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I know, I know.  Those are fightin’ words: take a break from mountain biking?  Who would?  Why would you?  Blasphemy!

Except… maybe it’s not. Here are my top 5 reasons for taking a break from biking during the winter.

1.  There’s snow! 

Snow!  Snow means skiing and snowboarding.  Crosscountry, downhill, snowboarding, backcountry, split boarding… pick your poison. Winter is for sliding across snow on sticks.  Like this:

Skiing the Alamo trail at Sunlight Mountain

2.  Variety is the spice of life.

Look, I love Fruita.  I love the Kokopelli trails and I even love Lunch Loops.  But after nine months of riding there, with a few breaks for vacations in between, I’m ready for something different.  I’m pretty sure I could ride Mary’s Loop or Rustler’s with my eyes closed by the time November rolls around.  Taking time off gives me time to enjoy other places and other parts of the Grand Valley, while also giving me a chance to miss my trails. By March I’ll be ready to ride again.

A very common view for us from one of our favorite trails, Western Rim. Do I take it for granted by the time November rolls around? I hope not. Still, a change of pace is good.

3.  Trails need time off too. 

Now, this is probably just my own opinion, but I think trails need a break now and then, and winter is just as good a time as any.  The trails get a nice layer of snow on them, and that eventually creates a nice, packed trail for spring.  The trails get a break from all the traffic, and nature has a chance to rest and rejuvenate.

4. Our diet needs variety too. 

For whatever reason, we don’t seem to eat nearly as much Hot Tomato pizza in the winter.  That could be because they’re usually closed for about 3 weeks in December/January, or it could be because we aren’t out that way biking and so we just don’t think about it as much.  So in the winter, my belly gets a break from pizza, and instead gets to enjoy things like buffalo chili nachos and bavarian pretzels from the New Belgium Ranger Station at Snowmass Ski Resort.

Mmmm. Variety.

Similarly, our beer choices shift from Sunshine Wheat and seasonal summer ales to Sam Adam’s Winter Lager and whatever winter brew New Belgium dreams up. Without the shift from biking to skiing, would we get to experience such things?  Maybe not.

I cannot wait to get some of these delicious morsels soon!

5. Having an alternate sport means a chance to buy more gear! 

See?  Take a break from biking and pick up a sport like skiing, and suddenly there’s a need for all kinds of new things:  a ski pack, a resort groomer set up, a powder day set up, a backcountry set up, telescoping poles for backcountry skiing, fixed poles for resort skiing, a helmet, goggles, several jackets and pairs of pants, various mid and base layers, and socks!  Holy moly do you need lots of socks… and a ski bag to put it all in… the gear options are endless!

So I say take a break! Get out there and do something different. You might just be glad you did.

Your Turn: Do you switch to skiing or snowboarding during the winter, or do you keep biking all year round?

On the flip side, maybe you don’t want to take a break from mountain biking during the winter. In that case, check out skibum’s article, “How to Stay Cycling Sharp Through the Winter.”

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# Comments

  • delphinide

    I am lucky enough to live in a place where I can snowboard and mountain bike in the same day, or weekend. Not to mention I have fallen in love with fat biking. Still, I think you make a valid point: cross training. I recently started running again (something I hate) to help with cycling because I realized my cycling muscles peaked and I really wasn’t getting much of a workout riding my bike. Wow…just after a short run my legs reminded me there were other muscles down there other than the ones I use to pedal with. Now I am aching like the old man I am, but with a keen reminder that I need to work different muscles to improve my cycling experience.

    • mtbikerchick

      Exactly! I have that problem every time I hike. I end up SO sore! It’s amazing all the different muscles you discover you have when you do a variety of activities…in the spring here we can bike and ski in the same day, so I know what you mean about that too 🙂 It’s pretty sweet!

    • skibum

      Agreed. This weekend was a perfect example. Spent Saturday lapping the canyons at Pueblo Reservoir on my bike and Sunday lapping first tracks every run in an all day snowstorm at Vail. This time of year really has benefits!

  • dgaddis

    We don’t get snow here, at least not enough to worry about. Night riding does a good job of keeping things interesting though. Especially when you also ride road and gravel/dirt roads. There’s a lot of variety to be had on two wheels year round here!

  • MTI

    If the Spanish Inquisition were still going on I’d forget all the good article you wrote and report you for your admitted “Blasphemy”. Year round or nothing! However I do have to say we did a ride with about a one mile hike and adding some hiking in would help wow I was sore.

  • gholt

    It’s good to take a break from biking to Snowboarding and crosstraining at the gym to build up the muscles.

    • mtbikerchick

      Thanks for the support 😉

  • RidingPastor

    I have taken somewhat of a break this winter. 🙁 I have only been able to bike commute a few times this winter. I am just not into riding in the cold, wet, dark winter (too much time away from family.) Bike commuting is such a different kind of riding but last year I smoked my usually riding buddy without trying. He told me to go on.

    I have spent some of this winter hitting the gym lifting and running. I feel like I am ready for some good mountain biking time in the late winter/ early spring.

  • Bubblehead10MM

    You make a compelling argument, for a heretic. 😉 I may be on a defacto break, do to wet trails. Retriever is good and all that, indoor wall climbing these days is awesome.
    Still my plan is to head South until l I find trails that I can ride.

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