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Why the Off Season Counts: Training Tips from Team Canyon-SRAM

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photo credits @ Canyon-SRAM

A GUIDE TO WINTER RIDING BY CANYON//SRAM

WHY THE OFF SEASON COUNTS

Winter presents a challenge to cyclists but there’s enjoyment to be had and fitness to be gained by riding through the dark, cold months. Here, the riders from canyon//sram share their tips on making it through the winter off-season and into spring.

1. DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY

“I will usually have between four and six weeks away from the road bike and during this period I love to travel to places that the cycling season doesn’t take me. It’s a chance to indulge in the sweets that I often try to avoid in season and it’s the best time to socialise with friends and family.”
– Tiff Cromwell

“Our race season is very long, so during my off-season I do almost nothing. I walk my dog, do some core stability or yoga, and go out on my mountain bike – it’s a smart way to get slowly back into a cycling routine.”
– Elena Cecchini

“The off-season is a time for reflection. Similar to any other love or passion in life, it is important to occasionally steal away for a moment. The change in perspective gives you enough space to remember and appreciate why you fell in love in the first place. In my case, I lay out the off-season in three segments: complete abstention from riding, riding whenever the mood strikes me, and base building.”
– Alexis Ryan

“I rest for a month and then start training again but I start by running or riding off road. At the beginning I’m really out of shape and it’s hard to enjoy being on the bike but it only takes a few sessions to enjoy it again.”
– Pauline Ferrand-Prévot

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2. STAY MOTIVATED

“I always think of the warm shower when I get home and then snuggling up on the sofa. I feel a huge sense of achievement after a wet, cold ride because you know that those rides are what make you tough.”
– Hannah Barnes

“When you are deeply passionate about something, as I am with riding, that passion isn’t washed away with the rain. I take bad weather as a challenge to my passion, a challenge to my resolve. I turn the ride into an adventure, and view its completion as an accomplishment or victory. I don’t think I’ve ever suffered through the rain like it’s some sort of punishment. All too often, I find myself charging down the road with a smile on my face.”
– Alexis Ryan

“It’s about finding good company, knowing that if you get out there and get it done then you’re one step closer to achieving your goals. It’s also about keeping your eyes on the big picture to keep your focus and motivation high. Everyone is in the same boat and that’s where the mental game can make the difference.”
– Tiff Cromwell

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3. CHOOSE YOUR KIT WISELY

“When you grow up in cold country like Belarus, where it’s minus 25C in winter, you have to be very motivated to ride. Winter gloves and shoe covers are really important because your hands and feet don’t move when you’re on the bike. If you want to be able to change gear, your hands have to be warm.”
– Alena Amialiusik

“I suffer from the cold most in my upper body, so it’s important to keep warm with a base layer. I also love to use a neck warmer – it closes that gap between the top of your jersey and your helmet. It’s amazing the difference that covering your neck can make.”
– Tiff Cromwell

“Having the right clothing is the key. It means that you can carry on riding when other people are cold and go home for a hot shower.”
– Barbara Guarischi

“If it is really cold I wear two pairs of thick overshoes and I wrap some aluminum foil around my toes. It helps a bit. And in the end it’s just cold feet.”
– Mieke Kröger

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4. SET GOALS

“In the off season you have time to think about the previous season and to set some goals for the upcoming one. With those new goals in your mind, there’s a lot more to think about on long rides.”
– Mieke Kröger

“I set goals for the upcoming season by writing down what was good and what I need to improve on. What were my strengths and my weaknesses and then I talk about it with my family and my coach; it’s important that the people around you know what you want to achieve.”
– Elena Cecchini

5. EMBRACE THE SEASON

“I enjoy having the freedom of riding with friends for hours and finding new roads. It’s also the time where you get to focus solely on the long training miles which is the main base that you can then build on.”
– Hannah Barnes

“I spend most of the year away from home, so the off-season is really the only time I can explore my home roads and admire their beauty. I mostly ride with my family, or the local group of cyclists I grew up training with.”
– Alexis Ryan

“I ride with friends and I ride without a plan. For me this the time for riding long and slow miles in a group and with a smile on your face.”
– Barbara Guarischi

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