Date Posted: December 16th, 2015
Authored by: Macky Franklin, Sponsored Athlete
As a mountain bike racer, winter can be hard. It's cold and wet, but training continues to be extremely important as the base you build in the winter has a big impact on how you perform during the season. Over the years I've figured out some tricks to make winter training more bearable (even fun). So here you go:
1. Head south - The last couple of years, Syd and I have headed to the southern hemisphere (New Zealand) to avoid the winter blues. Since our winter is their summer, we're able to continue to train in warm weather and explore new terrain. Since we don't usually head to the southern hemisphere until late January, we try to do at least one trip to the southern part of the US to tide us over. Phoenix, AZ, souther California, Texas and southern New Mexico can provide some great winter mountain biking.
2. Cross-train - I have learned that riding a bike isn't the only way to get faster on a bike. Cross training is an extremely important part of my exercise routine and winter is a great time to do it. Since I frequently spend the beginning of winter in snowy Taos, NM I have started finding snow-related activities to keep me going. Snow-shoeing is a great workout and tons of fun, as is sledding. And Syd and I regularly head to Santa Fe or Albuquerque to cross-train on our dirt bikes.
3. Strength train - Winter is a great time to work on overall strength. Whether it's in a gym or on our living room floor, Syd and I have been doing a ton of strength training recently, focusing on core and upper body strength. When people think of mountain biking, they generally think of leg strength, but having a strong core and upper body is just as important, especially for enduro. I do it so much, in fact, that I wrote a web program to create workouts for me.
4. Just do it - Sometimes the training plan says intervals on the bike. Even when it's wet and freezing and I don't want to, I force myself to go out anyway. I've learned to dress warm but not too warm (because I warm up during the intervals) and if it's slippery, I go out on my mountain bike and make sure I have good knobby tires (Vittoria's mountain bike tires are perfect). The first 5 or 10 minutes are always brutal, but once I'm done I always feel better and am glad I went out. Plus, sitting in front of a nice warm fire all day isn't going to win me any races!
So that's it. Just because it's winter doesn't mean you can't train. So go for it!