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:
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.
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.
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.
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.”