Editor’s note: With winter in full swing, Team SmartStop caught up with a couple of its riders while they were enjoying the last of their off-season. How do they stay fit during the cold months?
After a long year in the saddle, it is important for riders to take a break from road riding and indulge a little during the first part of the off-season.
“The off-season is all about some beers, burgers, pizza, and pretty much everything else you don’t get to enjoy (or at least less often) in the racing season,” said Rob Britton. “I love good food, and I live downtown, so after Alberta I hang up the skinny tires and probably spend two or three weeks walking to all the different restaurants for breakfast, lunch, or dinner maybe four or five times a week. It’s awesome.”
Britton is careful to find the right balance between enjoying food but also staying fit. “It’s not all gluttony though. I do balance it out with some pretty epic and fun mountain bike rides, and sometimes I can convince my teammates to come out with me,” he said. “I have to feed the body what it wants in the fall and for me that’s food, friends, and trails.”
Once the first couple of weeks of rest are over, it is back to daily workouts to get the body into the best possible shape for the season.
Changing up your workout each day and finding new ways to train is important to keep yourself motivated. “The only way to get through winter weather is to be adaptable,” said Julian Kyer. “Take advantage of the warm days, and have alternate activities when the snow starts coming down. Nordic skiing, hiking, yoga, and stability/core/strength work in the gym are all options I have to reduce the amount of time I spend on the rollers.
“Since a not insignificant chunk of time on the rollers is unavoidable, I make sure I have plenty of motivating movies at hand (‘Top Gun’ and ‘Rush’ are some favorites), and I never spend more than an hour without taking a break to stretch, have a snack, and distract myself for a few minutes,” he said.
For some SmartStop riders, the winter months are not as rough. Flavio de Luna of Mexico can basically avoid the winter months. He jokes about how rough the conditions are for him over the off season: “In Mexico, winter is harsh. [You] just got to make sure you keep the surfboard waxed and ready to hit the waves with a rough temperature of 27 degrees C [81 Fahrenheit].
“No seriously, winter is the time to get the fitness foundations right for next year. If things are done correctly during this period, things get way easier during the season.
“It’s a good time to focus on the core training, I do some winter weight training as well as body weight exercises put some muscle back and get ready to rock next season.”
Shane Kline is also a firm believer in putting in the hard work during the offseason to keep fit, and it is as simple as fitting in a 10-minute workout before heading to bed each night. “Core, core, and then more core! Hitting the floor and getting some planks and a few leg lifts in before bed,” he said.
Of course, riders often brave the weather to ride outside during the winter. “Leg warmers are crucial to cold weather survival; I constantly see people riding with bare legs in cool weather and it gives me sympathy knee pain,” said Kyer. “Champion System keeps our legs warm on even the coldest of days.”