found out what I couldn't do (which before you ask, is quite a lot!).

Oddly, though I have learnt a few things.

     1- It's possible to push yourself through the point where everything in your head says stop. At least for a short while.

     2- That my "stop" reflex comes in quite early.   

     3- That i'm not a big fan of creating so much "internal hurt" that I can justify it externally.

In essence, I've learnt my limits, I know i can push through them, but don't like it. So I won't. This suits me fine, I like riding my bike, I have no intention of racing or the talent to do so. I just want to "keep-up"with people.


So, now bib shorts are thinking about making a re-appearance on a Sunday am I feeling justified in the efforts I made over the winter? Well, yes and no.

It's become increasingly apparent I've not been the only person spinning the sweat-wheel in the kitchen/garage/cupboard over winter. I feel I have gone forward but just stood still. Everyone looks fitter, leaner and are riding as strongly, if not more so, than last year. I look on in envy at those who ride in the week, Tuesday and Thursday nights have been consistent over the winter and clearly some of those rides have been flying. Overall, group speeds are up across the club. Check out Strava to see how many riders log rides each week. Kudos flying left and right.When I joined this club the A group was riding at the current C group speed!

I only know that If i hadn't gone forwards, I'd have gone backwards. Maybe I'll peak in 6 months?

Whatever you do keep on riding people, it's the only way to go forwards. (unless you are on a turbo-trainer, and then you just stand still)


danmon_81's picture

I keep telling myself it's only March and still winter....not really viable anymore...running out of time! Although if you look at your previous years targets or PB's it's often a good insight into progress....i think this years winter has been faster than last years for me...will that make a faster summer?? . I think, more than anything the ability to get to the 'good weather season' and not say 'i should have done more over the winter' is a good start.

Stuart Smith's picture

First hill climb with the club , enjoyment is not the first word that comes to mind,torture is more appropriate in my case.Thanks to all those who organised and marshalled the event and to the ladies at the top of Bank Top who kept me going with your words of  encouragement .


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