The New Holiday Season

Here are my top three reasons for you to be out on the bike, and not out on the couch during the holidays

2011 Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals
Snowy switchbacks at 2011 Collegiat Mountain Bike Nationals. Photo: Eszter Horanyi

We all know why we hit the trails. Whether you are a pro mountain biker, the weekend warrior, or in the trendy category of “lunchtime leopard,” we ride for training, stress relief, and most of all because we flat out have tons of fun out on the mountain bike.

With all the reasons we can come up with to be on the trails, we tend to come up with even more reasons, or as I say excuses, not to ride during the winter, especially during the glorious holiday season. Yes, sometimes you could be surrounded by five feet of snow and freezing 50 mph winds, but we must fight this to avoid the all too familiar phrase, “It’s just too cold to ride today, I will go for sure when it warms up.”

I will admit I am as guilty as anyone in using this phrase, along with many others, to combat the harsh temperatures and snow-covered obstacles during the holidays. However, this holiday season we all are going to fight the cold, and find ways to keep training at a high level during times of snow, wind, family, and food.

3. As mountain bikers, we have a huge impact on the economy. There is only one way to fix it, and that is to buy more bike stuff. We are all accessory junkies, so lets start buying. Bike shops are filled with cold weather gear at the moment, so much in fact that if we really wanted to, we could probably ride in sub zero temperatures for days given the right amount of protection and, of course, good legs.

Spend money; buy your lead out men and women an early holiday gift of cold weather gear, and spin. What says you care more than a box filled with arm warmers and shoe covers? Very little. Pick trails that are tucked in trees tend to have little wind resistance. Besides, any snow and mud left on the trails make you sharpen your technical skills for the summer. In other words, ride tough conditions now, so summer conditions seem a lot easier.

2. Holidays are about family, and, in a very close second, food. Lets not fool ourselves, the off-season is a time to relax and maybe cheat on the diet somewhat. Nothing wrong with that, especially when grandma serves up her famous dish with plenty of leftovers.

In order to keep off 15 pounds that you will have to work twice as hard to get off once spring rolls around, stay on the bike at least an hour a day, at least three days a week. The harder you work on the bike, the more you can eat at the table. That way, instead of packing on the holiday pounds, you keep it off and allow for a strong start next season.

1. The final and most important reason to keep riding during the holidays is family. Yes, you can still spend time with your family by making them ride with you. Nothing is better than a family that stays active together, and what better activity is there then mountain biking? None. So go out with your significant other, the kids and cousins, and make holiday family time the best it has ever been.