Hows your winter fitness going in the cold? I still prefer to be out on my bike than any other type of exercise. here in northeast us the winter is still not truly here so it makes it that much easier to ride. I was down to one ride a week (2 hours) and was getting nervous about my fitness level. Ive now upped my riding to two rides and really havent seen any fitness drop. I do feel the recovery is a little longer as i like to do a very aggressive climbing ride to keep my fitness close to where it should be. Hats off to the riders still out there in the cold months as its so much better i feel mentally to still be outside riding.
I live outside of Charlotte NC in the rolling hills of the Piedmont. December, January and February are not as cold as they are wet. I do some mud riding but, also get out on the roads that have the steepest hills that I can find to to stay fit. I primarily use my XC bike in these ‘wet’ months and my trail bike the rest of the year.
It’s been almost 6 weeks since my last ride. Weather is starting to look up, should be real soon that I’ll be back out 3-4 times a week. I hike always, so my fitness level drops somewhat. Last year I went 9 weeks without a ride in, I believe this year will be sooner.
I broke down and bought a smart trainer in November to supplement my normal winter riding. I’m very glad I did because my normal winter fat biking has been completely disrupted by wet, unseasonably warm weather. All the trails have been closed. But trainers aren’t the same as riding, that’s for sure.
I’ll ride throughout the winter in just about any conditions other than muddy or freeze/thaw. At this time of year, there’s usually some snow which means it’s fatbike time. But not this winter, as the temps have been very moderate thus far, at least on the east coast. Like @iliketexmex I also broke down and bought a smart trainer during Black Friday sales. Pairing that with ZWIFT makes indoor cycling tolerable especially with the new MTB training program they have (we’ll see if it works, lol). But I still MTB at least 1-2x a week. This is also a time I focus more on strength training with an occasional run thrown in.
I live in Montana. A few months ago I bought a smart trainer after seeing a few reports on the Global Cycling Network on Zwift, Rouvy and Sufferefest. I had an old magnetic load trainer previously but was bored to the edge of a mental breakdown riding it. I ended up subscribing to Zwift and Rouvy for a combined total of $25/month.
For anyone not knowing about smart trainers the power output when pedaling is fed to the internet and determines your speed on the on-line route you are on, and there is feedback which adjusts your resistance to the gradient. Chris Om on GCN compared his real-life power output, time and perceived effort on the Alpe du Huez in France and the reproduction of this climb, with all 21 switchbacks, on Zwift. The results were almost the same. Zwift has a large competitive (group rides and races) and social component (other riders’ avatars show up onscreen – the record number of people using zwift at one time worldwide is about 15,000. You are always chasing someone or being chased.) . Rouvy is a collection of videos of routes around the world, with many classic climbs in the Alps and flatter routes elsewhere around the world.
I have to say that I am enjoying these workouts and usually am drenched with sweat with the windows in the room steamed up at the end of them. My FTP has increased by over 20 watts since I started. I was never able to generate the enthusiasm on my old trainer. It’s not as much fun as cycling outdoors but not the grind it used to be.
There are free apps out there as well and some such as sufferfest which are geared to specific workouts.