Written by Angelo Calilap of the 5th Floor
Well, here we are. Winter’s (almost) over which means racing is right around the corner. You read the title correctly, it is time to Trainsition from your winter cave to riding outdoors. You’ve put in all this hard work indoors on the KICKR the past few months, now what? It’s time to take all the fitness you’ve built up over the winter and transform it into pure speed for the spring/ summer riding season. Here’s how to do it.
First thing’s first – check your bike. How’s your chain doing after the all the base mileage? When was the last time you changed your brake pads? It’s easy to neglect your bike when it’s been mounted on the KICKR all winter. Before you head out for your first ride, give every part a once-over and do the mechanical maintenance you may have been putting off. Your local bike shop will most likely offer a spring maintenance service that will save you plenty of mechanical headaches later, not to mention you get to connect with the shop guys and make some summer riding plans.
When was the last time you filled your jersey pockets with food and made sure you had a spare tube on the bike? It has probably been some time so make sure you have your food situated, your ride gear organized and your route planned. Further, spring weather can be finicky and will change on you in a matter of minutes. Check your clothing options to ensure that you have a way to survive a spring shower and not freeze on that long descent before heading home. Arm warmers and a vest (gilet) are key spring clothing items that all cyclists should include in their closet. Being prepared can and will increase your enjoyment outdoors.
Make a Plan.
Take some time to think about and plan your early season rides. Get on Strava or RidewithGPS and pick some new destinations you want to explore or browse others routes for inspiration. Creating a route to follow means that you will always know where you are, your loved ones will be able track you and make sure you are safe and you will be able to get the right amount of time in the saddle without overdoing it. Don’t forget to leave some room for taking that left turn down a dead end road, who knows what you may find, that next great hill to train on or a hidden lake you knew nothing about. Lastly, take a look at your ELEMNT Bike Computer and make sure your screens are set up the way you want them for riding outdoors.
No Coast … to Coast.
Remember all the countless hours of non-stop pedaling on those long indoor endurance rides? Enjoy the fact that once you get racing outdoors, coasting and conserving energy is a good thing.
Take It Easy.
Most of us don’t spend more than two hours on the KICKR at a time. (Kudos to you if you do!) Don’t get outside and attempt to go for a five-hour ride on your first day back on the road. It’s going to take some time to get used to the real world (which includes things like hills and headwinds) again.
Keep it steady, Eddy.
You did all those sustained tempo and threshold efforts for a reason, right? The next time you’re on a group ride and riders start aggressively attacking each other at the start of a long climb, use the power numbers you know you can hold based on your winter intervals to set your pace and see what happens. Who knows? Maybe you’ll catch a few of ‘em. At least you know you won’t blow up like some of the others!
Hop back into group rides.
Indoor training is a great way to build up endurance, but racing requires sharp bike handling skills which may wane over the winter. Group or team rides are a great way to refresh your pack manners and shake up your training routine. Not to mention the accelerations of speed in a group ride are unique and are difficult to recreate in a structured training plan.