Long gone are the days when cyclists would disappear from the radar and perhaps hang close to home. Social media is loaded with images of top racing pros taking full advantage of their off-season breaks.
Pogačar and his fiancé Urška Žigart have filled their social media feeds full of images of themselves enjoying a trip to Colombia. The couple attended the “Giro de Rigo” with EF Education-EasyPost star Rigoberto Urán.
“Thank you [Urán] and all the Colombians for showing us a part of your culture and making us feel so welcome,” Pogačar said. “It was a bit overwhelming at first, but now we feel like at home. It’s amazing to see how warm and happy people here are and they sure know how to enjoy life. Gracias!”
Pogačar posted several images and videos of rides, dances, and public events across his stay in Colombia. One photo featured himself and Žigart pictured with Urán and Colombian musician Carlos Vives.
With the racing season stretching from January to October, and the off-season opportunities becoming shorter than ever, riders seem keen to squeeze out as much fun as they can.
Team camps already start in December for many teams, especially for riders putting an early focus on the spring classics and the season’s first stage races.
Riders will often take advantage of the off-season to piggy-back their holidays after the end of late-season races.
Scores of riders who traveled to Asia for a pair of recent critériums in Singapore and Japan are extending their trips. Wout van Aert stayed in Australia for a few weeks following the UCI Road World Championships this fall.
Riders will often mix cycling with holidays, and use the down time to explore somewhere on the bike, or ease into the new season.
Others, like Annemiek van Vleuten, stay fit in the off-season by riding mountain bikes. Larry Warbasse, who last year rode gravel across the Canary Islands, ventured this fall to Crete for another off-road adventure with ex-pro Conor Dunne.
Demi Vollering went trekking in the Swiss Alps and Tour de France Femmes stage-winner Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig also hit Australia.
Cordon-Ragot, who suffered a mild stroke in September, is recovering in the Caribbean and recently rode her bike 100km around Guadaloupe in her first major excursion since her health scare.
“The first outing on the bike since September,” she wrote. “Amen.”
Others use the off-season to fit in important personal milestones.
Evenepoel is honeymooning in the Maldives, while the recently married Sepp Kuss is also on the same islands in the Indian Ocean.
For American and Australian riders, the off-season means a chance to go home to visit family and friends that sometimes haven’t been reunited for months. Though it’s much easier to stay in touch with loved ones today compared to a generation or two ago, heading home is always part of any vacation plans for non-European riders.
Quinn Simmons regularly posts images and video reels of himself exploring mountains by mountain bike, 4×4, or skiing in the mountains of Colorado.
Kasia Niewiadoma revealed she’s also heading to Colorado with boyfriend and ex-pro Taylor Phinney. Matteo Jorgenson is back in Idaho, while Colombian riders also return to home roads.
Egan Bernal, who continues his recovery from his devastating crash in January 2022, recently explored the mountains of Peru.
The off-season passes quickly.
Team training camps begin in December, and riders like Van Aert and Tom Pidcock, Marianne Vos, and Shirin van Anrooij, winner of Sunday’s cyclocross World Cup, are already racing.
The first races of the 2023 calendar are just around the corner, with events scheduled in Colombia, Australia, and Africa in January.
Riders are in a race against time to have some fun.