Winter has arrived and so has the season for constructing your base and protecting on prime of your health. Winter coaching is critically necessary for the remainder of the 12 months, however it’s additionally the toughest interval to cycle in because it’s additionally mightily chilly out. As such, you’re going to need to make each final mile in your cycling training plan ‘depend’ as you put together to your spring/summer time using targets.
As nicely as being harsh to experience in, winter circumstances will be harsh in your bike, which is why a robustly constructed and well-equipped winter bike is nicely value contemplating. But other than the tech advantages, are there any health advantages to coaching on a heavier bike? James Spragg explores the professionals and cons to efficiency positive factors…
Sports scientist and coach James Spragg is likely one of the consultants who will probably be answering your questions in Cycling Weekly’s ASK A CYCLING COACH collection which comes out each Wednesday. Working each in analysis and utilized settings, he at the moment runs Intercept Performance Consultancy.
This is a superb query as a result of there’s a solution that springs to thoughts right away… however when you concentrate on it a little bit extra that reply turns into much more nuanced. Let me elaborate…
At first ideas, you may suppose “after all there’s, you must work tougher, and due to this fact you’re going to get fitter. Plus, whenever you bounce in your race bike it will likely be lots lighter and also you’ll be flying.”
However, suppose a little bit deeper and it seems that is solely partially true…
If you do a whole lot of group riding then sure, using a heavier winter bike in comparison with your best road bike, will imply you must work tougher to maintain up together with your mates. However, when you prepare alone it’s going to make no distinction.
When you prepare alone you’ll doubtless be using to a sure RPE or inside a given vary of energy outputs or coronary heart fee values, as set by cycling training zones. If you do that, it’ll make no distinction when you prepare on a heavier bike over a lighter bike. After all, the depth will probably be precisely the identical. You will probably be going faster on the light-weight bike…. however the coaching impact would be the similar.
The similar additionally goes for when you spend most of your time on the turbo trainer. It’s not going to make any distinction if it’s your light-weight bike or your heavy winter bike strapped to the turbo.
Now, what concerning the psychological efforts of going from a heavy bike to a race bike simply earlier than the season kicks off? Personal expertise tells me that the primary experience again on a light-weight bike does really feel superb. The fast acceleration, the sense of velocity and the convenience of ticking alongside at excessive velocity. This might be as a result of a mismatch between your expectations of how your bike will reply and the way the light-weight bike truly responds. This increase in morale shouldn’t be underestimated. Feeling good and assured is a vital a part of preparing for these early-season races.
So what can be my suggestion – do you have to prepare on a heavy bike all through the winter?
I’d haven’t any downside if one of many athletes I work with needed to coach on a heavier bike all through the winter, likewise, I additionally wouldn’t thoughts If they needed to spend the winter on their race bike. However, I’d have some issues…
The first of those is whether or not they can obtain the identical place on each bikes. It appears foolish to go to the expense of getting a good bike fit to then spend your complete winter using in a distinct place.
The second consideration can be the terrain an athlete has entry to? In the depths of winter, it may be a terrific thought to move off onto gravel tracks quite than sticking to the highway – you journey a little bit slower off-road for a similar effort and due to this fact it’s a lot simpler to remain heat (there’s a a lot smaller cooling impact).
Finally, I’d ask myself if the athlete wants that morale increase that comes from leaping on a quicker extra responsive bike coming into the season. Or wouldn’t it be higher for them to remain accustomed to how their race bike handles?
In conclusion, there’s most likely no main profit to spending your winter on a heavier bike, however there’s additionally no main draw back. Therefore, I’d select the bike that greatest facilitates the coaching I need to obtain all through the winter. Making probably the most of a whole winter of coaching will outweigh any positives or negatives of being on one bike or one other.
In this age of on-line coaching plans and exercises, do you ever end up with a burning query you’d prefer to instantly ask a biking coach? Well, now’s your likelihood to ask away! In this collection, we’ll be placing your inquiries to knowledgeable coaches – ship them in to Cycling Weekly’s Fitness Features Editor at [email protected].